Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Marian Symbol

This is the symbol on the inside cover of the Catholic Women's Club.  It's the same symbol that graces the cover, every year.  I don't particularly like it.  It looks too spindly.  A child could have drawn it.  But it must have had some meaning for the club to choose that particular emblem.  I asked around and no one seems to know.  I googled it, too.

I was looking for a name for it.  Something like Chi Rho, Tau, Jerusalem cross, would be nice.  But no one seems to know.

If you break down the picture, you see the Ave Maria symbol on the bottom.  A crown is on the top.  So Mary, Queen of ????????.  It's the flower in the middle, that's the puzzle.  It could be a lily, except a lily doesn't have petals that point down.  Maybe it's a sorrowful lily?  It could be an edelweiss.

Mary, Queen of purity --  lily.
Mary, Queen of sorrow -- downward petals.
Mary, noble queen--edelweiss.

Last Sunday, I found myself sitting in a pew, in an area where I don't usually sit.  I looked up and saw this.

It's beautiful.  Now here's a symbol to be proud of; whatever  it represents.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

How the Apostles Died

Father Al just sent me this meditation.  It's perfect for Lent, but I need it now.  Maybe you do too?

How The Apostles Died/ The Death of Jesus

Suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, Killed by a sword wound. 

Died in Alexandria, Egypt , after being dragged by Horses through the streets until he was dead.


Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous Preaching to the lost. 


Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge Basin of boiling oil during a wave
of persecution In Rome . However, he was miraculously delivered from death.

John was then sentenced to the mines on the prison Island of  Patmos.
He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was
later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died
as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.


He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross.
According to church tradition it was because he told his tormentors
that he felt unworthy to die In the same way that Jesus Christ had died.


The leader of the church in Jerusalem, was thrown over a hundred feet
down from the southeast pinnacle of the Temple when he refused to deny
his faith in Christ.  When they discovered that he survived the fall, his
enemies beat James to death with a fuller's club.
* This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken Jesus during the Temptation. 

James the Great 

Son of Zebedee, was a fisherman by trade when Jesus called him to a
lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader of the church, James was ultimately
beheaded at Jerusalem.  The Roman officer who guarded James watched
amazed as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer walked
beside James to the place of execution. Overcome by conviction, he
declared his new faith to the judge and knelt beside James to accept
beheading as a Christian.


Also known as Nathaniel was a missionary to Asia. He witnessed for our
Lord in present day Turkey.  Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching
in Armenia where he was flayed to death by a whip.


Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras, Greece.  After being whipped
severely by seven soldiers they tied his body to the cross with cords to
prolong his agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward
the cross, Andrew saluted it in these words: 'I have long desired and
expected this happy hour.  The cross has been consecrated by the body
of Christ hanging on it.'   He continued to preach to his tormentors for
two days until he expired. 


Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his missionary trips to
establish the church in the Sub-continent.


Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his faith in Christ.


The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot, was stoned and then beheaded.


Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor Nero at Rome in A.D. 67.
Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment, which allowed him to write his many
epistles to the churches he had formed throughout the Roman Empire.
These letters, which taught many of the foundational Doctrines of Christianity,
form a large portion of the New Testament. 

Perhaps this is a reminder to us 

That our sufferings here are indeed minor compared to the intense persecution
and cold cruelty faced by the apostles and disciples during their times for the
sake of the Faith. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: But he
that endureth to the end shall be saved. Matthew

Faith is not believing that God can,
It is knowing that God WILL!”

Jesus' Death
The Death of Jesus 

At the age of 33, Jesus was condemned to death .  At the time
Crucifixion was the "worst" death. Only the worst
criminals were condemned to be crucified. Yet it was even
more dreadful for Jesus, unlike other criminals condemned
to death by Crucifixion, Jesus was to be nailed to the
Cross by his hands and feet.
Each nail was 6 to 8 inches long. The nails were driven into
his wrist, not into his palms as is commonly portrayed.
There's a tendon in the wrist that extends to the shoulder.
The Roman guards knew that when the nails were being
hammered into the wrist that tendon would tear and
break, forcing Jesus to use his back muscles to support
himself so that he could breath.

Both of his feet were nailed together, thus he was forced to
support himself on the single nail that impaled his feet to the
cross. Jesus could not support himself with his legs
because of the pain so he was forced to alternate between
arching his back then using his legs just to continue to
breath. Imagine the struggle, the pain, the suffering, the courage.

Jesus endured this reality for over 3 hours. Yes, over 3 hours!
Can you imagine this kind of suffering? A few minutes before
he died, Jesus stopped bleeding. He was simply pouring water
from his wounds. From common images we see wounds to
his hands and feet and even the spear wound to his side
but do we realize his wounds were actually made in his body.
A hammer driving large nails through the wrist, the feet overlapped
and an even larger nail hammered through the arches, then a
Roman guard piercing his side with a spear.  But before the nails
and the spear, Jesus was whipped and beaten. The whipping was
so severe that it tore the flesh from his body. The beating so horrific
that his face was torn and his beard ripped from his face. The
crown of thorns cut deeply into His scalp. Most men would not have
survived this torture.  He had no more blood to bleed out, only water
poured from his wounds. The human adult body contains about 3.5 liters
(just less than a gallon) of blood. Jesus poured all 3.5 liters of his blood;
he had three nails hammered into his members; a crown of thorns on
his head and, beyond that, a Roman soldier who stabbed a spear into his

All these without mentioning the humiliation he suffered after carrying his own
cross for almost 2 kilometers, while the crowd spat in his face and threw
stones (the cross was almost 30 kg of weight, only for its higher part, where
his hands were nailed). Jesus had to endure this experience, to open the
Gates of Heaven, So that you can have free access to God. So that your sins
could be "washed" away. All of them, with no exception!
Don't ignore this situation.


He died for you! It Is easy to pass jokes or foolish photos by e-mail, but
when it comes to God, sometimes you feel ashamed to forward to others
because you are worried of what they may think about you.  God has plans
for you, show all your friends what he experienced to save you. Now think
about this! May God bless your Life!
60 Seconds with God... For the next 60 Seconds, set aside what you're
doing and take This opportunity! Let's see if Satan can stop This.. All you
have to do Is:
1. Simply Pray for the person who sent this message to You:
2. Then, send this message to people. The more the better.
3. People will pray for you and you will make that many people pray to God
    for other people.
4. Take a moment to appreciate the power of God in your life, for
    doing what pleases him.

If you are not ashamed to do this, please, follow Jesus' instructions.
He said (Matthew 10:32 & 33):  "Everyone therefore who acknowledges
me before others, I also will acknowledge before My Father in heaven;
but whosoever denies Me before others, I also will deny before My
Father in heaven".

Yes, I love God. He is my source of life and my Savior. He keeps me alive day
and night.

Without Him, I am nothing, but with Him "I can do all things through Him
who strengthens me". Philippians 4:13.

Monday, October 20, 2014

You Can't Take It With You

Today's Gospel was the parable about the rich farmer who had an excess amount of grain and didn't share it.  Instead he planned to build bigger storage.  He died that night.  Luke 12: 13-21.  I had always thought that parable was directed to the selfish, rich people in Jesus' audience.  

A few Sundays ago, we read the Gospel Matthew 21: 28-32, where a man asked his sons for help.  The one that said no, did eventually help.  When I read that particular Gospel, I associated that son, with Jesus' response to His mother, in John 2: 4-5, known as the marriage feast at Cana.  Both had to do with responses that were the opposite of the final actions.

Well, this is what I had in the back of my mind, when I heard today's Gospel Luke 12: 13-21.
                                       Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher,
                                       tell my brother to share the inheritance with me."
                                       He replied to him, "Friend, who appointed me
                                       as your judge and arbitrator?"
The parable that follows, I always took as Jesus doing what the man asked.  Jesus, in effect, was telling the man's brother to share the inheritance, through this parable.  Just as the actions were the opposite of the responses to Matthew 21: 28-32 and John 2: 4-5.

However, this morning I realized that this parable also could be applied to the man who asked Jesus to tell his brother to share.  Jesus was telling him to not be anxious about money.

Think deeper.  The parable applies to both brothers, equally.  The rich one and the other.  Neither one should be overly concerned about the future and who inherits what.  You can't take anything with you when you die.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Snippets--A Catholic Carnival

The question asked this Sunday for our weekly "link up" at This And That And The Other Thing, is whether or not we use Liturgy of the Hours.  Yes, as a Lay Dominican, our rule requires us to pray Morning and Evening Prayer.

That question was easy.  This week's activities were easy, also.  What do you think?

Monday -- Talking to a pacifist

Tuesday -- Questions

Wednesday -- UMASS Lowell Catholic Student Union rocks!

Thursday -- A snake story.

Friday -- Power technique

Saturday -- I learned about a new martyr (new to me).

Today is a beautiful day.  God is good.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Blessed Peter Higgins

Today I went to A Day To Honor Our Blessed Mother Queen of the Holy Rosary, at Providence College Priory.  The special speaker was Father James Cuddy, O.P.

He was excellent.  I enjoyed listening to his voice.  It was strong, clear, distinct, sharp.  His content was interesting.  He certainly loves our Blessed Mother.

I could post about Father's sermon.  But instead, I learned about a new martyr, and I want to tell you about him.  While walking to the refectory, I passed some famous Dominicans.  This picture is one I didn't know.  It's Blessed Peter Higgins.

In 1655, Father Higgins was brought before the Lords Justices of Ireland, charged with proselytizing Protestants from their religion.  They offered him a deal--apostatize and save your life.
He was on his way up the steps to the scaffold when he was handed a paper he was to sign.

He didn't.  Instead, he read it aloud and denounced the lord Justices of Ireland.  "Knowing well that there were Catholics in the crowd, he said addressing them:- 'My brethren, God hath so willed that I shonld fall into the hands of our relentless persecutors. They have not been able, however, to convict me of any crime against the laws of the realm; but my religion is an abomination in their sight, and I am here to-day to protest, in the sight of God and man, that I am condemned for my faith. For some time, I was in doubt as to the charge on which they would ground my condemnation; but, thanks to Heaven! it is no longer so, and I am about to suffer for my attachment to the Catholic faith. See you here the condition on which I might save my life. Apostacy is all they require but, before high Heaven I spurn their offers and, with my last breath, will glorify God for the honour He has done me in allowing me thus to suffer for His Name.' Then, turning to the executioner, after having cast the Justices autograph to the crowd, he told him to perform his office, and the by-standers heard him returning thanks to God, even with his latest breath. Thus did iniqnity lie unto itself - thus did the martyr's constancy triumph." (From History of the Geraldines by Dominick de Rosario O'Daly, O.P., originally written in Latin, and printed at Lisbon in 1655; translated by Rev. C.P. Meehan, and printed in Dublin in 1847. See also De Burgh's Hib. Dom., page 561.)

What I can't get out of my mind is the description of his dead body.  His body wasn't allowed to be buried in Dublin.  So his friends carried him outside the city walls to be buried.  The partisans of the Lord Justices shattered his lifeless head with their muskets.

Acta Capituli Generalissimi.  Romae, 1644, p. 119.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Spreading Power

Since I've found myself in front of a few audiences, lately, I thought I would brush up on my public speaking skills.  I was surprised (not really, I've heard it before) about how much body language can tell you about a person.  In particular, I watched and listed to Amy Cuddy talk about Power Poses.  Essentially, if you spread yourself out, you assume a power position, which means a confident and self assurance charisma that will be attractive.

Think of a turkey or peacock spreading out their tails.  That's what humans should do--male and female.  If you can't, before you find yourself in a situation, assume a spread out position.  For example, go into the bathroom and raise your arms like you made a touchdown.

In the situation, itself, try to spread out.  If you are standing, teaching, or presenting, stand with your feet spread apart.  If sitting, place your arms on the armrests.

Do not, fold your arms or cross your legs.  Not because its rude, but rather because it looks like a submissive, powerless pose.

Unfortunately, not only do I fold my arms, but I push my arms up into my sleeves.  Not only do I cross my legs, but I cross them triply.  That's three times!  Why?  Because I'm cold.  It's that simple.  Holding onto my elbows, I put my hands between by body and arms.  It's a nice, cozy position.  Likewise with my legs.  I do it because it keeps me comfortably warm, especially in air condition.

But now, I'll try not to fold myself up.  Not all the time, only when I need to give a Talk, otherwise, I'll stay nice and cozy and warm, folded up within myself.  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

People Do Not Have The Same Nature As Snakes

When I told her that I volunteer in a men's
prison, she shook her head.  She wondered why I was wasting my time with people like that.  She doesn't really believe that people can change.  I asked her why and she told me the story about the snake..

Once upon a time a boy was looking for a birch tree.  He couldn't find one.  He thought he'd climb a tall rock and look around from that height.  Meal times came and went.  He was getting pretty hungry.  As the boy stood on the boulder, a rattle snake slithered across his path.

The looked at the snake and the snake looked at the boy.  The backed away.  But the snake said, "Boy, I'm lost and you look hungry.  How about we help each other.  I'll show you where there's some food and you bring me down.

The boy said, "No.  I know what you are a rattlesnake.  You can kill me."

The rattlesnake said, "If you lead me down, I'll lead you to food.  I promise I will not hurt you."

The boy thought.

So the boy lead the snake down from the big boulder.  The snake showed the boy where there were berries and water.  The boy ate and drank.

The snake began to dance, and the boy did too.  The boy danced and the snake danced, and they had a good time, and then all of a sudden the snake struck out and bit the boy.

The boy screamed "You promised!  You promised not to hurt me."

The snake smiled back and said, "You knew what I was when you picked me up."

My friend was equating prisoners to rattlesnakes.  They can't help but be bad.   It's their nature.

At the time, I wasn't able to respond.  But what I should have said, was that people are not snakes.  People are made in the image of God, and as such means we were made good.

God is infinitely good and all his works are good.  (CCC 385)  It is out of his goodness that God created us in his image and for good.  (Gen 1;27-31)