Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Escaping Down the Ladder


Book Club is tonight but I'm not going.  It's too cold.  I did like the book, John Grisham's The Street Lawyer.  It's about a successful, high-power attorney and his rejection of the glitter and gold.  Unfortunately, in researching personal information that interested him, he ended up stealing property that wasn't his.  In fact, it would mean the loss of his license to practice law and jail time.

My "cloistered brothers," would say, "If you can't do the time, don't commit the crime."  Unfortunately, our main character, Michael Brock, didn't consider the rhyme.  But anyway, that's not the real story.  It's a concern, but the story is how Michael throws away his fast track career to become a street lawyer and become a better person for it.

The Wilderness


Our environment is the wilderness that is spoken of in Luke 4: 1.  I think of this especially during the upcoming Lent.  Jesus' temptations in this desert/wilderness are similar to mine and probably yours.  All the temptations the devil offer are material stuff, i.e., possessions, power, and status.  Of course, being old, I know better than when I was young.  Experience has taught me that people who have acquired much, aren't any happier than I am and maybe pretty sad and miserable.  What they lack is God.  Our relationship with God not only guides us through the wilderness but shelters us from assaults.  We are "led by the spirit," through life, just as Jesus was led out of the desert wilderness.

Meditation upon this Sunday's Gospel: Luke 4: 1-13.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Dirty Little Secrets

Many ask priests, "What's Confession like?"  What they probably mean is, "What's it like to hear people's dirty little secrets?"  Well, from what confessors say, and from what I've read, priests respond with, "It's a humbling experience for the priest;" "it's a liberating moment;" "it's a grace."

The dirty little secrets are not what the sacrament is about.  The sacrament is a reconciliation with God.  Sin separates us from God and Confession/Reconciliation/Penance (different names for the same sacrament) bring (reconcile) us back to God.  This is why the confessors say, "It's humbling, liberating, a great grace."

The confessor sees how the penitent is sincerely trying to live a moral life. They don't like what they've done, or how they are, and want to start over.  The confessor sees the desire to be a better person, to get closer to God, to be what God them to be.  The confessor is humbled to be an instrument that God uses to be the means to speak in persona Christi.  The confessor sees how much people love their spouses, and children, and parents, and others.  These people truly are God's children and want to live that way.  They want their relationship with God to be better and that's why they're there--in confession.  No wonder priests call it humbling and a great grace.

And we Catholics are blessed to be the recipients of that grace.  We Catholics get to experience God's mercy.  Yes, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the way to get closer to God.  Receiving the Eucharist is as personal a relationship anyone can get; we become One with God.  And the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the means to the Eucharist.

This topic was inspired by my reading of a 3-month-old newspaper article.  "Confession is about the mind-boggling mercy of God," by Fr. Dennis Baker, in the National Catholic Reporter, November 20-December 3, 2015, Vol. 52, No. 3, columns 23.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Face of God

This is my "cloistered brother," MEK's latest creation.  The face shares an eye.  It represents both the feminine and masculine sides of God.  He is One God.  We, males and females, were created in the image of God.  God is looking at us with love.

Looking into the eye of Christ.
Looking with the eye of Christ.
Looking thru the eye of Christ.

Hearing thru the spirit of Christ.
Hearing with the heart of Christ.
Hearing into the grace of Christ.

Praying into the hope of Christ.
Praying with the tears of Christ.
Praying thru the mercy of Christ.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Paul Miki and Companions


Today, I'm teaching parents whose children are receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time.  I'm giving the parents the history of the sacrament.

This morning, I opened my prayer book to find out that today is the feast of Paul Miki and Companions.  I can use this feast in explaining the history of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  In early Christianity, the sacrament was public because Christianity was just beginning to develop.  Christianity was outlawed.  When it was discovered that you were Christian you were arrested, beaten, tortured, and killed in various horrendous ways.  Many denied that they were Christians.  That's apostasy.

Afterwards, these traitors tried to go to church.  What nerve, huh?  Of course, their brothers and sisters could see that they needed to be accepted back, so the deniers of Christ had to apologize to the community.  This is how the first confessions were done--publically.  The community decided on the penance.  Once the penance was fulfilled, the bishop came to give absolution.

I am afraid that I'd be a coward and deny Jesus.  I'd need the grace of God to not be afraid and be strong enough to declare that I am a child of Christ.

Then this morning, I read about Paul Miki and twenty-five companions who were martyred in Japan.  Not only were they not afraid, they were happy about it.  They rejoiced.  They sang Te Deum!

May God bless them! They rejoiced because they were dying for God.  They were hung on crosses, much like Jesus. They died with God's praises on their lips.

I think God for such brave Christians.  Their story is so moving that for the next couple of centuries Japanese Christians kept the faith underground.  The blood of martyrs watered the faith of Christ.

Let us pray for Christians who are persecuted throughout the world.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Indifference

from my bedroom window

There's a blizzard outside.  I love bad weather, only because it gives me an excuse to stay home and read.  This morning, after my prayers, reading the Globe (Yay, delivery is getting to be regular!), I read the message of his Holiness Pope Francis for the celebration of the XLIX World Day of Peace.  I only read paragraphs One and Two, but that's enough to get the theme.  The theme is something I know but had never thought about--indifference.

I know and so does everybody else, that human beings are the most human when we help each other.  In other words, we feel compassion for them and are moved to do something, for them.  Nowadays, the pope points out, the world seems to be callous.  People seem to be indifferent to the plight of others.  (Think of those who want to build walls to keep people out.)  (Refuse to welcome refugees.)

I see it more and more, do you?

This is the intro to the rest of the message.  That's as far as I got.  After all, I have homework to do.  I'm reading Unpacking the Boxes by Donald Hall, for my writing group.  The Street Lawyer by John Grisham, for St. Mary's Book Club.  The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown for Argonauta.  The Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy by Pope Francis for my Lay Dominican Chapter.

And silly children think snow days are just for them.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Interpretation of My Dream


This morning's post was about my dream.  I told the chaplain about it and she explained some of it to me.  She has taken a few courses in dream interpretation.  Most important is to know that dreams are ALWAYS about yourself.  I dreamt about someone else, but the dream is about myself.  The important items in the dream--we think are:

shrinking to disappearing
the head
the envelope kept for safe keeping
the EMT's

And what I felt during and after the dream. The shrinking shocked me.  The head appalled me.  I felt good about keeping her safe locked up in the envelope and felt relief when the EMT's came.  After the dream I was frightened that we (RCIA team) would get into trouble.  I was also very sad that the chaplain had died and we had nothing to prove that she had ever lived.  There was no body.

The last emotion I felt (being sad because there was no body) I think is what the dream is all about.  Hubby and I, and friends, have been discussing end of life issues.  Also, whether we want to be cremated or what.

In fact, someone told me a story just yesterday that her friend unexpectedly died and was cremated,  Her husband is keeping her ashes in an urn.  The urn sits on the table where he eats, so that he eats with her, like they always did.

The dream is about something that was on my mind.  That's all.