Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holy Innocents

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the wise men. Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

"A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation:
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be consoled because they were no more."

If you are a post-abortive woman or man, please do not refuse consolation. Among other sources, the Catholic Church offers "Project Rachel:" help for healing your spiritual and emotional wounds.

May God bless you.

Holy Innocents! Pray that, through the grace of our Newborn Savior, for Whom your blood was shed, the hearts of man may be softened and the insanity of abortion will end. Amen.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

"Lord, do not hold this sin against them!" (Saint Stephen, Martyr)

I notice in the post on devotions I neglected to name my favorite saint. Saint Stephen is certainly among them!

Stephen was one of the first deacons of the Church.

When I pray to Saint Stephen, I pray for the present-day deacons of the Catholic Church. They are remarkable men.

Who is a Roman Catholic deacon? (from the Boston Diaconate web site)

Through Holy Orders, the deacon acquires a special relationship to the bishop. Though surely "his own man" - by reason of his place in the hierarchy - tradition refers to him as "the bishop's man ... the bishop's ears and eyes." His ministry of charity, word, and sacrament enables the Church to be a credible sign of the Servant Christ in the world.

The deacon should be a creative leader - an "inspirator" - one who gradually initiates a meaningful response of loving service from the community to those who are in spiritual or material need. Ordained PRIMARILY to be a minister of charity, he will hold himself accountable for such a service before God and the Church. He will draw his strength and his continuing motivation from the Holy Eucharist where- he is transformed by his reception of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Saint Stephen, Deacon and Martyr, imitated Christ.

We didn't hear this in the Readings today, but it's worth noting. As he was dying for the love of Jesus, Stephen said: "Lord, do not hold this sin against them!"

He prayed for those who, actively or passively, brought about his death.

From Acts 7:

They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul.

Stephen prayed for his killers. He prayed for Saul.

As Saint Augustine noted:

"If Stephen had not prayed to God, the Church would not have had Paul." ( "Sermons," 315, 7)

What can Saint Stephen teach us?

I think it's important to always try to remember to forgive -- and pray for! -- those who seem to be our enemies. Through the deacon Stephen's plea to God, we became blessed with the great apostle Paul.

And pray for our deacons.

The deaconate is a noble vocation. And, as is the case with all noble vocations, it is in need of our prayers.

As Saint Polycarp, another martyr, prayed:

"Let them be merciful and zealous, and let them walk according to the truth of the Lord who became servant of all."

Amen.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

He's coming!

"...and His Name shall be called
Wonderful, Counsellor,
The Mighty God,
The Everlasting Father
The Prince of Peace."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Catholic Devotions

Lynne Flatley, at A Quiet Catholic, tagged me with this meme. Feel free to join in!

Favorite devotion or prayer to Jesus

The Mass

Favorite Marian devotion or prayer

The Rosary

Do you wear a scapular or medal?

No. (I wear a Crucifix, though.)

Do you have holy water in your home?

Yes. I get it free at a nearby chapel.

Do you "offer up" sufferings?

Yes. The Holy Souls in Purgatory are dear to me. (Although to be honest, the "offering up" is sort of a blanket thing I pray for in my Morning Offering. If I bang my head against the car door, for example, it might take a bit o' time before I remember to offer it up!)

Do you observe First Fridays and First Saturdays?

Not as such...I just usually happen to be at Mass on those days.

Do you go to Eucharistic Adoration? How frequently?

Yes, three days a week, again at a nearby chapel. And hat tip to my parish: during Advent and Lent, Holy Hours are offered on Sundays combined with Vespers.

Are you a Saturday evening Mass person or a Sunday morning Mass person?

Both. I'm usually near a Catholic church on Saturdays near Vigil Mass time, and I can't resist a Mass. Sunday Mass is a joy.

Do you say prayers at mealtime?

Yes.

Can you recite the Apostles Creed by heart?

Yes.

Do you usually say short prayers (aspirations) [comment here: I believe the better word for this is "ejaculations"] during the course of the day?

Yes.

Bonus question: when you pass by an automobile accident or other serious mishap, do you say a quick prayer for those involved?

Yes.

Okay.

Lest anybody think I'm holier than thou, may I quickly disabuse you of that notion? I live in Boston where there's hot and running holy water and Catholic churches all over the place. I'd like to think I'm a daily Communicant because I'm A Good Catholic, but the fact is, it's really easy to be one where I live.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Stop. In the Name of Love.

If you're at all stressed about gifts, your house, your tree, your menu, your cards, your candied yams, or anything else about Christmas...please stop right now.

Relax!

Spend the remainder of Advent with the Lord!

God willing, all the stuff that "needs" to be done will be done. And if it doesn't get done, so what?

Give yourself -- actually allow Jesus to give you -- the best gift possible...time to luxuriously anticipate His coming.

You'll thank Him for it.

(And who really cares about candied yams, anyway?)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What if she'd said "no, thank you"?

The Whole World Awaits Mary's Response

Today's Gospel focuses on the Annunciation. In today's Roman Office of Readings, Saint Bernard profoundly celebrates Mary's fiat, by putting himself in the position of those who, two thousand years ago, eagerly awaited her response to the Angel Gabriel:

Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the counry of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.


Do read the whole thing...I don't think you'll ever pray an Ave in quite the same manner.


Special thanks from me to Father Dennis Brown, OMV, of Saint Francis Chapel, for including it in today's sermon.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Rest in peace, Mr. Barbera...and thanks!


Born into a Catholic family in New York's Little Italy in 1911, Joe Barbera, who co-founded the Academy Award-winning Hanna-Barbera cartoon powerhouse, has died at his Studio City, California home. The BBC reports Joe Barbera, who made up one half of the team behind such cartoon classics as The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo and Huckleberry Hound, died yesterday of natural causes at home with his wife, Sheila, at his side.

Here's the rest of the story. Please pray for his soul. Thanks!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Hell. Lust. Condoms. Uh...yeah, I'd say boycott the pizza.

A Catholic newspaper is calling for a boycott of Hell Pizza in response to a recent condom mail-out.

To promote its Lust pizza, Hell distributed 170,000 condoms, along with explicit instructions on their use, to letterboxes around the country.

This prompted hundreds of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority, which ruled Hell breached standards of decency and social responsibility.

An editorial in the latest edition of NZ Catholic newspaper calls on readers to abstain from purchasing any of the items on the pizza delivery chain's menu.

Is this a no-brainer or what?

The President of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, Bishop Denis Browne of Hamilton, said that the Church supports Family First�s critical comments about the current Hell Pizza letterbox drop campaign promoting their "Lust" pizza.

"Advertisers, in terms of the principles in the NZ Advertising Standards Authority code, are required to uphold decency and good taste in their advertising material, and are warned not to advertise in a way which offends against generally prevailing community standards," said Bishop Browne.

"Clearly, to put unsolicited condoms and sex advice in people�s letterboxes as part of your advertising campaign for a pizza goes beyond the merely tacky, is a breach of those standards and an affront to New Zealanders," the bishop said.

The Catholic Church has received a number of complaints from people who are offended at finding condoms in their letterboxes.

I'm not sure why the Catholic Church received the letters of complaint, but there you are.

Sources: The New Zealand Herald and New Zealand Catholic Media Releases

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hope. The Unborn Jesus. Christmas.


Back in September, I wrote a review for the book "Unborn Jesus Our Hope" by George A. Peate. A commenter noted that this book would make a terrific Christmas gift.

Now there's a great idea! Click here for ordering information.

Rejoice in the Lord, always!

Rejoice in the Lord, always.
I shall say it again: rejoice!
--Phillipians 4:4

Remember...Paul was in prison when he wrote this, and I doubt it was the country club type. So, rejoice...Jesus is coming!

A blessed Gaudete Sunday to you.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Church should "weep before God" over the Scandal...Victim's group head misses point

The only man allowed to preach to Pope Benedict XVI has told the Pontiff he should call a worldwide day of fasting and penitence to ask forgiveness for the Catholic Church's priestly sexual abuse scandals...

Father Cantalamessa said the time had come for the church to "weep before God" over the scandal against "the smallest of its brothers".

He said the church should call "a day of fasting and penitence, at the local and national level, where the problem was worst, to publicly express sorrow before God and solidarity with the victims".

Such a day would, he said, help "reconciliation of souls" so the church could get back on the path of doing its work "with a renewed heart".

I know that some American dioceses -- my own included -- have done this and more, including a Novena of fasting and penance. And I agree that it isn't enough: as for me, no amount of fasting and penance could ever atone for the sins I've committed in my life. Not if I insist on looking at my sins through my own eyes.

At least one group of victims of priestly abuse said it was not enough.

"We would much rather that the Pope discipline complicit bishops," said Barbara Blaine, president of the US-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

"Hundreds of bishops have covered up thousands of sex crimes yet not one has faced a single consequence for this horrific deceit and recklessness," she told news agency Reuters.

How does she know that?

How does Blaine know that no bishop has faced any consequences for his behavior? Has she a way of looking inside hearts and souls that none of us have? No, she does not.

She's looking at this from a purely secular -- and earthly -- perspective.

What is horrific is that evidently some, perhaps many, victims of clergy abuse have lost -- or have been robbed of -- their ability to forgive.

And that is a sin that some of us will have to answer for.

Still, SNAP should not be allowed to rob anybody of their chance to repent.

Jesus forgives. To question that undeniable -- albeit often difficult to believe -- fact is to court eternal damnation.

Source: The World News

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Voice of the Faithful(tm) doesn't understand process but condemns it anyway

Voice of the Faithful is deeply disturbed at the action of both Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln NE [uh...this happened 10 years ago] and Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Congregation for Bishops. In our goal to be a “voice” for faithful Catholics we call for an explanation of the process by which this decision was made. We are competent, educated people who understand the long history of this serious action and we see no justification for denying any person access to the life of the Church simply by virtue of her or his membership in a select group. Voice of the Faithful condemns the process by which a class of people was summarily excommunicated by a single bishop in the US.

They're talking (one assumes) about their great-auntie in dissident, Call to Action.

I'm with David Alexander on this one...if they need the process "explained," how can they condemn it?

Ah, the Voice of the Fuddled.

Cody continuing: update: 12-14-06

From Cody's Aunt Denise:

Dear Friends,

I want to keep you updated on Cody's progress, to keep him on your minds and to ask for continued prayer. He has now lost 50 lbs. and has suffered a couple more setbacks. This week, while the physical therapists were trying to sit him up to work his muscles, they discovered internal bleeding at the sight of a drainage tube which had been inserted to two weeks ago to drain fluid from around his lungs. They sent him off to surgery and he seems to be doing better since then (everything is relative).

The neurosurgeon gave them the news on Monday that he thought there would be permanent damage to the frontal lobe of his brain. This was the news that we had all hoped and prayed not to hear. We are still very hopeful and are hanging on the words that he (the neurosurgeon) told them at the onset that "nothing is permanent for a year". I really think that with all of our diligent prayers to St. Jude for a miracle, Padre Pio for his intercession and, of course, Our Holy Mother Mary for her intercession that he can still make a nearly full, if not full, recovery. Please continue to keep him and his family in prayer this Advent, as you await the celebration of the arrival of our Lord Jesus on Christmas Day.

God Bless you All and Have a Merry Christmas!!!

You guys know what to do...or continue to do. Thanks!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A plea to priests: stick to the script!!!

Last Tuesday I was asked to read the Responsorial Psalm at a tiny chapel on the West Side of Boston. The response:

"Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever."

That's what I read. But that's not what the priest "proclaimed." No sir. Loudly, 'way over my voice (and those of the worshipers):

"Justice shall flourish in GOD'S time, and fullness of peace forever."

I'm growing weary of this...the treatment of the masculine pronoun as if it were a naughty word.

Please. Stick to the script.

Today, during the Eucharistic prayer, I was startled to hear the priest "pray":

"Remember our brothers and sisters and friends and family members and loved ones who have gone to their rest..."

HUH???

"Our brothers" would've been sufficient, in my opinion but the Missal states "our brothers and sisters" and that's fine with me. We're talking about -- duh! -- our brethren in Christ. And, um, that would include "friends and family members and loved ones." What was this priest thinking? That the phrase "brothers and sisters" only includes our biological siblings? What the bleep kind of theology is he spreading (unintentionally, I'm sure)?

I could go on, but you get my point. It's bad enough when lay folk start ad libbing the Word of God. But when priests do it, it's...just not right.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The "Amazing Milingo"

Excommunicated Catholic Emmanuel Milingo "ordained" a couple of married men as "priests" in New Jersey today.

Milingo, who married a lady specially chosen for him by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon a few years back, this year formed the organization called "Married Priests Now!" (or, "M. P. N!")

It's amazing!

Milingo said since he announced the formation of Married Priests Now! this year, he has received numerous inquiries from people interested in the priesthood.

"It's amazing," he said. "These are people who, because of celibacy, did not advance to the priesthood, and now they want to be ordained."

Trying to put Milingo's comment into some perspective here...

  • It's amazing! Because of that icky math requirement, I did not become an accountant, but now that it's not necessary, I want to take my CPA exam!
  • It's amazing! Because I didn't want to practice my piano lessons, I did not advance toward my musical career, but now that ability isn't necessary, I want to put on a concert!
  • It's amazing! Because I didn't really buy into that resurrection thing, I didn't pursue Catholicism, but now that it doesn't matter, I'm planning my Confirmation party!
Sheesh.

Source: Forbes.com, Associated Press

Friday, December 08, 2006

Mary's Immaculate Conception (and why its misconception troubles me)

Okay, maybe I'm beating a dead horse on this, but bear with me.

When I (or you, probably) ask your average Joe Christian what the "Immaculate Conception" means, chances are (unfortunately) good that you'll get a wrong answer. Specifically, you'll hear some mumbling about how Jesus was conceived without human sexual intercourse. The assumption being that human sexual intercourse is somehow not "immaculate," or, in other words...dirty.

This drives me nuts.

How many times have you heard that the Church "concentrates too much on the pelvis?" The above described misinterpretation gives the lie to this "opinion."

The Church's use of the term "immaculate" has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with sin. And sin takes many forms, sexuality being one of the least of them. In fact, within the blessed gates of matrimony, human sexuality is a gift beyond price!

When they assume that the Immaculate Conception has anything to do with Christ's miraculous birth from a virgin, they -- not the Church! -- are the ones "concentrating too much on the pelvis."

Perhaps I'm being too tough.

Perhaps because it is beyond the bounds of imagination to imagine a woman -- a woman, mind you, and take that, all you "feminists" who insist that the Church is "anti-woman" -- or any human being to be immaculate in soul. To be born sinless and to live an entire life without sin of any kind.

But don't you see...that's why it's so important to contemplate on this amazing mystery!

And why it's such a gift to us! Of course none of us were born or have lived "full of grace." But how wonderful it is that we have been given a mother who was and is! One who can encourage us whenever we're tempted to sin. And one who, born through the (also miraculous, by the way) process of human sexual intercourse, can help us show gratitude toward our human parents...and the utmost respect for human life, born and unborn.

Do, please, spread the word of Mary's Immaculate Conception...and her Immaculate Heart.

I think that by doing this, we can, by the grace of God, bring the world into the arms of Our Lady...and accomplish miracles.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Oh, Mary conceived without sin!

Great reading from Catholic Answers on The Immaculate Conception. Here's the intro:

It’s important to understand what the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is and what it is not. Some people think the term refers to Christ’s conception in Mary’s womb without the intervention of a human father; but that is the Virgin Birth. Others think the Immaculate Conception means Mary was conceived "by the power of the Holy Spirit," in the way Jesus was, but that, too, is incorrect. The Immaculate Conception means that Mary, whose conception was brought about the normal way, was conceived without original sin or its stain—that’s what "immaculate" means: without stain. The essence of original sin consists in the deprivation of sanctifying grace, and its stain is a corrupt nature. Mary was preserved from these defects by God’s grace; from the first instant of her existence she was in the state of sanctifying grace and was free from the corrupt nature original sin brings.

I know many people -- many Catholics -- to whom this simple paragraph would be a revelaltion.

Do read the whole thing.

Oh, Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Thief returns statue of Jesus

Jesus was back on his pedestal, and all was right with the world at the Little Brothers of St. Francis yesterday morning.

Forgiveness rules with the Little Brothers.

Brother James Curran, founder of the order, said: "We take it back in the spirit of forgiveness. The forgiveness was there before it was returned."

Source: The Boston Globe

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Advent: what do you do?

Shamelessly I steal from Jimmy Akin's blog:

What goes on in your home during the weeks of Advent? Do you an Advent wreath? Do you set up a creche? Decorate your house? How and when?

What, if anything, do you do to keep Advent different from Christmas? If you have kids, how do you involve them?

I'd like to know, too. What do you do...or don't do?

Purple "untraditional" color?

A few days ago, I wrote about the Boston Globe's error in using the term "Immaculate Conception" in relationship to Christ's birth.

Today, a reader in Western Massachusetts wrote to tell me that Greenfield's Recorder captioned a photo of a Church decorated with wreaths and purple ribbons this way:

"St. James Catholic church on North Main Street in South Deerfield sports some untraditional colors for the holiday season."

I called the editor of the paper and told him that...uh...purple is very traditional for the Advent season.

The online version now omits the words "untraditional colors" but still doesn't quite get it right.

Oh, well...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Rosaries. Off ovaries. How original.

Anybody -- including perhaps perplexed, non-Christian pro-lifers -- who have ever opined that abortion is equal to killing, has heard the rather awkward, unrhythmical slogan:

"Keep your Rosaries off our ovaries!"

[yawn]

In Australia, the oddly named YWCA has turned the slogan into a T-shirt. Specifically, the T-shirts call upon the Catholic Health Minister Tony Abbott to keep his Rosary off of the ovaries of the "Young Women's `Christian' Association" members.

(Let's not even go into why on earth anyone would want to place a Rosary on any lady's reproductive organs, okay?)

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (I guess it's some sort of court) has found that the T-shirts" do not amount to the religious vilification of Catholics."

The head VCAT guy ruled that while "many ordinary people would find the slogan to be distasteful", it did not constitute religious vilification.

"I do not think that the sale and distribution of T-shirts containing it (the slogan) incite hatred against, serious contempt for, or revulsion or severe ridicule of Mr Abbott...or any other Catholic," he ruled.

I kinda like this part of the ruling:

"The slogan might generate a more negative response towards those who wear the T-shirts bearing it than towards Mr Abbott or any other devotee of the Catholic faith".

Indeed.

Thanks to the Curt Jester for the link.


Sunday, December 03, 2006

Condom use is wrong. Really!

While British PM Tony Blair is advising Catholic leaders to "get real" about condom use to prevent HIV/AIDS in Africa, I've gotta wonder where his "reality" really is.

Britain's Cardinal Murphy O'Connor states the obvious:

"The way to combat Aids is primarily, as everybody should know, behaviourally - keeping monogamous relationships between a man and a woman."

But what about "special circumstances?"

Okay, let's say I contract HIV through a blood transfusion. Should my husband (I'm a widow...we're just playing "let's say" here) use condom for sexual relations with me?

No.

My husband I and should abstain from sex. Period.

This is a no-brainer. It's also not impossible. Ask Saint Joseph and Mary.

(And yes, I know about the Holy Father's commissioned report. I don't know why he commissioned it, but I know he did.)

Here's the thing. Realism is realizing that this world isn't permanent.

Eternity, on the other hand, lasts a real long time.

So let's get real.

Read this article and tell me what you think.



Happy New Year!


Jeff Miller, once again, very courteously offered this Advent wreath image he made to his fellow bloggers. I tried and failed to get it on my sidebar (where was I when God passed out the web savvy genes?) but am grateful to have it here.

A blessed Advent to you! Rejoice! He is coming!

Update: Hey, I did it! (I wonder how?)

Saturday, December 02, 2006

"Progressive?" Hardly! (The "Reformed Catholic Church")

A Jesuit priest who said he wants to reach out to people who feel disenfranchised by the Roman Catholic Church is starting a new Toledo parish under the auspices of the Reformed Catholic Church.

The small denomination, incorporated in 2000, is not affiliated with the Vatican and is self-described as offering “a progressive interpretation of the Roman Catholic tradition.”

"We're just like real Catholics...sorta"

Father Heckman said the Reformed Catholic Church’s liturgy is “very much like” that of a Roman Catholic Mass, although there are numerous doctrinal differences between the two denominations.

For example, the Reformed Catholic Church will ordain women, which the Roman Catholic Church forbids. It also acknowledges same-sex marriage and second marriages for the divorced, Father Heckman said.

“Our official statement on that is basically that a marriage is limited to a union of two people, regardless of gender,” he said.

Also unlike the Roman Catholic Church, Holy Communion is open to everyone who is a “baptized Christian, no matter what denomination they belong to.

The table is open to everyone,” Father Heckman said.

Please ask Our Lady, Mother of the Church, to pray for these folks. And pray for me, too, because the phrase "disenfranchised by the Roman Catholic Church" tends to make my blood boil and I don't want it to.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Pope prays. Some Catholics get upset.

The Holy Father, while visiting the renowned Blue Mosque in Istanbul yesterday, "moved his lips, evidently in prayer."

While I'd like to believe that most Catholics take it for granted that a Catholic pope is supposed to pray wherever he finds himself, some commenters at Catholic World News seem to have a problem with this.

Why? I've read the comments. The "shocked" ones make no sense to me.

(P.S. Off topic, but can somebody tell me why the word "Gravatar" seems to be insinuating itself in this blogs comments? Thanks.)

Boston Globe's misconception of the Immaculate Conception

Perhaps ironically, the Boston Globe, in an article on the movie "The Nativity Story" titled "Film focuses on bringing accuracy to biblical tale," fails to report...accurately.

Keeping in mind that "The Nativity Story" focuses on the birth of Jesus, we read:

Stretched into something between fairy tale and religious quest, the film humanizes a bare-bones premise -- the Immaculate Conception -- by asking, "What did Mary and Joseph go through?"

This is called an example of a bare-bones mistake.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

On "offering it up" for the souls in Purgatory...from Sister Mary Martha

The unflappable Sister Mary Martha answers a reader's question about "offering up" sufferings for the souls in Purgatory...in her own inimitable style.
Read the whole thing, but I especially like this paragraph:

3. A gift...like a sacrifice for a soul in Purgatory...is no good if it's given begrudgingly. You don't give your old Aunt Sadie a wad of wrapping paper with no tape, slung around a box of melted chocolate and say with you lower lip out, "here's your gift." Buck up, stop whining and dig up some enthusiasm.

Eighth Commandment revisited

In the combox in the blog on the Eighth Commandment, Jane M. raises some interesting questions. (Actually, all the comments are worth reading, but I figured this on deserved some space, given the nature of blogs.)
Jane M. writes:

Here's one I find hard. If several of us witness the same really bad behavior by someone is it okay to talk about it amongst ourselves? (It is true and nobody is lowering anyone else's opinion because we all saw it. But it gives me a squeamish feeling along with the human pleasure of venting...) But then, what happens when another member of the group who didn't see the offense is present for the talking. I think there's something wrong but haven't nailed it down. Here's another. What about talking about someone you know your listener will never meet? I have a friend who just always needs to talk about the behavior of her in-laws and it isn't pretty. But I don't know them and she wants to vent. I think this commandment is broken a LOT.

What do you think?

From Cody's Aunt Denise

Dear Friends,

I just want to give you a quick update on Cody. His life has certainly been up and down these last weeks in the hospital (5 now), and he seems to be on a somewhat "up" right now. He went in for surgery yesterday to remove some fluid build-up around his lungs and has two tubes to keep the fluid drained. The blood infection seems to be under control, but he now has an e-coli infection in his lung, along with the pneumonia. The doctors have him on antibiotics and hope to have that under control very soon also. He still remains very sick, but has been responding slightly by moving his finger on command, raising an eyebrow, etc. We are all grasping onto these small steps in hopes that they are signs of improvement. Please continue to keep Cody and his family in your prayers!! God Bless you all!!

Denise

Thank you!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cody update

Cody, for whom many of you have been praying, underwent surgery today to remove fluid outside of his lung. His aunt, Denise, asks that we keep praying. I know you will. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

And here I thought priests were forbidden to seek public office

Yet Reverend Raymond Gravel has been elected to the Canadian Parliment.

According to LifeSite, he got permission to run from his bishop —

— "Gilles Lussier of the diocese of Joliette — on condition that he cease priestly functions for the duration of his political career, and that he abstain from voting against the Church on issues such as abortion and homosexual marriage."

Couple of problems here, other than the obvious one (that being that the bishop's "permission" doesn't mean squat when weighed against the Vatican's mandate).

Father Gravel supports abortion.

In 2004, Gravel boasted to a radio interviewer, "I am pro-choice and there is not a bishop on earth that will prevent me from receiving Communion, not even the Pope."

Father Gravel also evidently supports same-sex marriage.

And Father Gravel doesn't have an exactly stellar record in keeping his promises. At his ordination, one presumes, he promised to uphold Catholic doctrine.

He hasn't been doing it. Not in public, anyway.

So how come Bishop Gilles Lussier thinks he'll do it now?

Enough to make your head spin, isn't it?

Please pray for all concerned.

Sources include: LifeSiteNews.com

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Spiritual Pilgimage with His Holiness Benedict XVI to Turkey

The Knights of Columbus is sponsoring a "Spiritual Pilgrimage" with Pope Benedict XVI as he travels to Turkey in the next few days. All Catholics are asked to pray daily for the Holy Father during his November 28 - December 1 trip.

Here is the prayer.

Friday, November 24, 2006

"Amazing! Life Really Exists Inside the Womb!"

Very cool pictures of unborn animals -- in this case, an unborn elephant -- from the UK's Daily Mail. After reading the article, you might want to look at the comments. (Hat tip to reader Tom for the link.)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Call to Worship

The Church's supreme thanksgiving for blessings received is the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and in the Church's liturgy of the hours this Eucharistic praise of God continues through the different parts of the day. In this way the Church teaches us to maintain and live in an attitude of gratitude to God. Therefore let us now bless the Lord, who has once again bestowed on us the fruits of the earth. Abel offered his first fruits to God; let us also learn to share our blessings for the good of those in need, so that we may be true children of the Father, who bestows His gifts for the benefit of all the peoples of the earth.

A blessed and happy Thanksgiving to you!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Book shopping? Try Sophia Institute Press...soon!

I'm not one to rush the season but in this case circumstances may make it advisable. If you like giving faithful Catholic books for Christmas gifts, why not visit the folks at Sophia Institute Press...soon.

When you visit the site, you'll find that the publisher is in a spot of financial trouble (i.e., they might have to close down) and your purchase -- or dollar donation -- could make all the difference.

Thanks! (And thanks to reader Justin for the heads up.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Marinated mushrooms...the secret is revealed!

Tomorrow, God willing, I plan to embark on the concocting of a Thanksgiving delicacy which never fails to bring acclaim from those fortunate enough to experience this savory appetizer.

After much thought, I have decided to share the secret of this incredible masterpiece...only with my fellow pewsters. One word of warning: those who taste this sumptious treat will beg you for more...moreover, they will beg you for the recipe.

Be strong! Share this secret only with your closest friends...as I have decided to do with you.

For safety's sake, I am inserting "spoiler space" before revealing the secret. (You never know who might come along and unworthily confiscate it!)

And so, without further ado, those of you who are willing to scroll down the necessary length to obtain this treasure beyond price may do so...

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[almost there!]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[hang in there!]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

~~~~~~~~~~

Hi, there!

Here's what you do, the day or night before serving.

1.) Buy a bunch of mushrooms.
2.) Cover them with the cheapest bottle of Italian dressing you can find and seal in in a bowl.
3.) If it makes you feel more virtuous, give the bowl(s) a shake once in a while.
4.) Drain 'em in a colander, place 'em on decent looking plates, and modestly accept the compliments.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Examination of conscience: The eighth commandment

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Does this mean that if my pal Joey really is, say, stuggling with an addiction, or truly is, say, an outrageous flirt it's okay to tell my pal Jody all about it? Because the information isn't "false?"

There are many ways to break this commandment. (And, to tell you the truth -- hint, hint -- this one speaks to one of my greatest weaknesses.)

How can it be broken?

Friday, November 17, 2006

PlayStation 3: it's a TOY, you idiots!

Long lines, short supplies -- and occasionally, violence -- greeted the initial purchasers of Sony's PlayStation 3 when the coveted console went on sale early Friday.

Do you believe this?

With shortages resulting from production problems, many had camped out for days without knowing if they'd be going home empty-handed.

Ah, if only that were the worst that could happen.

In Connecticut, two armed thugs who got wise to the PS3's high price and tried to rob a line of people waiting outside a Putnam Wal-Mart store at 3 a.m. One person who refused to give up the money was shot, state police said.

Two robbers shot Michael Penkala, 21, of Webster Mass., in the shoulder after he confronted them, police said. He was taken to the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester for treatment; there was no word on his condition as of mid-day Friday.

In Lexington, Ky., four people waiting outside a Best Buy were hit by BB pellets, though none was seriously injured, according to WKYT, whose own reporter was hit as she interviewed buyers.

In Boston, police were called to Copley Place Mall at about 5 a.m. after the security staff was unable to control a large crowd that rushed in to buy the new gaming system from a Sony Style store that opened early, police spokesman Officer Sharon Dottin said.

Unbelievable. Welcome to the "holiday season," sheesh.

Source: USA Today

Cody update: storming Heaven

Cody's aunt sends along another update. As you may recall, Cody was severely injured during a football game last October 20. See here and here. Many of us have been fasting and praying for Cody and his family, and that God's will be done.

From his aunt:

Dear Friends,

I just received some "good news" about my nephew, Cody. This is the first really positive news (except for the fact that he has been stable despite his many complications) that we have received since he was admitted to ICU 3 weeks ago. My brother called me a couple of hours ago to tell me that they have just removed Cody from the respirator. He has opened his eyes a couple of times and they are hopeful that this is "voluntary" and not "reflex". They have 4 doctors watching over him as I write this email to make sure he responds well and can continue to breath on his own. This seems to be a huge step for him and the next 24 hours promises to be very crucial.

I am so grateful that so many of you have been keeping him in prayer and I know that this has much to do with the progress that he has made. I just feel that the saints and guardian angels are surrounding him, his doctors and nurses and his family to keep him going and not letting any of them give up. Our family is starting a Novena to St. Jude tomorrow and would invite any of you to join the novena with your families in your homes. I have attached a couple of websites that explain the novena if you are not familiar with it. It should only take a few minutes a day, but is a powerful prayer to St. Jude, sometimes thought of as the Saint of Desperate Cases, but also the Saint of Hope.

I also add a prayer of Thanksgiving for the progress that Cody has made so far and for all of your prayers.

God bless you all!

Links offered by Cody's aunt:

Saint Jude Novena Explanation

Saint Jude Novena

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Baltimore Catechesis and contraception

Most married Catholics -- a whopping 96% according to the estimate of United States Bishops -- use artificial birth control.

In other words, most married Catholics are in the state of mortal sin.

That is, if they know that contraception is a mortal sin.

But do they?

'Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper': On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist," is one of the documents issued by the US Bishops in Baltimore. The document states that any Catholic who "knowingly and obstinately" rejects "the defined doctrines of the church" or repudiates "definitive teaching on moral issues" would not be in communion with the church and therefore should not receive Communion.

In order to receive holy Communion we must be in communion with God and with the church," the document says. "If we are no longer in a state of grace because of mortal sin, we are seriously obliged to refrain from receiving holy Communion until we are reconciled with God and the church."

Examples of mortal sin:

Among examples of such sin, the document cites "committing murder, including abortion and euthanasia; harboring deliberate hatred of others; (and) sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult, or physical or verbal abuse of others that causes grave physical or psychological harm."

Other "serious violations of the law of love of God and of neighbor" listed in the document included swearing a false oath, missing Mass on Sundays or holy days without a serious reason, "acting in serious disobedience against proper authority," "sexual activity" outside the bonds of a valid marriage," stealing, slander or involvement with pornography.

Where's the mention of contraception?

Here's the thing. Until our bishops and their brother priests come down -- hard and publicly -- on the deliberate prevention of conceiving children, all the talk in the world about "respect for life" and "protection of marriage" isn't going to do squat.

Sources: CNS and the Boston Globe

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Memorial Acclamation 1: Why the third person use?

Priest: "Let us proclaim the mystery of faith."

People
: "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again."

Two things I'm not -- a liturgist and a theologian.


And I know that this acclamation has been around for eons, and is a favorite.
I only have one question, though:

Why?


It makes no sense to me. That is, I understand the Christ's death, resurrection, and second coming is a mystery of our faith.
But why are we "acclaiming" it as if Jesus had temporarily left the room?

I went to a dinner in honor of somebody once.


I forget who. But I do remember that various people stood up to give kudos to -- let's call him Seymour -- in the third person.

"Seymour is one heck of a guy."


"Seymour did thus and so to the benefit of our community."


"Seymour's work will continue to benefit all of us."

Okay. But each toast ended with a personal statement to Seymour! As in, "Seymour, thank you, we love ya, keep up the good work, etc."
My question is, if we can address Seymour in the first person -- after all, he was sitting at the place of honor -- why can't, or don't we always, do this for Jesus? Acknowledge His Real Presence, I mean.

Am I being horribly picky?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Novena to Mary for Cody

A friend avidly suggested a Novena from today, November 13 through The Feast of the Presentation of Mary, November 21, for Cody and his family. (Scroll down to posts about Cody...Blogger is acting up.)

Fasting is recommended. In any case, please pray the Miraculous Medal prayer at least three times daily:

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

May I also suggest an Our Father...we do, of course, want His Will to be done.

Thanks!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Elton John wants religion banned

From the "are you kidding?" files:

"I would ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it," the singer said in an interview with the Observer newspaper on Sunday.

"Religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it is not really compassionate."

Not really compassionate. Really?

In May, he [John] launched an expletive-laden tirade against the press at the Cannes film festival, telling photographers: "You should all be shot."

In 2004, he was filmed shouting at Taiwanese photographers for surprising him as he arrived at Taipei airport, calling them "rude, vile pigs".

It's usually not a good idea to pay attention to the rants of "celebrities." However, it is a good idea to pray for them...and to ask that they may be granted Courage.

Now that's compassion.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Cody update

Updated condition of Cody, whose aunt requested our prayers:

Dear Friends (some of whom I don't even know),

The outpouring of prayers has just been incredible.

I returned from Indiana this week and want to give you an update on Cody's progress and to ask for your continued prayer. Cody was in a drug induced coma for a full week to try to give his brain a chance to heal. On Monday, the 30th, he suffered a cardiac arrest in the middle of the night, but was revived with CPR and the 'paddles'. He was taken off of the heavy sedation the next day and it took nearly a week for the drug to leave his body. He has, since then, shown very tiny bits of improvement. On Wednesday, he responded very slightly to a pinch under the arm, but also contracted a blood infection called sepsis, as well as pneumonia. He has undergone two days of dialysis for his kidneys, a blood transfusion yesterday to combat the blood infection and as of this morning he is showing more signs of improvement. They have removed him from the brain gauge and drain and are replacing his main IV line. He is still a very sick young man, but at least, as of today, he is showing more responses to stimulation and seems to get irritated when they are manipulating his feeding tubes, IVs, etc...so I guess those are all good signs. Thank the Lord for baby steps.

This will be a very long battle for him and for his family and they are in need of many fervent prayers. We are all imploring Mary's intercession, we ask that she go to her son on behalf of their son. He is a very strong and determined young man and we are all very hopeful that he will come out of this with full recovery. But, we also know that it will take "storming the heavens" with prayer. Also, please pray for all of his many doctors and nurses who have been so diligent and untiring in their efforts to bring Cody out of this coma and full recovery and please add a prayer of thanksgiving for the progress he's made so far.

Thank you all for your continued prayer and please pass the prayer request on to anyone and everyone that is willing to become a prayer warrior for this family and their son. God Bless You!!

And may God bless you, and Cody and his family.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

To the Massachusetts State Legislature: You have the right to remain silent...

Well, jeepers, Marc Solomon of MassEquality can scarcely contain himself having heard that the so-called "legislators" of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts spit in the face of the state's citizens by once again recessing the Constitional Convention without taking up an amendment which would define "marriage" as a union between one man and one woman.

"This is the right outcome," said Solomon. "Today, the Legislature sided with the majority of people in Massachusetts who believe that marriage equality is good for families and communities and that it's time for government to move on to other pressing matters."

Uh...Marc? If the "majority of people in Massachusetts" feels as you do, how come your group spent so much dough making sure the people of Massachusetts couldn't vote on the issue?

No surprises here, though. The law-makers of this state have not only thumbed their noses at their bosses -- the citizens -- but also at the Supreme Judicial Court which, nearly three years ago, ordered the august body to craft "new marriage laws" within 6 months of its infamous Goodrich vs. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health. It's pathetic.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the law-makers evidently have no respect for the law.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bishop Morlino message follow up

Bishop Robert Morlino's taped message didn't seem to have much negative fallout. For those of you who expressed interest, here's a report.

Of course, the story starts out with some guy walking out, but the headline says it all.

And the money paragraph:

For some Catholics, Morlino had gone too far by inserting politics directly into the sanctuary and by slapping a gag order on priests. But others cheered. Finally, they said, a tough- love church leader willing to state the obvious and herd a sometimes wayward flock back into line.

Amen.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"...but deliver us from evil. AMEN."

I always enjoy Zenit, particularly Father McNamara's "Liturgy" answers. Today he addresses -- or rather answers a question -- that is near and dear to my heart.

"Why no `Amen' at the end of the Our Father?"

Why not, indeed? I'm not talking about the Lord's Prayer in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There, as Father McNamara clearly explains, the "Amen" is said...after the Prayer for Peace.

But the reader isn't talking about Mass.

He's referring to the -- in my opinion -- rather awkward omission of the word "Amen" (roughly translated as "so be it") after the Our Father during, for example, the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, in the Liturgy of the Hours, and so forth. This is wacky, although perhaps understandable. As Father McNamara puts it:

Our reader has made a very interesting point and illustrates an example of an unintended consequence of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council.

Indeed.

Still, omitting the "Amen" after praying the prayer that Jesus taught us isn't a good thing. If you're praying the Our Father with others, please remember to end it with the affirmation:

AMEN.

Thank you.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bishop Morlino outta have his own blog!

From Bishop Robert C. Morlino's latest "Open Letter to Wisconsin Residents:"

The truth about the human person revealed by reason alone should be supported by the state and in some instances by law. It is a fact that our state law currently recognizes the truth that marriage is between one husband and one wife. But it is also a fact that legislators and judges in other states, with similar laws, have taken it upon themselves to change the definition of marriage - which they have no right to do. Because it is defined by the natural law, no one, not the Church and not the State, has the right to redefine marriage as anything but one man and one woman, one lifetime, with openness to children. By adding the definition of marriage to our State Constitution, we can protect it from being illegitimately altered by judges or legislators.

And you've gotta read his homily at the Rite of Election last Lent. Talk about warning incoming Catholics about what they're in for...and with such joy and hope!

When you receive your Baptism, and your Confirmation, and your Eucharist, you're not being strengthened by the Holy Spirit for nothing, you're not being strengthened by the Holy Spirit for a cruise, as nice as that is. You're being strengthened by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the truth with love, the truth about God, the truth about the dignity of the human person, and in a very concrete way in our country and in our state in the coming months, the truth about marriage. Dear Lord, please give every one of us the grace to take up our mission, and if we get a bloody nose along the way, give us the grace to take it and keep smiling. Praised be Jesus Christ!

Makes me even happier to be a Roman Catholic...bloody noses and all. Do read this Bishop's stuff!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bishop: Play recorded homily on life or suffer "serious consequences"

MADISON, WI, November 2, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bishop Robert C. Morlino is a man of courage. The 59-year-old who has been a bishop for seven years, serving the last three in the diocese of Madison, has taken steps to ensure that his teaching on voting in favour of life and family get transmitted to the faithful.

After hearing reports of "isolated cases" of priests refusing to convey, or even publicly contradicting, the bishops' messages on these important topics, he went to the extraordinary step of ordering all of the priests in his diocese to play a recorded message of his own at weekend Masses on November 4-5 in the place of the homily.

. . .

To demonstrate the gravity of the matter, Bishop Morlino warned of "serious consequences" for priests who would contradict the vital teachings of the church in these matters. "I must make it very clear that any verbal or non-verbal expression of disagreement with this teaching on the part of the priest will have to be considered by myself as an act of disobedience, which could have serious consequences," he said.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy All Saints Day!

A favorite day for me, and I hope for you, too. Get to know a saint and grab yourself a friend!

Enjoy, and may all the saints pray for you...and for me. Hey, we all want to be in that number!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Prayer request: Cody

In the mailbox:

Our dear friend just called from Indiana with a request for immediate and fervent prayers for her nephew Cody, who suffered severe head trauma during a high school football game Friday, October 20th. Cody has been in a drug-induced coma. His condition is extremely critical and life threatening; prayer and a miracle are his only hope now. Our friend asked that you pray that God use His Power to heal Cody, if it is His will. Implore Mary to go to her Son for a miracle. Pray to Our Lord and His Mother to hold all of them close and comfort them. Our friend trusts in His will and knows that His Power and Grace are sufficient and will carry them through, but right now it is so hard for all of them.

Thank you for your prayers.

Monday, October 30, 2006

In a snit about Latin, James Carroll gets it wrong...again

There's so much bosh in Former Altar Boy/Present Dissident James Carroll's Boston Globe op-ed today it's difficult to know where to start, but his attempt to make Protestant William Tyndale into a martyr seems as good a place as any.

The prophet of English translation was a priest named William Tyndale, whose version of the New Testament appeared in 1526. A decade later, precisely for this translation, he was burned as a heretic...

Not quite. First, the implication that the burning was done by the Church should be corrected. It wasn't. Tyndale was arrested by the secular Holy Roman Empire (which at the time was neither Roman nor particularly holy) and ultimately executed.

Indeed, the Church did condemn Tyndale's "translation" and with good reason. Not only was it laden with errors -- Tyndale was no scholar -- but it contained a prologue filled with condemnations of the Church of Rome.

Even after his own break with Rome, King Henry VIII, the self-styled head of the Church of England, condemned Tyndale's work, forbidding his subjects to read it.

Carroll ends his piece with a swipe at the Holy Father:

One still hears of Catholic nostalgia for the Latin Mass. Classicists regret the loss of the Church's museum function. Esthetes decry the banalizing of liturgy in which all worshippers are fully able to participate. More pointedly, reactionaries have never stopped campaigning for the restoration of Latin, understanding its twin significance as symbol and pillar of the old order. Unsurprisingly, that campaign has been reinvigorated lately, with a blessing from Pope Benedict -- a futile shoring up of a rapidly collapsing clericalism.

First of all, Carroll's confusing the "Latin Mass" with the Tridentine Mass. Any priest can celebrate the Mass of the Second Vatican Council in Latin -- and many do! Many parishes bring Latin into the Mass...the Agnus Dei and the Sanctus, for examples, on a regular basis.

Secondly, the notion that the desire for Latin is based on "nostalgia" is utter hogwash. Some of the most ardent supporters of the Tridentine Mass I know weren't even born before Vatican II!

Finally, there's this flat-out piece of fiction:

Once Catholics entered into the mystery of the Mass as literate participants instead of as dumb spectators, an unprecedented renewal took hold. The vitality and warmth of today's typical liturgy, involving intelligible encounters with sacred texts, has Catholic parishes surprisingly full, even in a time of widespread disillusionment with clerical leadership.

Nope. Most Catholics don't "participate" in Sunday Mass at all. Where's Mister Carroll been?

For an interesting article that sheds light on William Tyndale, see This Rock, December 2002.


Friday, October 27, 2006

Anti-Catholic "Halloween Costumes"

Google the words "Happy Priest Costume" and what do you get? Over a million hits for stores selling "erotic" priest and pregant nun costumes. This is supposed to be "funny."

It's not funny.

If you tried, as I did, to protest every single outlet selling these outrageous things, you'd be at your computer until next All Saints Day.

There's another way.

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property simplifies the process. Click here to register your protest.

Thank you! Please pray for folks selling this stuff...my hope is that they "know not what they do."

P.S. Am I the only one who really hates Halloween, anyway?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Examination of conscience: The seventh commandment

Thou shalt not steal.

I think I can comfortably assure myself and my conscience that I have not pilfered a Jaguar since my last confession.

But is larceny all this commandment speaks of?

How can this commandment be broken?

Things that come to my mind include the arenas of business, social life, school, sports, and of course, the IRS.

Any thoughts?

May God continue to bless you...and may that thief who "stole his way into Heaven" by trusting in Jesus on Calvary pray for us!

Monday, October 23, 2006

"Taps": night prayer for the military

I've never served in the armed forces. My dad did, and most of my male relatives did, and friends and family members still do.

And so I'm grateful to Major Daniel Butterfield for composing "Taps."

While no "official" lyrics exist, or so I'm told, the most popular words to this lullabye are these:

Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky.
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

Then good night, peaceful night,
Till the light of the dawn shineth bright,
God is near, do not fear...friend, good-night.

Click here to listen. And please remember all soldiers everywhere in your prayers.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Ah...Confession!

Last night, Saturday, I was a mad woman. A maniac. There were two major events in Boston and I found myself caught in a traffic horror that, even for Boston, was insane.

Instead of using the time to reflect, to pray, heck, to listen to a CD even...I chose to curse. Road rage claimed me and I cooperated with it whole heartedly. To top it all off, I got into a ridiculous argument over a parking space at a store I sincerely did not want to stop at, and then finished my commute by making an obscene gesture at some poor person who, no doubt accidentally, cut me off when I finally got close to my home.

I knew I was in the state of sin. I crept to my little prayer room, apologized as best I could to the Lord, and prayed for Reconciliation.

I got it.

God was good to me and before Mass, I was able to make my confession to a priest and to receive absolution. It would have been more than enough to know that I was forgiven.

But I got the bonus: grace!

Actually, my penance was to pray for the virtue of patience...even in a Boston traffic jam. Which I did. (To tell the truth, patience is a virtue I pray for often!)

This evening a miracle happened.

Once again, I found myself driving home, and realized I needed to stop at the drugstore. After paying for my purchases, I discovered that a double-parker had trapped me (a common enough Bostonian occurrence.) A lady in the passenger's side of the car told me that her mother was in the store...and then began to honk frantically, trying to alert her mom.

I did good...with God's grace.

I laughed and told the lady I wasn't in a hurry and not to worry about it. She insisted on going into the store to retrieve her mom, but, as she was holding an infant, I told her to relax. Sauntering back into the store, I glanced around, feeling oddly peaceful, and bumped into an old friend checking out her purchases. We chatted as she completed the transaction, walked out together...and, what d'ye know, she got into the car that "trapped" me! For reasons known only to God, we all burst out laughing. And I drove home in peace.

Confession is a really good thing.

Not just for the absolution, which is miraculous and totally unmerited...but for the grace.

I recommend the Sacrament highly!