Archive for the ‘prayer’ category


February 5, 2018

“Walking with Christ through Lent”  —

Among some of  the best ways of praying is to pray through the Gospels.   Not read them every day, but  to prayerfully meditate on  them every day,  staying close to the Lord we wish to follow.      A joyful and uplifting way to pray!

Uplifting.   (ahem):


Pretty, floaty balloons.

Lots of hands involved:


Children love to participate.



“Many hands make light work.”


It’s an “uplifting” project that needs to be kept untangled – and free:



The tendency is to float – upward, of course:



And all the people let go!



Up, up, and away!



Into the Heavens:


Where our prayers are heard!

Credit to the Papa Stronsay blog site ( http: / / papastronsay . blogspot. com/  —  Remove spaces, of course.)     Papa Stronsay is the name of the larger of the Stronsay islands, north of Scotland, where a joyful community of Christians live and work and pray.




About the “repetition of prayers”  in the Rosary:

When I was a child,  the Bible that was given to me lied to me.   It kind of made it sound like you were never to say a prayer “more than once.”    Prayer should  “come from the heart” – i.e.,  it should always be extemporaneous.

(Saying “The Lord’s Prayer'”  again and again was a contradiction that I couldn’t ask about – and expect a satisfying answer.)

If you did repeat a prayer, or prayers,  it was called “vain repetition.”    My contradiction problem was relieved when I learned when I was older that the words “vain repetition” was a deliberate and deceptive mis-translation of the original Greek words regarding the manner of prayer.   In other words,  the men who wrote that particular Bible lied – with what they thought was good reason.

They were breaking away from the Church,  starting their own version of Christianity,  so they had to reject as much as they could that came from the Church.   And they had to write all kinds of reasons why they were right, including changing the words of the Bible.



October 11, 2016

(From the keyboard of a “Deplorable”)   –


Two men, both known for “kneeling” . . .


        . . .   for different reasons.

One man’s kneeling got him the praise of “America”  as seen through the lens of the entertainment-news media.     Poor oppressed guy.     (Poor oppressed rich guy.)

The other man got nothing but scorn and ridicule for his kneeling.

The poor oppressed rich guy’s kneeling got him a renewed and lucrative contract as the head quarterback of the San Francisco  49ers.   He will bring much value to . . . us.

The scorned man?  There’s something more to his life than  football   sports.


Just recently at a game (where he is employed)  he saved the life of a fan in the stands who fell into an epileptic seizure.    The man had stopped breathing, according to witnesses.   Tim Tebow, the tall handsome man in the photo who likes his fans, ran over to the man,    held him,  prayed for him —  and shortly the man began breathing again.

YOU tell that man that it was mere coincidence.

But that’s not the first time.  A similar incident happened on an airplane in which Tim Tebow was a passenger.  A fellow passenger was in life-threatening trouble — and seemed to be not breathing.

You can guess what happened next.    It was prayer.    YOU tell that man it was just coincidence.

But I wanted to think about kneeling,   whom you’re kneeling to,  why you’re kneeling.


Men kneel.

Men now and before now  –


Men kneel even when they don’t have a church to kneel in.


You all know I like cowboys!


MY kind of cowboy!   –


Wouldn’t you rather have your king (or your Ruler or your president)  acknowledging that he has a Higher Power –  the same Higher Power that everyone else has to answer to?

teb king kneeling.jpg


Even The KING OF KINGS prayed –


I’m not  a man, and yet I can  pray –



Because in the end,  our end or the world’s end,   that is all we have,  it’s the true source of strength.




Wikileaks:     All those praying people,  any Catholic that you know,  any evangelical that you know,  any person who prays,   you, me,  she and he —  have been mocked and made fun of,  disparaged and called names  by those high up in the Clinton campaign, according to their own emails.

Let’s see . . .    some hate-powered phrases from those recently leaked emails:     we people who pray  are totally unaware of Christian democracy (their idea of Christian democracy, I guess);   we who pray are:   attracted to severely backward gender ideas;  we “throw around Thomistic ideas and subsidiarity just to ‘sound’  sophisticated”;    Mr. Murdoch is ‘Friggin Murdock’  because he had his children baptized in the Jordan River;    we are ‘bastardizing’ the faith.    And don’t forget from before:   we’re the people who are “bitter”  and clinging to our guns and our Bibles.    Catholics are weird,  reactionary people out of step with the times.

This from the Democrat Party which “weaponized”  the I.R. S.  against conservative  patriotic and Christian groups.    This from the campaign of the Poor Sick Woman who stated that it’s smart to have one persona for the public and another one in private.   Someone who holds herself leagues above the common people, and drops the “f”  bomb on those in her way, including her security staff – and their canine helpers.

They are bigots as well as hypocrites –  and please don’t think they like you.



September 13, 2016

It’s the 13th of the month, one of the months of 99 years ago in which the three little children of Fatima were seeing visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was bringing important information for the world.


Why entrust “important information”  to three  little children?    I don’t know all of the reasons, but on this September 13th three grown men also left their record of that day – and the result is similar.     They told simply what they saw, and there is not a hint of “fanciful fairy tales” in their account.     Either!    The words of the  three children of Fatima had never sounded like fanciful tales either.


So these three men, who were dressed in suits,  but happened to priests of the skeptical variety,  came to the area where another apparition was supposed to take place around noon.   They came to the beautiful rolling hills of the pasture lands near Fatima, Portugal, which looked something like this photo.

The actual site of the apparition was near a holm oak tree:


The three men positioned themselves above the area of the holm oak so they could look down and see everything,  the behavior of all the people and any natural or supernatural phenomena that might occur.

But there was already a crowd of people there.  Quite a crowd!


In this  fifth expected apparition  30,000 people had heard and showed up!   The three men saw that the children and most of the crowd were already praying the rosary,  and were expectant.

And then, around noon,  the three men saw something in the eastern sky.  It was a soft gentle light coming from the east,  and as it got closer they could see that it was like a globe;  maybe  we’d call it an “orb” today.     It glowed beautifully and drifted towards the little oak tree, “majestically,”  as they described it.

And then they noticed that the bright sunlight got a little dimmer and became  somewhat golden, and then there was a quiet hush in the air.

Must have been lovely,  and a bit eerie.

Many eyewitnesses reported seeing and feeling the same thing.    Some people reported being able to see some stars in the sky that day.

The apparition was about to begin, seen only by the three children, and  heard only by two of the children.


Of course the important thing was the message this apparition had brought,  not just the external phenomena that the astonished men had called ” a delightful vision.”

I always forget the details of this vision because they are not dramatic or startling like the four previous ones,  just a simple admonition to “keep praying the rosary so that the War will end.” *     I guess that’s “dramatic” enough for us today, the idea that prayer and faith and devotion do  have an effect upon global political conditions.      It’s one thing to know it;  it’s another thing to practice it.

Lucia, the eldest of the children,  dutifully relayed to the apparition some questions about healing that certain people had given her to ask the Lady;    the answer was “some will be healed,  others will not be.”     They – and we –  need to know that answers to prayer is in God’s hands and sometimes dependent upon certain things on our part.

Prayer:  It is natural to pray for things we need.   When St Thomas Aquinas was discussing the matter of prayer and petition,  he quoted St Augustine who had written:  “It is lawful to pray for that which it is lawful to desire.”     So take heart!   Have confidence!

And then came a promise.    Next month the Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary,   will come back with more personages from Heaven and with public  Proof that these apparitions from Heaven are real.  The Proof will be visible to all and will be convincing.     As the apparition ended,   something like white “snowflakes”   or “petals”  precipitated out of the air, for all to see, although the flakes didn’t quite reach the ground.

The men, watching from their position higher up,  at first thought this was a flock of little white birds.  They asked each other if they each had seen it.     They all had,  but none ventured to give it a name.  And then a small cloud was seen by that little oak tree where the children had been seeing the Lady.   It thickened a little,  rose a little, then disappeared.   In its place a few wispy clouds appeared and quickly disappeared.  What was that?    Again, the men had no words for it.

The three children could be seen pointing to the eastern sky again, saying look!   There it is.   The three grown men saw the white orb again, receding.    When one asked the other what he though that was,  this time he said, without thinking,  “That is Our Lady!”

So stay tuned for October 13th.

And keep praying – especially for the “State of the World.”      We are so close to the fulfillment of the terrible warnings that had come earlier to the children.

I’m beginning to think that then false politics of today will be the instrument that will bring down that judgment upon us.



.*    That would be World War One:  “The War to End All Wars.”     It was a shockingly violent and destructive war.   Every bit of modern technology was used to  kill and destroy:  the newly invented airplanes were used to drop bombs;  chemical warfare maimed and killed men in horrible ways;   all our focus and planning and intelligence was brought to bear on waging an inhuman, uncivilized war.     Surely we had reached the final ultimate worst that Man can do to Man,  and we must never permit war again.

(And yet,  Our Lady,  in these apparitions warned of a worse one to come,  contingent upon future human behavior….)



July 17, 2016

The French Revolution was a war against Christianity, Reason,  Logic, Civility, Peace, and Individual Freedom .

July 17th.    Christendom remembers the small group of Carmelite nuns who met their death on July 17, a couple hundred years ago during the French Revolution.


Young ladies,  some just teenagers,  quiet, devout, pure and moral, singing a Te Deum in a lovely choir of feminine voices, a choir that got thinner and thinner as the nuns, one by one,  took their place on the guillotine, until one voice was left, and then none.

The painting shows one by one they met their death, passing from this earth to the one at the top of the painting, into the waiting arms of their sisters who had met the guillotine moments before.

Their crime was that their religious faith was different from the “religion”  of the new republic of France which included a new moral code.   New laws, and new interpretations of laws made their faith in Christ a crime.   They had no right to the quiet, personal expression of their faith.

Similar storm clouds on the horizon here in this country too.

Today’s weather:

Cloud Over 1

And, July 17th, today, the latest example in our nation of the hatred against a Christian (and previously Christian )  society.   The shooter in Baton Rouge today  was interested in the Nation of Islam.  Previously, in Nice, France, a man driving a great white truck into crowds shouted out (his)  “god is greater”!    The common cry of Islamist warriors.

Menacing clouds arise:

Cloud Over 2

There will always be July 17th’s ahead.    And other dates too.    Because if we don’t work to spread goodness and to check the evil,  evil will grow.

TWO DAYS IN A ROW up here in the  Land of Hiawatha I was here, in this small private chapel, when strong storms arose outside:

GG chapel indoors 400

The first time there was such a loud crash that I thought a construction crane outside had fallen over on top of the roof of this stone chapel which was located inside of a larger stone cathedral!  I looked up for cracks in the ceiling!

Storm clouds.    Evil on the horizon.    Approaching.

Everyone seems to be talking about “something”  that’s coming.    I don’t know what that could be, but I know it could be a lot of things;  things that have happened before at the hands of evil governments, evil ideologies.

Once, long ago,  Hiawatha turned to Gitche Manito, the Great Spirit-Father above, and he sat and pondered these things seriously.

You shall hear how Hiawatha
Prayed and fasted in the forest
Not for greater skill in hunting,
Not for greater craft in fishing,
Not for triumphs in the battle,
And renown among the warriors,
But for profit of the people,
For advantage of the nations.

First he built a lodge for fasting,
Built a wigwam in the forest
By the shining Big-Sea-Water . . .

For days he prayed and fasted, just as we could do . . .     He thought of all the things around him that are important to his physical well-being and safety, and he cried out:

“Master of Life!” he cried, desponding,
“Must our lives depend on these things?”

Finally, after several days,  Gitche Manito sent to him a strong and handsome youth, “dressed in garments, green and yellow,  coming though the purple twilight, through the splendor of the sunset . . .”

Because Hiawatha had prayed sincerely for the well-being of his fellow man,  and not just for himself,   his prayers had been heard.   Hiawatha will be told how to improve the society that he lives in.

Said this youth, O Hiawatha!
All your prayers are heard in heaven,
For you pray not like the others . . .
But for profit of the people,
For advantage of the nations.

From the Master of Life descending,
I, the friend of man, Mondamin,
Come to warn you and instruct you,
How by struggle and by labor
You shall gain what you have prayed for.
Rise  from your bed of branches,
Rise up and wrestle with me!”

“How by struggle and by labor you shall gain what you have  prayed for. . . .”

Oh, yes, bring our woes and worries to Gitche Manito, the Master of Life.    Go into a chapel or into a wigwam or into your own private room.    Begin with prayer;  begin with praying;  learn to pray if you’re out of practice — but then be prepared to continue your prayers with labor. “By struggle and by labor.”    The Master of Life works through our hands.

This part of the Epoch of Hiawatha then goes on to describe days and days of wrestling with this strange youth, sent from heaven,  to test and to strengthen and prepare Hiawatha for the serious struggles against evil.

(Monamin left a gift for Hiawatha and all his people.   Monamin’s wrestling  had prepared Hiawatha to recognize it.     The gift was “green and yellow” and it  promised peace and plenty for all, because Gitche Manito is really very generous.     You may know what it is or you may not,  but  I won’t name it for you because  it’s just one symbol of the abundance of goodness available for all men,  if we just knew it.)














January 14, 2016

The death in our family;  the funeral;  the lingering duty to pray for mercy for the soul just departed — and for all souls in their many needs.

A prayer, well-thought, gives comfort when emotions intervene, and lends words for a heart touched by mankind’s situation:. 


Watch, O Lord,  with those who wake,
or watch, or weep tonight,
and give your saints and angels charge
over those who sleep.
Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest your weary ones;
bless your dying ones;
soothe your suffering ones,
pity your afflicted ones,
shield your joyous ones,
And all for your Love’s sake.



Bar Cross in middle


May 2, 2014

(I do hope you’ve all had the  strengthening  experience in your formative years of that movie “On a Wing and a Prayer.”    Very good for teenagers, young adults, and adults.)


Strengthening effect notwithstanding,   I’m not sure I even have a “wing” today.

Broke down in southern Georgia – rural southern Georgia.    (They “heard of computers”  they said, which is probably what’s causing my Warning Light to inform me that there is a Loss of Power, or sometimes Low Power.)

On the other hand,  ever hear of the Robertsons on Duck Dynasty?     It’s ALL TRUE!    There really are Christian ladies and gentlemen down here that enfold you  in love and kindness when you are in distress.

But, well, stalling when you need power steering and power brakes is pretty unsettling, and losing power on any slight uphill grade is downright dangerous.    Semis veer around me and whiz by at 60 m.p.h.

And today I have two mountain ranges to get through.

I got going  on the road again through the prayers of those southern Georigians and their kindness which gave me a small amount of courage…a womanly amount, I guess.     If you have any skill in praying,  please give me a thought today in your prayers.    I know I drive under a whole panoply of angels and saints who help me implore our God to get me home –

I saw a billboard – in middle Georgia – that showed a man hanging off a cliff by a rope.  The words on the billboard said:   “It’s okay.   Let go.  Jesus will catch you.”

Deo gratias.



April 27, 2014

Christendom has long called this Sunday “Quasimodo Sunday.”  It’s because the first given prayer for this day begins with the words:  quasi modo”  which means “as”  or “in this manner.” 

More about the real “in this manner” later, but for now I’m musing about Quasimodo, the man at the center of action in Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame.    At one time every literate person in Europe knew who Quasimodo was, and how by an act of Christian charity the ugly abandoned baby who was to become Quasimodo was found and adopted  and cared for  by the archdeacon of Notre Dame cathedral.    Since he was found on Quasimodo Sunday,  the baby boy was given the name Quasimodo.

This being a novel written by the very anti-Catholic Monsieur Hugo,  lust, murder, and revenge abounds in the hearts of all the characters,  whether good or evil, Catholic or non-Catholic, in a moral mish-mash of the cynical soup that arose out of the Enlightenment.

Nevertheless, from his earliest years,  Quasimodo was alive and given an honorable way to make his living because of Christian charity.

Had the characters in Victor Hugo’s book been guided by the rest of the prayer which names this Sunday,  they would have had less heartache and more holiness  —  and so it is with every man.    The prayer points to all those who come to faith in Christ and are eager to please Him and are hungry to know more.

Like little children,  as newborn babies,  in the manner of enthusiastic newbies, willing to receive more,  in this manner live your lives.

For anyone who has experienced any little knowledge of God, let him delight with childlike simplicity and be open for more;   let him long for more.

Quasimodo;  “in this manner.”   Simple, humble, childlike, open for more wonders of faith   —   Perhaps like the baby boy Quasimodo once was, when he first experienced the tender love of Christian charity, and before he became enmeshed in the drama of adult evils.

How we can pity all those who lose their childlike eagerness to be good.



October 22, 2013

My last posting was called Bias to the Normal.   Normal, my foot!    Nothing about the last 48 hours has been normal!


A mother goes berserk when her son is lost.    I knew the flight pattern that would take him from The Netherlands to his home.   I posted a screen shot of it in that last posting.  I knew how long it would take him to drive home after that.     But he didn’t arrive.

And for the next 24 hours or so,  absolutely no one knew where he was.    No communication with him.     Nothing.

Nothing but a very overactive imagination on my part.   I imagined a whole lot of things that could happen to him.     Hour by hour by hour. . . .

When frantic frequent prayers brought no results I turned to —

SAMSUNGYeah. . . .I opened up a brand-new picture puzzle.    I had to do something to stop pacing and start breathing again.    Did nearly the whole puzzle that day.

At a certain time, I turned to that most meditative of prayers and lost myself in the Gospel story for about twenty minutes.    You know the part about Our Lady “losing”  her son Jesus for a few days in Jerusalem?    I nearly lost it there, but I can say I now understand.  I understand.  I understand this Fifth Joyful Mystery.


When Son finally appeared at my door,  I felt like a robot;  couldn’t move.    There was the reality standing before me.   I had had him kidnapped and murdered;  jailed;  mugged and bonked on the head;    sick and unable to identify himself;    in Pago Pago after having gotten on the wrong plane with no way of getting back;    detained and lost forever by Airport “Security”;     chopped up and buried someplace after a fight in Detroit over his beautiful black GTO which had been waiting for him….

Well, I was right to worry about one of those things.   Son came in and sat down and proceeded to talk, non-stop, for the next few hours.

After two missed flights – (TWO!   have you ever heard of anyone missing two flights in a row?)  –    and I’ll spare you all the details, all the roadblocks that the world seemed to throw in front of this young man —  he finally arrived, once again, at the airport looking rather unkempt,  very much lacking in sleep,  hungry,  agitated,  hot and sweaty,  unable to focus on anything except hoping to get  on the plane.

Now imagine that you’re  Airport Security and you have someone standing in front of you who looks agitated, unfocused, sweat running down his face,  impatient with questioning,  all  alone,  can’t find his baggage claim ticket to prove he had checked some baggage –  and he looks like a Viking –  tall, blond, blue-eyed, and muscular…..and he claimed to have no problem with all the extra money this is costing him…..and he didn’t connect with all the questions…..

Miraculously,  they let him on the plane.  Miraculously,  he was not “flagged” when he landed in America.  MIraculously,  he made it home.

I asked him one question.   About when was it that you were being questioned by the authorities?    I didn’t say anything then,  but his answer told me that it was at the same period of time that I had my rosary in my hand.

Who says working a good picture puzzle can’t calm you down enough — so that you can then think to do the right thing!!!!

Deo gratias.


December 13, 2011

“Let the Party continue !!”     At least that’s what it feels like today.   I’m rather weary from Christmas shopping today,  contented, and not a little surprised that I accomplished so much on my To-Do list at the Mall.

 Now comes the “hard work”  and the messes.     But just when I was feeling the fatigue of it all,  that’s when that thought came to me:   Let the party…continue!    I liked giving that Christmas party this weekend.  I especially wanted to “give” each person a happy time, a happy opportunity to meet with friends and enjoy each other’s company.

I had a list of people who that party was for, and now I have a list of who my gifts are for.   I can’t give a party for everyone I know and I can’t give gifts to everyone I know, but it’s the same action — the giving of something that would just make people happy.

And there are more ways to “give” too!     Christmas cards, letters, phone calls, smiles and encouraging words, conversation, little courtesies.  It’s all like continuing one big long Christmas party for the whole season.

The most valuable gift of all that we can “give”  to the people in our lives is the gift of a prayer.     Think of praying for someone as giving them a little gift!    You don’t even have to know their names, but I think in the real spiritual world,  that prayer will be “delivered.”

What fun again!     You can hold your own secret party, even if you don’t have it at your house.   You can give gifts to people without buying them presents.    And I promise you,  it will feel like you’re at a party for the whole Christmas season.

I know…all the busyness, the To-Do lists, the schedules, the fatigue,  the worries…. It’s hard to whip up the energy for a wild party sometimes.

Well, have a quiet one, all by yourself.   A quiet occasion for all the friends you can think of.   Think fondly of the people you know, think what would make them happy.    Pray for each person you know about.

Look deeply into the eyes of the Infant Jesus:

It’s something He would want you to do.

Gaudete!   Rejoice.   It makes you happy to be kind to others.   Like having a party for all of Christmas.


March 11, 2011

Once, long ago, it was a “long way” to Japan:

The arduous voyage of St. Francis Xavier in the 16th century brought the knowledge of Japan to the Western World and the knowledge of the Western World to Japan.     It was to be only the slightest of acquaintances.     Christianity took hold and began to spread among the Japanese, but it was fiercely persecuted and nearly wiped out.

We can remember this time through the eyes of The 26 Martyrs of Tagosama:

No further missionaries or priests from the West arrived for nearly two centuries.   An interesting note:    When missionaries again began arriving in the 19th century, they found a few small bands of Catholic Japanese who had retained the Faith as best they could.  

They were able to pass  down the Faith from one generation to the next for two centuries, without the help of priests for one reason.   They did not sing or pray or learn the Creed in the vernacular;   they had used the language of  the Christian Faith – Latin.    Unlike spoken Japanese which changed slowly as the centuries passed,  the Latin stayed the same;  the words of the prayers and songs and creed carried the constant and unchanged meaning against which the changing usage of the Japanese language could be measured against.

Although Christianity remained a very small minority in Japan,  by the 20th century two cities were known to have large populations of Catholic-Christians:   Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

St. Francis Xavier and his companions, the 26 Martyrs, and  the unnamed saints  of their beloved  Nippon, Land of Beauty,  all  remain in the Communion of Saints with us.   May they look down with compassion and concern on Japan today and join with our prayers to petition Our Lord  for relief and comfort and mercy. . . . .   

We humans are so small on this planet and our needs our so great.


July 25, 2010

In just 100 days America will hold its elections.     Hopefully.

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and all the instruments of His Holy Passion that Thou mayest put division in the camp of Thine enemies, for as Thy Beloved Son has said, ‘a kingdom divided against itself shall fail.’  Amen”

(Sister  Marie de Saint-Pierre) 

To the best of my ability I will include that short little prayer in  my Morning and Evening Prayers.       Perhaps it’s not too late.

The prayer was given to the good sister to help confound and conquer the Revolutionaries who were overtaking Europe in the 19th century.    They have now overtaken our country.

I had no idea who Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre was until a little while ago, but since her fight is our fight, I’d like to learn more.

Of course, the power to confuse and divide the Enemy is His…if we care enough to make supplication keeping  His Holy Face in mind.     



July 2, 2010

Friday:  The day we remember the Crucifixion.   Suffering and Pain…and Sin.

We could remember such things by prayers.    Here’s a close-up:

Bring it closer:

See the little one inside?    It’s a baby, as it grows inside its mother.

The “most dangerous place in America” — inside your mother’s womb.


Thank you to Lilly, Monday afernoon class.  She said we can Search on the Internet for “Rosary of the Unborn.”     They will tell you how to obtain one of these.  

You might also do a Search for how many of  our little ones, our tiniest brothers and sisters, are killed each day….each hour….

Fridays:   … for weeping, suffering, and the weight of Sin.


June 26, 2010

“Dominus custodiat introitum tuum, et exitum tuum….”   so we say in the Office of Terce.*

The psalms given at Terce are the thoughts of Jesus as His passion begins in earnest.   Traditionally, Terce reflects the events that begin in that Third Hour of the Roman Watch, starting around 9:00 in the morning until noon.    Even something that happened at 11:45 a.m., for instance, is still recorded in the hour of Terce.

If you think about what happened during that time, that will give you an idea of the mortal danger that Jesus was in on Good Friday morning.  It had begun.  There is no backing out;  there is nobody to stop the process, nobody to save.

Do we have similar times today when events were put into motion that couldn’t be stopped?   Yes.   The middle of summer, Germany, 1938.   The middle of summer, former U.S.A.**,  2010.   

Yes….I think that’s right.


“Dominus custodiat” – the Lord   keeps you,  watches over you; lovingly cares for you.   Those are inspired words;  truer than true, more true than we even realize.   Jesus most likely recited this Psalm because he knew they were true for Him, even at this horrible hour.   No, the horrible things would not be stopped, but He, the Christ, Son of God, will come through it under the watchful eye of the Lord God.

There’s a little bird up there in the photo, standing on our deck.  Just a few minutes before he flew smack into our window.   His wing and body print is still there on the glass.    I watched, heartbroken, as he sat on the deck, stunned, with his wing stretched out at a funny angle.   He struggled to bring his wing in closer to his body.   I knew the worse thing for him would be my own nursing attempts. 

He finally got it in and he was able to stand on his feet, tiny little thing.  Then he rocked back and forth trying to do something.   I couldn’t watch the whole process.  I checked back later and he seemed to be just resting, resting, resting…and then the hot sun came out.  
The end of the story is that he flew away.   Maybe with a sore shoulder or something, but he came through it –  this time.   But I was left wondering at how much pity I had for this tiny little creature.  I was tense and my stomach felt tight.   Concern, pity, compassion, caring about the outcome.


I wondered, then…could our guardian angel look on us with that much love and concern for us?  Many of the angels?  The saints?  Does our Dear Lord care about us getting through life that much?   Of course!   What pain there is in loving someone…watching him move about through this life.

“…introitum tuum, et exitum tuum…”  “… in thy coming in and going out.”  Coming and going!!!   I do a lot of that.  

It took a long time to get through Terce today.  It’s not because I was inattentive;  it was because I was very, very attentive.  I felt like sending upward a little word of apology: “Sorry I’m repeating myself so many times…”  But in the process of thinking things through, I discovered I had two misconceptions about “comings and goings.”   Two errors, really.  That’s another post. 

But for this one,  I just wanted to remark “Dominus custodiat introitum tuum , et exitum tuum. ”     We are His little sparrows.   (Or chickadees, as the case may be.)

*  Terce from the Little Office of the B.V.M.

**  I use the word “former” merely to reflect a current reality.   More and more I read in European news and comments that “Americans have an Elected Dictatorship.”   That phrase seems to sum up what I’ve observed.  We don’t quite elect the dictators; we elect the front men whom the dictators choose for us.  

We’ve been hoaxed, we’ve flown smack into a window, and we sit here stunned and vulnerable.

The Christian Faith remains the same.  The fortunes of politics, war, and even one’s own country are as shifting sand under our feet.


June 12, 2010

Because He wants me to.


May 15, 2010

Short post tonight, as I get ready to leave for the Chapel.  

Our Adoration Chapel is called an Oratory, a place for prayer.   One short, swift hour of praying prayers of adoration and praise, and of saying prayers “for all those for whom it is our responsibility to pray for.”   

Let a picture do the talking tonight:

” The Ladder of Divine Ascent. ”  

While the Communion of Saints help us with prayers of loving intercession, in the upper left, the demons do what they can to weaken our grip so that we fall into Hell.  

Here is consistent teaching of the Christian Faith, first written clearly through the mouth of Ezechiel, the prophet:   (God says) – “Say to them: As I live, saith the Lord God, I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live.”  (Ezechiel 33:11)

So the painting tells a truth.   We are all on an upward ladder to Heaven.  God calls all of mankind to Him.     That is, everyone we know;  ourselves, family, friends, acquaintances, people whose stories attract our attention in the news, and all the people in the world. 

The painting suggests to us our work in the Adoration Chapel.  

Thanks to Christ Heaven is opened to us.   Thanks to each others’ prayers, we are strengthened in our ascent.   Everyone we know needs our prayers.

The painting portrays only one small facet of Christian teaching;  objections can be answered by studying the whole of the Christian Gospel.


April 21, 2010

The week following Good Shepherd Sunday always has me feeling a bit quieter inside.     “We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture….”  the psalmist says.    There is a stillness in a safe pasture, peace beside still waters;  the activities and uncertainties  from outside the pasture fall silent when the Shepherd is present.

In keeping with this Sunday’s meditations, I’ve been spending more time just sitting quietly on the back deck.   Godlfish in the pond down there near the edge and turtles drifting nearby.     Squirrels playing up and down the tree trunks.   Birds all over,  up above.   Deer walking slowly through the woods, snapping twigs as they pass.   

Once I put the camera away, and once I get used to the noise that all the critters make,  then I begin to think about the peace and stillness of this place.   And then I wonder what I can hear in that stillness.

I thought of Knock, which I made reference to a couple postings ago.  I asked:  “Remember this place?”   but I  shouldn’t have asked that of many who have never heard of what happened there, a little over a hundred years ago.

So, imagine another “still place” — a faraway place in Knock, Ireland, and some people are walking past their familiar church, going from one place to another, in a quieter, slower age.     There is a fine misty rain coming down, and a feeling of something pending in the air…something holy….something religious.

The  people sense a  light or a glow beneath a gable  of the church.   They walk more closely to the church, and they begin to see some figures there, not against the wall of the church building itself, but at a  litle distance in front of the wall.   They are in white, and being well-versed in their religion and in the knowledge of the people in the Gospels,  the fifteen witnesses recognize the figures.  

Although the tableau was a little off-center, according to the witnesses,  the figures were focused on the Lamb on the Altar, standing in front of a cross.  There were small angel figures, bowing in adoration.  To the side was St. John, with a “Gospel” in his hands, as though ready to teach the Gospel truth about the Lamb of God.   The Virgin Mary was there, and St. Joseph was there, inclining his head slightly, in respect.   

It was an apparition, plain and simple.  It looked and felt heavenly.  But there was no explanation to them , not from any of the figures before them, neither in their ears,  nor in their thoughts.   No words.  The figures appeared in silence and remained silent.

Why?  What does it mean?   Where is the message?   What are we supposed to learn  from this?  What are we supposed to do?   What is the point?   What is the lesson?

The questions themselves shatter the stillness and bring a kind of utilitarian complexity to the event.

And yet, throughout the 130 years afterwards, the apparition draws many millions, and teaches those who can learn in the silence of their hearts.

I may not write about Knock again, not anytime soon, but I think I can say I know how the meaning can begin to come.

The figure that the people recognized as the Mother of the Lamb appeared in a white gown with four flowing folds, graceful and full of dignity.   But it was her hands that they noticed most.  They were extend slightly and about to be folded together in prayer, but they seemed to be reaching out first, to invite all people to prayer, deep prayer, pure, holy, dignified prayer to Our God.  

If ever we can achieve this, we will have also achieved a state of profound stillness in our soul.   This is when we’re ready to learn what the apparition at Knock came to tell.


April 11, 2010

As we end the Octave of Easter this year, the Church has given us ways to keep the experience of the season with us.  We “retain” our connection to the events of Easter by contemplating the stories and images, and also by our prayers throughout the day, at set times that are connected to the Passion and death of Our Lord.

“Seven times a day I have praised Thee….”

We are familiar with the meaning of “seven” in the Bible, a number signifying wholeness or completeness, a full commitment especially in matters that concern our relationship to God, and His to us.

The Psalmist doesn’t limit anyone to praying only seven times a day.   “Everything we do” can be a prayer.  Every “raising of the heart to God” can be called a prayer.    “Seven times,” then, can mean “all” our time as St. Paul writes: “pray without ceasing.”

In a previous post I listed the Seven Canonical Hours of the day and how they are related to the Roman Division of time into Watches and Hours.      This is not an artificial or arbitrary practice.    The book of Acts mentions some of these Hours of the Roman day that would have been familiar to the first Christians.

Order and Balance

The Apostolic fathers and the Early Church Fathers continued to teach  this practice.   To name just two:   Clement of Rome, in the late first century, admonishes Christians in his writings to have prayer “at the Third hour, the Sixth, and the Ninth, and in the evening and at cock-crow.”    A few generations later Tertullian explains how these same hours are times of prayer throughout the day.

Most of us don’t volunteer ourselves to the disciplined life of the Religious whose duty it is to pray the Hours most faithfully on behalf of the whole world, but we can  join in on any one of these hours, depending on our circumstances.

We are creatures of high-minded spritual intentions and we are also creatures of habit and physical action.   Realistically, we steer our path between set times for certain prayers, on the one hand, and spontaneous, extemporaneous praying, on the other hand.

“Pray without ceasing”    — and keep the Crucified One before us!   

These are perilous times.

(I realize that’s a picture of Sarek up there, not an Early Church Father.   But he – Sarek – continues to inspire me to be a better human.   Order and balance.  Discipline and compassion.    Reason and Intellect.     Endurance.   I think that’s what he would teach me, should I ever meet him some day.)