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Friday, September 30, 2022
Thursday, September 29, 2022
Since Saturday was the beginning of the Jewish holidays, and their New Year, I've been thinking of the Catholic Liturgical Year, which begins in Advent. So my grandchildren and I were talking about the Liturgical Year and how the priest's vestment colors change with the year. Accordingly we made some vestments. We have a stole for the priest or deacon and some chasubles to match the liturgical seasons.
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
"Winston Churchill gave the shortest and most memorable commencement address in history, at his alma mater during World War II. It consisted of just one sentence: "Never, never, never, never, never, never, never give up."
I'm quoting the conclusion of Peter Kreeft's book, Prayer for Beginners. I took my time with this because I was reading it as Lectio Divina. I read just a little each day. The dedication matches the end--never, never... The prologue states "to the person who taught me to pray, or rather is teaching me (with astonishing patience), Jesus Christ."
IOW, don't give up, ever! Keep it up. Come back to it, but don't give up.
It's a small book, barely a hundred pages, perfect for a beginner. I remember going to a Spiritual Director and my first statement was that I wanted to pray better. This book should have been given to me. I think everybody at one time or another want to learn to pray. Kreeft first explains what you need to pray and then how to pray. There are many "how's." Work can be prayer. Dance can be prayer. Art can be prayer. Get it?
But the best advice is the last chapter on perseverance. Hence, the "Never, never, never..."
This is a precursor to geocaching. In geocaching the coordinates of the next geocache are in the container and you use a GPS to find it.
It is a fun thing to do. We found this today, while hiking.
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Sunday, September 25, 2022
Many a time I wanted to write to imprisoned Cardinal Pell. I didn't. My excuse was that I didn't have his address. Now that I've read his Prison Journal Volume 1, I really, really, really wish that I had written to him. He received letters from all over the world, from prisoners, from priests, from lay people, children, etc. If they could find an address for him, then I could have. I didn't even try.
He's out of prison now and living in Rome. I may write to him, yet. I wanted to tell him about the Apostle to Prisoners, Pere M. Jean-Joseph Lataste, OP.; how he taught women prisoners to think they were cloistered nuns who lived a yof prayer and work. This is exactly how Cardinal Pell survived his 13 months in solitary confinement.
The cardinal was convicted on hearsay. There was no evidence for the alleged crime. And that hearsay was inconsistent. There were no witnesses and no corroborating physical proof. Cardinal Pell was convicted because of anti-Catholic sentiment. This occurred in Australia, where Cardinal Pell was Bishop of Melbourne. But like the US justice system, Australian law prosecutes according to the defendant being innocent, until proven guilty. This is especially true when "beyond a reasonable doubt" had to be proved.
The guilty verdict was a shock. It was impossible for any crime to have been committed. While waiting for appeal, Cardinal Pell was in solitary confinement, for his own safety. The anti-Catholic sentiment was poisonous. Through it all, Cardinal Pell lived a purposefully peaceful, calm routine, ending each day by writing in a journal. This is the book; a prison journal.
The journal shows how the Cardinal's reliance on God's plan gave him peace. He knew God was in charge, he didn't know how or what He was up to. Cardinal Pell forgave his accusers, his detractors, and prayed for everyone. He set up a routine, like a monk.
5:00 Alarm, medicine, watch Mass on TV.
Breakfast, prayer, exercise, rosary.
Reading, writing or some communication with friends and relatives.
Lunch, prayer, reading,
Supper, prayer, reading TV.
He could not say Mass but he received Communion once a week from Sister Mary who always stayed a while to chat. He enjoyed watching his favorite sports teams and discussing plays with friends. He was always in contact with his legal team and relatives.
He read and answered the letters. He enjoyed the letters from fellow prisoners the most. He took his time reading War and Peace and meditations. On Sundays, he watched Mass on TV and a couple of evangelists, whom he critiqued. He loved listening to hymns.
He received very adequate medical attention. He had nothing but praise for the prison guards, who he said must have the patience of saints because some of the prisoners in his unit were obviously mentally ill; they constantly banged on their bars, kicked their doors, and yelled and shouted.
The food was more than enough, but not hot enough. Some of it he liked and some he didn't.
All in all, it was like being on retreat, except for the surroundings. Oh, he also, wasn't free to leave. And hanging over him was a cloud of dishonor, humiliation, and disgrace. But knowing he wasn't guilty and trust in the Lord, helped him not to despair.
I can tell they'll be a Volume II because the book ends with Cardinal Pell still in jail. I hope it will be as good a read as Volume I.
Friday, September 23, 2022
We have a duty to treat everyone the same, as if they were Jesus. We are made in the image of God. We shouldn't play a joke at the expense of another. That's mean and cruel.
It has been said that the governor of Florida wanted Massachusetts to share in the burden of immigration, so he sent the migrants up. I would accept that premise and Massachusetts has sanctuary cities that would welcome them. But Governor De Santis didn't send them to any of the sanctuary cities. Instead, he sent them to an island that wasn't prepared to help them. That's using people to make his point without thinking that they are imago Dei. It was a stunt. You can't treat people like that.
Fortunately, the people at Martha's Vineyard welcomed them. There were 48 asylum seekers. They landed at Martha's Vineyard airport in the dark with no one to welcome them. De Santis didn't tell Martha's Vineyard that they were coming. Consequently, the asylum seekers didn't no what to do when they landed, where to go. It's a small airport and was essentially closed. So all 48 of them walked down the road to where they saw the lights of civilization. It was three miles. A couple of hours in the dark, walking, carrying small children when they were tired.
Since Martha's Vineyard is only an island of about 15000 people, no hospital, certainly no trauma center, and unfortunately no jobs--this time of year, there just weren't the resources to keep the people. The islanders felt badly that the asylum seekers were sent there thinking they'd be jobs, immigration lawyers to start their asylum process, and schools for their children. Arrangements were made to ferry the people to Joint Cape Cod Base, where all the needs of the people could be met. So sadly everyone said "good-bye." But it was a happy goodbye and a hopeful sendoff. After all, these asylum seekers are people made in the image and likeness of God and shouldn't be jerked around to make political points.
Thursday, September 22, 2022
I give myself an "F". I didn't plan ahead. My granddaughter and I were making a craft on prayer. We had felt kits on the The Lord's prayer. I did the children's faces first. When it came time to make Jesus, the only face left was the brown one. OK. So? I thought nothing of it. That is until it came time to add a beard and hair. They were the same color as the face. You couldn't distinguish face from beard. It was a disaster!
Everyone knows that God has no color, anyway. He is the color of water.
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
Yesterday in the mail, I received a handwritten letter from a person who claimed to be a neighbor. Not really. The letter writer isn't even in the same town. So, "neighbor" is used loosely. She begins by saying that she is sorry that she can't come visit me in person, so she is writing this letter. Then the letter asks me if I believe that life is forever and would I like to have a better life. The point of the questions and scripture references is that she is inviting me to an online Bible study organized by the Jehovah Witnesses.
I thought it was a nice letter. She isn't asking me to come to their "hall." She isn't asking to come into my home to discuss the Bible. I am free to look into their web offerings.
Although I like this approach better than the Jehovah Witnesses ringing my door bell and arguing with me, I don't think letter writing will bring more people into their religion. I just threw the letter away which is much easier than looking another person in the eye and telling them I'm not interested.
Sunday, September 18, 2022
This isn't a book review. I'm only on week two. I'm reading George Cardinal Pell Prison Journal, Volume 1. Pell writes every night about his day. Every entry ends with a short extemporaneous prayer. That's what I'm posting about. I'm amazed that his prayer isn't screaming at God, "Get me outta here!" Instead, he prays for others, especially his accuser; the men screaming at night, his guards, the people who pray for him, etc. Rarely does he pray for himself. I'm impressed with his peace and sense of humor. Yes, his writing his astute and sometimes his descriptions make me laugh. Here's his first day prayer:
God our Father, give me strength to come through this, and may my suffering be united with your Son Jesus' redemption for the spread of the Kingdom, the healing of all the victims of this scourge of paedophilia, the faith and well-being of our Church, and especially for the wisdom and courage of the bishops, who have to lead us out of the dark shadows into the light of Christ.
God our Father, I pray for those caught up in the bushfires in Gippsland; and for all those jailed in this prison, some of them desperately unhappy, some without faith and hope. I pray, too, for all the prison staff, that the courtesy and decency shown to me may be the norm and that they will refuse to sink toward the violence, anger, and hatred of the worst of the prisoners.
Saturday, September 17, 2022
Never-mind social situations, family get-togethers can become toxic. Since I'm a people pleaser and don't like confrontations or even mild disagreements, I've picked up a few hints I'd like to pass on to you.
1. Travel. Yes, traveling expands one's horizons so that you can see many other points of point, and they belong to nice people, too! Myself, I don't like to travel. It makes me sick, from motion sickness, to constipation, to upset stomachs, and lack of sleep simply because my bed is different--pillow too. So if you don't travel, this is what you do. You spend time with people who are different than you. Yes, put yourself in places with different people.
2. Focus on positives. Focus on the good things. Smile.
Friday, September 16, 2022
Thursday, September 15, 2022
Wednesday, September 14, 2022
Liane Moriarty's novel, "Apples Never Fall", is a mystery. The mother, Joy is missing. She is a good mom. Who would have killed her--if that's what happened. Two detectives are assigned to this missing person account.
The detectives listen to the neighborhood's gossip. They hear that Joy's family is very competitive which mean jealously might be a motive. Joy and Stan were tennis instructors. Even Joy's hairdresser tells tales of Joy's relationship with her husband Stan. And a neighbor's video camera shows Stan throwing something "body-size" in his trunk.
Then there's Savannah. The poor girl who literally dropped in the front door, hurt and bleeding. There's something about her that doesn't ring true.
The plot unravel the four adult children's lives. What a family!
But what happened to Joy?
Sorry. No spoilers.
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
One of the proofs that you are human is that you have suffered from a broken heart. I think it is strange and poignant that something so nebulous as emotion is personified by one of the organs in the human body. I suppose all living creatures also suffer from broken hearts. I've seen my pets suffer when they've been rejected. It's all very curious.
The heart, though, has another physical reality. It can be used as an expression of commitment: i.e., "half-hearted", and "have out heart set on...".
The deepest expression of meaning is the use of the heart in prayer. Psalm 51 uses "...a humbled, contrite heart..." I've taken these words to mean a heart that knows its need for God. We pray to God because we know we have a need to know Him and we petition to become more like Him. But we also somewhere deep inside ourselves know that we might very well get what we ask for and do we really want it ---humility!
Sunday, September 11, 2022
Today I confronted Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley. I've been waiting over a year to do this. I'm referring to the letter I wrote to the Cardinal. I wrote one to the pope, too. I also wrote one to Bishop Robert Reed, but I haven't had a chance to ask him about it.
Anyway, the letter (refer to the link in the above paragraph) asked Cardinal O'Malley to support the canonization of Father Jean-Joseph Lataste.
Today, I had the opportunity to confront the cardinal. I went to Mass at Fatima Shrine in Holliston, MA. The priests who minister at the shrine, the Xaverians were celebrating their 75 years of ministry in the USA and asked the Cardinal to come celebrate the Mass.
I was blessed to be the Lector at the Mass.
After Mass, there was a collation. My friend had a medal that she was hoping to have blessed by the cardinal. I asked her if I could ask him to bless it. She agreed.
I asked his eminence to bless the medal. Then! I commented on his homily on the Good Shepherd, Luke 15: 1-7, by asking "What kind of shepherd ignores his sheep?" I continued by telling him that I sent him a letter in January, 2021 and never received an answer. It was asking his support for the canonization of Father Jean-Joseph Lataste. The Cardinal responded by saying that he knows nothing about it. I finished by saying that his secretaries should at least send form letters out to people who write to him acknowledging receipt of their letters. He said, "Thank you for telling me."
I pray he does have his secretaries acknowledge ALL letters. After all, what kind of shepherd ignores his sheep?
Manuel Alfonseca's The History of the Earth-9 Colony is science fiction. It reminds me of Steinbeck's East of Eden, but in the future. Earth-9 Colony is an outer space colony trying to make another earth. But the same problems earth has, creates problems. The first couple,
Adam and Eve, sorry, Adam and Evita have brought embryos to populate this colony. Unbeknownst to Adam and Evita, they are not alone. Serpentines, another species with intelligence, inhabit the same planet. The serpentines observe and they don't like what they see. The two adults aren't compatible and argue. Adam and Evita eat something they shouldn't and die. The serpentines nurse the embryos to life. The serpentines even educate these children.
But more adults come from earth and the children have to deal with them and the problems they create. At times, the children run to the woods and hide. They can live with the adults if they choose. Eventually, the problems divide the children and adults.
Israel is the leader of the children. He at times can be hard hearted. He is usually ready to fight. Aron is the most articulate of the children. Isha is Israel's favorite sister. Israel leads a large group of the children away from the settlement and live in the forest around the mountain. While there, they encounter evil. It's a monster.
At Israel's first encounter, the monster is small. But it grows. Only later when a Christ-like figure appears, is an explanation understood. The evil monster feeds on hate. The more division, the more fighting, the more hate that everyone on this colony feels, the bigger the monster grows. Kial, the Christ-like figure, saves the planet by giving up his life. Kial tried to explain how to live peacefully but people being people...well you know.
The novel is interesting. How Alfonseca introduces the familiar themes, people, and places into this futuristic Garden of Eden will keep the reader involved. As long as good triumphs over evil, we can have hope.
Friday, September 9, 2022
Thursday, September 8, 2022
Guest post: Bill is writing about his girl friend a la Beetles' songs.
I feel so happy, we got together.
I will hold you tight and make you feel better.
You are on my mind all day long.
You are like hearing my favorite song.
Must be a Beetles' song, that is fact.
"Can't Buy Me Love" or "You Can't Do That."
Or how about "The long and Winding Road" or "Maybe I'm Amazed."
I know for a fact, in my life you will stay.
Beautiful lady you are so divine..
We will be together till the end of time.
You keep me on pins and needles.
You are number one, I love you more than the Beetles.
We will sing and dance, you are such a treat
You are so beautiful, you can not be beat.
I think of you every minute.
You are my world and I want you in it.
I will write you a poem, I will sing you a song.
But oh my darling with you I belong.
If I am yours then "Let it Be."
The pleasure is mine for you to see.
You bring the light in the darkest night.
So I will say goodbye, it's been "A Hard Day's Night."
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
Tuesday, September 6, 2022
It's Labor Day. The holiday that unofficially marks the end of summer and a start to the shifting of gears into winterizing boats, closing summer cottages, the putting away of summer clothes, starting school and even thinking of Halloween costumes. The weather, however, wasn't ready to shift gears. No, the weather was a balmy 80's, even more in the sun. Since the Cape gets the gulf stream, the water temperature was in the 70's. Heaven can take notes.
Taking advantage of the perfect weather, the family sailed to Washburn Island. The only people on the beach were people who come by boat, making it one of the least populated beaches on Cape Cod. That's the attraction. We almost have an entire beach to ourselves. This time, the family brought every beach toy that wasn't nailed down. Beach umbrellas, blankets, beach chairs, towels, hats, slippers, snorkels, balls, frisbees, pails, shovels, body boards, tubes, paddle boards, pails, shovels, fishing poles, fishing lures, nets, and a partridge in a pear tree. I'm kidding about the partridge, but we did have a flotation tube shaped like a swan.
And we settled down for the day. Music played on the kids' MP3 player. Grandpa drank a cold one. The children took off down the beach with pails and nets. The boat was secured by the anchor buried deep ashore. The children's father took his fishing pole and waded deep into the channel by following a sand bar. That sand bar stretched out into the ocean. Even I was curious enough to follow its length out to where the water temperature cooled and the color of the water changed from sea green to dark blue. Turning around, the shore looked so distant.
The children, in all their happy glee came splashing, swimming, and screaming towards us. It was fun to be out so far from shore. Everyone but those fishing played Frisbee. We watched and ranked with scores as the kids tried hand stands under water. They tried synchronized swimming. In other words, we played for hours.
We ate lunch and walked the shore looking for shells and interesting rocks. There must have been a storm because there were a lot of seaweed, horseshoe crabs, and other ocean debris. Washburn Island is between Martha's Vineyard and Menahaunt Beach in Falmouth, Cape Cod. In other words, it's pretty much protected from the ravages of hurricanes and fierce storms. But still.
Even though it was September, we all could feel the burn from the sun. The sun was getting to us. The kids were getting cranky. The beer was running low. The tide was coming in and the anchor had to be moved higher up on shore. It was time to think about heading home.
It was then, that Grandpa noticed that his hand felt different. Something was wrong. His wedding ring was gone. His original ring from 51 years ago wasn't on his finger. He was distraught.
Everyone traced his steps, but everyone felt that he must have lost it out in the water. We were playing with the kids and throwing balls and frisbees and even tossing the young ones into the waves. The sand out there was mucky. Yucky, mucky, mud. There was no use looking there. We were at a loss as what to do.
It was a long sad journey back to the cottage. We had looked. We prayed. The Catholics prayed for St. Anthony's intercession. The Jews prayed the Rabbi Meir Baal Hanes prayer. The other religiously-impaired, found themselves praying too. There was nothing else to do.
Everyone had given up. There was no hope, or was there? One day, Uncle Tobey was out quahogging. He was raking up the mucky sand and dropping the quahogs in his peck basket, when he heard a shout. The fellow who was near him had found something. Tobey went over and saw something shiny in Raphael's hand. It was a ring, a wedding ring.
Grandpa correctly described the ring and the inscription inside. Grandpa called the family, friends, and neighbors together and said, "Rejoice with me because I have found what once was lost."
No one likes to lose something that we once had, and certainly not something you've had for over 50 years that has sentimental value. Monetarily it may be a small loss, but it bothers us, and to Grandpa it was a monumental loss. If we give something away, we probably wouldn't miss it at all. We might even feel good that someone else is enjoying it. But when we lose something without knowing how, the loss is irritating, and sometimes the effort we make to recover the loss is out of proportion to the monetary value of the loss item. And if it is of sentimental value, then no one can really understand the depth of the grief Grandpa felt.
See we speak of money and material things as "treasure." But there are other more valuable treasures. One may even consider this fact as one of the proofs that God exists. If the treasures we hold near and dear to us did not exist, then God would be unjust, because most people do not achieve material wealth. There are treasures of the heart and soul that can not be measured or explained. These are the real riches that only those who have true eyes can see.
Monday, September 5, 2022
Friday, September 2, 2022
Luke 5: 17-39 tells the story of friends bringing a man to Jesus to be healed. Jesus sees the faith of these friends, and heals this paralytic.
Remember Jarius' daughter who was sick. Matt. 9: 18-26 and Mark 5: 21-43. Jarius asks Jesus to heal his daughter. Jarius sought out Jesus because of his faith in Jesus.
Then there's the time when Jesus saw a sad sight. A widow grieving over the death of her only son. Luke 7: 11- 17. Jesus was touched. He saw the support the friends were giving the grieving mother and He did what only He could do. He raised the son from the dead.
One more: John 11: 1-44. Jesus loved this family, consisting of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Lazarus became sick and Martha and Mary had faith that Jesus could heal their brother and sent for Him. Jesus arrives too late. Lazarus has died. Again, Jesus raises the dead.
Note that it was not the faith of the sick person, nor certainly the faith of the deceased, that was the impetus for Jesus to respond. It was the faith of others--cumulative others. It wass the faith of the community.
Doesn't that offer hope that whatever you are praying for will be answered? The prayers of the faithful are heard. Ask people to pray for you and your intentions. Add your intentions to prayer lists. People in communities are often asked to pray "for a personal intention." Ask and it shall be granted to you. Matt. 7: 7.
Have you ever been shocked to hear one of your adult children say something that was omitted from their upbringing that was clearly wrong? For example, "My parents never taught us table manners." Of course you did. You never formally announced, "Now is our time to teach table manners." But everyone was involved in the family meal, practiced table manners, whether the children knew they were being taught, or not.
This scenario came to mind when I was watching Noel Culbertson talk on the Journheey Home. She very casually connected the Liturgy of the Word to her Southern Baptist Bible Study.
Eureka! Of course, Catholics have always, since Apostolic times, had Bible study in the Liturgy of the Word.We just never realized it, much like my table manners explained in the first paragraph.
The Liturgy of the Word has a reading from the Old Testament, a Psalm and a Gospel. If you attend daily Mass, you will have completed reading the entire Bible in three years. Catholics don't carry their Bible to Mass, they could, (because the Book, Chapter, and verse is announced at each reading) because there are Missalettes in each pew. Missalettes have the readings in them. I myself subscribe to Magnificat to get the readings and other spiritual commentary.
At the end of these readings, the homilest will give scripture commentary. Most of the time, the homily will explain the readings and tie them together. Sometimes, the homily is about something else of importance, e.i., war, disaster, etc.
So Catholics who think Catholics don't do Bible Study are like people who say they were never taught table manners.
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