Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Bible Study Recap: Good News!

+JMJ+
Saints Paul Miki and Companions


Howdy!

"Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord!" is a favorite exhortation of priests at the conclusion of Mass and with good reason…and this Sunday's Readings enrich this command.

We relished Isaiah's vision, his theophany, the purging of his sins, and his calling in the First Reading. Especially, for me, anyway, a sinner, his purging, and the gloriously anticipatory verses which we hear every time we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

The Response to the First Reading — particularly the lines "I bow down toward Your holy Temple," and "The LORD will fulfill His purpose in me" certainly echo this. As does Paul's sacred authorship of the Creed in his Letter to the Corinthians.

Peter's call by Jesus grabbed us firmly. Peter's humility, the miracle of the catch…yes, the person to choose to sit in the Barque of Peter.

These Readings are a wonderful reason to be rejoice in being Catholic!

Like Isaiah, we are purged by the Sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And the Mercy of Purgatory.

We are called, like Isaiah, Peter, and Paul, to "announce the Gospel of the Lord."

We are shown, by Jesus and by His disciples, not to be afraid, but to "catch men…" to become fishers for Jesus!

It was a blessed session, and thank God for that! And we prayed for you…please remember us in your prayers.

Your humble scribe,

Kelly
~~~~~~~
The Living Tradition

St. Augustine: Christ says, Give me this fisherman, this man without education or experience, this man to whom no senator would deign to speak, not even if he were buying fish. Yes, give me him: once I have taken possession of him, it will be obvious that it is I who am at work in him…. The senator can always take pride in what he is; so the orator and the emperor, but the fisherman can glory in nothing except Christ alone. Any of these other men may come and take lessons from me in the importance of humility for salvation, but let the fisherman come first. He is the best person to win over an emperor. Remember this fisherman, then, this holy, just, good, Christ-filled fisherman. In this nets cast throughout the world he has the task of catching this nation as well as all the others. (Augustine, Sermon 43, 5-7; trans. E. Barnecut, p. 79)

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Into the Deep

Simon Peter, the fisherman, is the first to be called personally by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel.

His calling resembles Isaiah’s commissioning in the First Reading: Confronted with the holiness of the Lord, both Peter and Isaiah are overwhelmed by a sense of their sinfulness and inadequacy. Yet each experiences the Lord’s forgiveness and is sent to preach the good news of His mercy to the world.

No one is “fit to be called an apostle,” Paul recognizes in today’s Epistle. But by “the grace of God,” even a persecutor of the Church—as Paul once was—can be lifted up for the Lord’s service.

In the Old Testament, humanity was unfit for the divine—no man could stand in God’s presence and live (see Exodus 33:20). But in Jesus, we’re made able to speak with Him face-to-face, taste His Word on our tongue.
Today’s scene from Isaiah is recalled in every Mass. Before reading the Gospel, the priest silently asks God to cleanse his lips that he might worthily proclaim His Word.

God’s Word comes to us as it came to Peter, Paul, Isaiah, and today’s Psalmist— as a personal call to leave everything and follow Him, to surrender our weaknesses in order to be filled with His strength.

Simon put out into deep waters even though, as a professional fisherman, he knew it would be foolhardy to expect to catch anything. In humbling himself before the Lord’s command, he was exalted—his nets filled to overflowing; later, as Paul tells us, he will become the first to see the risen Lord.

Jesus has made us worthy to receive Him in the company of angels in God’s holy Temple. On our knees like Peter, with the humility of David in today’s Psalm, we thank Him with all our hearts and join in the unending hymn that Isaiah heard around God’s altar: “Holy, holy, holy….” (see  also Revelation 4:8).

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Nick Sandmann's Statement: Either read it, or shut up. Thank you.

Statement of Nick Sandmann, Covington Catholic High School Junior, Regarding Incident at the Lincoln Memorial

I am providing this factual account of what happened on Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Memorial to correct misinformation and outright lies being spread about my family and me.

I am the student in the video who was confronted by the Native American protestor. I arrived at the Lincoln Memorial at 4:30 p.m. I was told to be there by 5:30 p.m., when our busses were due to leave Washington for the trip back to Kentucky. We had been attending the March for Life rally, and then had split up into small groups to do sightseeing.

When we arrived, we noticed four African American protestors who were also on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I am not sure what they were protesting, and I did not interact with them. I did hear them direct derogatory insults at our school group.

The protestors said hateful things. They called us “racists,” “bigots,” “white crackers,” “faggots,” and “incest kids.” They also taunted an African American student from my school by telling him that we would “harvest his organs.” I have no idea what that insult means, but it was startling to hear.

Because we were being loudly attacked and taunted in public, a student in our group asked one of our teacher chaperones for permission to begin our school spirit chants to counter the hateful things that were being shouted at our group. The chants are commonly used at sporting events. They are all positive in nature and sound like what you would hear at any high school. Our chaperone gave us permission to use our school chants. We would not have done that without obtaining permission from the adults in charge of our group.

At no time did I hear any student chant anything other than the school spirit chants. I did not witness or hear any students chant “build that wall” or anything hateful or racist at any time. Assertions to the contrary are simply false. Our chants were loud because we wanted to drown out the hateful comments that were being shouted at us by the protestors.

After a few minutes of chanting, the Native American protestors, who I hadn’t previously noticed, approached our group. The Native American protestors had drums and were accompanied by at least one person with a camera.

The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I didn't not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.

I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.

During the period of the drumming, a member of the protestor’s entourage began yelling at a fellow student that we “stole our land” and that we should “go back to Europe.” I heard one of my fellow students begin to respond. I motioned to my classmate and tried to get him to stop engaging with the protestor, as I was still in the mindset that we needed to calm down tensions.

I never felt like I was blocking the Native American protestor. He did not make any attempt to go around me. It was clear to me that he had singled me out for a confrontation, although I am not sure why.

The engagement ended when one of our teachers told me the busses had arrived and it was time to go. I obeyed my teacher and simply walked to the busses. At that moment, I thought I had diffused the situation by remaining calm, and I was thankful nothing physical had occurred.

I never understood why either of the two groups of protestors were engaging with us, or exactly what they were protesting at the Lincoln Memorial. We were simply there to meet a bus, not become central players in a media spectacle. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever encountered any sort of public protest, let alone this kind of confrontation or demonstration.

I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me — to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.

I harbor no ill will for this person. I respect this person’s right to protest and engage in free speech activities, and I support his chanting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial any day of the week. I believe he should rethink his tactics of invading the personal space of others, but that is his choice to make.

I am being called every name in the book, including a racist, and I will not stand for this mob-like character assassination of my family’s name. My parents were not on the trip, and I strive to represent my family in a respectful way in all public settings.

I have received physical and death threats via social media, as well as hateful insults. One person threatened to harm me at school, and one person claims to live in my neighborhood. My parents are receiving death and professional threats because of the social media mob that has formed over this issue.

I love my school, my teachers and my classmates. I work hard to achieve good grades and to participate in several extracurricular activities. I am mortified that so many people have come to believe something that did not happen — that students from my school were chanting or acting in a racist fashion toward African Americans or Native Americans. I did not do that, do not have hateful feelings in my heart, and did not witness any of my classmates doing that.

I cannot speak for everyone, only for myself. But I can tell you my experience with Covington Catholic is that students are respectful of all races and cultures. We also support everyone’s right to free speech. I am not going to comment on the words or account of Mr. Phillips, as I don’t know him and would not presume to know what is in his heart or mind. Nor am I going to comment further on the other protestors, as I don’t know their hearts or minds, either.

I have read that Mr. Phillips is a veteran of the United States Marines. I thank him for his service and am grateful to anyone who puts on the uniform to defend our nation. If anyone has earned the right to speak freely, it is a U.S. Marine veteran.

I can only speak for myself and what I observed and felt at the time. But I would caution everyone passing judgement based on a few seconds of video to watch the longer video clips that are on the internet, as they show a much different story than is being portrayed by people with agendas.

I provided this account of events to the Diocese of Covington so they may know exactly what happened, and I stand ready and willing to cooperate with any investigation they are conducting.

###

This is the only statement that has been made by the Sandmann family. Any comments attributed to any member of the family that is not contained in this document are fabricated. The family will not be
answering individual media inquiries.





Saturday, January 05, 2019

Epiphany Proclamation 2019

Dear brothers and sisters,

The glory of the Lord has shone upon us, and shall ever be manifest among us, until the day of His return.

Through the rhythms of times and seasons let us celebrate the mysteries of salvation.

Let us recall the year's culmination, the Easter Triduum of the Lord: His last supper, His crucifixion, His burial, and His rising celebrated between the evening of the Eighteenth of April and the evening of the Twentieth of April, Easter Sunday being on the Twenty-first day of April. 

Each Easter — as on each Sunday — the Holy Church makes present the great and saving deed
by which Christ has for ever conquered sin and death.

From Easter are reckoned all the days we keep holy. Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, will occur on the Sixth day of March. 

The Ascension of the Lord will be commemorated on Sunday, the Second day of June or Thursday, the Thirtieth day of May.

Pentecost, joyful conclusion of the season of Easter, will be celebrated on the Ninth day of June.

And, this year the First Sunday of Advent will be on the First day of December, 2019.

Likewise the pilgrim Church proclaims the passover of Christ in the feasts of the holy Mother of God,
in the feasts of the Apostles and Saints, and in the commemoration of the faithful departed. 

To Jesus Christ, Who was, Who is, and Who is to come, Lord of time and history, be endless praise, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

"Do as they say..." I'm scared, I'm sorry, and I beg you.

From today's Gospel (Saturday, March 25)

"The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice."
Matthew 23:1-12

For they preach, but not practice. And isn't that precisely what we're facing in the Catholic Church?

Our leaders -- many of them, too many -- coach a good game, but don't follow the rules. And I'm scared.

I'm scared that many -- like the disciples in tomorrow's Gospel -- will leave Jesus. I'm scared of what has happened since the moment Christ founded His Church..that wolves in sheep's clothing will again come up with "solutions" to mend Her. And will end up wrecking even more souls in their efforts.

I'm sorry. I'll never be a priest, never mind a "lay leader." I'm just an ordinary lady in the pew. But I must tell you: I apologize. I apologize for every Church leader who has let you and so many others down. I apologize for their actions and inactions. Whether you forgive us is your choice. I can only ask, and pray, and hope.

I beg you: don't leave the Body of Christ. Don't let evil bully you away. Don't -- again, I beg you -- give up the inheritance Christ won for you because some people -- some "leaders" -- didn't practice what they preached.

In your charity, pray for me. I pray for you all the time. Because that's what we're supposed to do, yes, but also because it's a joy to do so. To pray for each other...without ceasing.

Thank you for reading this. May God continue to bless you,

Kelly




Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Bible Study Recap: The Right to Choose

+JMJ+
Queenship of Our Lady


Howdy, Howdy, Howdy!

What a JOY, JOY, JOY tonight's session was!

It started out by praying this Sunday's Entrance Antiphon and Collect…

…and I thank Frank for so beautifully praying it for us. You know, the Collect — or "Opening Prayer" -- is well worth contemplating. We start our sessions every week with it.

And then…the poignant words of Jesus in the Gospel, beautifully read by Catherine…

As has become our custom, we started our readings with the Gospel, without comment…just listen, reflect, and pray. I admit I was close to tears when Jesus asked His apostles — His friends! -- "Do you also want to leave?" We meditated on that, and then turned to the First Reading.

"As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD!"

It always amuses me to think that the "right to choose" is some modern meme. Good grief, God gave us the "right to choose" -- AKA "free will" -- at the dawn of creation. This Sunday's First Reading has Joshua, in the Name of God, giving the Israelites the right to choose — and they chose the BEST! Yes, I know that this is just a brief moment in salvation history, and that not all choices made by mankind were the best, but I think we had the right to wallow in this beautiful passage…and wallow in it we did! We were filled with joy, and many thanks to the Liturgy Guys, Whoever You May Be, for choosing these exact verses!

'Course, then there was the Second Reading (or its sadly edited alternative…which we ignored, seeing it makes no sense)

I say "sadly edited" because the Liturgy Guys — alas — gave us the "benefit" of a butchered reading. I pray you won't have to endure it. Thanks to Liz, and ably abetted by Nick and Karen, for expounding on the joys of being the Bride of Christ…the members of the Family of the King…God's children! Add the mutual submission of family members here on earth and no wonder so many brides and grooms choose this passage for their Nuptial Masses. (Father Michael's homily on today's Feast helped me a lot with the help of Liz, Nick, and Karen.)

Once again? Psalm 34!

Russell led us in the Responsorial Psalm — beautiful — and quick as a whip, Liz opened her phone Bible to John 19:33-36 and read the verses out loud. How cool is it that the HUGE Old Testament testifies to Jesus! "He watches over all his bones; not one of them shall be broken."

Back to the Gospel…

Again, Catherine's beautifully read passage had us all on the edge of our seats. This time, we rollicked in joy and amazement…especially at Jesus' question: "What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?"

We gave ourselves the luxury of eating up — literally! -- this Gospel. And musing on the fact that John's 4-week Bread of Life discourse is so important that not only the Catholic Church, but the Episcopal and Lutheran churches as well, consider it well worth while to devote themselves to these four weeks every three years. "Father, that we may be one, as You, and Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one! In Jesus' Name. Amen."

Tons of other great stuff — what a wonderful hour!

We prayed for you…please pray for us!

In Our Lady, Queen of the Universe, your humble scribe,

Kelly
~~~~~
Extras!

"In the Eucharist we also receive the pledge of our bodily resurrection at the end of the world: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn 6:54). This pledge of the resurrection comes from the fact that the flesh of the Son of Man, given as food, is his body in its glorious state after the resurrection. With the Eucharist we digest, as it were, the “secret” of the resurrection." (John Paul II, Ecclesia de Eucharistia no. 18)
Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

"A Choice to Make"

This Sunday’s Mass readings conclude a four-week meditation on the Eucharist.

The 12 apostles in today’s Gospel are asked to make a choice—either to believe and accept the new covenant He offers in His body and blood, or return to their former ways of life.

Their choice is prefigured by the decision Joshua asks the 12 tribes to make in today’s First Reading.

Joshua gathers them at Shechem—where God first appeared to their father Abraham, promising to make his descendants a great nation in a new land (see Genesis 12:1-9). And he issues a blunt challenge—either renew their covenant with God or serve the alien gods of the surrounding nations.

We too are being asked today to decide whom we will serve. For four weeks we have been presented in the liturgy with the mystery of the Eucharist—a daily miracle far greater than those performed by God in bringing the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.

He has promised us a new homeland, eternal life, and offered us bread from heaven to strengthen us on our journey. He has told us that unless we eat His flesh and drink His blood we will have no life in us.

It is a hard saying, as many murmur in today’s Gospel. Yet He has given us the words of eternal life.

We must believe, as Peter says today, that He is the Holy One of God, who handed himself over for us, gave His flesh for the life of the world.

As we hear in today’s Epistle, Jesus did this that we might be sanctified, made holy, through the water and word of baptism by which we enter into His new covenant. Through the Eucharist, He nourishes and cherishes us, making us His own flesh and blood, as husband and wife become one flesh.

Let us renew our covenant today, approaching the altar with confidence that, as we sing in today’s Psalm, the Lord will redeem the lives of His servant.

Monday, August 20, 2018

On the feast of Saint Bernard of Clairvoux...

"Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided.

"Inspired by this confidence I fly unto Thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother!

"To thee I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful! Despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen."


Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.

Saint Bernard of Clairvoux, pray for us.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Bible Study Recap: "Put on the New Self..."

+JMJ+
Saint Alphonsus Liguouri

Howdy,

When I realized today's Mass readings for the day were to be read, rather than the memorial readings, I thought to myself: "Oh bleep…we're going to hear old Jeremiah with his complaints. Again. Goody."

Only during the homily did I realize two things:

That the prophet shared an intimacy with God, allowing him to gripe (and that his gripes would be heard), and…

That we — by virtue of our Baptism into Christ — share an even greater intimacy with God than even Jeremiah!!!

We focused a lot on Paul's Letter to Ephesians (Ephesians 4:17, 20-24)…

…especially verses 23 and 24:

"…and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God's way in righteousness and holiness of truth."

The "new self" is Christ — Whom we "put on" symbolically in dress, in reality in brotherhood, at our Baptism. Which made us God's children. Which gives us the right — not to complain like spoiled brats, exactly, but to complain nevertheless, knowing Abba will fix it, in one way or another. In His way. Trust in Him.

I think I'll skip the constipated "scientific" explanations of the miracles of the manna and quail…

And instead, give you a nice Hebrew word to drop at your next party. :-) "Man hu" is Hebrew for "what is it?" This is where we get the word "manna." You're welcome!

"Signs, signs, signs, give us signs!"

In both this Sunday's First and Gospel readings, God — after doing amazing things — is asked for signs. Miracles are awesome, yes, but we don't need them. We've been given plenty of miracles. The manna, which is the precursor of the true Bread of life, is miracle enough. No wait…Christ's Resurrection is miracle enough. No wait, God becoming man for us is not just miracle enough — it's an undeniable proof of His love for us, His creatures.

(So, you know? Knock it off with stuff like "copy-this-novena-to-saint-whoever-nine-times-and-make-a-wish-and-it'll-come-true" junk. GOD is our Father for Heaven's sake…what more do we want???

Anyway, it was a blessed session…and we prayed for you!

Please remember us in your prayers. Thanks!

Your humble scribe,

Kelly
~~~~~~
Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Endurance Test

The journey of discipleship is a life-long exodus from the slavery of sin and death to the holiness of truth in Mount Zion, the promised land of eternal life.

The road can get rough. And when it does, we can be tempted to complain like the Israelites in this week’s First Reading.

We have to see these times of hardship as a test of what is in our hearts, a call to trust God more and to purify the motives for our faith (Deuteronomy 8:2–3).

As Paul reminds us in this week’s Epistle, we must leave behind our old self-deceptions and desires and live according to the likeness of God in which we are made.

Jesus tells the crowd in this week’s Gospel that they are following him for the wrong reasons. They seek him because he filled their bellies. The Israelites, too, were content to follow God so long as there was plenty of food.

Food is the most obvious of signs—because it is the most basic of our human needs.  We need our daily bread to live. But we cannot live by this bread alone. We need the bread of eternal life that preserves those who believe in him (Wisdom 16:20, 26).

The manna in the wilderness, like the bread Jesus multiplied for the crowd, was a sign of God’s Providence—that we should trust that he will provide.

These signs pointed to their fulfillment in the Eucharist, the abundant bread of angels we sing about in this week’s Psalm.

This is the food that God longs to give us. This is the bread we should be seeking. But too often we don’t ask for this bread. Instead we seek the perishable stuff of our every day wants and anxieties. In our weakness we think these things are what we really need.

We have to trust God more. If we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, all these things will be ours as well (Matthew 6:33).

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Bible Study Recap: Food, Glorious Food...and Humilty and Unity

+JMJ+
Saint James the Greater

50th Anniversary of Humanae Vitae
 
Howdy,

And a happy Name Day to all the Jameses!

FOOD is, ostensibly, the theme of this Sunday's Readings. Elisha feeds a hundred guys with the first fruits of barley. And there were leftovers.

Jesus multiplies the loaves and feeds thousands…and there were leftovers.

See a theme here? We did.

We talked about the Eucharist.

"Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them…"

And fed thousands. Pretty much the words in the synoptics to describe Christ's institution of the Sacrament of His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

"Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted…"

This led us to reflect on the fragments left over after the distribution of the Blessed Sacrament. Now, most of us — and this is a good thing — are too deeply in union with Christ after receiving His Body and Blood to pay much attention to what the priest is doing. But what he's doing is "purifying the sacred vessels." (Lay people are NOT allowed to do this, by the way. That indult was rescinded by Pope Benedict back in 2006. Please tell your pastor and friends.) The Ordinary Ministers carefully make sure that not one scrap of the species remains in the ciboria and chalice(s).

Also…the remainder of the Sacred Hosts?

Unlike some of our separated brethren, Catholics know that once consecrated, the bread and wine remain, always and forever, Jesus Christ. That's why the Sacrament is reserved in the tabernacle! The remaining Precious Blood is consumed before the chalices are cleansed.

Speaking of "our separated brethren"…pray for Christian Unity!

After Frank beautifully read this Sunday's Epistle, I asked him how many times Paul used the word "one" in this passage alone. At least eight times! Clearly, the Apostle to the Gentiles is urging what we should all strive for…ONE in Christ Jesus!

Paul also speaks of humility (Ephesians 4:2)

Now, as in Paul's time on earth, "humility isn't and wasn't exactly a prized virtue…or a virtue at all! We speak of "humble beginnings," our "humble abodes," and so on. The Greeks eschewed humbleness. Grandeur, then as now, is the goal. Yet, as Nick pointed out, Jesus — by His own example! -- raised this self-effacing service to others to the dignity of a virtue.

Which brings me to this prayer: The Litany of Humility

About five years ago, we prayed this litany, composed by Cardinal Raphael Merry Del Val. At first? It's not an easy prayer. But I promise you…if you stick to it, it can — and will — change your life for the better. Here it is. If you have a smart phone, do what I did (she said, humbly) ;-) and use the Reader's Version for handy reference.

Thanks be to God for a wonderful session tonight. And may God continue to bless you!

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <---scott br="" hahn="" speaks="">
~~~~
Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Bread Left Over

Today’s liturgy brings together several strands of Old Testament expectation to reveal Jesus as Israel’s promised Messiah and king, the Lord who comes to feed His people.

Notice the parallels between today’s Gospel and First Reading. Both Elisha and Jesus face a crowd of hungry people with only a few “barley” loaves. We hear similar words about how impossible it will be to feed the crowd with so little. And in both the miraculous multiplication of bread satisfies the hungry and leaves food left over.

The Elisha story looks back to Moses, the prophet who fed God’s people in the wilderness (see Exodus 16). Moses prophesied that God would send a prophet like him (see Deuteronomy 18:15-19). The crowd in today’s Gospel, witnessing His miracle, identifies Jesus as that prophet.

The Gospel today again shows Jesus to be the Lord, the good shepherd, who makes His people lie down on green grass and spreads a table before them (see Psalm 23:1,5).

The miraculous feeding is a sign that God has begun to fulfill His promise, which we sing of in today’s Psalm - to give His people food in due season and satisfy their desire (see Psalm 81:17).

But Jesus points to the final fulfillment of that promise in the Eucharist. He does the same things He does at the Last Supper - He takes the loaves, pronounces a blessing of thanksgiving (literally, “eucharist”), and gives the bread to the people (see Matthew 26:26). Notice, too, that 12 baskets of bread are left over, one for each of the apostles.

These are signs that should point us to the Eucharist - in which the Church founded on the apostles continues to feed us with the living bread of His body.

In this Eucharist, we are made one body with the Lord, as we hear in today’s Epistle. Let us resolve again, then, to live lives worthy of such a great calling.





Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Bible Study Recap: How CATHOLIC is Psalm 23!!!

+JMJ+
Saint Camillus de Lellis

Howdy!

How CATHOLIC is Psalm 23??? Or, rather, how does Psalm 23 refer to the Sacraments?

Normally we just prayerfully — and silently --- reflect on the Responsorial Psalm in our session...but tonight was special!

Aside from the usual grumblings about the translation of the Psalm in this Sunday's Mass…

We really got into it, from a Catholic point of view, and it was wonderful! What, for example, is the "banquet" and the "cup overflowing" and the "table?" And the "restful waters?" And the OIL???

They're the Sacraments!

Our Shepherd gives us an amazing banquet of His Body and Blood! The TABLE IS THE ALTAR! And let's not forget the "oil," which is used to anoint us in Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, The Sacrament of the Sick — amazingly wonderful!

"Thy Rod and Thy Staff"…what's the difference?

Pat and Frank got it immediately when I asked the question, but they spoke so low I didn't here them. Did you ever wonder about that? No? Well, you should! :-)

Here's the thing about a good shepherd:

A good shepherd carries a rod to ward off enemies of his sheep — like wolves.

His staff is not just for walking, but — you know how the bishop's crook has that little curved thing on the top — you know, the stick that looks like that thing in old time movies that roughly remove the flops on the vaudeville stage? That's to gently but firmly bring back the sheep that go astray…the shepherd simply cuffs the little lamb — think Little Bo Peep here to get an image — and brings the little guy back to the fold! So, in Psalm 23 — just from the parts read this Sunday alone! -- we've got the Eucharist, pretty much all the other Sacraments, and a bishop to boot!

Of course, Jeremiah led us to good things…and some arguments…

…or rather, we let the passage do so. My fault. I compared the tragic division of the Chosen People with the tragic division among Christians. Probably because some of us were at Mass today at Saint Francis Chapel and heard Father Michael Warren's homily, which centered on the schism between Roman and Orthodox Christians, which he based on today's Gospel. (Matthew 11:25-27). Again, my fault. If I told myself once, I've told myself a zillion times: do not try to "figure out" the Trinity! (Fortunately, no bones were broken, and we continue to pray that, as Saint John Paul II prayed, "that the Church will breath with both lungs." Enough to say: the Holy Spirit DOES proceed from the Father and the Son.)

Take it easy…if you can.

It's pretty easy to understand, on reading this Sunday's Gospel, why priests especially are pretty much required to make a retreat periodically. As a wise confessor once told me (I'd rather self-righteously I must admit), to being annoyed at the "interruptions" I'd had to "put up with" from people while I was striving for quiet prayer in a church. "Interruptions," he told me, "are a part of prayer. Jesus Himself was constantly `interrupted' while at prayer. Read the Gospels!"

Good advice. And a good session tonight, thanks be to God.

We prayed for you…please remember us in your prayers.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Bible Study Recap: Apostolic Pardon and "Professional Catholics"

+JMJ+
Saint Benedict

Howdy!

In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus commissions His Apostles to go off and spread the Gospel. One of the Sacraments mentioned is the Anointing of the Sick, also called Extrreme Unction, especially when administered to the dying.

Father Michael Warren explained a part of this in a homily awhile back, and it seems to me extremely important to share it with you:

Apostolic Pardon

I can't quote Father Michael exactly, but I will tell you it made such an impression on me that I've been telling everybody I know about it — whether they want to hear it or not.  From EWTN:
~~~~~~~~
The Apostolic Pardon (or blessing) is an indulgence given in situations of danger of death, usually after the absolution of the sacrament of penance. The focus is on the remission of temporal punishment due to sin. The words of the prayer explain the meaning of the act: "Through the holy mysteries of our redemption may almighty God release you from all punishments in this life and in the life to come. May he open to you the gates of paradise and welcome you to everlasting joy." Or "By the authority which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a full pardon and the remission of all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
The Handbook of Indulgences #28 states: "Priests who minister the sacraments to the Christian faithful who are in a life-and-death situation should not neglect to impart to them the apostolic blessing, with its attached indulgence. But if a priest cannot be present, holy mother Church lovingly grants such persons who are rightly disposed a plenary indulgence to be obtained in articulo mortis, at the approach of death, provided they regularly prayed in some way during their lifetime. The use of a crucifix or a cross is recommended in obtaining this plenary indulgence. In such a situation the three usual conditions required in order to gain a plenary indulgence are substituted for by the condition 'provided they regularly prayed in some way.'" ~~ Reverend Mark J. Gantley, JCL.


~~~~~~~~~

Here's what Father Gantley didn't mention. Some priests are unaware of this indulgence. If you're ever in a situation where you or another is near death — ask for the Apostolic Pardon. I mean, don't do it if you're suffering from a cold or a hangnail or something like that, but in the case of imminent death? Don't hesitate. If the priest looks at you with those deer-in the-headlights look, call another priest. Any Roman Catholic priest can administer this pardon, but --- incredibly enough — some priests don't know it. Remember it!

Do you have to be a "pro" to be "called?"

There's no such thing as a "professional Catholic evangelist." Now, yes, while there are evangelists who are paid for what they do — diocesan priests come to mind — it's not necessary to be an expert to be called by God. This sorta seems to be the theme of this Sunday's Readings. Amos wasn't a "prophet," nor even a son of one. But God called this guy who was probably really good at tending sheep and trees…and he said "yes." And look at the Apostles! Let's see, we have our fishermen, we have our tax guy, we have our kid — yet all of them said "yes." The word "yes" is key!

Lori asked an interesting question:

I'm paraphrasing her, but I think the gist is this: "Did those called in the Bible (and therefore, I'm adding parenthetically, do we) actually hear the voice of God when called?" She was referring to, I believe, the folks in the Old Testament…like Amos and Abraham and Noah and all our good friends. And the answer is:

:::::::::drumroll:::::::::::::

I don't know. I thought of Elijah, who heard the voice of God in a whisper.  Moses and the burning bush. Catherine remembered an Oblate Brother who actually heard God calling him to the priesthood. Me? Sometimes — well, for example, I got the urge yesterday to tell a lady who looked like she was about to give birth at any moment, struggling with a couple of kids, that she was beautiful and that her beautiful family had made my day. And she was! And she did!

Nobody was much impressed by my "Dick and Jane" primer books approach to reading the Bible, but hey, that's my theory and I'm sticking with it (until somebody tells me I'm nuts AND DON'T YOU DARE!!!) :-)

Anyway, it was a blessed session, and I thank God for sending His Spirit to be with us tonight.

And I thank you for your prayers…please keep them up! We pray for you all the time.

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <---stand br="" by="" extras="" for="" some="">
~~~~~~

The Council of Trent on the Anointing of the Sick:

“This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark [cf. Mk 6:13], but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord: “Is any among you sick?” he says, “let him call for the elders [presbyteros] of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” [James 5:14-15] (Council of Trent, 1551 A.D.; cf. CCC 1511)

Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

The Church’s Mission


In commissioning the apostles in today’s Gospel, Jesus gives them, and us, a preview of His Church’s mission after the resurrection.

His instructions to the Twelve echo those of God to the twelve tribes of Israel on the eve of their exodus from Egypt. The Israelites likewise were sent out with no bread and only one set of clothes, wearing sandals and carrying a staff (see Exodus 12:11; Deuteronomy 8:2-4). Like the Israelites, the apostles are to rely solely on the providence of God and His grace.

Perhaps, also, Mark wants us to see the apostles’ mission, the mission of the Church, as that of leading a new exodus - delivering peoples from their exile from God and bringing them to the promised land, the kingdom of heaven.

Like Amos in today’s First Reading, the apostles are not “professionals,” who earn their bread by prophesying. Like Amos, they are simply men (see Acts 14:15) summoned from their ordinary jobs and sent by God to be shepherds of their brothers and sisters.

Again this week, we hear the theme of rejection: Amos experiences it, and Jesus warns the apostles that some will not welcome or listen to them. The Church is called, not necessarily to be successful, but only to be faithful to God’s command.

With authority and power given to it by Jesus, the Church proclaims God’s peace and salvation to those who believe in Him, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

This word of truth, this gospel of salvation, is addressed to each of us, personally, as Paul proclaims in today’s Epistle. In the mystery of God’s will, we have been chosen from before the foundation of the world - to be His sons and daughters, to live for the praise of His glory.

Let us, then, give thanks for the Church today, and for the spiritual blessings He has bestowed upon us. Let us resolve to further the Church’s mission - to help others hear the call to repentance and welcome Christ into their lives.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Lauda Sion Salvatorem! (Bible Study Recap)

On Wednesday evenings, the Catholic Blue Collar Bible Study Evangelists meet in the Prudential Center in Boston to reflect on the upcoming Sunday's Readings. Here's a recap from tonight's session.
~~~~
I H S
+JMJ+
Saint Joan of Arc

Greetings from a BLAST of a session tonight!

'Course this could be just me — Corpus Christi (The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ) -- is an absolute FAVORITE day of mine — but gee, I had more fun and joy tonight just savoring the Readings for this Sunday and the commentaries — from the "scholars," yes, but perhaps even more so? The amazing insights of the Blue Collar Bible Study Evangelists!

I mean, the connection between the first covenant, the early Passover Feasts — including the Last Supper of Jesus — and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass makes me want to get down on my hands and knees and pray in a loud voice "For Heaven's sake, God, won't You unite us! Or, forgive me, what I mean is make us REALIZE that we ARE united???"

Ahem. I may have been a tad overexcited tonight. :-)

Why Psalm 116?

 "I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the Name of the LORD!" Yes, yes! But did you know that Jesus sang this Psalm at the Last Supper, following the eating of the Passover lamb? Well, He did…as a Jew, of course, in thanksgiving (Eucharistic meaning!) for the deliverance to the exodus from Egypt. We sing it in gratitude for the exodus from sin, with much thanksgiving, through the sacrifice of Jesus!

But wait…there's more!

I am Your servant, the son of Your handmaid; -- get this! Jesus sang about His Mother at the Last Supper!!!

"Kelly, for Heaven's sake, calm DOWN!"

You're right, you're right. And I — we — did reflect silently and seriously on this strophe of the beautifully translated Sequence:

Bad and good the feast are sharing,
Of what divers dooms preparing,
Endless death, or endless life.


It certainly gave us pause, and an impetus to pray for, as Sunday's Collect reminds us:

O God, Who is this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of Your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of Your Body and Blood, that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of Your redemption.

The Passover Preparation — this is TOO COOL!

You know what the ritual preparations for the Passover Feast were? (They aren't now…there's no temple, but there was:

  • Choose an Unblemished Male Lamb
  • Sacrifice the Lamb
  • Spread the Blood of the Lamb
  • EAT the Flesh of the Lamb!!

And get this:

For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and
For the lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of a cross.
one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb. (Justin Martyr,
Dialogue with Trypho)


This is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, friends!!! Is there a reason NOT to be excited????

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

By celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles in the course of the Passover meal, Jesus
gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning. Jesus’ passing over to his father by his
death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in
the Eucharist… (CCC 1340)


Okay, I'll let you go now. Thanks for bearing with me!

Your humble scribe,

Kelly <---- a="" and="" birthday="" br="" doran="" father="" from="" hahn="" happy="" james="" now="" scott="" word="">~~~~~
Points to Ponder, by Doctor Scott Hahn

Blood of the Covenant

All of today's readings are set in the context of the Passover. The First Reading recalls the old covenant celebrated at Sinai following the first Passover and the exodus.



In sprinkling the blood of the covenant on the Israelites, Moses was symbolizing God's desire in this covenant to make them His family, His "blood" relations.



Quoting Moses' words in today's Gospel, Jesus elevates and transforms this covenant symbol to an extraordinary reality. In the new covenant made in the blood of Christ, we truly become one with His body and blood.

The first covenant made with Moses and Israel at Sinai was but a shadow of this new and greater covenant made by Christ with all humankind in that upper room (see Hebrews 10:1).



The Passover that Jesus celebrates with His 12 apostles "actualizes," makes real, what could only be symbolized by Moses' sacrifice at the altar with 12 pillars. What Jesus does today is establish His Church as the new Israel, and His Eucharist as the new worship of the living God.



In offering himself to God through the Spirit, Jesus delivered Israel from the transgressions of the first covenant. And, as we hear in today's Epistle, by His blood He purified us, and made us capable of true worship.



God does not want dead works or animal sacrifices. He wants our own flesh and blood, our own lives, consecrated to Him, offered as a living sacrifice. This is the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving that we sing of in today's Psalm. This is the Eucharist.

What we do in memory of Him is to pledge our lives to Him, to renew our promise to live by the words of His covenant and to be His servants.



There is no other return we can offer to Him for the eternal inheritance He has won for us. So let us approach the altar, calling upon His name in thanksgiving, taking up the cup of salvation.




Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Dirge for Ireland

Oh now Paddy dear, and did you hear
The news that’s going round?
A babe, a child, may be forbid
To grow on Irish ground!

Remember Napper Tandy’s lass?
Remember how we smiled?
But now? A cruel law law agin’
A poor unwanted child.

Like that sad country ‘cross the pond,
Some children won’t be born.
Oh pray to God for Ireland
Because today we mourn.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Happy Birthday, Father Dennis Brown: Rep of the Saints!

He was ordained a priest in May of 1989...but he wasn't always the guy we know now.

He's a Spiritual Director, Retreat Director, Chaplain...but he wasn't always the guy we know now.

Prior to the early 1970s? He wasn't a Catholic. I don't know that he even knew who God was.

But somehow, the Holy Spirit led him to — of all people! — Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

I highly doubt that Dennis ever saw the show "Life is Worth Living" before meeting the good Bishop. But somehow, thought the intercession of Father John Hardon, S.J., and his book, "The Catholic Catechism," Dennis found himself first at Saint John's University in New York, and then, the Pontifical Institute for Advanced Studies in Rome.

And was ordained by Pope Saint John II in 1989 as a priest of the Congregation of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary. Among his friends? Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

And, among his many accomplishments? He helped this sinner (that would be me)...well...become less of one.

But he's probably known more than anything — at least, to me and his friends — as The Greatest Fan of Saints the Church Has Ever Known!

No kidding, this priest has never met a saint he didn't love!

Tomorrow is Father Dennis' birthday, and I just wanted to say to him — hey wait, what's going on, here??? Yikes! Wait a minute, guys, ladies, one second...oh sheesh! Go ahead!

So pleased with you, my friend!
Hey, we all love you Dennis!
A privilege to ordain you!
Hey, you still got that book?


Happy Birthday, to you, Happy Birthday, to you!
Happy Birthday, Dear-Great-P.R.-Guy!
Happy Birthday, Dear Dennis, to You!

Much love,

All the Saints and Wanna-Be-Saints



Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Love the Immaculata! Father Greg Staab, O.M.V.

Eternal rest grant onto him, O Lord! And let Your perpetual light shine upon him! May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, though the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.









Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known, that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother: to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.
"Always love Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament!"


Father Gregory Allen Staab, O.M.V.
June 11, 1957 — March 1, 2018
Religious Profession — September 12, 1980
Ordination to the Priesthood — May 31, 1984

Saturday, December 09, 2017

The New Exodus: Some thoughts on the Second Sunday of Advent B

What is the "New Exodus?" Let Dr. Brant Pitre (this is a link to his homepage) explain:


"The new Exodus is the expectation of many Jews in the first century A.D. that when God would save his people in thefuture, as the prophets had foretold, he would do it in ways that were similar to how he had saved his people in the past at the time of Moses, at the time of the Exodus from Egypt — which took place around 1450 B.C."

Okay, so this might help us to understand this Sunday's Gospel…and more than that? Help us to bring together, as God surely wants, Jews and Christians together.

Think about this:

Why did John hang out in the desert? No need, on the surface. He could've done his job in the city, with all the comforts of home. And why did he baptize in the Jordan River,  of all places? Water was the only thing needed for baptism in those days. He could've just hung out in the city — where, by the way, most people hung out..who wants to "relax" in a desert? -- and used the water available to baptize.

Why?

Because he heralded the "New Exodus!" In the old exodus, our fathers in faith were stuck in the desert for forty years before entering the Promised Land — where? Across the River Jordan! Isn't that a Really Cool Thing to meditate on???

In our Wednesday Bible Study Session, we learned a bit of Greek from Mark's Gospel.

No doubt the deacon or priest will introduce this Sunday's Gospel as "A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Mark." (At least, I hope he does!) But check out Verse 1 of Sunday's Gospel: 

"The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."

No other evangelist titles his book a "gospel." Mark means that his words — and those of the Holy Spirit — aren't more than just an account of Jesus' life. No! They're also a proclamation of the Risen Christ in which He — Jesus, I mean — is again made present! It's the Good News everybody's been waiting for! (I say this with all respect to Matthew, Luke, and John, by the way.)

Again, from Dr. Pitre — here's where our Greek comes in. :-)

"Other translations will say the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ. The Greek word there is euangelion. Eu in Greek is a prefix that just means good. Angelion — you can actually hear the English word angel in that — so euangelion means good message or good news. We get the word evangelize from that Greek root. To evangelize is to share the good news. So when we use the word gospel, we frequently use it to either refer to one of the four books that are about the life of Christ, or to refer to something that's undeniably true — like gospel truth. But in this context, the book literally begins by saying “the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the son of God.”

"He must increase…I must decrease…"

Once again, Dr. Pitre helps us out here by quoting from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

"When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year…By celebrating the precursor's [The Baptist's] birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: "He must increase, I must decrease."

He (Dr. Pitre) goes on to say:

"So in other words, during the Advent season we are not just putting ourselves back in the shoes of first century Jews, who were waiting for God to come and save them, we are in a particular way uniting ourselves to the desire of St. John the Baptist, who was longing for Christ to come and whose posture towards Jesus was always “he must increase, I must decrease.” This is the basic law of our own spiritual lives, to let Christ increase and for us to decrease so that he might shine brighter and brighter with the light of Advent through us."

To paraphrase one Bible Study participant:

"To prepare the way of the Lord's coming, let's level our own paths and fill our own valleys by repentance, especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation."

God has blessed me. May He continue to bless you!

Many thanks to Dr. Brant Pitre...his work and other riches can be found at Catholic Productions.


Monday, November 27, 2017

Mary McHale...Probably a Saint, But Please Pray for Her Anyway!

My friend -- and the friend of so many people -- Mary McHale died yesterday.

And understandably? She's being proclaimed as a saint!

The last thing, I think, she would've wanted...she wants prayers!

Yep, Mary lived her life as someone who has given her life to the Lord. Yep, she lived her life as a saint.

And yep! She'd agree with me, I know...don't ASSUME she doesn't need prayers!

I'm grieving for the loss of Mary right now. I'm praying as hard as I can that she's laughing and rejoicing in Heaven.

But I'm not presuming it.

And so I beg you, please. Pray for her soul. She, during her life, never assumed Heaven for any of her dear friends. And that makes her a great saint. She leaves judgement to God, not to her.

So do Mary -- and me -- a favor?

Pray for her soul. If you knew her? Thank God for the privilege! If you didn't? Here's a taste of my good friend...enjoy!

“To me, the greatest virtues a Christian should cultivate are humility and a desire to help others.”

~~ Mary McHale

For seven years in the 1960s and early 1970s, Mary McHale, as an Our Lady of the Wayside Legion of Mary member, walked the streets and visited the bars of Boston’s South End, Combat Zone, and Kenmore Square areas, trying to get women to leave a destructive way of life. While often successful, far too often Mary’s efforts and those of her colleagues were thwarted. Why? Because many of the women they were trying to help were homeless and saw no alternative to their lifestyles.

That all changed in 1972 when the place she co-founded, Sancta Maria House, [link, new window, sanctamariahouse.org] opened its doors. The first overnight shelter for women in Massachusetts, the warm and welcoming place on Waltham Street provides a safe haven for 3,000 women each year. Staffed entirely by volunteers and funded solely through private donations, the ten-bed shelter provides a home-like atmosphere that sets it apart from more institutional establishments. Although she recently “retired” as house mother, Mary can, more often than not, be found there, serving her guests by her very presence.

Born in Boston, Mary and her family moved to New Brunswick, Canada, where she grew up on a small farm. The nearest Catholic church was 14 miles away.

She returned to Boston in 1948 and joined the Cathedral parish. Obtaining a job as a clerical worker at the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, she, at the time of her retirement in 1995, supervised twenty two terminal input operators.

She became a Legion of Mary member in February, 1968. “The Legion is a real way of life for me,” she says.

Mary has served the parish as a lector, a religious education teacher, a visitor to the elderly, and an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. Among her favorite memories are Father Walter Waldron’s Christian Education and Experience Program, Sister Madeline Gallagher’s Instruction classes, and Father Bill Roche’s Scripture Study classes.

“People should consider joining our parish,” she says, “for many reasons: especially for the excellence of the liturgies. Too, the very diversity of our parish family is so representative of the Mystical Body of Christ.”

Mary’s favorite Scripture passage is from John 2—Our Lady’s words to the servers at the wedding feast at Cana: “Do whatever He tells you.”


It is evident to anyone who knows Mary—from her fellow parishioners to the myriad of people she serves—that she, indeed, takes this advice to heart.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The End Times: It's a Luxury Not to Know When it is!

Whenever we're expecting guests on a certain date, my sweet husband Alden (jocularly, I hope) always says the same thing: "Thank God! Our house will be clean!" [Sheesh.] And he's right! It's time to dust, to vacuum, to change the sheets…all that stuff.

It's a luxury NOT to know the Day of the Lord!

Why? Because if we don't know, we'll always keep our houses — our souls — clean, in anticipation! And it's a joy, or should be, to do so!

What a cool bunch of readings this Sunday!

The parable of the talents is wonderful. Reminds me of the verse of "To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King":

"Thy reign extend, O King benign,
"To every land and nation!
"For in Thy Kingdom, Lord Divine,
"Alone we find salvation!"

How are we helping to extend the Kingdom of God? Through our Talents!

And we all have them. Okay, maybe you're not created to run off to Calcutta and teach and feed and live with the poor. So what?

"Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing."

"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."


Both these quotes are from Saint Teresa of Calcutta. We all have the capacities — the talents — to love. To extend the Kingdom of God.

Enjoy the luxury of not knowing when the end is near...and keep up the cleaning! :-)

Friday, June 23, 2017

"My Brother's Keeper" by Bill Kassel (hint: read the book!)

I could say that Bill Kassel’s novel is a “can’t-put-down” opus. I mean, it’s got everything a good read should have. Suspense. Humor (and I’m talking about laugh-out-loud humor!). Tragedy. Sorrow. Joy. Education (you really learn stuff you didn’t know before). Even a bit of romance. And more. It’s got everything a can’t-put-it-down can offer. And yet…

I put it down. Reluctantly, but often. Why?

To pray.

Because “My Brother’s Keeper” – a novel told from the point of view of Saint James the Just – is more than just a novel to revel in. It’s a work to pray over.

I found myself laughing, crying, and praying with this book. I stopped in my reading and gazed on – oh well, many things. A crèche I keep in my reading room. A crucifix, of course. But also some wonderful mind-images of a laughing Mary with her Son. A painting of Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus. That wonderful picture of Elizabeth greeting Mary by Carl Heinrich Bloch (you know the one I mean).

Unapologetically Catholic, the novel nevertheless is equally unapologetically Jewish.

How can this be, you ask? Kassel so sensitively and deftly weaves the similarities between the two groups — there is no question that Jesus lived His life on earth as a devout Jew, as did his family members and followers — that this reader, anyway, was left deeply pondering the pointlessness of the separation between Judaism and Christianity.

And echoing the prayer of Jesus…

“Father, that we may be one.”


Thank you, Bill Kassel, for your amazingly beautiful perspective. I’m greatly anticipating a sequel from you!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Learning a lesson in simple kindness. (I coulda stayed on the damn bus!)

So anyway, it was raining so I hopped on a bus on the way home — from Mass, no less!

An elderly man — and when I say "elderly," I mean someone older than I am — struggled on. I hopped up and gave him my seat, and he thanked me, saying something about how "kind" I was.

I blushed (I hope) a bit and brushed it off. He asked me my name, and whether I was married. I told him I was, and went into a long spiel about how my second husband and I ended up together as man and wife. He seemed to enjoy it.

Did I mention that his name is Larry? No, of course I didn't. His name is Larry.

Larry gets around with a walker. He's a very nice man, very courteous, and  very funny. We had some fun trading jokes on the bus.

Then Larry told me about his wife, Anita.

Anita. That's her name. Dear God, please at least remember that I remember her name!

Larry began to tell me about how he became a widower. How he went into their bedroom one day and found Anita looking as if she were asleep. He shook her, trying to wake her up. Only he couldn't, because Anita had died.

And I looked up and saw...yep, my stop.

Had to get off the bus, I told myself. It's my stop I told myself. I kissed Larry on the forehead, promised prayers for him and for Anita...and got off the bus.

Dammit! I could've stayed on the damned bus!

That Larry needed — not wanted, but needed — to talk about finding Anita, to talk about Anita herself, to just talk to someone who'd listen? It was as obvious as the rain falling down.

Only I "had" to get off the bus.

On my short walk home, I prayed for Anita. I prayed for her husband Larry — a guy who deserved a much better fellow rider than me.

I could've easily stayed on the bus and listened to Larry...listened to his memories, his — who knows, tales about his children? Grandchildren?

I could've been a Christian.

Instead? I got off the bus.

May God have mercy on me. And, not that I deserve it, but Larry and Anita do. May You shower Your love on them. And teach me how to emulate Your Love. Amen.