Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pray for Deacons!

Kathy Schiffer has a great post on our first martyr, patron of deacons. Kathy's a deacon's wife herself!

Friday, December 13, 2013

I met Jesus today, just outside the CVS

As I was leaving the CVS this evening, a lady approached me, asking for any spare change. I rooted through my pockets, only to remember that I'd forgotten to fill them with quarters, as I usually do for instances just like this one.

I profusely tried to apologize to the lady, telling her that I usually had some money, but had forgotten, please forgive me, could I get something for her with my charge card in the store…babbling, really.

She stopped me cold.

"Well, God bless you, honey, and stop the damn apologizing! You care, and that's enough for me. Merry Christmas, child!"

I…well, I couldn't help myself. I threw myself into her arms and hugged her almost as tightly as she hugged me. Embarrassed, I caught myself -- or so I thought -- and tried to apologize again."

"Hush, now, baby. Go on, get home, it's cold out here!" (It was. It's freezing here tonight.)

As I rushed off, I heard her say to -- who? God? A friend? Or is there no difference? --

"Damn. That hug was LOVE! I needed that more than I needed any money. God bless her."

Trudging home, I realized I'd met Jesus. Thank you, my Best Friend!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Bishop Tobin Says Just the Right Thing About Nelson Mandela (h/t Kathy Schiffer)

Concerned or confused about the late Nelson Mandela? Bishop Tobin (thanks, Kathy Schiffer) puts it in perspective here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

You don't have to be a "racist" to identify a lie

"Joe Wilson said “You lie” because the President lied.  Not because he was a black liar—just because he was a liar."

Read Kathy Schiffer's excellent post on the difference between being a racist and being correct here.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

"Moving Mountains and Mulberry Trees"

The Lord replied, "If you have the faith the size of a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, `Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."

Okay, Lord. Only…um…why would I want to move a mulberry tree? Or a mountain? 

This passage, and the similar ones in the synoptics, have always left me a tad bemused. I mean, hey, moving a mountain or a huge tree would impress my friends, but other than that…what's the point?

The point? Jesus wasn't given to doing parlor tricks.

His miracles, much to King Herod's dismay, weren't for entertainment purposes. 

Wait. Parenthetical comment coming up here.

(Okay, maybe one was. That rather playful miracle he did for Peter about that pesky temple tax and the fish with the coin in its mouth, which always cracked me up. See Matthew 17:24-27, and let's end the parenthetical comment.)

Anyway…what's your mountain? Or your mulberry tree?

Both are huge. Both can be obstacles. Neither are insurmountable. If you have faith.

A mountain can get in our way, big time. So can a huge tree. What do we do? Sit down and cry, wishing it would go away? Well, we can, of course. But would it do any good?

Nah. But while wishing isn't all that effective, faith really is.


If we have faith—trust—in God Who loves us, the mountain or tree might not go away, but the obstacles it places in your path sure as bleep will.

Which is the exact same thing as moving it…or dumping it into the sea. Because if a mountain or a tree, or a job loss, or a loss of a loved one, or sickness, or hunger, or a messed up relationship, or anything horrible you or I have experienced, or will experience—if we allow any of these things to defeat us…to make us throw in the ol' towel? Then we're the losers. The mountain or tree wins. Not a good move.

A good move is to move ourselves away from the mountain and/or tree. Because that's equal to moving them.

And the only way to do that? Faith. Trust in God. Faith that, no matter what mountains or trees, or seemingly insurmountable obstacles standing in our way are just so much nothingness when compared to what our God can do for us. If we trust Him. If we have faith in Him. If, like a little kid who truly believes that, no matter how much his skinned knee, or her terrible illness, hurts like hell right now, Mom or Dad really can do something to make it better. And if Mom or Dad can, how much more can our Heavenly Father?

So let's move it!

The only way to get though this exile unscathed and unblemished lies in faith in our God. Our faith in His everlasting Love, and in His splendid plan for you and for me.

Believe in Him. Trust in Him. Know that the bad stuff is fleeting and the good stuff is eternal.

And eternity is a really long, long time. Think about that the next time you run into a mountain or a mulberry tree.

It'll more than likely move…right before your very eyes!

May God continue to bless you.




Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Our Prayer:" My Mom, Marie Kelly's prayer to Our Lady, 1940

Our Prayer

Oh Virgin Pure,
Oh Virgin Fair,
Sweet Mary, lily white,
Keep us in Thy loving care,
Protect us, day and night.

Watch o'er us when
The days are dark
With life's great trouble
And strife—

Keep within us
A burning spark
A Love for eternal life.

Keep vigil, sweetest Mother dear
When Satan aims his arrow of sin.
Coat our souls with an armor of fear
Of Hell's precocious din.

Please give us Thy helping hand
When we stumble
In erring way.
Deliver us from the Devil's snare,
Protect us, we humbly pray!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Pope Francis Answers an Atheist's Questions, and Reaches Out to Unbelievers

"I do not think he will respond," wrote prominent Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari, in La Republica, a newspaper he co-founded, and Italy's most popular. An atheist, Dr. Scalfari challenged the Holy Father to explain some key points in the scriptures.

Pope Francis did respond, however, as Kathy Schiffer reports here.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

What Do You Give to the Woman Who Has Everything?

Okay, so, officially, Mary's Birthday was bumped because it falls on a Sunday. But that doesn't mean we can't celebrate it! What we need to do is to give her—the Woman Who Has Everything—something she really wants.

And I think I've got it.

The Lady likes to pray.

Scratch that. She loves to pray. She loves to intercede for us No kidding, she really loves doing this!

And hey, how about this? Sunday's—her birthday's—readings? They focus on wisdom!

So. What better present to give to Our Blessed Mother than to 1) honor her as the Seat of Wisdom that she is and 2) ask for the prayers we all know shewants to give us? Make sense? Great! Here we go…


~~~~~~~
Litany to Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, on the 
Wonderful Occasion of Her Nativity

O Most Blessed Virgin Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for me.

For the wisdom to know that God is in charge, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to know when to speak, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to know when silence is preferable, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to discern God's will at all times, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to understand that God's love extends to all human beings, 
Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to recognize your Son, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in all whom I encounter, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to pray for those whom I hold dear, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to pray for those who have hurt me, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to pray for those I dislike, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to pray for those I perceive to be my enemies, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to strive to emulate your humility, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to always echo your "yes" to God's will, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to embrace ills and sufferings as opportunities to unite myself to Jesus on the Cross, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to put others before myself, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to firmly reject deceit, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to embrace honesty at all times, despite any temporal cost, 
Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to recognize that storing up heavenly treasures that last is infinitely preferable to grasping for earthly treasures that fade away, 
Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to immediately depend and seek reconciliation with God when I sin, 
Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to love God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my strength, 
Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to love my neighbor as myself, Mary my Mother, pray for me.

For the wisdom to hold fast to my faith, despite any obstacles placed in my way, 
Mary my Mother, pray for me.

~~~~~
All-holy Father, Eternal God, in your goodness you prepared a royal throne for your Wisdom in the womb of the  Blessed Virgin Mary; bathe your Church in the radiance of your life-giving Word, that, pressing forward on its pilgrim way in the light of your truth, it may come to the joy of a perfect knowledge of your love. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, pray for us!

(and hey, Mom...Happy Birthday!)

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Roman Catholic Priests: For Your Own GOOD…

….please stop mucking around with the words of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in order to make me (a) feel "included" or (b) "express yourselves"

Just three examples.

1.) When you purify your hands…

Do NOT AUDIBLY say: "Lord, wash away our iniquities, cleanse us from our sins."

Say, (quietly) and mean it: "Wash me O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin"

Here's why. First? You're a sinner, Padre. You haven't a bleeping clue about my sins but you sure know about yours. Second, and maybe even more important, this gives me a chance to pray for YOU and YOUR forgiveness. Don't blow it. I'm not a priest. You are. Remember that.

2.) At the Orate Fratres…

DON'T say anything like "Pray my dear brothers and sisters, that TOGETHER, our sacrifice…" blah blah blah. Those ain't the words, Father. The precise and beautiful words are "Pray brethren (you can substitute "brethren" with "brothers and sisters" if you wish although personally I find this tacky but it's allowed and it's the ONLY variant you're allowed) that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the Almighty Father."

"What's the big deal?" you might ask. If you do, the answer is twofold. One, because that's the way it's written. (This answer is for those of you who are too lazy to THINK.) The real answer? Because it's YOUR sacrifice, primarily, Padre. Yes, it's also ours, but primarily? It's yours. In Persona Christi. Look it up. You'll note that we respond: "May the Lord accept the sacrifice at YOUR hands…"

(Sheesh, is it really for the sheep to guide the shepherds? Evidently at times it is.)

3.) Before receiving with the Lord… 

Do NOT PROCLAIM, loudly or otherwise:

"May the Body of Christ, bring us ALL to everlasting life" or any other such pious but really stupid, given the circumstances, words.

Padre o' mine. Again, you're a sinner. You've just done an awesome thing. By the power of God you've changed bread and wine into the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of JESUS CHRIST!!! Personally I think you should be quivering all over and not worrying about, in your imbecilic albeit well-intentioned way, the "feelings" of your "guests." You are NOT hosting a bleeping TEA PARTY here, Padre. You are about to receive Jesus into your soul and if this isn't the time to say these words then I'll be bleeped if I know when the proper time is! Just pray (again, inaudibly…we all know what you are, or should be, praying):

May the Body of Christ keep me safe for eternal life.

Do the same thing before consuming His Precious Blood:

May the Blood of Christ keep me safe for eternal life.

Kindly, at this most intimate moment, keep me and everybody else out of it. You fool! Don't you realize that when you start acting like Holy Hostess with your "inclusive" words, you're interrupting those of us who are praying for YOU?

Okay, that's it for now. Believe me, this hurt me than it hurt you (and you know who you are). At worst, Father? Just follow the Missal. At best? Pray it.

May God continue to bless you.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Come back...I swear, it's not too late...

From Saint Augustine:
Late have I loved you, Beauty so ancient and so new, late have I love you!
Lo, you were within, but I outside, seeking there for you, and upon the shapely things you have made  rushed headlong—I, misshapen.
You were with me, but I was not with you.
They held me back from from you, those things which would have no being, were they not in you.
You called, shouted, broke through my deafness: you flared, blazed, banished my blindness you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you;
I tasted you, and how I hunger and thirst; you touched me, and burned for your peace.

~~~~~
Response:

Let Truth, the Light of my heart, speak to me, and not the voice of my own darkness. I wandered far away, yet I remembered you. See, now I return to your fountain, with longing and a burning thirst.

I myself am not the goal of my own existence. Left to myself, I lived in sin, bringing death upon myself. In you I have discovered life.  See, now I return to your fountain, with longing and a burning thirst.

~~~~~

Here's the thing: if I came back to our Holy Mother Church, anybody can. Yes, even you!

May God continue to bless you…and welcome you back to His arms. Amen.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dear Leadership Conference of Women Religious: Huh?

In her address to the assembly, LCWR president Sister Florence Deacon, OSF presented reflections on what it means to be a faithful woman of the church as a framework for a way forward in LCWR’s relationships with church leaders. Referring to LCWR’s doctrinal assessment, she concluded, “Our situation reflects larger questions and concerns such as the ongoing implementation of the Second Vatican Council; the ecclesial roles of women religious and of the laity, especially women; understandings of authority, faithful dissent, and obedience; and the need for spaces where honest, probing questions about faith and belief can be raised and discussed.”

Personally? I don't get it. I don't get what "faithful dissent" means. I mean, I understand that many saints—Joan of Arc, Theresa of Avila, and Bernadette come easily to mind—had to argue…strenuously!…with the Powers That Were about what they saw, and what they believed.

But "faithful dissent?"

Also, I don't get the concern about the "ecclesial roles of woman religious and of the laity, especially women…" [emphasis mine, but really…come on].

Freud once asked "What do women want?"

The Lady in the Pew asks: "What do `Women Religious Leaders'" (an oxymoron if I've ever heard one) really want?

Here's the whole press release…I mean, do religious sisters generally give out press releases? 

I admit it. I don't get them. I really, truly, do not understand them. But then, maybe it's the pant suits. I'm not being snarky…it's just that, to me, Roman Catholic sisters are sisters and lay women are lay women. And these…ladies…seem to want to have the respect due to their orders…and the power—yes, the secular power!—of their lay sisters in Christ. You tell me. What am I missing?

Monday, August 19, 2013

What pro-lifers really do (and no, it's not harassing The Right to Choose)

My "pro-choice" friends aren't going go like this and you know what? I don't give a bleep. From an email conversation between Carol McKinley (aka, alas, That Nut) and me, Her Fellow Nut, today:

~~~~~~~~~~~

[no subject]


Hi, I am at work and need to be brief.  Sorry!

There are a few pregnant homeless people that are hanging at south station. Is the Sancta Maria House full?  What is the procedure?

I tried calling but got a mechanical voice that told me to call back.

Thanks and love

Sent from my iPhone

~~~~~
Subject: Homeless Pregnant Ladies

Hi Carol,

Since you're the one advocating, you need to call Sancta Maria House: 617-423-4366. They open the doors for women in the early evening…I'm not sure what time. Sharon Dias is the current house mother now that Mary's retired and at Marion Manor. Tell who answers the phone that you're friends with Sharon.

Your other option, and this might be better since the ladies are pregnant, is Friends of the Unborn in Quincy. 617-786-7903. Tell them you're friends with Marilyn Birnie, who's also retired, but still is active. Friends can keep them longer…I think Sancta Maria has a week limitation.

God love you for doing this,

Kelly
~~~~~~~~
Subject: Re: Homeless Pregnant Ladies

Kelly, thanks.  

I think one of them may have a drug issue but she claims she is sober.  

Does Marilyn's place take people with drug issues, I thought not...but will call both. Thank you so much for guidance and suggestions!

Love,

Sent from my iPhone
~~~~~~~~~~~
Both do…but neither one *allows* drugs or alcohol. Sheesh, if they didn't take women with drug issues, they'd have *plenty* o' room :-)

Friends of the Unborn, I think, is probably the best bet, because they're tailored to pregnant women, not just homeless women.

Thanks!

XOXO

Kelly
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Subject: Re: Homeless Pregnant Ladies

Ha.  LOL.  Sometimes I am stupid.  Hahaha.

Thanks Kelly and love.

Sent from my iPhone
~~~~~~~~

Subject: Re: Homeless Pregnant Ladies

:-)

You're what being pro-life is all about.
~~~~~
Subject: Re: Homeless Pregnant Ladies

I am only leading the horses to the real heroes!

Thanks for your kind words Kelly.

Sent from my iPhone

~~~~~~~~~~

So. I don't know what happened to our friends at South Station. But I do know something else. People who allege that pro-life women are [fill in the blank…you know what they say] are filled with you know what.

This isn't an extraordinary scenario. It is not at all unusual for a person to concern herself with his her or fellow men or women.

"Pro-choicers" (and yes, I put them in quotes because I simply don't believe in them) would love to think that people like Carol don't give a bleep about anybody.

Sweets? You're wrong. And if you're a "pro choice person," tell me something: when was the last time you gave "Pregnant Homeless Persons" a choice at all?

Yep. I didn't think so.

May God continue to bless you.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Preach it, Father Jim Doran, OMV!

Homily by Father James Doran, OMV, Sunday, August 18, at Saint Francis Chapel, Boston













Why was the prophet Jeremiah thrown into a cistern, a well? It was because he told the truth as God revealed it to him. King Zedekiah of Judah did not want to convert and submit so he rejected Jeremiah's warning that Judah would be overrun by the Babylonians. The king had Jeremiah thrown into the empty cistern and Jeremiah sunk into the mud. Jeremiah prays and is rescued from the well. Our response is in Psalm 40. "I have waited." 
His prophecy came true. The Babylonians breached the city walls. The king Zedekiah and his soldiers fled. They were captured. Zedekiah's sons were brought into his presence and slain. Zedekiah's eyes were put out and he was taken to Babylon in chains. Meanwhile, the prophet Jeremiah was spared and released. 
Jeremiah's story is seen as a prefigurement of Jesus's Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Jesus was handed over by Pilate to the Jews, descended into Hell, and was raised from the dead. King Zedekiah was defeated in spite of all his power and political skill. Jeremiah preached the word of God without diluting it in any way. Even though he knew it was unpopular and could get him killed, he stayed faithful. In the end, Jeremiah was saved and Zedekiah was not. 
"I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!" Fire is often used to describe God's love for men. The images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus show a Heart wounded and bleeding, but in flames for love of sinners. "I must be baptized, and how great is My anguish until it is accomplished!" The word "baptism" comes from a Greek word that means to be dipped or submerged. Jesus, at this point, is not talking about John the Baptist's baptism. Jesus has already been baptized by John in the river Jordan. He is talking about being submerged into His Passion and Death. He could not wait to save humanity through that ordeal. Perhaps He could not wait to get it over with. 
"Do you think I have come to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division." Saint Cyril comments on this passage: "What are You saying, Lord? Didn't You say, `peace I leave you, My peace I give you?'  
However, the peace of Christ is not as the world considers peace. The world offers a false peace to those who cooperate with evil." 
Don't say anything about an unjust situation and you will be taken care of. Just go along with corruption and immorality and everything will be all right. They are murdering babies in hospitals and clinics but don't say anything. Keep the peace. Women and children are being exploited in the sex trade, human trafficking. The abortion industry is the silent killer that devours women and children, and silence facilitates it, enabling it to go on and on. 
Blessed are these who stand up, who take to the streets; those who pray and protest and choose not to empower pro-abortion candidates. Those who empower them share in their crimes. 
"Do you think I have to establish peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. A man's foes will be those of his own household…" [Matthew 10:36] 
This past Friday two ladies were praying outside Planned Parenthood on Commonwealth Avenue when a couple came out and walked straight over to them. "We are not going to have the abortion," said the man. When one lady asked what prompted the change of heart, he said "I just knew what we were doing was wrong." 
Yesterday a couple stopped to listen to a pro life counselor for a moment on their way into the clinic. They came back out after about a half an hour and said they'd changed their minds. One of the people exchanged phone numbers with the couple and promised to get them a crib. 
That is the 46th baby saved between Haverhill, Brookline, and Boston in 2013. 
My brothers and sisters, "Since we are surrounded by so great a crowd of witnesses" for life, "let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us." Let us shake off the apathy and indifference about saving lives. "Let us persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of Faith. Consider how He endured such opposition from sinners, in order that you may not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood." 
You have not even been cast into a cistern!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Orlando, Nazareth, and a Cell: a study in contrasts

Well, I know you're all on tenderhooks in anticipation of the meeting of those amazingly humble ladies, humbly known as the LEADERSHIP Conference of WOMEN religious.

Here's where they're meeting.













Here's where Mary, Joseph, and Jesus lived.


Here's where your typical Carmelite nun lives.


Tuesday, August 06, 2013

My Aunt Caryl's gift: my family contacts

From a letter I wrote to my Aunt Caryl Maloney, who died today.

Spring 2010

Dear Aunt Caryl,

Thank you for your letter! And your handwriting is fine, beautiful even. Mine isn't, so you must forgive this typed letter.

I was saddened to learn about the deaths in our family. I have such happy memories of all of them. I remember Diane so well. We were "best-friend-cousins" when we were young. Our parents would often "swap kids" for a couple of weeks each summer. I'd stay with Aunt Anesta and Uncle Freddy's family, and Diane's sister Donna would stay with my family. Diane—and I remember this like it was yesterday!—first told me about the "facts of life." I do hope Aunt Anesta is at least comfortable. And how inspiring it is to me that Aunt Adele rallied from a stroke to take care of Uncle Ira. I've prayed for them all, of course, and look forward to continuing to do so.

It's always such a joy to hear about your activities. I can just picture you with the girls you went to school with. I hope you manage to stay out of trouble! (Just kidding!)

You must be awfully proud of your kids and grandchildren. I love hearing about them. Do give them my love.

Yes, Kenny has been my best friend since my Bill died in 1986, and we've been business partners since then. A year ago last Easter I shattered my foot and Ken took care of me since I couldn't do much. He cooked my meals, drove me to physical therapy—you name it and he was always there for me. It finally occurred to me that I was in love with him! And so, after gathering up my courage, I proposed to him and we were married last Easter Sunday. I'm very happy. Our business has it's ups and downs, but we're managing. The wedding was relatively small, but do you know what made it special? My late husband's family—we've remained close all these years—came from all over the country to the wedding! It was wonderful!

I'd love to see your pictures. Better yet, why not ask Jimmy or Patty or Peggy—or one of your grandkids—to scan them and email them to me! I'd love to hear from them. Tell them (or just show this letter to them) that my email address is KClark@mindspring.com—they'll know what to do. And if any of them are on Facebook, they can "friend" me: my Facebook name is "Kelly Thatcher." If this makes no sense to you, I understand…feel free to show this letter to any or all of them. It would be really wonderful for us to keep in touch and Facebook makes it easy.

Thank you so much for your good wishes, Aunt Caryl. Buzzy and Sharon are fine. Sharon is semi-retired from her law practice, and Buzzy's boys both have good jobs. No, neither one is married yet…we keep hoping!

God bless you, Aunt Caryl, for keeping me in the "family loop." You were always so good about that. I remember my mother being so grateful to you for including her in all the news, particularly after my dad died.

You take good care of yourself, okay? And do give my love to the kids and grandkids!

Much love and prayers,

Patty


Monday, August 05, 2013

Taking back the real definition of "feminism"

I love the National Catholic Register, for the most part, but in this case I think the amazingly talented Sue Ellen might've missed the boat…just a tad. Not even a tad: a scintilla, if that.

In her article, called "Meet the Bold `New Feminists," Sue does—and I applaud her for this—put the term "New Feminism" in the quotes it so well deserves.

Because the women she's talking about—Helene Alvare, Kim Daniels, Terry Polakovic, Mary Meehan, Erika Bachiochi, The Feminists for Life women—to say nothing of women like, well, me and many others like me? We're not "new." We're the real deal.

Even my Apple Dictionary says so.
The issue of rights for women first became prominent during the French and American revolutions in the late 18th century. In Britain it was not until the emergence of the suffragette movement in the late 19th century that there was significant political change. A "second wave" [emphasis mine, but not the quotes] of feminism arose in the 1960s, with an emphasis on unity and sisterhood.

My Apple Dictionary doesn't mention "and on the right to abort children" but hell, this is my blog and I'm going to take up where my friend the dictionary leaves off.

The emphasis on the NEW feminism born in the 1960s had pretty much everything to do with the "right" to "terminate pregnancy"…and still does.

But I don't have to tell you that. Just google the phrase "abortion rights history" and you'll see those bell-bottomed, braless, long-haired, granny-specs-wearing babes carrying signs saying really intelligent stuff like "My body, myself," and "Abortion rights now"…soon to be added slogans include the delightfully "pro woman" attack on Catholicism's most venerated mortal (uh…she's a woman): "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries." (The newbies couldn't rhyme then and they're not all that talented now.)

However, Sue recovers nicely and slam-dunks her point.
Early suffragists…woman like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony…"were pro-lifers who opposed abortion as an exploitation of women," said Serrin Foster…"The same women who fought for the rights of slaves to be free and the rights of women to vote also fought for the unborn to be born…"

Serrin Foster follows up with a slam-dunk of her own:
…by embracing abortion, NOW [the National Organization for Women; I know, it's been a long time since they've had any impact at all and so therefore the explanation of whom they are, or rather, were. They're the group that couldn't get the Equal Rights Amendment passed even though every president in office at the time of their pushing it favored it…but I digress. Sort of.] essentially betrayed woman and let universities and workplaces off the hook. Rather than having to provide housing, maternity care, flextime and other resources to pregnant women, university administrators and employers could simply say "It's your baby, your choice. If you want to give birth, that's your private choice, but we have no further obligation to you."

In other words, the "tyro feminists" screwed women royally.

They still are. I mean, one of—if not the—main reason for "terminating a pregnancy? The baby's not the preferred gender…she's a girl. And I'm talking about you, Margaret Sanger, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Melissa Etheridge, Uma Thurman, Demi Moore, Jane Fonda, and the rest of you. It's time for you to retire from the "feminist" scene. You're history. Worse? You're not even cool anymore!

So, ladies? Let's cut the bull and take our description back. Feminism: the advocacy of the rights of women to be equal to those of men on the grounds of the right to life, the right to have our say in the running of the country, the right to equal wages for equal work…and the right to bear children without economic and/or social punishment.

May God continue to bless you.


Monday, July 29, 2013

"After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?I'

The publication: Journal of Medical Ethics
The date published online: 23 February 2012
The authors: Alberto Giubilini and rancesca Minevra

The abstract:
"Abortion is largely accepted even for reasons that do not have anything to do with the fetus' health. By showing that (1) both fetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons, (2) the fact that both are potential persons is morally irrelevant and (3) adoption is not always in the best interest of actual people, the authors argue that what we call `after-birth abortion' (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled."
Okay, you might hate me for this but here's the thing. The authors are entirely correct given the abortion-logic of these times.

I've seen comments on this article expressing horror. I'm horrified, too…except that I'm pro-life and am horrified by abortion. Period. The horror of "pro-choice" people does not impress me, God forgive me. Sin is ugly and I'm not impressed by ugliness nor am I by sin.

These two people are merely taking the abortion-logic one tiny—and I mean baby-steps tiny—further.

They are merely following the logic of those who would willingly kill an unborn baby for reasons of convenience, gender, health—you name it, they'll find a way to justify the killing.

You say you're shocked? If you're "pro-choice," this astounds me.

May God continue to bless you.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

"Don't Bother Me! I'm PRAYING!" (and other non sequiturs)

I heard an interesting homily by Father Peter Gojuk, OMV, at Saint Francis Chapel in Boston a couple of weeks ago. It was about prayer.

Seems the founder of another Marian-centered order, The Oblates of Mary Immaculate, was in a chapel with a young seminarian, the latter reading his Office. A poor man entered the chapel begging for alms. The seminarian informed the man that he was busy at prayer.

The founder—Saint Eugene De Mazenod—promptly arose from his pew, snatched his breviary from the seminarian, and threw it across the chapel. "He," the saint thundered at the hapless seminarian, pointing at the beggar, "is WHY you pray THIS!" he cried, pointing at the flying prayer book.

There's a lesson to be learned here for all of us…for me, anyway.

At Saint Francis Chapel, there's evidently a rule against pan-handling in the church. Actually, given the location of the place, this makes sense to me. It's in the middle of a shopping mall, and nobody from the Chapel would report anybody asking for dough outside the Chapel doors.

Today, though, a man came into the Chapel, about a quarter to Benediction.

We were all either openly adoring the exposed Sacrament, or had our noses into our devotions. And suddenly the man said something rather loudly:

YOU MUST LOVE GOD! YOU MUST LOVE JESUS CHRIST! HE IS OUR SALVATION!

A few people—including yours truly—looked at him, waiting for him to go on. And go on he did. Saying pretty much what we're all supposed to know, or at least be reminded of. Yes, perhaps he was preaching to the choir…but still, I was interested in what he had to say.

A lady in the pew across from me waved at me frantically, whispering loudly: "Kelly! Go tell the priest to call security!"

I thought this was a silly idea. What should I tell the priest? "Please call security…someone's telling us to love God!"?

Okay, so maybe the guy wasn't the return of John the Baptist, and quite possibly, one of his screws were loose.

Or maybe he was a friend of God.

In any case, a nice man in another pew rose quietly, spoke a few words to him, and led him out of the Chapel gently, where he seemed to have a quiet conversation with him.

Later…after Benediction, Mass, and the Rosary…

The frantically waving lady came over to me and loudly whispered: "WE have a policy here. Whenever Something Like That happens, WE call Security!"

Alas. I told her to buzz off. I shouldn't have done that. I should've said "please buzz off."

But it got me to thinking. (Okay, everybody, I DO think occasionally, so cut the giggles, okay?)

My husband and I run a business together out of our home. [Yes, I linked it, but you can wait and go there when you finish reading this.] How many times have I stopped in front of my computer to, say, pray the Angelus…or read a commentary on the day's Mass readings…only to have my husband ask me for, oh, maybe my opinion on a design or a client's demands or on his shirt…and only to respond something like "Do. You. MIND???? I. Am. PRAYING!!!!"

Too many times, I'm afraid. What a horrid example of "prayer!" What on earth would Saint Eugene De Mazenod say?

What would Jesus say? Yikes/

I learned something about prayer today. From a man who desperately wanted me to love God…and from my God, Who desperately wants me to love my neighbor.

May He continue to bless you…and to teach me.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Role of Prayer in Evangelization

Jean Heimann's debut post on the New Evangelizers blog. Great stuff, Jean!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

To Patrick Gallegher about his fatal flaw in his BC logic about "divestment."

In an otherwise well written "perspective" article in the Boston Globe Magazine last Sunday, freelance writer Patrick Gallagher 's fatal flaw occurs when he refers to this alma mater—that would be Boston College—and the institution's reluctance to "divest itself" from fossil-fuel companies.


Many university administrations, however, have rejected divestment as a viable option. At BC, spokesman Jack Dunn says the endowment’s purpose is to generate returns that help pay for running the campus. “Placing restrictions on investments is rare and requires a clear and compelling case that a company is engaged in practices opposed to the moral and ethical principles guiding Boston College,” he explains in an e-mail. “It is difficult to make this case in this instance.” 
But it’s precisely BC’s Jesuit identity that should compel it to divest. More than a decade ago, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops recognized climate change as a moral issue and called on people of faith to address a problem that is “about the future of God’s creation.” Then, in 2011, the Vatican offered a similar appeal, calling on people to recognize climate change as something that is “serious and potentially irreversible.” As a recent graduate — and someone who signed the Fossil Free petition — I feel that the administration must divest to properly respond to this obligation.
Here's the flaw in your logic, Mr. Gallagher. Why on earth would you expect your alma mater to pay diddley squat to what the Church, as presented by Her leaders, the Vatican and the United States Bishops, for example, says is a good idea?

May I remind you that, for example, the termination of human life, particularly the innocent unborn (that would be called "abortion,") is far more condemned by the Roman Catholic hierarchy, which includes the Holy Father and the bishops—yes, even the United States bishops!

And yet, your very same alma mater—to whom you plead to take heed of the Church's tenets—honored—yes, honored!—a prime minister dead set on making abortion the law of the land in his country. And ya know, Pat? This isn't exactly the first time good ol' BC has ignored the teachings of the Church. If you don't know that, I'm crying over your naiveté. If you do? 'Fess up, okay, and use another tack for your argument.

May God continue to bless you.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Yes, Virginia! There IS a Purgatory! Rejoice!

My dear Virginia,

[Not her real name…her real name is Bessie. But gee, others have started essays like this and I couldn't resist.]

First, know that God loves you very much. Second? So do I!

It has troubled me for the past few days that you questioned the existence of that mysterious place Catholics call "Purgatory." You yourself are a Catholic, and for this reason, and because I hold you so dearly, I feel called to assuage your doubts. Too, the holy souls in Purgatory are a priority of mine in my prayer intentions, and so I beg you to bear with me here.

I told you the other day about the passage in 2 Maccabees, Chapter 12, where Judas (not that one, a different one) found amulets—good luck charms, basically, and strictly forbidden then as now—and did what he could to make an "expiatory sacrifice." In other words, he prayed for them…even though they were dead.

"In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection in mind; for if he were not expecting the fallen to rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to  rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be absolved from their sin."—2 Maccabees 12:43-46.

Okay, so let's presume with good ol' Martin Luther (who was wrong, but pray for his soul, anyway, okay?) that Maccabees isn't a book inspired by the Holy Spirit. (Even though it is.)

Let's cut to the chase: what does JESUS have to say?

Plenty. But first? Let's talk about Heaven and Hell…safe subjects, right?

If you're in Heaven, like Our Lady, and all the saints are, you don't need any purification. You're in solid.

If you're in Hell, yuck. You're screwed. Eternally. Nobody can help you. Nobody in Heaven wants to help you. (I keep saying "you" but don't take it personally…I could easily say "I.")

Anyway, the point is, Heaven and Hell are absolutes. There's no changing them. You (or I) can't, say, go on a vacation and, if we're in Heaven, slum it for awhile in Hell, or, if we're in Hell, go on a vacation to Heaven. Can't be done. Got that? Good.

"Come to terms with your opponent or you will be handed over to the judge and thrown into prison. You will not get out until you have paid the last penny." (Matthew 5:26, 18:34; Luke 12:58-59).

Get out? Get out of where? Can't be Hell. You can't get out of Hell…no "get outta Hell free card" here. Must be some other place.

"And anyone who says a word against the Son of man will be forgiven; but no one who speaks against the Holy Spirit will be forgiven either in this world or in  the next." Matthew 12:32

Huh? Wait, you mean some people will be forgiven in the next world? Where's that? Can't be Heaven…forgiveness isn't necessary. Can't be Hell…remember, we're screwed there. Ergo? Purgatory! (And we'll leave that "speaks [or sins] against the Holy Spirit" thing alone for now, okay? Good.*)

"That servant who knew his master's will but did not make preparations nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master's will but acted in a way deserving of a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly." Luke 12:47-48.

Where? In Heaven? No beatings in Heaven! Hell? Nah…the Master (that would be Jesus) doesn't hang out there. Here we have a wonderful parable that explains, not just Purgatory in general, but the relatively severe purifications ("beatings," heavy, light) one will undergo.

Now you, my friend, brought up the parable of The Rich Man and That Guy Lazarus. Okay. So what mortal sin did Richie commit? Actually, none, in my view. I mean, he ignored the poor. We all do that. Yes, he feasted "sumptuously." A mortal sin? I sure hope not…not after the meal I had the other day! But he did ignore Lazarus. And that was a sin. So, when Richie died, he ended up…where? In the "bosom of Abraham?" Nope. In. Some. Other. Place. Our current translation calls it "the Netherworld" but is that Hell? I don't think so, and here's why.

Richie calls Abraham "Father Abraham." Abraham calls him "my son" (or "my child.") Clearly there's love going on here. Richie asks that Lazarus be sent to relieve him somewhat. Request denied, but note how lovingly it is denied? Then—gasp!—Richie asks that Lazarus be sent to his brothers, to warn them. Love? In Hell? No bleeping way! (And remember, Bessie, this is a parable…it didn't really happen but is a way Jesus uses to teach us stuff. I'm not saying Purgatory is a pleasant place—far from it! But I do say that there's hope for those who are there…Luke 16:19-31)

The Good Thief (Luke 23:39-43)

What??? Is this the ace in the hole against Purgatory? Give me a bleeping break!

To recap, one guy, crucified with Jesus, "reviled" Him saying: "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" The other one (not incidentally, now known as Saint Dismas by the Catholic Church) replied: "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." And then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." He [Jesus] replied: "Amen I say to you today you will be with me in Paradise."

The easy, almost embarrassingly easy answer to this is to focus on the word "today." Did Jesus mean "today, this day, within this day, you'll be with me in Paradise" (and, Bessie? Paradise = Heaven.) Or did He say, "today I'm telling you, at some point you'll be with me in Paradise"? It all depends, stupidly yet incredibly enough, as to where you put the comma. This stupid thesis is all about a comma!

But forget all that…or at least, put it aside for a second.

Jesus, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, was, is, and always shall be, GOD! God INVENTED time! If God said Dismas would be with Him in Heaven—whether Dismas had to wait for purification or whether Dismas had a non-stop ticket—that was up to GOD to decide. Not a bunch of "theologians" trying their darndest to prove a point. Sheesh, I still can't believe this is the Big Deal Against Purgatory. Laughable. (Except it's not. Pray for those who promulgated this…idea.)

And to quote Rocket J. Squirrel: "And now here's something you'll really like!"

Bessie, C.S. Lewis, while here on earth (please pray for his soul) wrote terrific stuff. The Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters…some favorites. But he also wrote (which was published posthumously in 1964) a book called Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer which is a series of letters to his make-believe friend, "Malcolm," about prayer as an intimate talk between us and God.

In one letter, he wrote: (and I thank my good friend Melanie Bettinelli for reminding me of this):

"Our souls demand Purgatory, don't they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, `It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter with joy!'?

"Should we not reply, 

"`With submission, sir, and if there is not objection, I'd rather be cleaned first.'

"`It may hurt, you know.'

"`Even so, sir.'"

Sweet Bessie! Do you see now that Purgatory is a gift from our loving God? A chance to spiff up, to clean up, to rid ourselves of that awful smell even venial sin slathers on us…to enter, cleaner than a whistle, into the Heavenly Banquet that awaits us!

I don't want to feel the need to do my boot camp in Purgatory when I die, nor do I wish you to feel so.

But Bessie? I'm really grateful for the opportunity to do so if it is needed.

May God continue to bless you,

Kelly

- - - -

See especially: The Catechism of the Catholic Church: Section Two, Article 12: "I believe in life everlasting." In brief: 1051–1058



*Okay, okay. "Anyone who deliberately refuses to accept His [God's] mercy by repenting, rejects the forgiveness of his sins and the salvation offered by the Holy Spirit…such hardness of heart can lead to final impenitence and eternal loss." (John Paul II) In other words, don't despair, don't presume on God's mercy (actually this is relevant to this post!), don't attack the Truth, don't envy the spiritual good of another, to persist (be obstinate) in sin, and don't, for Heaven's sake, fail to be contrite!








Saturday, July 13, 2013

Texas pro abortion protesters and the ugliness of sin

God is good. His creation is good. We know this because He called it "good."

Sin is not good. It's not only not good, it's ugly.

In Austin, Texas, yesterday, the Texas Department of Public Safety discovered "stuff" that some folks—again, God's creation—"planned to use" to disrupt legislative proceedings at the Capitol.

They found a jar of urine, 18 jars of feces, paint, feminine hygiene products…why?

Why. Because Texas legislators want to save unborn babies from pain and some folks don't seem to like that idea.

Why not. I don't know. I wish I did but I don't.

All I can see now is the ugliness of sin.

If there is some good in this, it is to remind me that when I sin, I show my own, uniquely designed, ugly face to God.

God is good. God didn't create sin.

We did.

And it's ugly.

Sources:

The Texas Department of Public Safety (via KETNBC)

The Blaze

And others, which I'm too saddened to read. I'm a blogger, not a journalist. And not a masochist.



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Watch what you wear when you sin

I wear this Crucifix every day. It's as much a part of my everyday wear as is my underwear and my outer clothing.

Today I realized it's not a "holy" thing to do but rather a responsibility.

A small thing, to most. I was in a hurry, and, while dashing through my favorite shortcut, I encountered a couple—no doubt tourists in Boston—try to get through a revolving door.

First, they pushed it the wrong way. That mistake discovered, they did that thing that drives me nuts…they both tried to get into the same revolving door cubicle. And, of course, got stuck.

Hey, I started out good!

Gently, I squeezed into the door and just as gently, separated them, nicely instructing them on the niceties of revolving door etiquette.

Everything would've been okay, if only….

If only I hadn't opened my big mouth, is what's only.

Yep. 'Couldn't just let it go. Had to comment to my laughing audience about the "idiocy of tourists." Nice, Kel, really nice.

It wouldn't have been so bad except….

One member of my audience noticed my Crucifix. Admired it. Went on her way.

Leaving me feeling lousy.

Here's the thing. If you or I are going to sin…leave the Lord out of it. That goes, not just (but most of all) for me, but I'd imagine this piece of advice might come in handy for those who wear habits, cowls, and Roman collars.

Sinning is bad enough…it not only hurts me, it hurts the entire body of Christ.

Sinning while wearing one's belief in this same body? Not well played. Not well played at all.

Kyrie eleison.

May God continue to bless you.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Nancy Pelosi? Pro-choicers? A Manicurist's Receptionist is More Honest Than You

About 12 years ago, I guess, I found myself in a tony Boston salon to have—believe it or not—a manicure. (This was during my "I've got to DO something about myself" days.) I remember the timing because then presidential hopeful John Kerry had rudely, in my opinion, scheduled a parade or something that very day.

Burying my nose in a magazine, I overheard the receptionist and other salon staff members comment on what apparently was a group of pro-lifers picketing the senator. There were all sorts of oblique remarks about Minding One's Own Business, Women's Reproductive Rights, et nauseam. Determined to ignore them…I tried to ignore them. I, after all, had my nails to concern myself with!

Only I couldn't ignore of one girl…I say "girl" because she looked about 18.

Grinning ingenuously at her colleagues, she remarked:

"I LOVE abortion! It makes life so simple! If you want the kid, great! If you don't, you can just get rid of it!"

Apparently I wasn't the only one shocked by this blatant statement, by this innocent looking girl. Several salon voices tried (unsuccessfully) to (a) "educate" her, or (b) hush her.

"Liza! We're not talking about children! We're talking about Reproductive Rights! For Women!"

Liza was evidently unimpressed. Peering into a hand-held mirror, and aiming her tweezers at, for me anyway, a non-existent eyebrow hair, she blithely continued:

"Denny says (parenthetically, she nodded at me explaining, "Denny's my boyfriend") that all this women's lib stuff is pure crap. I agree with him. I can't wait to get out of this place and have him take care of me. Meanwhile," she added, reaching for a lipstick, "I don't have do put up with those damn rubbers. 'Course," she added with a certain amount of virtuousness "I do take my pills…unless I forget to," she chuckled.

Do I leave? Do I stay? Do I deliver a lecture? A fellow receptionist, or whatever they're called, broke into my dilemma.

"Liza! These are not `babies!' They're—it's—well, anyway, they're not human," she declared emphatically. "Only the religious nuts think they are. Anyway, it's a woman's right…"

But Liza merely chuckled again and pulled out from the biggest purse I've ever seen a crumpled piece of paper. Obviously it'd been viewed about a thousand times. Smiling, she held it out to anyone who wanted to see it.

"See, this is my niece," she crowed happily. "My brother's kid. Stacey had this test and, I forget what it's called, but anyway, they can tell she's a she. They're still arguing about names for the baby. I suggested `Liza'," she giggled, putting the precious scrap of paper away adding "She's human, all right. The thing is, they want her. Can't wait 'til she's born…hope they don't want to babysit!"

I had to leave. There were, even then, more important things than a manicure. Keeping my lunch in my stomach ranked right up there.

Walking slowly home, I thought about Liza's comments. Despicable! Horrible! "Get rid of the kid," indeed! Only something about her, incongruously enough, endeared her to me.

I think it was her honesty.

Flash forward to 2013.

* * * * *


"Abortion is not sacred ground; it is sacrilegious ground. To imagine God giving the slightest approval to an act that dismembers a child he created is offensive to both faith and reason."


Father Frank Pavone, Priests for Life


In case you missed it, Representative Nancy declined to answer a pretty simple question last Thursday in a press briefing. The question:


"What is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks and aborting her moments before birth?"

She refused to answer. 

How come? The question was a legitimate one, particularly given the notoriety of the Gosnell case and the House was about to vote on banning abortion after 20 weeks fetal age. Mrs. Pelosi is the House Democratic Leader.

Probably because she didn't have an answer. Or, rather, the answer—the obvious answer—is not palatable to the "pro-choice" agenda.

Because the simple and true answer is: there is no moral difference. There's no difference at all! 

And if you don't believe me? Ask Liza. The manicurist's assistant.

Pelosi did more, actually, then refuse to answer the question. She attacked the reporter.

"You obviously have an agenda. You're not interested in having an answer," was the lady's response.

But that's not the unbelievable part. She went on to say, regarding the issue (which is, if you're not still with me here, killing a baby at 23 weeks in utero)

"As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this. I don't think it should have anything to do with politics."

Uh-huh. Right.

Here's the thing, friends. You might think young Liza is an immoral slut. I don't. Not really. Amoral? Perhaps. Not all that well brought up? No doubt. Honest? You betcha.

Because Liza had it knocked. I pray she's changed her mind, of course, but at the time, she had, albeit tragically, nailed the question Nancy Pelosi and most, if not all, pro-choicers refuse to answer.

There is no difference from what Dr. Gosnell did and what pro-choicers advocate.

"If you want the kid? Great! If you don't? Get rid of it!"

Sadly, perhaps, in comparison to most, if not all, Pro-Choicers I Have Know…and Mrs. Pelosi…my respect and kudos go to Liza. The manicurist's assistant. 

Because at least she didn't lie.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

One simple little summer dress. One HUGE act of kindness

Mona bought the dress. I bought the sweater!
Imagine my humiliation when our then live-in student researcher, Mona, found me weeping—honest to gosh weeping—over an email I'd just received a little over a year ago.








"What's wrong?" 

To my shame, I was actually tempted to tell Mona I'd just received incredibly bad news...like a death, or a declaration of war, or the cancellation of "Mad Men." Anything but the truth.

The truth? I. Didn't. Have. A. Thing. To. Wear.

Trite, right? The age-old complaint of women. But in my case, it was true.

You see, I'd lost a lot of weight.

I'd only planned to lose the 10 pounds my doctor suggested. Instead, I lost about 30. No, no, I wasn't sick...it just happened. And I know that many of you would see that as good news, but I didn't. Oh, well, I didn't mind about the weight, but...

I had no clothes that fit. None. And I didn't know how to shop.

True. I'm a woman of a certain age and never, ever, learned the art of shopping for clothes. Whenever I needed anything—which was rare—I could generally peek into my closet and find something. I tended to wear the same things. A lot. My closet consisted of (1) one pair of jeans (2) three long skirts and (3) an enormous supply of sweaters, mostly purchased from Good Will. Or borrowed from my husband.

"But Kelly, why were you weeping?"

Well, here's the really embarrassing part. I'd just received an email from my friend asking me to sub for her at Mass the next Sunday as reader. As a rule, I'd always been happy to help out. But this time it was sadly (to me) plain to see...I didn't own a dress, skirt, or anything halfway respectable to wear. Not anything, anyway, that wouldn't fall off me as soon as I reverenced the great Cathedral of the Holy Cross altar.

My husband had a suggestion: "Why not just go out and buy something?"

I looked at him as if he'd grown an extra nostril. Didn't he realize? I didn't know how to shop for clothes and what's more, I hated it. Didn't he remember that, in preparing for our wedding three years earlier, I'd had to enlist the help of a girlfriend who eventually picked everything out herself? Didn't anybody understand???

Mona did.

The next evening, she sailed intfo my office carrying a bag. "For you," she said. Curious, sort of, I peeked in and saw the smallest dress I'd ever seen. "For you?" I asked, thinking I'd misunderstood. "Nope," she replied. For you." I stared at her. "Mona, this is awfully nice of you and all, but this won't fit me, and besides..." I was terrified of the dress. "Try it on," she said firmly. (When Mona says something "firmly?" There's no argument.)

So I gave in with good grace, grimly laughing at the size tag and then, anticipating resistance from my body, gingerly pulled the dress over my head. And almost stopped breathing. Damn. The thing fit!

I stayed in the bathroom for awhile, looking at myself in the mirror. Who was this person?

Finally, I crept out and faced Mona and my husband. And their smiles. Casually, Mona tossed me a pair of—size small, mind you—brown tights. "These go with it," she explained.

And so they did. And the next day, I screwed up my courage and went to the store and bought an inexpensive little—little!—sweater to wear with the little dress because the weather was cool, still.

And called my friend to tell her I'd be able to read for her at Mass after all, and thanked Mona again and again...and learned how to shop. On my own. At my age, it's about time.

I wore that little dress last Sunday and intend to wear it tomorrow for a meeting.

And every time I even look at it, I'm reminded of Mona. She thought it was a little thing. She's wrong. The dress might be little…but her act of kindness was, and remains…ENORMOUS!

P.S. Lately I've even mastered the act of self-control when it comes to shopping…much to my husband's relief :-)


Monday, June 17, 2013

Having fun with the saints!

You love the saints. But gee, there are so many! 'Course, when we say "all you angels and saints, pray for us," that pretty much covers it. Yet let's say you're like me (Quick! Pray an Ave!) and would like to...well, customize your litany.

Here's how I do it.

I generally ask the saints to pray for me after praying the Angelus. (Okay, the Regina Caeli during Easter.)

Start with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Natch!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus/Have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary/Pray for us.
Saint Joseph/Pray for us.

Okay, here's where the "customizing" comes in.

I used to enjoy the supreme privilege of bringing the Blessed Sacrament to children, cancer patients, and cardiac patients on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. So, on those days, I ask Our Lady, Health of the Sick, Our Lady, Mother of Compassion, Saints Gerard, Peregrine, and John of God for their prayers.

Personalize your litany even more.

I love the apostles, and so I always include Saints Peter and Paul, as many apostles as I can remember, and the notable disciples (Saints Stephen, Philip, Martha, and Mary Magdalene, e.g.)

Then I look at the spiritual leaders in my life, which prompts me ask:

Saints Francis, Clare, and Agnes of Assisi; Saints Benedict and Scholastica; Saints John the Baptist (my Cardinal Archbishop is Sean O'Malley who was ordained on this saint's Feast Day) and Bernard for their prayers.

Still with me?

I live in Boston. Saint Patrick is the patron of our Archdiocese. Saint Botolph is the patron of our city. Pray for us!

Okay, now to churches and chapels I've attended, which includes: Saints Anthony of Padua. (I also regularly attend Saint Francis Chapel, but since the new Pontiff has been our Rock? I've already asked the good Saint Francis et al for his prayers.)

And let's not forget the Venerables and Blesseds!

A fan of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, it'd be silly not to ask their founder, Venerable Bruno Lanteri, for his prayers. And gee...when I was born, Venerable Pius XII was pope, so he's included, along with my Mom and Dad's all-time favorite television host, Venerable Fulton Sheen!

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta has always been a favorite, and her friend, Blessed John Paul II as well. (How cool is it to have been alive and kickin' while Blesseds and Venerables were still walking the earth?)

You can add, for instance:

Your own patron, your spouses, your children's, your siblings'...the point isn't to include every saint in heaven, but to have fun...and to try and connect those causes and people who are important to you with your request for prayers.

The thing is? Saints are our friends!

So, chatting them up while walking, driving, taking a shower, or in the privacy in your room should be at least as much fun as a good heart-to-heart chat with your best buddies.

Try it! And, if you've a mind to, let me know how you pray with our great cloud of witnesses!

May God continue to bless you.




Monday, June 10, 2013

If you MUST be greedy, be greedy for a priest's blessing

"May God consecrate and sanctify these hands, through our unction and Thy blessing, that whatsover things they shall bless, they may be blessed, and whatsoever things they may consecrate, they may be consecrated, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

The above, among other prayers, is prayed by the bishop who, in Jesus's Name, confers upon the newly ordained priest, the right of powerful—and I'm talking powerful here—the right of blessing.

Because a priest's blessing is not only powerful...it can and should be given generously!

There's an erroneous thought going on among some folks that—I don't know, maybe like the indelible mark of Baptism...maybe—that a priest's blessing should be given only once. Like once a day. Like it's a vitamin or something. I don't know.

All I know is? This thought is...bull.

A priest's blessing is a powerful gift! It should be sought out, fought for, looked for, greedily asked for, happily asked for...and, in turn, the priest should, by all rights, be glad—ecstatic even!—to answer the request for it.

So. You received the general blessing after Mass and you think that's all you're entitled to?

WRONG! You are entitled to a blessing of yourself, your house, your car, your children, your objects of devotion...at ANY time you encounter a priest.

If you don't ask for this, you're giving up on a gift from God.

(Priests? If you're asked for
your blessing—never mind the inward (and God forbid, outward)—sighing. Rejoice that you've been given the supreme privilege of being able to do so. And DO it.)

May God continue to bless you.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Watch what you say...

So, my husband snores. A few days ago, I totally lost it and said and did some shameful things during the night, having been robbed of My Precious Sleep.

The next morning, I felt wretched. My husband—who, I assure you, has never heard of Venerable Bruno Lanteri, said what he always says: "Don't worry about it, hon...now we begin."

Still, I had to go to confession. I mean, losing my temper, throwing things, taking the Lord's Name in vain...yikes!

To my rather embarrassed chagrin, my confessor asked: "Is this about your husband's snoring again?" Feeling like a jerk, I had to admit it. Yep, that was the...catalyst.

He gave me wonderful penance, which included reading Sirach 28. (A great read, by the way.)

Evidently I'm not perfect in the let's-get-some-sleep department.

My husband laughingly informed me that I talk in my sleep. He's mentioned this before, always lightly, always tenderly, always with gentle amusement. This time, though, he was laughing so hard I thought he'd hurt himself. When he got under a semblance of control, I asked him what I'd said. Obligingly, he told me:

"Oh please, whatever you do, don't snore, I couldn't bear telling Father X about it again!"

Moral: Watch your tongue!

For fun:

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Lauda, Sion, Salvatorem

A blessed Corpus Christi to you!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Go, Sisters!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Gosnell Trial, from my Cardinal Archbishop

"I was pleased, and even relieved, that the court found this man guilty of these very heinous crimes. What I find difficult to understand is how some people who are horrified by these crimes somehow think that if he would have killed these babies a few minutes earlier, it would have been all right." ~~Seán Cardinal O'Malley on the Gosnell trial.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

"Dedicated to my Daughter on her Sixteenth Birthday": a poem from my Mom

Sad is the time
When the age of innocence is past
And the eyes of the child
Who looked upon the bird
and the flower
with wonder and pleasure
And who put a tiny finger into the water
to watch a ripple
form and fade,
And the tiny hands
Feeling of the richness of the dewy grass,
And finding comfort
In arms that cradle her,
Until two tiny lids
As soft as petals of a rose
close over them,
And she sleeps the sleep of Angels
And awakens to new wonders
to explore
and feel
and pleasure,
Listening for sounds
Of love and softness...

She does not know
What pleasure she gives
To those who love her.

Sad is the time
When the age of innocence is past,
And the eyes of the child
Become the eyes
of a girl-woman.
Still trying to see the world
bathed in the cloak
of happiness.

Trying to blink away
the sounds of reality
as if they were not there.

Trying to understand
the new emotions
within her
and yearning still
For the love and comfort
and softness of her innocence,

And trying to conceal
her heart
from disappointments and fear
With too much talk
too much laughter
too few tears.

And she looks tenderly
Upon those who sleep
the sleep of Angels
and are cradled
in the arms of love.

Sad is the time
When the age of innocence is past!

But, from the experience
of sadness
Comes the experience of joy
In finding that God
has Blessed her,

With the capacity to love
and be loved.

In finding that life
holds many challenges
And the rewards
are gratifying.

In finding that all the fears
And frustrations of youth,
Are but a stepping stone
To a more mature
Understanding of human nature,

And in finding
That the beauty
of God's creation
can be felt
with her heart
as well as
with her hands.

Marie Victoria Kelly, April 19, 1969

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10, My Baptismal Anniversary!

Celebrate with me! Today is the anniversary of my Baptism according to the rite of the Roman Catholic Church, by Reverend Joseph Zalibert at Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, Detroit, Michigan (the church moved to Sterling Heights, Michigan, in 1971.) I thank my parents, Leo James Kelly and Marie Victoria Ulanowicz Kelly for giving me birth, my godparents, Vincent DuRocher and Angeline Ulanowicz DuRocher, and most of all, my God Who claimed me for His own.

And I joyfully renew the vows made by my parents and godparents on my behalf!

I reject Satan, and all his works, and all his empty promises.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.

Amen!

"Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 28-19

Monday, May 06, 2013

May 6: Pope Francis honors new Swiss Guard

"You are called on to testify your faith with joy and with the kindness of your expression...This is important for all the people who pass through Vatican City, but also for those who work in the Holy See and for me too!"

Pope Francis

This ceremony is held every year on the anniversary of the heroic resistance of the Swiss Guard in defense of Pope Clement VII (1523-1534) when the protestant troops of Charles V sacked Rome on May 6, 1527.

What happened on May 6, 1527?

I heard a homily by Father Jim Doran, OMV, about it at Mass today. Following up on a google search? I found precious little. I mean, I learned that most of the Guard were slaughtered by the troops of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (please read the words "Holy" and "Roman" judiciously.)

They came into Rome and they killed people—not just the brave guards, but lay folk, nuns, priests. Thousands of people. Perhaps as many as 12,000 people. Why? For the crime of being Catholic.

(So what else is new?)

Please pray for His Holiness, Pope Francis, and the Swiss Guards.

Martyrs of The Sack of Rome, pray for us.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Indeed Femen ladies, God loves you. And so do I! Just look:

Dear Femen ladies,

I don't know about the painted words on your naked bodies...that would be "my body, my rules." Actually, I think not. To be honest, I know you're wrong.

I mean, my hand is part of my body, right? Right. So. According to your...uh...logic? I rule my hand. Which means I can toss a grenade into a bunch of innocent people. Or create a bomb to blow up, say, in Boston.

Or I can throw water at an innocent priest I happen to disagree with.

Wrong, Femens. We can't do that. Or, well, we can, but we must not. Why? Because it's wrong. (In my country—I know so little about Brussels, forgive me—it's actually against the law.

My voice is part of my body, too. Still, I may not—and hey, you might have a law against this in Brussels, too!—cry "FIRE" in a crowded building, when there is no fire.

Indeed, you and I can both paint our naked bodies with slogans, and if that turns you on, I pity you, but that's probably your right.

'Course, your slogans are, for the most part, really silly. "My body, my rules." No, we've already poked holes into that reasoning. "Stop homophobia." Honeys, the only "homophobia" I've encountered lately is a disease people contract when they're terrified of being labeled "homophobic."

One slogan does make sense though. "God loves lesbians." Indeed God does. So does Archbishop Leonard. So do I. That's part of our Creed, ladies. Get with the program, here!

[UPDATE, May 6: What I mean to say is "God loves SINNERS." He loves you. Just doesn't like what you do when you sin. Pardon the interruption and thanks for letting me clarify. Update your slogan, why dontcha?]

So. You probably think that people are going to malign you. I suspect you hope they do, so that you can, in your own rather odd way, come to think of yourselves as martyrs. Heroines for The Cause.

Only I'm not going to do that. You know what I've been doing since I've heard about this? I've been praying for you! It's something you can't stop me from doing, can't bully me into giving up, can't laugh me out of it, can't make me so mad that I'll stop...in short? You're helpless.

May God continue to bless you.

Link to story.