Search This Blog

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Can a Whiskey Priest Be a Martyr?

 When book club starts up again, our first read is The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene. I took the book out of the library to read it a month in advance to our meeting.  We members made an agreement not to buy the book.  We don't want money to be an issue for anyone.  Hence, any book we recommend has to be available in our Minuteman Library Network.  That's why I'm returning the book  (I read it and returned it for someone else to read.)

That being said, the novel was so good, I wanted to keep it.  I bought it.  It's cheap enough because it was written so long ago; I believe no one would blow the whistle on me for breaking our club rule--don't buy the book.  

As I review it, I need to say that if the reader has the edition where John Updike writes the introduction, the reader needs to skip it.  This introduction will turn you off from reading the book.  Updike, renowned author as he is, writes in such convoluted syntax and arcane references that most casual book  club members won't understand his references.  Plus it's too long, so skip it and read it after completing the book.  The introduction will make a little more sense, then.

Some Catholics won't like the book because the priest protagonist is a loser.  He is a poor excuse for a human being, a cowardly drunk, but when it comes to doing his priestly duties, he performs them with serious, sacred reverence.  Some Catholic Book Recommendation lists banned the book.  But Pope Paul VI enjoyed the book and told Greene to ignore his critics.  

The setting is the Cristero War 1927-1929. It is forbidden in Mexico to have religion.  Churches have been destroyed and priests shot.  If a priest renounced his priesthood and religion and married, he could live and even received a government pension. One character in the novel did that, Padre Jose.  Our poor protagonist died without absolution because Padre Jose ignored his pleas to hear his confession.  BTW, our protagonist doesn't have a name.  He is just called the priest, or the whiskey priest.  A whiskey priest is a priest who is an alcoholic.  Yes, our main character is a whiskey priest.  He's also a fornicator and fathered a child.  I guess he broke everyone of the commandments, (maybe not the 6th), never mind the solemn promises he made when he was ordained.  But he never (he was tempted), never broke faith.  He celebrated Mass solemnly and as sacred as clandestine conditions allowed. He believed.

As for Greene's writing, I suggest you keep a glass of water beside you, as you read.  Greene's descriptions of the arid, barren landscape of Mexico will have your tongue thicken and stick to the roof of your mouth.  The descriptions of Mexican jail conditions will make you vomit.  The characterization is so real you will find yourself praying for the dying, the evil, and of course the whiskey priest.  (Wait a minute!  This is fiction.  Whom am I praying for?)  

The antagonist in the story, like the priest, isn't named.  He is called the Lieutenant.  He's a police lieutenant.  He hates the Catholic Church, especially priests.  But in the end, he tries to help the priest find a confessor.  That's something the Lieutenant doesn't believe in, ...yet why does he do it?

As the priest runs from hiding place to hiding place, he performs his priestly duties devoutly, even though sometimes it's reluctantly.  He spends hours hearing confessions.  He baptizes too many to count.  He performs last rites.  Meanwhile the lieutenant is breathing down his neck.  He actually captures him twice and puts him in jail for drunkenness, but doesn't realize he's the priest he is seeking. 

All stories end.  The priest is betrayed.  It's a bittersweet ending because the priest was called to administer last rites, knowing it was a trap.  But the priest went anyway.  He was allowed to minister absolution and apostolic rites and then he was taken away.  

What do you think?  Was he a martyr?  He died for the faith.  If Dismas, the thief beside Jesus on the cross, was promised heaven, then surely a whiskey priest dying for performing his priestly duties can not only be forgiven his human frailties, but also be absolved due to his faithfulness.

BTW, the title "The Power and the Glory," is from the doxology, in the Lord's Prayer.

For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever.  Amen.

Friday, July 29, 2022

Does God Change His Mind?

 

The LORD said to Moses,
"Go down at once to your people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt,
for they have become depraved.
They have soon turned aside from the way I pointed out to them,
making for themselves a molten calf and worshiping it,
sacrificing to it and crying out,
'This is your God, O Israel,
who brought you out of the land of Egypt!'
"I see how stiff-necked this people is, " continued the LORD to Moses.
Let me alone, then,
that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them.
Then I will make of you a great nation."

But Moses implored the LORD, his God, saying,
"Why, O LORD, should your wrath blaze up against your own people,
whom you brought out of the land of Egypt
with such great power and with so strong a hand?
Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,
and how you swore to them by your own self, saying,
'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky;
and all this land that I promised,
I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.'"
So the LORD relented in the punishment
he had threatened to inflict on his people.

STUDIUM:

God does not change.  He already knows what He will do but for our human understanding He responds to our prayers.  There are examples in the Bible where God does change His mind, but it is always in response to mankind's prayers.  Think of a parent who has a gift for a child, yet tells his child that if he/she is good, a gift will result.  The parent can and cannot give the gift but most probably the parent knows the child will be good.

MEDITATIO:

This story proves that prayers matter. Repentance matters. God uses these human emotions to send His grace down upon us. God wants us to repent and pray and have a relationship with Him.  As such, He will respond.



ORATIO:

Lord, You are the source of all good things.  You know what I need and what I will do.  Guide me to do Your Will.

CONTEMPLATIO:

Lord, grant me the grace to love and pray.

RESOLUTIO:

I need to spend more conversational time with God.




Thursday, July 28, 2022

The Crisis Group

 The Crisis Group is Pax Christi without Christ.  It doesn't mention religion.  But it's genesis has Christian sensibilities.  That's all right.  They work at preventing war.

They sound the alarm.  They work towards world peace.  Their website has some good information.


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

So Long, Ken

 My fellow hiker, Ken died last week.  I will pray for him and ask him to pray for me.  He loved to walk.  Many times when the group turned aroud, he continued on.  When his wife Sarah was well, she matched him stride for stride.  Both Ken and Sarah are tall and thin.  I can still picture them questioning the group why we were turning around, or why we didn't want to walk in the rain.

So long, Ken.  I'll miss your inspiration.  


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Walking the Long Way Home

 Evidently, "The Road to Grace" by Richard Paul Evans is the third and last book in a series. It can stand alone, however. I didn't know it was a series and I enjoyed this quick read. The major character, Alan is walking from Seattle to Key West.

The story is about the people he meets and interacts with. The best interaction is between his mother-in-law and himself. He had a hard time forgiving her for abandoning her daughter (Alan's wife). BTW, Alan's wife has just died, and he lost his business, which is why he is walking. His walk is a meditative purge.
Alan is a good person and spreads grace everywhere he walks and upon everyone he meets. This book is a quick, easy read.

Monday, July 25, 2022

That's Funny



Isaac Asimov once quipped, “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but, ‘That’s funny…’”

One example, is how the Scottish biologist, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin.  He was working in his laboratory investigating staphylococci.  After hours, a cleaner came in and opened the windows.  In the morning, Fleming came in the lab and found a strange fungus on a culture he had left in a petri dish.  That’s funny—the fungus killed off the bacteria, in the culture.  And penicillin was identified and medicine has never been the same since.

Even funnier was John Pemberton who wanted to cure his headache.  He was a pharmacist by profession.  He used two main ingredients: coca leaves and cola nuts.  When his assistant accidentally mixed the two with carbonated water, the world’s first Coke Cola was the result.  What’s not funny is the fact that John Pemberton died two years later and never saw his mixture give birth to a soft drink empire.

It’s funny how people like to mix things up.  English chemist, John Walker, in 1827, mixed antimony sulphide and potassium chlorate.  This resulted in a sticky mixture that coated his mixing stick.  When he tried to scrape the sticky substance off his stick, it burst into flames.  That was a shock!  He had just invented the world’s first match.  It’s funny that they were marketed as John Walker’s Friction Lights.

Sometimes it’s funny how words came to be. The French term “nompere” meant “one without equal.”  But the sounds blurred together to sound like “noumpere.”  Eventually English would pronounce “noumpere” as “an oumpire.”  Forming the word we now know as “an umpire.”

One last funny that’s really silly.  During the war years in the 1940’s, General Electric engineers were trying to find a cheap alternative for rubber, specifically for tank treads, boots, etc.  When the engineers combined silicone oil and boric acid the result was a silly, stretchy, rubbery, bouncy ball.  The engineers had a lot of fun playing with Silly Putty.

All that’s just to say that I had a funny Eureka moment a few days ago.  It being a hot day in August, we had gone to the beach.  I was cleaning out the car. It was hot!  I wanted to make one trip from the car to the house, so I was carrying an armload consisting of a cooler, beach umbrella, beach towels, a blanket and my purse. Holding not too securely in my hand, were my car keys.  I was trying not to drop them because I needed my key to unlock the door.  I had just managed a few steps away from the car, when I heard the car engine start.

That’s funny.  The car was locked.  I was holding the keys.

Eureka!  I have an automatic starter.

The car is a 2016 model that I bought used in 2018.  I had tried to read the car manual but not being fluent in car technologese I thought  automatic start wasn’t included. Now four years later, I discovered that I do.  I just hope it works on a cold day in January and not just a hot day in August. 

*This story is my answer to Steve who challenged the Senior Scribblers to write a story using "a hot day in August."

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Reaching Out

 Faith is necessary to have a relationship with God.  Wojciech Giertych expresses this in "The Spark of Faith."  He is the papal theologian, yet writes clearly theological concepts that even I, as a lay person can understand.  I savored his thoughts and took many notes.

        Everyone's faith is different because God individualizes the grace for each of us, enabling us to be brought into a close relationship with God.  That's one of the mysteries of faith.

       Faith does not destroy reason or we wouldn't ask questions.  Human reason ponders faith and comes to a definition or explanation approaching satisfaction for each of us.  This changes, grows, with prayer and sacramental grace.

       Wojciech Giertych book is not an easy read, but it's not difficult.  I read it as spiritual/meditation--a little at a time.  Thus I found it very readable and enjoyable.


Saturday, July 23, 2022

Sobering Prediction

 Last night was a terrible night.  I had read a Bible verse that kept me tossing and turning all night.  "But when the Son of Man comes, will He find any faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8)

When I read that previously, I didn't think anything about it.  But this reading hit me.  This is a prediction.  I've been fretting that people don't go to church anymore.  Here right before my eyes, the verse's prediction is happening.

My first thought was "GOOD."  Jesus is coming.  I'm going home.  And then, if everyone stops evangelizing and teaching Sunday School, we can get Jesus to come sooner.

But then I thought that I didn't want anyone in my family to be condemned.  Jesus came to save everyone and I should emulate Him.  So we should keep trying to bring people to Jesus.



Friday, July 22, 2022

The Training Program

 

Brothers and sisters,
You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children:
"My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord
or lose heart when reproved by him;
for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines;
he scourges every son he acknowledges."
Endure your trials as "discipline";
God treats you as sons.
For what "son" is there whom his father does not discipline?
At the time,
all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain,
yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness
to those who are trained by it.

So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees.
Make straight paths for your feet,
that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.

STUDIUM:

Obviously, the word, "discipline," does not mean punishment, but rather training or guidance. And actually this word is used four times in this passage and each time it is used, there is a slightly different nuance.
   We must not lose heart which the Greek phrase translates as lose courage when corrected.  Our role is to persist "hupomenete" in Greek to "last."  Don't give up.

MEDITATIO:

Most of the time the effort is worth it.  If I trust that my embarrassments, humiliations are divine corrections, I will endure them better.

ORATIO:

Lord, I'm so lazy.  I usually feel that the effort is useless.  I need constant praise.  It's a good thing I have You to whip me into shape.  

CONTEMPLATIO:

Jesus, I trust in You.

RESOLUTION:

I resolve to stay in God's training program.  




Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Why Pray?

 I pray because God told us to. (1 Thess 5: 17) and Matt 7: 7.  Why would God want this?  We are His children and like all parents, He desires a relationship with us. Prayer is talking to God.  Also, remember that we don't live forever so the sooner we develop a relationship with our creator, the better we will be.  And lastly, when we talk to God, we also have to listen, too.  This is where we will recognize God's voice.  This is the reward for persistence in prayer.  Answers, advice, and guidance are the fruits of praying.


Tuesday, July 19, 2022

A Bird in the House


 Start praying for my household, please.  Yesterday, was a horrible, no good, terrible, bad day.  I'll start my tale of woe with my husband's problems.  Our bank is in Attleboro, which isn't far, but rather a bit of a bother to deposit checks.  After depositing his check, he realized that he needed cash.  This is an ATM machine.  So he put in his password and it was wrong, so he tried again.  It was not accepted.  He didn't dare try again because the machine would have taken his card.  So he left to go home.  On the way home, he remembered it.  Once back in our home town, he went straight to an ATM machine and put in his code.  It wasn't accepted.  He tried again, same refusal.  At home, he couldn't remember where he put the notebook with our pin numbers and pass codes.  He couldn't believe it; not only couldn't he remember the number, he couldn't remember where he put the pass code book.  He telephoned the bank.  They told him to come in person back to the bank with identification.  Once more he drives all the way to the bank in Attleboro and tells the bank manager what had happened.  Evidently, he had locked him self out and a new pass code had to be issued.

I had a different problem.  We have a summer cottage in Falmouth on Cape Cod.  That's about an hour ten minute drive.  There is a Summer Speaker Series going on, every Tuesday night, during the summer.  A friend and I drove down, planning to meet up with another friend at a local restaurant.  We ran into traffic because of the annual event, The Barnstable County Fair.  But after a few anxious moments we made it to the restaurant in time.  I texted my friend, "We're here."  She responded, "Sorry, I forgot."  

At least the meal was good.  After which, we went to the Summer Speaker Series.  The place was dark.  All the doors were locked.  I tried telephoning the Chamber of Commerce--no answer, the newspaper office--no answer.  The same with Town Hall.  I didn't know who else to call.  I tried google on my cell phone but on the way down I was listening to Spotify and my phone said "low battery."  Just at that time, I saw a man walking his dog and I asked him about the Summer Speaker Series.  He remembered it before COVID, but this summer it had moved to the town of Brewster, on the Cape.

"Oh."  That's too far.  Falmouth is over an hour away, Brewster is another hour--during the summer tourist traffic and coming home late in the dark, made it "out of the question".  We turned around and came home.  That's a lot of bother just to get fried clams.

As hubby and I compared our hard luck stories, my eyes saw a quick movement.  I looked in that direction and saw a tiny bird sitting on the lamp shade.  We have no idea how it got in the house.

The problem is, my husband is Irish.  I have a little Irish, too.  And in Ireland, it is an accepted axiom that a wild bird in the house is invariably associated with death or extremely bad luck. It definitely heralds impending doom, especially, the death of a loved one within three days.  Birds are bad news.  We have no bird wallpaper, pictures, statues, or even clothes.  I know it's a silly superstition.  But a wild bird in the house begs the question, how did it get in?  

A bird messing in a house is certainly bad luck.  Maybe that's the reason for the "bad luck" reputation. Trying to hunt the bird down could bring havoc around your nick knacks.  If the bird dies trying to get away, what then? 

There's even a nursery rhyme called "One for Sorrow" about a bird in the house:

“One for Sorrow” Original lyrics

One for sorrow,
Two for mirth,
Three for a wedding,
And four for death


But this is all silly superstition right?  Right?  



Sunday, July 17, 2022

Freedom

 Freedom by Jonathan Franzen is a big book.  Simple.  Ha!😏  If  only it were simple.  Freedom is about our damn free will.  We live in and through the Berglund family.  Franzen's characterization is exquisite.  You know these characters.  You love them; you root for them; you shake them; you hold your breath until you put the book down to breathe.  

Part of the story is told through Patty.  We begin with her college years and are introduced to her parents and all the other characters through Patty.  Like everybody, she has problems and fails.  She makes poor decisions, but Patty tries.  Actually, everyone tries.  Franzen ties his story lines together towards completion very satisfactorily.  I wish Bobby found his way home, but Franzen didn't think that was necessary.  Bobby will be fine.

My one criticism of the story was that there was too much sex.  Joey and Connie copulate throughout the novel from middle school through adulthood.  And Franzen's descriptions of scatological details will make you gag. But you still won't put the book down.

In fact, everyone is having sex.  But in Franzen's world it's just natural.  It's not pornography; it is necessary for the story.  No way could I say he should have left it out.  The sex enfleshed the plot.  But being an old fogey, I just wished it weren't necessary. 


Friday, July 15, 2022

Short But Sweet

 LECTIO:

Psalm 117
Praise the Lord, all you nations:
   extol Him, all you peoples.
For great is His love toward us,
   and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever

Praise the Lord.

STUDIUM:

Psalm 117 is the shortest psalm in the book of Psalms.  It shows confidence in God's love for us.  Paul quotes from this psalm in Romans 15: 11 to show that God's salvation is for all, not just Jews.

MEDITATIO:

This short thought says everything.  God loves everyone, forever, no matter how sinful we are.

ORATIO:

I owe everything to You.  How can I not love Someone whom loves me so much.  Help me never to forget that, my Beloved.

CONTEMPLATIO:

After all the evil humankind perpetrates, God still loves us.  This is beyond my comprehension; thank God He is God and I am not.

RESOLUTIO:


I will strive to live my life in praise to God, to whom I owe everything.




Wednesday, July 13, 2022

New U.S. Poet Laureate


 

On July 12, 2022, the Library of Congress announced that Ada Limón had been named the 24th U.S. poet laureate, officially called the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry. Her 1-year term begins Sept. 29 with the traditional reading at the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium.

The position was established in 1985. Laureates receive a $35,000 stipend, along with $5,000 for travel expenses, the funding originating not from the government, but from a private gift made decades ago by the philanthropist Archer M. Huntington.

While the job is officially based in Washington, D.C., the poets are not required to live there — Limón will mostly work from her home in Lexington, Kentucky — and are generally free to shape the position around their passions.  

Limón is a nature poet.  She hopes to give readings at parks and other settings that emphasize and celebrate our place in the world.

“Poetry is a way of to remember our relationship with the natural world is reciprocal,” she says. “It’s having a place to breathe and having a place to pay attention.”


Instructions on Not Giving Up

More than the fuchsia funnels breaking out
of the crabapple tree, more than the neighbor’s
almost obscene display of cherry limbs shoving
their cotton candy-colored blossoms to the slate
sky of Spring rains, it’s the greening of the trees
that really gets to me. When all the shock of white
and taffy, the world’s baubles and trinkets, leave
the pavement strewn with the confetti of aftermath,
the leaves come. Patient, plodding, a green skin
growing over whatever winter did to us, a return
to the strange idea of continuous living despite
the mess of us, the hurt, the empty. Fine then,
I’ll take it, the tree seems to say, a new slick leaf
unfurling like a fist to an open palm, I’ll take it all.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

διάκονος

 Luke 10:38-42 has nothing to do with Martha wanting to have Mary help her in the kitchen. The Greek translation uses the verb διάκονος.  The Greek term for doing the work of the deacon.  Notice that Jesus in these verses doesn't come to meet Mary for the first time.  He headed to her home.  Jesus knew this family.  They were disciples and helped him.  That's what the Greek word is saying.  Martha and Mary were serving Jesus.  But Martha was the active one and Mary was the contemplative one.

Jesus says Mary chose the better job.  Prayer comes first before action.  St. Dominic founded contemplative nuns first, in Prouille, France, before he started the friars preachers.  

Prayer leads to action.


Monday, July 11, 2022

Catholic Weirdness

It's easy to find weirdness in other people, especially  people living in other countries.  Just look at Catholicism.  Since it's universal, all kinds of people populate it and they bring their culture with them.  Being from New England, my religious tastes are staid compared to Kenyan Catholics, for example.  Church buildings are an example.  Look at New England church buildings compared to Italian and Spanish.  

Customs are shocking to each other.  Filipinos actually crucify each other on Good Friday.  Some Catholics in Spain whip each other in parades while wearing hoods.  

How about venerating relics?

How about walking on your knees to a sacred spot?

Oh well, some wag once said about Catholicism, "Here comes everybody!"  And with everybody is everything.



Sunday, July 10, 2022

Abel the Just

 Some things we just don't notice.  We go through life seeing things every day and we don't really see them.  Today, for instance, I just noticed that in the first Eucharistic Prayer, we pray:

Be pleased to look upon these offerings
with a serene and kindly countenance,
and to accept them,
as once you were pleased to accept
the gifts of your servant Abel the Just,
the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith,
and the offering of your high priest Melchizedek,
a holy sacrifice, a spotless victim.

Who is Abel the Just?  Remember in Genesis 4: 4, the story of Cain and Abel?  This Abel is known as Abel the Just.  Abel's sacrifices were accepted because he gave his love in his sacrifices.  He also became the first martyr Matt 23: 35.  Abel has a feast day, too--January 2.  He is the patron of dying people, murder victims and shepherds.





Saturday, July 9, 2022

Short Stories

 My favorite genre is short stories. What I love about short stories is that I can read a complete stories in short bursts of time, e.i., bus, train, waiting at the doctor's, etc.  One of my favorite authors is Brian Doyle.  He writes short, short stories.  They are like blog posts.  Some short stories (not Brian Doyle's) are really novellas.  Grace Notes and A Sense of Wonder, are two books Brian Doyle demonstrates exactly  what I am describing .

  A Sense of Wonder edited by Doyle has thirty-six writers.  If you don't care for one story, skip it and go to another.  This is a book of other people's writing.

Grace Notes is all Doyle's writing.  I think I read them all.  My favorite story was "On Miraculousness."  Yes I know it's misspelled and/or it may not even be a word, however it works.  This is typical of Doyle.

My favorite story in A sense of Wonder is David James Duncan's "An Elevator in Utah."  Duncan's descriptions of feelings are on-target.  I identified and loved his reactions to the little girls.

In conclusion, forget the recommended "beach reads."  They're too big.  Summer for me is too busy to settle into a big book.  Big books are for winter blizzards.  Summer reads are for short stories.  So look up Brian Doyle, and enjoy.  You can thank me via goodread's comments.




Friday, July 8, 2022

Rest in the Spirit

 While at the pool the other day, I was struck by an infant's expression of comfort while she was asleep in her daddy's arms.  All the explanations I 've heard and read and seen, about contemplation talk about uniting oneself to God.  In doing that one has to let go of all their concerns, responsibilities, needs, etc.  You imagine resting in God.

After watching that baby, I think that when I contemplate I will imagine myself as an infant resting in my mother's arms. I would have complete dependence upon my mother for my needs and when I sleep I would have no cares because someone who loves me is taking care of everything.  That someone is God.



Thursday, July 7, 2022

Deeds Not Creeds


 There was a nineteenth century  French Protestant theologian named Auguste Sabatier who coined the phrase, "Deeds not Creeds!"  There's also John Calvin, who thought Catholics were theologically ignorant because they let the Catholic hierarchy tell them what to believe in.

I can see where both these theologians are coming from.  Sabatier is telling us that one does not need to know every tenet of our faith to have faith.  Calvin is telling us that the faith of Catholics is nothing until they are taught what to believe.  To both thesis I say, "duh!"  Aren't both these claims obvious?

Sabatier's deeds come from creeds. Faith should move one to act upon the faith.  Calvin's presupposition that Catholics wouldn't know what to believe in until they're told; isn't that true of all things.  Who would know how to speak if they weren't taught, or how to eat, or walk on two legs, etc.?

Look at some Catholic hymns, some customs, folk tales and then there are opinions!, which are theologically suspect.  Do not they communicate to God?  If one had to be theologically correct then everyone is doomed.  

Look at the faith of a child receiving First Communion?  That's all you need.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

God's Glory

 


LECTIO:

Isaiah 66: 18-21

Thus says the LORD:
I know their works and their thoughts,
and I come to gather nations of every language;
they shall come and see my glory.
I will set a sign among them;
from them I will send fugitives to the nations:
to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan,
to the distant coastlands
that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory;
and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations.
They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations
as an offering to the LORD,
on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries,
to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD,
just as the Israelites bring their offering
to the house of the LORD in clean vessels.
Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.

STUDIUM:

The theme of this passage is carried throughout all of Isaiah:
 God is Lord of all.  Here the exiles from Babylon are on their
way to Jerusalem.  There they will see the Lord's glory.  And from
there to other nations.

MEDITATIO:

The prophet is picturing the future.  The Lord's glory will be proclaimed
to other nations.

ORATIO:

Lord, You know my thoughts then You know I only want to please You.  
Guide me.

CONTEMPLATIO:

I want to rest in Your Glory, Lord.

RESOLUTIO:

The Lord knows how all people think and act.  His divine plans will come to 
fruition.  I must yield to His Will.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Bow Down

 Before Claude McKay's conversion to Catholicism he thought this very same church an obscene building.  Look what he thinks, now.


Saint Isaac’s Church, Petrograd Lyrics

Bow down my soul in worship very low
And in the holy silences be lost.
Bow down before the marble Man of Woe,
Bow down before the singing angel host.

What jeweled glory fills my spirit's eye,
What golden grandeur moves the depths of me!
The soaring arches lift me up on high,
Taking my breath away with their rare symmetry.


Bow down my soul and let the wondrous light
Of beauty bathe thee from her lofty throne,
Bow down before the wonder of man's might.
Bow down in worship, humble and alone,
Bow lowly down before the sacred sight
Of man's Divinity alive in stone. 

Monday, July 4, 2022

Falmouth Born

 Yesterday the recessional hymn out of church was "American the Beautiful".  Why, you might ask.  This weekend the country celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4.  Also, the composer or lyricist of America the Beautiful, Katherine Lee Bates, was born in Falmouth and the church I'm writing about is in Falmouth, MA. 

The strange thing is, no one recessed out.  The congregation remained standing and belted out the song and when it was finished, applause.  



Friday, July 1, 2022

Praise from Zenobia

 Every Wednesday at noon sharp, I can be found staring into the lovely faces of my writing peers via zoom for our weekly Senior Story Time, hosted by the Senior Scribblers. They are residents of the Senior Center in Franklin, Massachusetts.

I came across this lively group of people quite by “accident,” but I think it was one of those God connections where several needs are served at one time.  There are a couple of Senior Scribblers groups online, but I like to believe that my group is unique because they welcomed me with open arms, and I feel like I’ve known them all my life.

So, what does a group of writers do when they meet?  We read our stuff, of course. Not just the things we are writing to sell, but as Billy Crystal said to his class in the movie “Throw Momma From the Train,” “A writer writes, always,” and that’s the truth. Real writers dedicated to their craft must take every opportunity to hone their craft. It does not matter if we are working on what we hope and pray will become a New York Times Best Seller or an article for a local small-town paper. The craft must be practiced, or it might go stale on us. Writer’s block is actual, and writer’s stagnation can become a nightmare.

I came across my little New England group through audible.com in their audible plus program, which in simple terms, means when you have used your one paid credit per month to select a book to listen to, you can choose from free selections that might suit your taste. Since I am always trolling for “senior stuff,” I was delighted to come across them, and after listening to thirty plus samples of their meetings and hearing their wonderful New England accents, I took the plunge and asked if I might join them.

The whole idea is for us to write something during the week, guided or not, or share something we have written in the past and read it aloud. I think, however, the fundamental idea is to get together with senior writers of all experiences, newbies to seasoned scribblers, to listen, discuss and gently critique each other’s works. It is a way of remaining relevant in this season of life, or shall I refer to it as a season within a season? With our world going mad as we try to age gracefully within it, we need to stabilize ourselves with what we are familiar with. We talk about a lot of things in this group besides writing. We speak of our upbringing. I share about Chicago sidewalks and growing up black in a predominately Jewish community, and they talk about ferrying to places in New England I have only heard about. They ask if there is still snow in Minnesota and share which flowers are already blooming in Massachusetts.

We are not so comfortable in our world as we age, but are comforting to each other. As many seniors there are today, we realize that we are all God’s great big family. We have (thankfully) accepted that the one thing we have in common besides writing is a shared sense of needing to “belong” sometimes and wanting it enough to cross historical lines of culture and race to seek our circle and respect and love those within it.

As always, I am willing to share this information with anyone in this beautiful group and any of the other groups I have shared with in the past. I am still writing every month with our Hadley Low-Vision and Blind groups and have been asked to mentor those who, like myself, are experiencing low vision and other health challenges, whether seniors or not. It is a great joy to help others over the little hiccups in life and encourage all to stay the course. As long as there is breath, there is life, and as long as we are breathing, we must help each other as best we can!

Loving my groups and responsibilities and always looking for more to share!

Much love and see ya next time!

Zenobia


Complex Question Fallacy

 How do you answer a question someone asks you, when the question isn't true?  The question takes for granted an answer that you haven&#...