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.
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.


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,] 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.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

No, Pope Francis did NOT "urge less children to make the world more `sustainable'" sheesh

And again, under the "fake news" department:

The lie:
Pope Francis has urged families to have fewer children to make the world more sustainable, it has been reported.

Peter Raven, a panelist at a Vatican-run workshop on “how to save the natural world”, was speaking at a press conference when he revealed the comments made by the Pope.
The workshop included a range of experts and the solution was presented by Mr Raven, a botanist and environmentalist.

“Pope Francis has urged us to have fewer children to make the world more sustainable,” Mr Raven said, according to LifeSiteNews.

"We need a more limited number of people in the world."

The truth? 

Actually, the truth is important, but even more so is what my friend Chris Muldoon did...he asked the source. (Duh...what a concept! Asking the source! How weird when it's so much easier and. to the weird, more fun, to find the devil in places where he doesn't hide, rather than looking, perhaps, in the mirror, where he might.)

Anyway, Chris wrote to the reporter asking:

"A couple questions based on published reports. Were you accurately quoted? What is your source for Pope Francis's thoughts here?"

The reporter, Peter Raven, answered Chris immediately:

"No, not an accurate quote. He and his predecessors have called repeatedly to have only the children they could raise properly which is a very different thing."

To it's credit, LifeSiteNews (nope...not going to link 'em) "corrected" their article.)

Um...I'm not here to teach you how not to conceive or give birth. You already know that, right? (Here's some hints: Artificial conception? Wrong. Abortion? Wrong. Have you got it yet?)

May God continue to bless you,


Monday, February 20, 2017

The Blessed Sacrament is NOT a liturgical hors d'oeuvre

For the umpteenth time today, I sadly watched a priest chase down a guy with the Sacred Host in his hands...a guy with evidently no intention of consuming the Sacrament at the altar. (Or, as he said to me later: "Why should I? I wanted to wait until I was in my pew! What difference does it make?")

It makes a LOT of difference.

Priests and other ministers of the Blessed Sacrament are...well, they're blessed. But these days? They're also -- and I suspect unwillingly -- given the job of being Guardians of the Blessed Sacrament from Those Who Are Really, Really, Stupid.

"Kelly! You just called me `stupid'! How dare you!"

I dare because you're stupid, and I love you, only you're stupid. You -- and if you're the one whose offended by this post -- I'm talking to you.

Here's the thing: we're talking about Jesus. Jesus! He' not a canapé. You got that?

How to receive the Most Holy Sacrament. (For my friends who don't get this? Here's how to receive GOD!)

I'm not going into the stuff about being in the state of grace, about being Catholic, and all that stuff the bishops have gone into over and over again.

I'm talking about bleeping common sense!

And courtesy. And faith. And knowing Whom you are exactly receiving at Communion!

Okay. Here we go. In 1969, Catholics were given the indult to receive Jesus in the hand. (Don't ask my it yourself.)

If you take advantage of this indult (and interestingly enough, autocorrect keeps making it "insult" but pay no mind to that), terrific. Just do it right. Which means:

DON'T grab the Host and saunter down into wherever you're going. Accept JESUS with both hands -- one behind the other (like a throne as Saint John Chrysostom wrote) and consume the Host right then and there, facing the Holy Altar of Sacrifice. Do this so that you are SEEN doing it. Cross yourself, if you like, and return to your pew, glorifying the fact that you just received JESUS!

If you're receiving on the tongue (and good for you if you are) then for Heaven's sake, OPEN YOUR MOUTH! WELCOME Him! Don't slit your silly lips and expect the priest to play a slot machine game with you. COOPERATE!

If you know someone who doesn't know how to receive Holy Communion? Please share this. Because I'm so very tired of the abuse -- whether intentional or not -- of my Dearest Love.

One thing? He loves you far more than I do, and I love you a lot, so that means something.

Receive Jesus with all the respect and love you can muster up. I promise you. You'll be rewarded.

May God continue to bless you.

Monday, December 12, 2016

America in Mary's Embrace: The Virgin of Guadalupe

When the image of the Virgin appeared on the tilma of Juan Diego, it was the prophecy of an embrace: Mary's embrace of all the peoples of the peoples of the vast expanses of America — the peoples who already lived there, and those who were yet to come. 

Mary's embrace showed what America — North and South —is called to be: a land where different peoples come together; a land prepared to accept human life at every stage, from the mother's womb to old age; a land which welcomes immigrants, and the poor and the marginalized, in every age. A land of generosity.

Pope Francis, General Audience, December 11, 2013

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tonight's Bible Study: "Imagine" is a silly song

'Way back in the early 1970s, John Lennon wrote a song that was the pinnacle of his career: It's called "Imagine." While lovely in tone? It's stupid. Wait…parenthetical comment coming up…

(Please pray for the happy repose of the soul of John Lennon, and for all the souls in Purgatory. Yes, this is the last day of November — the month dedicated to the Church Suffering — but you can still, of course, pray every day for them! In fact, we're supposed to! You might have your own ways of doing this, and I hope you do…but maybe you'll find this prayer helpful.

"Almighty Father, I pray for all the souls in Purgatory. Especially for the most abandoned souls. Then, for the souls of the extended members of my family. And then, for all those souls You have allowed to touch my life, in any way, and will. In the name of Jesus. Amen.")

…anyway, "Imagine," while an earthly hit, is really a stupid song. I mean, the music is nice, but the lyrics…well, they…uh…are stupid.

Because we don't have to IMAGINE anything!

Which is what we mostly concentrated on in tonight's session. Ah, Isaiah!

Last week, someone suggested that many Jews have been convinced that Jesus is the Son of God…simply by prayerfully reading Isaiah! I haven't found evidence for this, but I believe it.

Tonight, we simply wallowed in this Sunday's First Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10. Talk about back to the future! The images invoked by this passage are so delicious? We ate them up. We didn't have to "imagine" what life was like at the beginning of God's marvelous creation, nor what it will be like when Christ comes again…it's all here! If you weren't there, or aren't familiar with the passage, read this and enjoy! (You're allowed to weep with joy!)

As you probably know, Advent is divided into two parts.

The first two weeks are concerned with Jesus' coming as judge of all at the end of time. The second two weeks serve as preparation for His coming in the flesh — His birth as a human being! Both parts are glorious!

Regarding the integration of these two parts, a friend suggests a wonderful book by Madeleine L'Engle called "Dance in the Desert." I never heard of it before, but it sounds wonderful. Find more about it here.

It was a blessed session. We also, of course, reflected on the other readings for this Sunday — especially the Gospel where the extraordinary Saint John the Baptist minces no words. If you want a copy of the notes, shoot me an email.

We started the session with the Angelus — and ended it with a prayer for you.

Thursday, September 01, 2016

"OMG [sic] and Why Jews Got the Message Clearer Than Christians

I see it, I hear it, every day. In texts and on social media: "OMG!"

On the street, in everyday conversations, I hear it: "Oh. My. God!"

And every time? I wince. Why?

Because this is clear violation of the Commandment of the Lord.

"Thou shall not take of the LORD thy God in vain." 

Can't be any clearer.

Did you know that, in Hebrew, there's no word for "person?" And so we use the word "name" instead. (I'm not telling you this so you can show off your knowledge at your next party, by the way.) :-)

So. When you say -- say after finding that dress you've been looking for, or after Brady throws a touchdown, or whatever awes you on Planet Earth -- "Oh my god" (and yes, I put the "g" in lower case, for your benefit) -- you're taking the Name -- the Person! -- of God in vain.

What does "in vain" mean? 

Check out the dictionary! "In vain" means: "without success," or "with no result." "Vain" comes the Latin vanus, which means "empty, without substance." Yes, from the Latin, I said!

So when you casually -- or semi-emotionally  (Sorry, but I can't bring myself to call your favorite haircut, for example, a truly "emotional experience") use the name -- the Person, the Very All Eternal Being -- as if He's an empty nobody?

I get upset.

There's some reparations for this.

When you hear the Holy Name used casually -- in vain -- say to the Lord (or, heck, say it out loud!): "Blessed be His Holy Name!" Or something equally reverent.

Many Jews don't even write the Name of G-D!

They generally write "G-D.  Why?

From Judaism About:
The custom of substituting the word "God" with G-d in English is based on the traditional practice in Jewish law of giving God's Hebrew name a high degree of respect and reverence. Furthermore, when written or printed, it is forbidden to destroy or erase the name of God (and many of the stand-in names used to refer to God). 
There is no prohibition in Jewish law against writing out or erasing the word "God," which is English. However, many Jews have afforded the word "God" with the same level of respect as the Hebrew equivalents detailed below. Because of this, many Jews substitute "God" with "G-d" so that they can erase or dispose of the writing without showing disrespect to God.  
This is relevant especially in the digital age where, although writing God on the internet or computer is not considered a violation of any Jewish law, when one prints a document out and happens to throw it in the garage, it would be a violation of the law. This is one reason most Torah-observant Jews will write G-D even when they aren't intending to print a document out because there is no way of knowing whether someone might eventually print the word out and deface or throw away the document.

So. No matter the reason, Jews and Christians can agree on one thing (actually, we can agree upon many things, and, please Abba, that we may be one!): it's not cool to to vainly, casually, use the Holy Name of God. In prayer? Oh yes! Call on Him always!

But don't use His Holy Name to comment on the skirt you just bought, okay? :-)

May God continue to bless you!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dear ISIS: Believe it or not...

Saints Joachim and Anne

Dear ISIS,
Believe it or not, I'm praying much harder for you than for the Servant of God, whom you murdered, Father Jaques Hamel. He has earned his place in Heaven. You, on the other hand, have not. In fact, if you don't repent immediately, I shudder to think what will happen to your souls. Please do NOT tell me you represent Islam. Please do NOT bother to tell me you're "Muslims." Because you're not. You are, in fact, cowardly, and, to quote Pope Francis, "absurd." Absurd, cowardly, and a shame to God's creation. Which is why I'm praying for you with much more vigor than I'm praying for Father Hamel. You need prayers much more than he does. Here's a tip: repent...and quickly. May God continue -- and, incredibly, He does, and may I, through His grace, emulate Him -- show you mercy.

In the Name of Jesus Christ,


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Inappropriate Behavior. (And no, I'm not talking about these job-seekers.)

See these people? They're looking for a job.

In my many years in business, people have looked to me for a job. Some I've hired, and gladly. Some I've hired..and maybe not so gladly, but I figured, let's give 'em a chance.

Some I've said: "No, but thank you for asking.

Never have I said: "No, because you're a @#$@@, a @#@&, or a @##*&." Nor have I ever said, to them to or to others: "Hah! She's got wrinkles!" Or "Hey, he's got weird hair!"

Here are two people who are asking you for a job. And yes, it's an important one. You have the choice of saying "yes," or "no thank you."

You also have, because this is (still) a free country, to tell either one to go bleep themselves.

I hope you don't, though.

I hope you examine each of their assets. Each of their liabilities. I hope you keep in mind that — no matter how you feel about either one of them — each one really wants this job.

And I hope that you'll give both of them the courtesy of considering their applications with all seriousness, with all thoughtfulness....and above all? With all charity.

Will you hire either of them? That's up to you. You don't have to hire either one. Don't you get it? You're in charge here. If you'd rather pass on both? That's you're prerogative. Don't let anybody tell you that not to hire one, is to hire the other one. That's bull.

You have the right to, for example, write in someone else on hiring day. Do you understand that? I hope so.

Now let's get to the point.

You do NOT have the right to be unkind — whether on social media, or with your children, or with your friends, or with your family — to either one of these people. You may think you have the right to do so, but you don't. You, believe it or not, are not perfect. [Gasp...yes I know...but it's true. Live with it and try to improve yourself before trying to do so to others. You know...the splinter? The plank? Hey, I knew you'd get it!]

You can do this...I know you can.

Whatever your decision? You can pray for each of these candidates.

And you can refrain from the unkind things you may have been saying about either one. And don't tell me, fellow Christians, about the spiritual works of mercy, okay? I'm very familiar with them. If you think one or the other or both is sinning? Why, for Heaven's sake, tell them so! With charity...not with hatred.

Okay, so you've had your spanking...

...and trust me: it hurt me more than it hurt you. And do you know why? Because I've been just as guilty as you've been!

So let's make a pact here:

Let's get about the real business of living in this world. Let's work really hard to get each other into Heaven!

May God continue to bless you!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

"Why are Your Teeth So Crooked?" (the other way I prayed Vespers tonight) :-)

So, anyway, as I was walking home tonight, I distinctly sensed there was rain in the air. As is my habit, I muttered to Jesus: "I'm going to grab a bus. And I'll pray Evening Prayer on it."

As is NOT my habit, I also distinctly heard an answer: "Oh, you'll pray all right!"


I climbed on the bus and was greeted by the cutest little girl and her beautiful Mom. "Hey! I remember you!" the kid cried out. I didn't recognize her, but gave her my most (or so I thought) dazzling smile. And opened my breviary (on my phone) to Vespers. This wasn't going to happen.

Little Girl (hereafter known as "Kid," turning and smiling at me...she couldn't have been more than five): "Hey! It's ME!"

Me: (recapturing so called dazzling smile) "Oh yes! How are you"! [leave me alone kid]

Kid: "You remember me, right?"

Me: "Oh, of course!" (?)

Kid: "Well, I have a question!"

Me: [As. Kindly. As. I. Could. Get.] "Oh! Sure, what is it?"

Kid: " Mom here has a beautiful smile. Daddy always says so. Why are your teeth so crooked?"

[Picture, if you will, said Beautiful Mom, wanting to drop into a hole somewhere.]

Me: "Uh...well..(thinking frantically for an answer...yep, got it!)...well, when I was a little girl, a bit older than you? I disobeyed my Mom and Dad and didn't wear my braces!"

[Which was, o' course, a damn parents couldn't afford braces.]

Kid: "Oh. But why do you have that brown thing on your tooth?"

[Damn tea, black coffee, and that Saturday Night Cigar, anyway!!!]

Me: "Oh! Well! It's from -- hey, what's your favorite soda?"

Kid: "Oh, I love Coke!"'

Me: [after a brief prayer of gratitude] "Me too!'d better watch out. Too much sugar, Cokes, candy, and all that other stuff? It'll make a stain on your tooth!"

Kid: "But that's what my MOM said!"

[insert beautiful Mom offering me a glance of supreme gratitude]

Kid: "But why are you so skinny? My Dad thinks my Mom is beautiful!"

Me: [kinda warming to this] "Because I Didn't. Eat. My Fruit. And Vegetables!!!"

[Another lie, but what the bleep...blame it on Jesus! :-) Also I got another grateful glance from the Very Well Built Mom, so hey...what harm?]

Kid: "Oh. But I don't like vegetables. I like fruit though."

Me: [warming more to my nonexistent subject] "You only think you don't like vegetables. Actually? They make you beautiful!"

Kid: [evidently bored with the dietary conversation]: "Is that JESUS on you???"

Me: [stupidly looking down on my sweater] "Why...yes, this is a `crucifix.'" [I'll show her!] "Do you know what a `crucifix' is?"

Kid: "Yes, yes, yes! I have one of my own, right Mommy?"

Mommy: "Yes, baby."

Kid: "I'm NOT a baby."

Mommy: "Show the lady your Crucifix."

And she did! With a dazzling smile!

Me: [suddenly welling up with tears]: "It's beautiful. Thank you for showing me."

Kid: "Oh, that's okay. I love you. Do you love me?"

Me: [about ready to lose it]: "Yes, very much. I...oh, gee, I've got to get off at the next stop."

Kid: [tears also welling up] "NO! I'm having FUN! You CAN'T get off now!"

Mommy: "Let the lady go, sweetie."

Kid: "Okay, but can't we go home with her?"

Mommy: [looking apologetically at me] "Not tonight, hon...maybe some other time."

Me: [thinking what the bleep? I WANT to take them home....then I came to my senses] "Okay, guys, time for me to get off."

Kid: "Bye! Thanks for talking to us!"

Me: "Bye! Don't forget to say your prayers!"

Kid: [rather scornfully, I thought, but maybe not]: "Don't YOU forget!"

~ ~ ~

The bus driver let me kiss them both good-bye before I got off. And I think I heard Jesus say, very quietly..."nice prayer!" :-)

Monday, June 27, 2016

Let us be ONE!

As I was busy at my desk last Saturday evening, trying to catch up on work after dinner, I heard the ladies next door— they belong to the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) church —listening to hymns. I tried to concentrate on my work, but "How Great Thou Art" captivated me. And then? I heard the strains of the music to "The Lord's Prayer." Turning off my computer, I padded across the lawn in my robe and slippers and joined them as they sang. They were probably as surprised as I was but really? None of us cared...there was too much joy to care. Afterward we laughed and wept and laughed some more. 

Lord? If You can do this? Then You can answer my prayer (which, by the way, I didn't invent...I learned it from Your Son!) "Let us be one, as You, and Your Son, and the Holy Ghost are One. Amen."

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Dedicated to My Daughter Barbara with All My Love (another poem by my Mom)

"My Special Gift"

I have a special memory,
That goes back quite a way,
It's of a special present
That I received on Christmas Day.

My daughters were quite young that year,
And funds were very low.
But Daddy took them shopping
To the "Dime Store" they did go.

Each picked out their "treasures"
For Gram and Gramps and me,
And they all came home elated
About their shopping spree.

They hid their gifts so carefully
So no one else could see.
I could not imagine
What these gifts might be!

And then came Christmas morning
And we gathered 'round the tree,
To open up our presents
And hear the shouts of glee.

The girls were quite excited
About the gifts they got
They weren't that expensive,
But to them, they meant a lot!

After all the gifts were opened,
I heard some little cries,
They were coming from my youngest,
And tears rolled from her eyes.

I took her up in my arms
And held her close to me,
And asked her, why the tears,
What could the matter be?

With tear-stained cheeks,
She looked at me
And sobbed:
"I lost your special prize!"

I hugged her close
And held her tight
Then gently
Wiped her eyes.

We all began to look around
For that grand specialty,
Into her little room we went,
And just searched frantically.

In dresser drawers
On tops of shelves,
Until at last we found
A tiny little box, all wrapped
And neatly bound.

"That's it, that's it," my daughter cried,
And brought it straight to me.
I hugged her right, as I sat down
Upon her little bed,
And opened up the little box,
That held a spool of thread.

No gift of gold or silver
Could replace this gift of love,
And I thanked the Baby Jesus
Who smiled from up above!

Marie Kelly, December 27, 1993

Daughter's note: Oh gosh! How I remember this! My sister Buzzy (the one on the right -- Barbara to others)  -- bought my Mom a spool of thread for Christmas...and then lost it. And was devastated by the loss! (She was maybe, I don't know, maybe 4 or 5 years old at the time.) My sister Sharon and I had bought "cool" gifts...and for the life of me, I can't remember what we bought.

I learned something that long ago Christmas. A spool of thread from a loving daughter is worth more than...well, anything, really. It was, as my Mom remembered, years later? A gift of love. Which is the most important thing.

I could've posted this on Christmas but it's my little sister's birthday -- June 24 -- and I think she deserves this gift of love from our Mom.

I love you Buzzy!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

"To My Husband Jim, Whom I Love Dearly" A poem to my Dad by my Mom

If in the morning hours you stir
And the light from the sun
Illumes your face

I see there
The little boy
Who romped in free abandon
Without care
And swatting at the air
Became all things
That dreams are made of:

The Pitcher
The Catcher
The Star on Ice
The Hoop
A crowd, roaring with delight.

Dream on sweet boy, dream on.
Savor every moment of ethereal delight.

For all too soon
It ends with break of day
And you must revive the mask of morn
And show it to the world!

They cannot be— these dreams
They are webs of wonder, threads of nothingness.

You have fought a war.
And saw men die.
You have tasted
The bitter and the sweet.

You have loved, and lost
And loved and won...

...And held a tiny babe.

You have faced as many challenges
It makes you want to weep.

But You're a Man!
(and men don't weep...that is reserved for little boys.)

Dream on, sweet one, Dream on,
And be a boy again!

Marie Kelly, sometime, maybe Father's Day, to my Dad
Daughter's Note:

I remember this. Not the poem, so much, but certainly the sentiment. My Dad—God welcome him into Your arms and quickly if You haven't already—fathered three girls. Our boyfriends loved him! Often (and sometimes, to our dismay) they crowded around him to hear his advice on everything from sports to cars to girls to sports to cars to girls to sports...and other things my sisters and I didn't hear. (Actually, I did. To my shame, or maybe not...I eavesdropped.)

My Mom understood him more than I ever did. My sister, Sharon, understood him more than I ever did. My sister Buzzy understood him more than I ever did.

Why? Because I always wanted to be "his girl." The one he took out for ice cream. The one who held my hand. The one who bought me clothes, brushed my hair...and looked sternly at the guys who dated me. 

His real girls understood that, beneath that manly countenance? He sometimes longed to be the boy he once was. They got it, 'way back when. Now?  I'm started to get it.

I love you, Daddy. And I'm so grateful that you had Sharon, Buzzy, and, especially Mom, to understand you more than I ever could...or would. Dad? Remember were always, and still are, my hero. Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Donald Hammond 1933-2016: Requiescat in pace (and get to know him!)

Donald Hammond, RIP. My friend Colleen Hammond's Father-in-Law

Please pray for the happy repose of my friend Colleen Hammond's father-in-law Donald Hammond. Of course my prayers — and I'm sure yours — are raised not just for Mr. Hammond, but his wife, Suzanne, his son Dennis (Colleen's husband), his daughters, Erin and Jeni, and all of his grandchildren and great-grand children...and his many friends.

I'm posting this because I'd like you to, after praying, pay a visit to Mr. Hammond's obituary.

God does incredible things for us. Introducing you and me to Mr. Hammond, in my opinion, is one of them.

Well played, Mr. Hammond...very well played indeed! (And hey! I'm a Michigan fan!) :-)

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