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Showing posts from August, 2010

Stuck In My Brain

I can't seem to shake an idea that lodged in my brain from the 25th Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew.  It is the parable of the 10 virgins -- 5 wise and 5 foolish -- waiting for the return of the bridegroom.  The wise were prepared for a potential delay in his return.  They brought extra provisions.  Specifically noted is the oil for their lamps.  The foolish were unprepared, ran out of oil, and ended up out in the dark.

As a child in I learned a little ditty in CCD: "Jesus bids us shine with a pure clear light,
Like a little candle, burning in the night.
In this world of darkness, so we must shine.
You in your small corner, and I in mine. "
I get the details.  I understand the application.  What haunts me is that all 10 fell asleep.  The foolish and the wise were not able to stay awake until the bridegroom's return.  Of course, the parable is not referencing the natural sleep that the human body requires.  If the bridegroom was long delayed (days? weeks? longer?) ther…

Systematic Discrimination Against the Catholic Church

I have been warning my parishioners and friends about this eventuality for decades.  Some thought I was a bit nuts, especially early on.  "It could never happen in America" was their gut reaction.  Alas, it is already beginning.  Please take time to read these excerpts from a speech given by Archbishop Chaput.
(personal editorial comment:  Please note that the archbishop refers to ISLAMISTS not people of the Muslim faith. )
"Systematic Discrimination Against Church Now Seems Inevitable" Thursday, August 26, 2010 By Archbishop Charles Chaput  - Excerpts from Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput's address to the 15th symposium for the Canon Law Association of Slovakia on Tuesday:
Today's secularizers have learned from the past. They are more adroit in their bigotry; more elegant in their public relations; more intelligent in their work to exclude the Church and individual believers from influencing the moral life of society. Over the next several deca…

An Extraordinary Experience

I had a really profound experience during this morning's Mass at the consecration. When I pronounced the words over the chalice an image appeared in the precious blood. I looked closely and at first it was our Lord in His traditional garb. Then the face changed, which caught me a bit by surprise when I noticed the "movement". To my great surprise it was my face! 

I was wearing the Lord's garments, which then changed into the very chasuble I was wearing at that Mass. I would have thought it was a reflection in the liquid accident of the wine, except it was my full vested body. The Chalice was positioned so that only my face should have been reflected.
Then I received an interior locution telling me that the Lord is giving me a "special share in His Priesthood of Sacrifice".

This all happened so quickly that I'm sure the only thing noticeable to the congregation was that I was moving a bit more slowly. I lingered only a second or two after the locution and t…

Sponge Bob needs to pray the Rosary! --or-- It Is Time to Face Our Fears!

Image via Wikipedia I was watching Sponge Bob on TV today.  Yes!  It's my day off and it is raining.  I couldn't cut the grass even though it is almost as tall as a cornstalk.  Well, maybe not that tall, but my dog won't even try to go to the "potty" out there.  Haha!  So I just relaxed in my living room, caught up on some correspondence, and watched Sponge Bob.
I learned alot today.  First of all I learned that I do not really like most modern cartoons. They are way too noisy, violent and nonsensical for me.   From the vantage point of a rapidly aging middle-ager they don't even come close to the quality of "my" cartoons:  Bugs Bunny and company, Aesop's Fables, The Road Runner, Yogi, Ouick Draw McDraw, Underdog, Popeye, Pepe LePew, Tweety Bird, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Bullwinkle... I could go on and on.  There have been a few animated feature films that were very good.
I watched cartoons well into my college years and even wrote a paper for o…

Pleasantries: Radishes and the Angelus

I had a most enjoyable dinner this evening at the home of my parishioners, Bob and Mary.  The conversation was relaxed and casual.  The food was divine (and healthy!).  We had vegetable lasagna and salad. Yummy.  The salad had radishes in it.  I really enjoy radishes, but I seldom if ever cut them up in my salads at home.  Why?  Who knows.  Perhaps because I am too lazy, or perhaps because I never think to buy them.  Regardless of the reason, having radishes at Bob and Mary's is one of those pleasantries to which I always look forward. 

My mom loved radishes.  She stopped eating them when she died.  My granny loves radishes but had to stop eating them when she lost all her teeth.  She won't let me buy her dentures. "A 94's year old lady doesn't need to waste money on teeth," she tells me.  She also told me that she quit her job today.  Too cute.  She is feisty, but she has dementia.

So I chew radishes for my mom and my grandmother.  The red reminds me of the Pr…

Rosary Meditation

Rosary Meditation
As I prayed the third Glorious Mystery of the Rosary, I experienced a series of consolations that flickered through my mind’s eye.As a candle casts its glow, consuming the shadow that attempts to overcome, these graces came to me.Each flicker expressed an attribute of God’s revealed nature.It was like a warm summer night when fireflies briefly illuminate their surroundings.
There was a flicker in which I viewed the Lord breathing on a young man who was being baptized.Another nearby flicker revealed our Lady standing over a grieving little girl.There was a series of flickers which filled the screen of my imagination, each one showing me the face of a saint:S. Jean Vianney,S. Faustina, S. Peter, S. Augustine, S. Aquinas, S. Francis, S. Joseph, S. Philomena, S. Michael, S. Gabriel, S. Miguel Pro, S. Therese, S. Jerome, and many others whose faces I know from holy cards, but their names escape me now.
When this series of flashes subsided, I felt their abiding presence.Lonli…

Knock, Knock. Who's there?

Last weekend our Pastor, Fr. Oz, wrote beautifully about Mary being the Working Mother.  I had never thought of it in those exact terms, but it blessed the socks off this theology encrusted priest.  All week it was like a fresh air was blowing, and each task became a participation in our Working Mother's Apostolate.  Thanks Fr. Oz!
So... when I read this weeks Gospel from Luke 22, I had to laugh when I came to verse 25, "You will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door."  The story concludes with the person gaining access because he or she kept on knocking.  What working mother or father has not had the experience of their persistent little angle finally wearing them down?  Or how many times have we working uncles, aunts, siblings and family friends tried to ignore the apple of our eyes when they start out with, "Knock, knock"?  Of course, I am a big kid, so I am ever hopeful that I will hear a new one, so I always bite.  Who's there...a kid with a m…
Scripture says: The angel was sent to a virgin. For she was truly virgin in body, virgin in mind, a virgin by her special calling, sanctified, as the Apostle reminds us, in both mind and body. This came about by no unforeseen or accidental occurrence; she was chosen from eternity, foreknown and prepared by the Most High for himself, guarded by the angels, prefigured by the patriarchs, and promised by the prophets.These are the words of St. Bernard.  He expresses what the earliest Church understood about Mary.  I challenge you to read the Old Testament with an eye to the New Testament.  Some Scripture scholars will tell you that you should read the OT as a separate body of literature without reference to the New Testament.  The Church Fathers and Saints throughout history have always illustrated how the Old is fulfilled in the New.

From the standpoint of literature, they can be read separately, of course.  Form the viewpoint of Revelation, they must be read as an organic whole.  The ol…

Sacramental Goodies

I just had a great phone call from one of my friends.  He was calling to make an appointment for confession.  Of course first, we had to discuss all the issues that challenge us as a church these days.  He had a ton of questions about the new Roman Missal.  He brought me up to date about the latest family news.  We even talked about how beautiful Maureen O'Hara was.  She is still living in Ireland according to my friend.  I wanted to watch NCIS, but people are always more important and entertaining than television.

So all the problems solved, we got around to the appointment for confession.  My friend introduced the issue by saying, "Father, we have to set a time for a beer and the Sacrament."
Of course I about spit out my teeth, laughing (and I don't wear dentures)!  Beer and the Sacrament is like having Doritos with Shrimp Cocktail and Campaign.  You could do it, but... Yuck!

But maybe I could start offering ice cream sundaes, gourmet coffee or Belgium chocolates …

Lots For Sale

I had Mass this weekend in a neighboring parish so the Pastor could fulfill his duty in the National Guard.  As I was driving home I saw painted on a plywood sign "Lots for Sale".

Lots of what?  There's lots of stuff for sale.  I often buy stuff I don't need.  If it's for sale, somebody must want it.  I guess I better buy one.

It is not just the stuff that is the problem.  The real problem is what many people think "lots" of stuff might bring them:
prestigelove securitypowerfriendssuccessattractivenessintelligence All this and more can be had if you only have the the right toothpaste, stocks, collectibles. Lots of stuff promise the good life: insurance, electronics, cable tv, your car, your house.

Now, I don't think any of these things are necessarily bad.  Lots for sale is just lots of stuff.  Security, love, success, etc., are basic human desires.  However, there is a catch with the "purchase" of these "lots".  The fulfillmen…

The Assumption of Mary--A Feast of Logic, Vision and Devotion

I have had a devotion to our Blessed Mother all my life.  I remember sitting in my Nona's lap while she prayed the Holy Rosary in Italian.  I prayed the Hail Mary partly in Italian, partly in English and partly in "toddler".  After she died when I was 6 years old, I would pray the Rosary every night until I went to college and fell into heresy.  I never told my parents for two reasons.  One was that I was "a nervous child who needed extra sleep."  So I would be dispatched to my room as soon as "Laugh In" was over.  It was strictly lights out, door open and no fooling around.  I couldn't get away with reading a book, not even a prayer book.  I tried.  But the Rosary was always waiting for me under my pillow.  

The other reason I never told them was because they had a problem with anyone who was "too religious."  So for the next thirteen years I prayed the Rosary every night in secret.  Whatever fears I had as a youngster or concerns as a t…

Blinded by the Light

I have a mild case of night blindness. It makes driving at night a bit difficult, but I have gotten used to it through the years.  I don't let my friends know because they get really nervous when they ride with me.  I can see well enough that my driving is not restricted, but I do have to be extra cautious.

Night blindness is not a big deal for me.  It is the "day blindness" that causes me concern.  In the full light of day I am often blind to my surroundings.  I have walked right past searching hearts and smiling faces without notice.  I miss seeing blessings, beauty, opportunities and even Angels.

Lately, I have been experiencing a different kind of blindness.  I look at the world and my life and can't see how to reconcile this "valley of tears" with the Glory of God.  I know the answer, but I can't see it.  I see God's love and power everywhere, but I don't see my Mom and others who have died and gone on.  I see Jesus in the Blessed Sacramen…

Seeing the World Through Catholic Eyes

OK... so I am a little (a lot?) goofy.  But I have this little game that I often play.  I try to let the things of ordinary, every day life remind me of something Catholic.  It is like making all the good in the world a sacramental!

Here are a few of the sacrament sightings I and one of my closest friends have had lately:

Sitting at the Starbucks in Williamsport, my friend noticed two towers across the river.  One had a blinking red light, the other a blinking white light.  They reminded us of the rays of light coming from Jesus in the Divine Mercy paintings.  Blood and Water!

Saw a chicken restaurant the other day called "Pope Yes!"  (Popeyes)

I love letting the Holy Spirit cool my house through the use of fans.

Green lights and any green sign remind us to pray the Green Scapular prayer:  "Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us now and at the hour of our death.  Amen."

Telephone poles bring to mind the Cross of Christ and his gift of eternal life.

Roses and many fl…

Faith & Emotions

One of the constant struggles I have to face in my spiritual life has to do with emotions.  I can intellectually understand the difference between actual faith and emotions.  However, I find that I, even though I am a priest, am regularly tossed about by my emotions.  At times when I am sad, overly tired, anxious or just lonely, I find myself thinking that I have lost faith.  It usually takes a saint, canonized or otherwise, to snap me out of it.

     One of my closest brothers in Christ will often remind me, "Father, you know who this is."  Usually, I will grin and be brought back to reality, knowing that it was the evil who once again tried to neutralize me with emotions.  A quick rebuke followed by a Rosary, blessing myself and thanking God gets me back on the Kingdom Track.

     Another friend who is a Priest in West Virginia will roll his eyes and wearily just say, "Emotions"  when he notices that I have once again "stepped in it".  I don't al…