Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Holy Innocents

Universalis offers a wonderful reflection on the Holy Innocents, whose feast is normally celebrated on December 28.
The Holy Innocents are the children who were slaughtered at the orders of King Herod, in the hope that by killing every boy born in Bethlehem at the same time as Jesus, he would succeed in killing the newborn King of the Jews.

  There was nothing about those baby boys that made them deserve death. Look at any one of them, and you can see that he had no chance to do anything, or be anyone, or become anyone. He had done nothing. He had done nothing bad, he had done nothing good. He was born, and then he died, and that was all there was to him. So passive are these babies that some people find it hard to understand how they can share the title of “martyr” with people like St Stephen (the day before yesterday), who insisted on preaching the truth until his hearers stoned him for it, or St Thomas Becket (tomorrow), who insisted on living the truth until his king had him killed because of it. These children did not insist on anything except their mothers’ milk; and unlike Stephen and Thomas, there was no voluntary act of theirs that we can see as making the difference between being martyred and not being martyred.

  So in our rational human terms these children are a puzzle, and that is one reason why God has inspired the Church to celebrate this very feast – to show us how inadequate our seemingly rational, worldly-wise thoughts are. As he reminds us again and again throughout salvation history, his thoughts are not our thoughts. Babies may not rank high on the scale as far as our human calculus is concerned; but then neither do sparrows, and yet God has told us that God sees and counts every one of those.

  The Holy Innocents can stand, therefore, for the “unimportant” and “unnecessary” pawns, child and adult alike, that permeate the whole of human history, the ones who can be sacrificed for some greater cause because they “don’t really matter”; the eggs that were broken to make an omelette…or even broken to make nothing at all. There are plenty of them, one way or another. The feast of the Holy Innocents reminds us that in God’s eyes (that is, according to the true value of things), no-one is unimportant, no-oneis unnecessary, no-one “doesn’t really matter.” However meaningless their lives and deaths may seem to us, they shine glorious in heaven.

  On a more personal level, the honour given to the Holy Innocents reminds us that if we suffer or even die for God’s sake, it has value even if we have little or no say in it ourselves. Honouring them effectively honours also the martyrdom of the people these children could have become, and their children’s children as well; and at the same time we can remember the contemporary and continuing massacre of those who die before birth for the convenience of those who have them killed.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Truth has arisen from the earth and justice...

…and has looked down from Heaven
(Saint Augustine)
Awake, mankind! For your sake God has become man. Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead, and Christ will enlighten you. I tell you again: for your sake, God became man.

You would have suffered eternal death, had he not been born in time. Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh, had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh. You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness, had it not been for this mercy. You would never have returned to life, had he not shared your death. You would have been lost if he had not hastened to your aid. You would have perished, had he not come.

Let us then joyfully celebrate the coming of our salvation and redemption. Let us celebrate the festive day on which he who is the great and eternal day came from the great and endless day of eternity into our own short day of time.

He has become our justice, our sanctification, our redemption, so that, as it is written: Let him who glories glory in the Lord.

Truth, then, has arisen from the earth: Christ who said, I am the Truth, was born of the Virgin. And justice looked down from heaven: because believing in this new-born child, man is justified not by himself but by God.

Truth has arisen from the earth: because the Word was made flesh. And justice looked down from heaven: because every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.

Truth has arisen from the earth: flesh from Mary. And justice looked down from heaven: for man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven.

Justified by faith, let us be at peace with God: for justice and peace have embraced one another. Through our Lord Jesus Christ: for Truth has arisen from the earth. Through whom we have access to that grace in which we stand, and our boast is in our hope of God’s glory. He does not say: “of our glory,” but of God’s glory: for justice has not come out of us but has looked down from heaven. Therefore he who glories, let him glory, not in himself, but in the Lord.

For this reason, when our Lord was born of the Virgin, the message of the angelic voices was: Glory to God in the highest, and peace to men of good will.

For how could there be peace on earth unless Truth has arisen from the earth, that is, unless Christ were born of our flesh? And he is our peace who made the two into one:that we might be men of good will, sweetly linked by the bond of unity.

Let us then rejoice in this grace, so that our glorying may bear witness to our good conscience by which we glory, not in ourselves, but in the Lord. That is why Scripture says: He is my glory, the one who lifts up my head. For what greater grace could God have made to dawn on us than to make his only Son become the son of man, so that a son of man might in his turn become son of God?

Ask if this were merited; ask for its reason, for its justification, and see whether you will find any other answer but sheer grace.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Pope Francis: a model for Jewish spiritual leaders?

From David Benkof's The Times of Israel blog:

"The shift in tone that Pope Francis is bringing to the Catholic Church has serious repercussions for people who follow that religion — and those of other faith systems. As the most prominent religious figure in today's world, the actions, ideas, and approach of the pontiff (literally, `bridge builder') deserve attention, including among Jews. In fact, I think even our most outstanding rabbis could learn from Pope Francis..

Read the rest here. (Only one teeny nit: it was actually Pope Benedict XVI who had the Twitter account first).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

An Act of Adoration by Saint John Paul II

Jesus, our God, Living Bread of Heaven,

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, life and heart of the church

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, Radiant Mystery of Faith

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, Mystery of Mercy for all mankind

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, Center and Summit of the Church’s life

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, Source of Charity

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, Nourishment of the faithful

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, Priceless Treasure of all who receive You

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, Love of the Father

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, Good Sheppard, Bread Divine

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, Divine One who opens our eyes to light and our hearts to new hope

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, Source of Holiness

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, poured out for us

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, Who was obedient unto death

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, Helper of all who come to you

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, fore-taste of the joy of Heaven

R:/ we adore You.

Jesus, our God, Bread of Angels and of pilgrims

R:/ we adore You.

All: Jesus, our God, we adore You for all time, past, present, and future, for every soul that ever was, is, or shall be created. Grant us the grace to comfort YOU. Jesus, I live for you; Jesus, I die for you; Jesus, I am yours—in life and in death. Amen.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Parable of the Twins

(This is an adaptation translated from a source I'm unaware of…but it's pretty cool. Enjoy!)

A Conversation Between Twins in Utero

So. Two unborn babies had a chat about what would happen when they had to leave the womb. We'll call them James and Peter.

~ ~ ~

James: "You're saying you believe in life after birth?"

Peter: "Of course! Maybe we're in here so that we can prepare for it. There must be something after birth!"

James: "Life after birth? That's absurd! There's no life after birth. Just how would that look like?"

Peter: "I'm not sure. I have a feeling it's much more bright, and we'll be able to walk and feed ourselves with our own mouths."

James: "What insanity! You know well enough that it's impossible to walk. And eating with our mouths? Preposterous! That's why we have our life cord for! I'm telling you, bro, there's no `life after birth!'"

Peter: "Look, our birth cord is short…too short. I'm thinking that life after birth is pretty different from what we're used to."

James: "But nobody ever returned to tell us what it's like! Life ends with birth! And besides…life is nothing but confinement to this small, dark place…"

Peter: "Well, I don't know exactly what life is like, but we'll definitely meet our Mother!"

James: "`Mother'??? You believe in 'Mother'??? Okay. If she exists, where do you think she is now?"

Peter: "She's everywhere around us! Thanks to her, we're alive! Without her, we wouldn't have existed!"

James: "Sorry. I don't believe it. I've never seen `Mother,' so obviously she doesn't exist."

Peter: "Maybe you're right. But yet…but yet…sometimes? When we're very, very quiet? We can hear how she sings…and, well, gently strokes our world. You know, James? Actually, I think that with birth? Life only begins!"

~ ~ ~

Epilog…a few months later…

Peter: "Uh…James?"

James: "Shut up! (I love you.)"

Peter: "Love you more!" :-)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Happy All Saints Day! (Nope, I'm not early…ask Father Dennis Brown, OMV)

Quick! Who wrote  Salve Regina? (No googling!)

I didn't know either.

The answer is Blessed Herman the Cripple. He also wrote Alma Redemptoris Mater. He was born with a cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida and his folks shipped him off to an abbey when he was 7 years old. Becoming a Benedictine monk at 20, he studied and wrote on astronomy, theology, mathematics, history, poetry, Arabic, Greek, and Latin; built musical instruments and astronomical equipment…the guy was a genius.

I learned about him from Father Dennis Brown, OMV.

Blessed Herman is one of Father Dennis' best friends. All the saints—from the most illustrious to the, let's say, patron of ant farmers in Outer Mongolia, if there is one (and if there is one, Father Dennis would know)—are his best friends. And he's taught me that they're mine and yours, too.

When he served in Boston at Saint Francis Chapel, the "optional memorial" of any given saint—any of them—was not an option at all. I believe that Father Dennis would take it as a personal affront if Saint-Whoever-Heard-of-This-Person wasn't honored at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Just a theory of mine, but I think this has to do, somehow, with his own background.

While he's a priest now, and an excellent one, he wasn't always—shall we say, the epitome of holiness? In fact (and I wish I could find a 1960s era photo I once saw of him that would easily make him the poster child for the Flower-Power-Hippie-Era) — he was once an atheist.

Brought into the Church by such humble luminaries as Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Venerable Fulton Sheen, Father John Hardon, Father Walter Ciszek, Father Benedict Groeschel, and a host of others, Father Dennis became first, a believer, second, a Catholic, and, praise God, third, a Roman Catholic priest.

He loves all the saints. And considers them his personal friends.

And so they are. And of yours and mine as well.

Father Dennis' resume includes, I believe, a stint as a participant in the Congregation for the Cause of Saints. What does this mean to me, personally?

It makes him a great confessor. Stern? No question. He never hesitates in calling a sin…well, a sin.

But he always was and no doubt still is, God's instrument of hope. "Saints are sinners who kept on trying," is one of his favorite sayings. As is, "Nunc Coepi" ("Now I begin!")…a motto of his order's founder, Venerable Bruno Lanteri.

And so, as we celebrate all the saints, it's my great privilege to ask Our Lord to bless this good priest…a friend who not only introduced me to saints I'd never heard of, but more important? To rely on our "great cloud of witnesses" to pray for me…not just when I'm in a jam, but always.

Happy All Saints Day, Father Dennis! May you one day be a part of these great folks. (And, don't worry. If you screw up? Just do what you must and say: Nunc Coepi! :-) )

Ordained by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1989, Father Dennis Brown, O.M.V. gives directed Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius and leaves seminars in the Discernment of Spirits in the Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Thursday, August 28, 2014

"Late have I loved Thee.."

"Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!  You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you.  In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created.  You were with me, but I was not with you.  Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would not have been at all.  You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness.  You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.  You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you.  I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more.  You touched me, and I burned for your peace."

Monday, August 11, 2014

So sue me. I'm a Catholic.

There are some people who subscribe to evil. No, I'm not talking about Muslims. I'm talking about people who prefer to damn their brothers and sisters in Christ -- ALL of them in one particular group -- rather than damning the evil behavior of some.

I don't buy it and please God, never will.

Sunday, August 03, 2014

What is a priest? Saint John Vianney…and Father Mark Yavarone, OMV

My children, we have come to the Sacrament of Orders. It is a Sacrament which seems to relate to no one among you, and which yet relates to everyone. This Sacrament raises man up to God. What is a priest! A man who holds the place of God -- a man who is invested with all the powers of God. "Go, " said Our Lord to the priest; "as My Father sent Me, I send you. All power has been given Me in Heaven and on earth. Go then, teach all nations…he who listens to you, listens to Me; he who despises you despises Me. " 

The Cure of Ares also echoes Saint Francis of Assisi, when he says:

If I saw an Angel and a priest, I would bend my knee first to the priest and then to the Angel.

I debated posting this, but in the end I couldn't help but do it. Here, Father Mark Yavarone, O.M.V. (Oblates of the Virgin Mary) humbly and prayerfully offering himself to those in need at Planned Parenthood, Boston, Massachusetts.

What is a priest? This is a priest.

Abba, Father, Your Son told us that anything we ask in His Name you will grant us. Send us more good priests to serve your Church…and bless those who already do so. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New MA "buffer zone" law STILL violates the First Amendment

The new buffer zone law is a backdoor attempt to interfere with the constitutional right of free speech in the service of women seeking abortion whose minds are not made up – women who are looking for the hope, help, love, and concrete aid offered by Eleanor McCullen and other peaceful sidewalk counselors. This new law chills life-saving speech by threatening massive civil fines for non-violent acts such as peacefully offering a leaflet of information to passersby on a public sidewalk.
Attorney Michael DePrimo

Read about the sad and, ironically, recent actions from those who -- ironically -- call themselves activists against the "war against women" ('course unless the unborn baby happens to BE a female…for my friends who champion this, "female = woman) here.

Kyrie eleison

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Job, Career, Vocation, Ministry: what's the difference?

Job, career, vocation, ministry…is there a difference between these way to spend your life?

I'm not being snarky here…I really want to know what you're thinking.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Another way "pro-lifers" go wrong

A post from Human Life International's VP's Facebook page.

No. Sorry. Not Catholic. Not Christian. Not to be believed nor followed.

Kyrie Eleison/Mother Olga on the Persecution of Christians in Iraq

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Breaking (to MSM) Duh!

Dear NBC, CBS, CNN, ABC, The Boston Globe, and other well-watched and read outlets:

(Actually…are they really "well-watched and read outlets? Hmm. At this point? I don't know.)

You're doing a lousy job. Christians are being persecuted and you don't seem to give a bleep.

Don't believe me? Google the words "Christians persecuted," click on "news" and here's the only mainstream media you'll find (as of today, July 24, 2014, 10:15 PM:

From the New York Times (yes, it's incredible, but it's also an op-ed:)

Iraq's Imperiled Minorities

That's it.

Oh yes, other outlets have covered it. But not those that Joe Six-pack, after a long day's work, settles down to read or watch.

Let's be clear on this.

Christians don't want to respond to these acts of terrorism by responding with violence.

Frankly? We kinda don't expect those who hate us to do much of anything.

But we DO expect and deserve honest reporting.

However, if you're chicken-livered? Don't bother. We have a Really. Good. Reporter. His Name is Jesus.

May God continue to bless you.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ten Tips to Make a Better Confession

Father Ed Broom offers some great advice. I'd add: while examining your conscious, remember your blessings.

For example. I was pondering over the anger I'd felt one day over someone who'd hurt me terribly. To add, as I'd thought, insult to injury, I found out that this person was revered -- almost bleeping idolized! -- by the secular press.

And then? I thought about the difficulty I'd have with certain Psalms of David.

Yes! Too many times, after praying -- or trying to pray -- certain Psalms, I'd think to myself: "What a wimp! What a whiner! This guys is always complaining about how His Enemies Are Faring Well Than He. Jerk."


It struck me then. This is the Holy Spirit, speaking through the psalmist. This is GOD telling us that He understands how we feel cheated, sometimes…and more than that, that He Himself, in the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, felt it Himself.

More importantly? That He loves us…that He loves me, even though at times it appears He doesn't.

What a blessing!

And so, Father Broom, thank you for your tips, and all? I hope you consider counting those blessings.

May God continue to bless you!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

NOW made a list, checked it twice, everyone's naughty, nobody's nice :-)

The "National Organization for Women" (hey, I didn't make up the name…they really call themselves  that) whose main claim to fame is failing to have the pull to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (even though both Democratic and Republican presidents of the US have supported it) have published [gasp] A List!

Yes! N.O.W. made public a list, which I understand is considered by these…uh…ladies, "dirty."

Here it is, friends…N.O.W.'s "Dirty People."

('Scuse me a moment…LOLOLOLOLLOLLOLOLOL!!!…sorry…)

If you are on this list, or are affiliated with its members, may I thank you? Thank you!

  • American Family Association
  • American MFG Co
  • American Pulverizer Co
  • Annex Medical
  • Autocam Corp
  • Ave Maria School of Law
  • Ave Maria University
  • Barron Industries
  • Beckwith Electric Co
  • Belmont Abbey College
  • Bick Holdings, Inc.
  • Cherry Creek Mortgage Co
  • CNS Ministries
  • Colorado Christian University
  • Conestoga Wood Specialities Corp
  • Continuum Health Partnership/Management
  • Criswell College
  • Doboszenski & Sons
  • Dordt College
  • Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk
  • East Texas Baptist University
  • Eden Foods
  • Encompass, Develop, Design & Construct LLC
  • Eternal Word Television Network Inc.
  • Fellowship of Catholic University
  • Feltl & Co., Inc.
  • Franciscan University of Steubenville
  • Freshway Foods
  • Gilardi
  • Grace College and Seminary
  • Grote Industries
  • Hart electric LLC
  • Hastings Automotive
  • Hercules Industries Inc.
  • Hobby Lobby
  • Holland Chevrolet
  • Infrastructure Alternatives
  • Johnson Welded Products
  • Korte & Luitjohan Contractors
  • Liberty University
  • Lindsay Rappaport and Postel LLC
  • Little Sisters of the Poor
  • Louisiana College
  • M&N Plastics
  • Mersino Management Company
  • Michigan Catholic Conference
  • MK Chambers Company
  • O’Brien Industrial Holdings
  • Ozinga
  • Paul Wieland
  • Priests for Life
  • QC Group Inc.
  • Randy Reed Automotives
  • Reaching Souls International
  • Right to Life Michigan
  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta
  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Beaumont
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Biloxi
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort-Wayne – South Bend
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Nashville
  • Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh
  • School of the Ozarks
  • Seneca Hardwood
  • Sharpe Holdings, Inc.
  • Sioux Chief MFG Co
  • Southern Nazarene University
  • The Most Reverend Thomas Wenski
  • Tonn and Blank Construction
  • Trijicon, Inc. (AKA Bindon)
  • Triune Health Group
  • Tyndale House
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Weingartz Supply Co
  • Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL)
  • Willis & Willis PLC
  • WLH Enterprises
  • Zumbiel

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Committing slow moral suicide: a commentary on purity

If it weren't Sunday, we'd be celebrating the Memorial of Saint Maria Goretti (who was, on a personal note, born in the same year as my Grandmother Kelly). I was struck by the following commentary by the good folks at Univeralis, prior to Evening Prayer. Saint Maria Goretti, pray for us.
The trouble with purity nowadays is that we don’t believe in it – or at least we say we don’t. When we read of one saint or another that he or she was a virgin, we are more inclined to deride than to admire. And that is sad: here is not the place for a long disquisition on sex, but suffice it to say that sex is a valuable thing that should not be squandered or used trivially; any more than one should use champagne for cleaning floors.
Even if we find it difficult to admire virginity as such – even when it is a positive virtue and not a negative one – we should still, even as pagans, admire purity. For whatever alternative set of moral standards one may adopt, purity, decency, and self-respect are all-important and always will be. (The standards of what is or is not decent may be different – in Victorian times it is said that it was indecent to let ankles be seen, while a few centuries earlier large codpieces were the fashion for men – but decency itself is always there, however the ways of measuring it may change).
One may admire or praise Maria Goretti for all manner of other things if one likes – some people have a great fondness for sentimentality, melodrama, and wet plaster saints – but at the end of it all, the heroic virtue that she exhibited was a blazing affirmation of purity and integrity. Even if her standards are not ours, we must still have standards of some kind; and if we are faced with a threat to them, we must defend ourselves with the same passion that she showed. To behave otherwise, to tell ourselves “well, it doesn’t matter really”, is to commit slow moral suicide.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Cool! Persecution! (Okay, it's lame, but opportunity to pray!)

Headline"Dogma Should Not Trump Our Civil Liberties"

Subhead: "All-Male, All-Roman Catholic Majority on Supreme Court Puts Religious Wrongs Over Women's Rights."

Okay. Saint Paul? Any comment? Ah, 1 Corinthians 4:11-13

To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clad and roughly treated, we wander about homeless

and we toil, working with our own hands. When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;

when slandered, we respond gently. We have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all, to this very moment.

Treat me and my Church as rubbish? I only have one choice, and so do my fellow Catholics:


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

Lord, have mercy.    Lord, have mercy. 
Christ, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy. 
Lord, have mercy.    Lord, have mercy. 
Christ, hear us. Christ, hear us. 
Christ, graciously hear us. Christ, graciously hear us. 

God the Father of Heaven,   have mercy on us. 
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us. 
God, the Holy Spirit,   have mercy on us. 
Holy Trinity, One God,  have mercy on us. 
Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the eternal Father, save us. 
Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word or God, save us. 
Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament, save us. 
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in Agony, save us. 
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging, save us. 
Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns, save us. 
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross, save us. 
Blood of Christ, price of our salvation, save us. 
Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness, save us. 
Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls, save us. 
Blood of Christ, stream of mercy, save us. 
Blood of Christ, victor over demons, save us. 
Blood of Christ, courage of Martyrs, save us. 
Blood of Christ, strength of Confessors, save us. 
Blood of Christ, bringing forth Virgins, save us. 
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril, save us. 
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened, save us. 
Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow, save us. 
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent, save us. 
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying, save us. 
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts, save us. 
Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life, save us. 
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory, save us. 
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor, save us. 
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, spare us, O Lord. 
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, graciously hear us, O Lord. 
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, have mercy on us, O Lord. 
V. Thou hast redeemed us, O Lord, in Thy Blood. 
R. And made us, for our God, a kingdom. 
Let us pray; 
Almighty and eternal God, Thou hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son the 
Redeemer of the world and willed to be appeased by his blood. Grant, we beg 
of Thee, that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation and through its 
power be safeguarded from the evils of the present life so that we may rejoice 
in its fruits forever in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

It's "baby," not "fetus," NYT…still, good news, "fit to print"

Monday, June 02, 2014

I think this is a law that cries out to heaven to be broken...

Cities ban feeding the homeless.

Screw. Them. (The cities I mean, not the homeless.)

The Living Water of the Holy Spirit: Saint Cyril of Jersusalem

The living water of the Holy Spirit

The water I shall give him will become in him a fountain of living water, welling up into eternal life. This is a new kind of water, a living, leaping water, welling up for those who are worthy. But why did Christ call the grace of the Spirit water? Because all things are dependent on water; plants and animals have their origin in water. Water comes down from heaven as rain, and although it is always the same in itself, it produces many different effects, one in the palm tree, another in the vine, and so on throughout the whole of creation. It does not come down, now as one thing, now as another, but while remaining essentially the same, it adapts itself to the needs of every creature that receives it.

In the same way the Holy Spirit, whose nature is always the same, simple and indivisible, apportions grace to each man as he wills. Like a dry tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruit of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit. Although the Spirit never changes, the effects of his action, by the will of God and in the name of Christ, are both many and marvelous.

The Spirit makes one man a teacher of divine truth, inspires another to prophesy, gives another the power of casting out devils, enables another to interpret holy Scripture. The Spirit strengthens one man’s self-control, shows another how to help the poor, teaches another to fast and lead a life of asceticism, makes another oblivious to the needs of the body, trains another for martyrdom. His action is different in different people, but the Spirit himself is always the same. In each person, Scripture says, the Spirit reveals his presence in a particular way for the common good.

 The Spirit comes gently and makes himself known by his fragrance. He is not felt as a burden, for he is light, very light. Rays of light and knowledge stream before him as he approaches. The Spirit comes with the tenderness of a true friend and protector to save, to heal, to teach, to counsel, to strengthen, to console. The Spirit comes to enlighten the mind first of the one who receives him, and then, through him, the minds of others as well.

 As light strikes the eyes of a man who comes out of darkness into the sunshine and enables him to see clearly things he could not discern before, so light floods the soul of the man counted worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit and enables him to see things beyond the range of human vision, things hitherto undreamed of.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What -- or whom -- does VIRTUS(r) stand for?

From my parish's website and bulletin:


SUNDAY. JUNE 22. 2:00 P.M. OR MONDAY. JUNE 23 7:00 P.M.

The VIRTUS workshop is for any staff member of volunteer of the parish who has not been certified as VIRTUS trained. Extraordinary Ministers, Lectors, Adult Servers, Cantos/Musicians, Catechists, Ushers, Counters, etc. are REQUIRED to attend this workshop. Unlike the CORI, staff and volunteers are only required to attend this workshop one time. A Certificate of Completion will be presented to all who attend. If a staff or volunteer does not attend this workshop, they will no longer be able to work/volunteer until it is complete.


(What's rather ironic to me is that my parish, and many others, have a hard enough time as it is getting people to volunteer…I mean, did the notice have to be so bleeping threatening?)

But what does VIRTUS stand for?

Is it an acronym? If so, what do the the letters represent? I always see it in capital letters, but could it actually refer to the ancient Roman deity "Virtus," who "personifies" the ancient Roman concept of virtue?

Does it matter? Well, yes, since I registered for the program. So it does to me.

From VIRTUS® Online, we find at least one article which references Debra W. Haffner.

Who is Debra W. Haffner?

The Reverend Debra W. Haffner is a pro-abortion activist. Including in her writings is this article from the Huffington Post, titled: "The Religious Reasons Why Abortion is a Moral Decision."

Okay. I read the article. It smacks of kindness and all that, but gee…abortion — besides being a cause for excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church, sheesh — kinda smacks of child abuse in the major leagues, doesn't it? You know…sucking a living kid out of the womb, poking a scalpel into a partially born child, that sort of thing? No?

Gee, Kelly, that was awhile ago…

Yeah? Well then there's this letter the Reverend Debra Haffner, consultant, apparently, to VIRTUS® (which is a "program and service of The National Catholic Risk Retention Group, Inc" — read: insurance company) is a signatory of. To President Obama. Asking, of all things, to "expand abortion coverage worldwide." She joins folks like Fran Kissling (used to run "Catholics for Choice," Barry Lynn (Americans United for Separation of Church and State) Martha Shiverick (Planned Parenthood)…and a host of others Who Really Like Abortion Even Though They're "Religiously Affiliated."

Outta be an interesting session…you know, "protecting God's children" and all.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Where is your 'Galilee?'

Then Jesus said to them: "Do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me." ~~Matthew 28:10

Galilee. Where it all began. Where, as the homilist at Mass today said, Jesus' followers, His apostles, found Him irresistible.

In the life of every Christian, after baptism there is also a more existential 'Galilee': the experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ who called me to follow Him in His mission…What is my Galilee? Where is my Galilee? Do I remember it?…The Gospel of Easter is very clear: we need to go back there, to see Jesus risen, and to become witnesses of His resurrection. This is…not a kind of nostalgia. It is returning to our first love, in order to receive the fire which Jesus has kindled in the world and to bring that fire to all people, to the very ends of the earth. ~~ Pope Francis, Easter Vigil Homily
(A little woman. A little prayer. A huge impact on me!)

Edith Stein was at a cathedral in Frankfurt, Germany...

One day a woman, a Jew, and her friend went to look at the cathedral in Frankfurt. While they were standing there in reverent silence, a woman with her shopping basket came in knelt in a pew in the empty church to pray. This made a deep impression on the observer who later on wrote that she had seen people turn up in time for the service in Protestant churches and in the synagogue. But this unknown woman had come in the middle of the day's work to the empty cathedral as if to talk with a friend.

As the above quoted article says, (and you outta read the whole thing) Edith Stein is but one of many who have been grabbed by the "little prayers" of others. For she who became Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, perhaps this unknown woman who offered a "little prayer" -- for No Apparent Reason (save love) -- was her `Galilee.'

Don't negate your `little prayers.' They may seem like pebbles to you. But our Heavenly Father, in His Everlasting Love, can turn them into boulders far greater than even the one which sealed Jesus' tomb.

He can make them into a `Galilee'…a zillion times over and more.

May God continue to bless you. Alleluia!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…" great interview with Cardinal Donald Wuerl

Pete Socks interviews Donald Cardinal Wuerl on the Sacrament of Penance. Read the whole thing here, but here's the money quote:
PETE: For those who have not been to confession in a very long time what words of encouragement can you give them?
CARDINAL WUERL: Don’t be afraid. Everyone is rooting for you. None of your sins will shock the priest who hears your Confession. He’s heard everything in his years in the confessional. He knows that everybody sins. He wants you to succeed, and he’ll help you.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"I was a pagan, hedonistic man-hating feminist…"

"I learned the value and true beauty of being a woman. In the purest sense I discovered my real right to choose. "

Thank you, Catherine Quinn! And thank you, God.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Blessed Virgin Mary (like the air we breathe)

The Blessed Virgin Mary Compared to the Air We Breathe

by Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ

Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
That each eyelash or hair
Girdles; goes home betwixt
The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
Snowflake; that's fairly mixed
With, riddles, and is rife
In every least thing's life;
This needful, never spent,
And nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life's law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise,
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God's infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,        
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race
Mary Immaculate,
Merely a woman, yet
Whose presence, power is
Great as no goddess's
Was deemed, dreamed; who
This one work has to do —
Let all God's glory through,              
God's glory which would go
Through her and from her flow
Off, and no way but so.
I say that we are wound
With mercy round and round
As if with air: the same
Is Mary, more by name.
She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense            
Her prayers his providence:
Nay, more than almoner,
The sweet alms' self is her
And men are meant to share
Her life as life does air.
If I have understood,
She holds high motherhood
Towards all our ghostly good
And plays in grace her part
About man's beating heart,              
Laying, like air's fine flood,
The deathdance in his blood;
Yet no part but what will
Be Christ our Savior still.
Of her flesh he took flesh:
He does take fresh and fresh,
Though much the mystery how,
Not flesh but spirit now
And makes, O marvellous!
New Nazareths in us,                      
Where she shall yet conceive
Him, morning, noon, and eve;
New Bethlems, and he born
There, evening, noon, and morn
Bethlem or Nazareth,
Men here may draw like breath
More Christ and baffle death;
Who, born so, comes to be
New self and nobler me
In each one and each one                
More makes, when all is done,
Both God's and Mary's Son.
Again, look overhead
How air is azured;
O how! nay do but stand
Where you can lift your hand
Skywards: rich, rich it laps
Round the four fingergaps.
Yet such a sapphire-shot,
Charged, steepèd sky will not            
Stain light. Yea, mark you this:
It does no prejudice.
The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.
Blue be it: this blue heaven
The seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,                
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.
Whereas did air not make
This bath of blue and slake
His fire, the sun would shake,
A blear and blinding ball
With blackness bound, and all
The thick stars round him roll
Flashing like flecks of coal,                
Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt,
In grimy vasty vault.
So God was god of old:
A mother came to mould
Those limbs like ours which are
What must make our daystar
Much dearer to mankind;
Whose glory bare would blind
Or less would win man's mind.
Through her we may see him              
Made sweeter, not made dim,
And her hand leaves his light
Sifted to suit our sight.
Be thou then, thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my froward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God's love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Let Boston Carmel pray for you…it won't cost you a cent!

What a joy to visit this site…and to know some of the sisters who have dedicated their lives to Jesus, Mary…and us!

Do pay a visit…you'll be blessed!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Some quick but wonderful Lenten reads

Parker's Back by Flannery O'Connor

The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde

Sunday, February 16, 2014

“It was a money-grubbing, evil, very sad, sad place to work."

When we had to call 911 for an ambulance, we were told never to say the word ‘abortion’ because they don’t want that broadcast. They knew that the calls were recorded, and could be made public.

Marianne Anderson, former Planned Parenthood nurse, Indianapolis
Marianne Anderson recently drove with her mother past the Planned Parenthood facility at 86th Street and Georgetown Road in Indianapolis, the state’s largest provider of abortions.

“I told my mom, ‘To think that that building exists for no other reason than to kill unborn babies.’ I still get a knot in my stomach when I drive by there.”
The knot returns despite the fact that Anderson hasn’t worked at the Planned Parenthood facility since July of 2012. Prior to that, she worked for two-and-a-half years as a nurse at the abortion center.
Read the entire interview here.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saints Augustine and Aquinas

Kathy Schiffer delves into the Reverend King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Good News!

Abortion Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since 1973

By Kathy Schiffer
Pro-Life Protest in Detroit, Michigan
The number of abortions performed in America fell by 13 percent between 2008 and 2011, leaving the U.S. abortion rate at its lowest level since the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973.
Read more here.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Joy and Sorrow: The Presentation of the Lord

I asked my Little Mother, why is it that the Rosary recounts the Presentation of your Son as joyful? And she said:

"Because of Simeon's prophesy, which I knew came from God."

And then I asked my Little Mother, why then is this occasion accounted as your first of Seven Sorrows? And she said: 

"Because of Simeon's prophesy, which I knew came from God."

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word,for my eyes have seen your salvation,which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:a light for revelation to the Gentiles,and glory for your people Israel.” 
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,“Behold, this child is destinedfor the fall and rise of many in Israel,and to be a sign that will be contradicted—and you yourself a sword will pierce—so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” ~~Luke 2

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pope Francis and Notre Dame…"Thou shalt not, or Thou SHALL"

Numerous folks have weighed in on the Holy Father's address to the trustees of that university which more than one wag have dubbed "Humanist U"…and why should I not join in?

At first, like many I'll wager, was hoping the Pope would give the trustees the old one-two punch. May God forgive me.

What he didn't say:

"Thou shalt NOT honor anti-Catholic jerks, which indeed you have done in the past."
"Thou shalt NOT offer so-called `entertainment' which mocks, not only the Catholic Church, your morons but humanity in general."
"Thou shalt NOT keep repeating the imbecilic acts which, God only knows why, you seem to delight in persisting!"

(I could go on with the weird things Notre Dame has done, but that's not the point of this post.)

What he did say, in part:

It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especial in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness. And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning. To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it!

Yeah. That's actually really good. That's very Jesus.

In today's Gospel, Jesus asks us to not hide our light under a bushel basket, but to expose it for all to see.

Uh-huh, Jesus, on occasion, did get really mad. But more often than not, He took sinners and made them into saints.

Just a thought…but isn't that what our simple (in the best sense of the word) Holy Father is trying to do?

May God continue to bless you.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Lighting the Community"

Yes, I'm a Roman Catholic.

Yes, I continue to pray that the divided Christians — the Church of Jesus Christ — may soon become one, as the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are one.

And yes, it has been with great joy that I've passed by this remarkable light…this man-made sign that somehow unites the people of the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts with everyone who has, and continues to, rejoice in the birth of our Beloved Savior.

Well played, my fellow Christians. Extremely well played! May God continue to bless us!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Saint Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursulines…and what happened in Boston

Saint Angela Merici, whose memorial we celebrate today, founded the Company of Saint Ursula, or the Ursulines: the first group of women religious to work outside of the cloister, and the first teaching order of religious women.

We thank God for Angela, and for Ursula. And, being a Bostonian, I can't help contemplating an incident in Charlestown, Massachusetts at an Ursuline convent in 1834.

Please read, when you can, "The Burning of the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown"

May God continue to bless you.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Not "parenthood"

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Roe v. Wade Anniversary. Meh. A Horrible Thing for Me to Feel, I Know.

Yep, it's that time of the year again. Thousands march, pray, fast, and do everything they can to fight the monstrous sanction of murdering babies. I applaud them. But since tonight is my "all about me" night?


I killed my baby before Roe v. Wade.

A teenager, was I. And, with the help of my baby's father (a teacher), my parents, and the ironically named Mount Sinai Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, I killed my baby.

Not that I like to remember, but the act itself was fairly simple. Some board of shrinks at the hospital claimed that if I didn't kill my baby, I'd be screwed up mentally for the rest of my life. Makes me want to laugh, in a really evil way, when I do think about it. (Trust me. I try not to.)

This actually isn't news.

Since the 1980s, I've proclaimed loudly — at conferences, in front of abortion centers, etc. — of my sin. And have urged, in every way I can, women to choose life.

This is about today. At Mass today…

The United States Bishops Conference urged everybody to pray for the end of abortion. I was eager to participate in the celebration of the Mass dedicated to this intention.

Then, the celebrant began his homily…

And guess what? He talked about people like me. About healing and that stuff. I'd expected something about praying, activism, things to do to stop the bleeping killing…not about healing me.

So I alternated…between anger, sorrow, and hatred.

Hatred. Of myself, first and foremost. Of everybody I know, or don't know, who piously, proudly and bleeping self-righteously calls themselves "pro-choice." (It's murder, folks. If I can say it? You can say it. If you won't, you're liars.)

See…this is why I regret my abortion.

Because it —my act — resulted in hatred. And hate — like sin — is a really ugly thing.

So, to all you folks who are fighting to repeal Roe v. Wade? Bravo. I do applaud you. But there's this really ugly thing going through my mind…what good would that do?

Please…no sympathy. I've got enough of my own for myself.

I killed a baby, lost another the following year (the girl who was prevented from being "mentally screwed up for life" got pregnant on purpose and had a miscarriage), was rendered infertile (well golly gee…turns out the "procedure" had some complications) and try very hard not to…uh…feel sorry for myselfMay God continue to bless you.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Defending the Faith is Not Done by Attacking Other Christians

"One day, when I was nearly thirty years old, I invited Jack to an event: my baptism. I had started attending an Episcopal church and was convinced of the need for baptism. Would he come? Yes, he said, he would. Was he disappointed that I hadn't chosen the Catholic Church? (Another Christian friend had responded to my news with a tentative sort of `Really? The Episcopalians? Can I ask why?' I'd been crushed. I thought she would rejoice rather than pick apart my motives, and her reaction was sorely deflating to a fledgling Christian.) But Jack didn't even hint at disappointment. He was elated. He drove five hundred miles to be at the baptism. I had chosen Christ, and he wanted to be there, no matter what Christian denomination it was."

From Chapter 1, Deathbed Conversions, by Karen Edmisten, former atheist, now a Roman Catholic.

"That Christians of diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ."

Pope Francis' January 2014 intentions

Here's the thing: the Holy Father and Karen's friend Jack are on the right track. Those Catholics who either oh-so-subtly or wow-so-blatantly attack our separated brethren, for the most part? Are screwing things up.

"…that they may al be one just as You, Father, are in me, and I in You, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent me."

Jesus, John 17:21

Just in case you don't believe Karen and the Pope.

While simultaneously growing exceedingly weary of outright attacks on Protestants ("they don't know how to pray"…huh?) I am growing exceedingly determined that this nonsense stop. Right now, if not sooner.

By the grace of God, I can, have, and God willing, will continue to defend the Catholic Church even unto death. (Ironically, this 'way too often entails taking on…people who call themselves "Catholics.")

The way to do this effectively is not by attack. Nor by snarky comments, insults, and other methods that can easily be translated into hate.

The way to do this effectively is by emulating The Savior's command, and formed by Diving Teaching: PRAYER and LOVE.

May God, in the sublime Unity of the Blessed and Holy Trinity, continue to bless you.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Another death bed smile

Thank you, Father!

"Church? I haven't been to church in fifty years!"

Sunday, January 12, 2014

"Deathbed Conversions" by Karen Edmisten (hint: READ IT!!!)

My confessor recommended this book to me. No, no, not as a penance! But as a terrific favor. I ordered it last Monday, received it on Friday, and finished it on Saturday. Although I'm not sure I'm finished with it yet…it's one of those books one wants to keep going back to.

Subtitled "Finding Faith at the Finish Line," Karen Edmisten's book made me want to throw a party. Perhaps an odd reaction to a book with the word "deathbed" in the title, but all the same.

It's a little book…you can read it in a few hours…

But if you're like me (yikes! If you are, say an Ave, and quickly!)…

...Ahem. If you and I share similar traits? You will want to put this book down. Why? Because you don't want it to end!

Despite Edmisten's claim (and of course I believe her) that the book was not as easy to write as she'd expected, I get the distinct impression that she had an absolute blast during the undertaking. I know I had a ball reading it!

Dutch Schultz. John Wayne. Gary Cooper. Oscar Wilde, for Heaven's sake!

Yep. All of 'em converted to Catholicism…just before entering their final reward.

How bleeping cool is that!

Want to know how cool it is? Read the book!

You'll discover a healthily brief bit about the lives of "finish line converts" but you'll learn even something more valuable…how to be really and effectively be a soldier for Christ. How to be one of those people who helps bring that atheist you love so much…that spouse or niece or child or friend who hates religion…that stranger you pass in the street…how to help do for them what we're supposed to do for each other: make the path into the Kingdom of God bright and well-lit.

Edmisten's own conversion story, tucked into the forward titled "Don't Ever Give Up," should be required reading for any aspiring evangelist. Part of her dedication says so much, in so few words:

"With deepest gratitude to everyone who ever uttered a prayer for me…"

I could go on but I'd be sorely tempted to add spoilers and I don't want to do that. I want you to read the book. And I pray that you and I do what the people associated with the converts in this book do: help each other into Heaven.

Thank you, Karen Edmisten, for a really, really good read! Well played. Very well played.

Deathbed Conversions: Finding Faith at the Finish Line, by Kristen Edmisten
Published by Our Sunday Visitor
Order it here
Visit Karen Edmisten's blog here