• Tag Archives prayers
  • The Feast Of Christ The King

    Today is The Feast Of Christ The King, officially called the Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the King of the Universe.

    Stained Glass, Christ The King

    Prayer of the King-Priest-Messiah

    The Lord says to my lord:
    “Sit at my right hand,
    till I make your enemies your footstool.”
    The Lord sends forth from Zion your mighty scepter.
    Rule in the midst of your foes!
    Your people will offer themselves freely
    on the day you lead your host upon the holy mountains.
    From the womb of the morning
    like dew your youth will come to you.
    The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind,
    “You are a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”
    The Lord is at your right hand;
    he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
    He will drink from the brook by the way;
    therefore he will lift up his head.
    Psalm 110: 1-5, 7 (RSV)

     

    Christ the King Sunday celebrates the all-embracing authority of Christ as King and Lord of the cosmos.

    The Feast Of Christ The King was instituted by Pope Pius XI in 1925, as a counter to the rise of secularism in the world.

     

    Pope Pius XI instituted The Feast of Christ the King in 1925 for the universal church in his encyclical Quas Primas. He connected the increasingly denial of Christ as king to the rise of secularism. At the time of Quas Primas, many Christians (including Catholics) began to doubt Christ’s authority and existence, as well as the Church’s power to continue Christ’s authority. Pius XI, and the rest of the Christian world, witnessed the rise of non-Christian dictatorships in Europe, and saw Catholics being taken in by these earthly leaders. These dictators often attempted to assert authority over the Church. Just as the Feast of Corpus Christi was instituted when devotion to the Eucharist was at a low point, the Feast of Christ the King was instituted during a time when respect for Christ and the Church was waning, when the feast was needed most.

    Pius hoped the institution of the feast would have various effects. They were:

    1. That nations would see that the Church has the right to freedom, and immunity from the state (Quas Primas, 32).
    2. That leaders and nations would see that they are bound to give respect to Christ (Quas Primas, 31).
    3. That the faithful would gain strength and courage from the celebration of the feast, as we are reminded that Christ must reign in our hearts, minds, wills, and bodies (Quas Primas, 33).

    Stained Glass, Christ The King

    Today, in 2015, this Feast is especially important. 

    Just look around at the state of the world. Inhabitants of third world countries live in terrible poverty, in some instances kept there by unscrupulous governments. Terrorism and extreme ideologies are on the rise worldwide, and many people living in the West seem to have lost all sense of God. This shunning of God, and the rise of humanism and moral relevance with regard to societal issues has created a terrible vacuum. I don’t need to list all of the effects here–as I said, just look around or read a few news stories.

    Sadly, many people do not look to Christ for guidance, nor do they live according to His Commandments. We can see the results of such folly.

    However, we who do give Christ dominion over us can rest assured that He will remember us. We are His.

    Stained Glass - Christ The King

    Collect for the Solemnity of Christ the King

    Almighty and merciful God,
    you break the power of evil and make all things new
    in your Son Jesus Christ, the King of the universe.
    May all in heaven and earth
    acclaim your glory and never cease to praise you.
    We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, for ever and ever.
    Catholic Collect

     

    On this solemn Feast of Christ The King, may we pray, always, for Peace in the world.


  • Pray For Paris and Peace in the World

    Last night’s news of the attack on Paris was no surprise, but simply an expected gut-punch. No surprise because ISIS and other manifestations of radical Islam have been at war with the west for many years, even though some refuse to acknowledge it. A gut-punch because even though you expect to hear of attacks, such evil still shocks the conscience. At this point there’s nothing we believers can do except pray for Peace in this dark world.

     

    My go to prayers are the Holy Rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and some others. Following are the Patron Saints of France, along with Our Lord Jesus and his Mother.

    St. Joan Of Arc, Patron of France
    St. Jeanne d’Arc

     

    St. Joan of Arc, pray for us.

    St. GenevieveSt. Genevieve, pray for us.

    St. Therese de Lisieux

    St. Therese the Little Flower, pray for us.

    St. Agatha, pray for us.

    Queen of PeaceMary, Mother of God, pray for us. Immaculate Queen of Peace, pray for us.

    Lord Jesus Christ, We praise You: Bring peace into the world By bringing Your peace into the hearts of all. Help us to turn away from sin And to follow You in love and service.
    Glory be yours, and honour, For ever and ever.
    Amen.
    Archangel Michael Statue, Kiev, Ukraine
    St. Michael the Archangel, Patron of Soldiers

     

    St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in this day of battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil, may God rebuke him, we humbly pray. And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell, Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

    Jesus Christ

    O Prince of peace, we humbly ask your protection for all our men and women in military service. Give them unflinching courage to defend with honor, dignity and devotion, the rights of all who are imperiled by injustice and evil. Be their rock, their shield, and their stronghold and let them draw their strength from you. For you are God, for ever and ever.


  • Grandkids and the Grandparents who are Exhausted by them.

    I’ve been helping take care of my grandkids.

    My daughter is recovering from surgery, so I’ve been helping take care of my grandchildren, a girl, age 3, and her brother, age 2. My daughter can’t lift her toddlers, so she needs someone with her 24/7. I’m happy to help, of course. However, I am tired. In fact, at times I am exhausted.

    These are the culprits, wearing the matching sweaters I knitted for them. When my Brother and Sisterdaughter and I are texting about her childrens’ latest escapades, we refer to them by the initials of their first names — G for my granddaughter and E for my grandson.

    Don’t be fooled because they are both standing still at the same time. This is a fluke. G and E are usually only still when they are sleeping. At other times they are running, shouting, fighting over toys, jumping on a backyard trampoline, arguing over which movie to watch, hugging each other, running some more, sliding and swinging, coloring, jumping, playing with toys, including the dreaded play-doh, and treating their dog like a horse or a fashion model. (Last week Luke was forced to wear a backpack, as G was beginning preschool and she wanted Luke to feel included. Luke didn’t feel included. He only felt annoyed, until G allowed the backpack to be removed).

    The following is true. Do not doubt me. I have found out for myself this past week, since E has been out of sorts, due to his mommy’s illness and his sister beginning school. Unexpected outbursts have occurred. They are usually over quickly, for which my ears are eternally grateful.

    First day of school.

    The first day of school is sometimes iffy. There is always a chance that the child will refuse to go to go to sleep the night before, refuse to get dressed, or refuse to eat breakfast, but none of these applied to G. She departed for school with her parents, who said she ran inside the building and didn’t look back. I stayed with E until his mother returned. E decided he wanted to watch Frozen. E likes Frozen. He knows all the characters by name. He sings along, which is too cute for words, but for a grown-up raised on only Jungle Book and 101 Dalmatians, how much is too much of the following?

    Please. Let it go.

    (G loved school. Her favorite part was playing on the playground).

    Whose turn is it to decide what to watch on TV?

    This is always fun. G and E like to watch TV or movies other than Frozen, mostly early in the morning or right before bed. Most of the time they agree on a choice, but at times there are disputes. Sometimes there are screams that make Nonna and PopPop want to hide in the basement until a show is finally chosen. Thomas is usually a good choice, but sometimes G and E simply cannot agree. Then nobody watches nothin’.

    A trip to the playground.

    On Friday afternoon we took G and E to the playground. It’s a fun place, and that day it wasn’t too crowded. Since my daughter still gets tired and moves slowly, she put me in charge of E, and she, not wanting to be a helicopter parent, stayed in the background while keeping an eye on G. G always finds a friend at the playground. As I chased E around I noticed that G was playing with another little girl. A bossy little girl. Every once in awhile, the little girl would order G to do something, and G would saunter off in a seemingly nonchalant manner to get away from the bossiness. The bossy kid’s mom was sitting on a bench, engrossed in her phone, so she didn’t notice the bossiness or the running away.

    There were two baby girls at the park, younger than E, who is very chivalrous. He has somehow already learned the lesson of “ladies first.” At one point E was teetering on the edge of a plastic rock climbing hill, waiting for an 18 month old blonde girl to move away so he could slide down the slide. I was also patient, as I balanced on one toe, stretching up to make sure E didn’t tumble backward. A little later, after E decided to crawl beneath a slide where he was too tall to stand, he stood up and bumped his head. I had to crawl under to retrieve him. Since G was tired of being bossed and E was rubbing his head, we decided to go home.

    On the way home I discovered that my three year old granddaughter is a backseat driver. She knew the way home, and pointed out landmarks such as Turkey Hill, CVS and a bridge. At one point she asked: “Mommy, why you don’t stop? It was a stop sign. Why you didn’t stop?” My daughter replied that she did stop, and then she went again. Then G told us to turn here for home.

    G and E were a bit cranky after returning from the park. A tug of war over toys ensued. My daughter tires easily and needs to rest more than I do, so I’m always happy when my husband shows up to lend a hand. He finally arrived around 4:45, right before dinner, enabling me to sneak out the front door for a few minutes of peace and quiet.

    Fifteen minutes later I went back inside. PopPop entertained G and E until bedtime. (My son-in-law works late on Friday evenings). Then he went home, my daughter went to bed and I retired to the guest room with my kindle and a glass of wine. There was no point in me driving home. My son-in-law leaves for work at eight on Saturday mornings, so I spend the night. I fell asleep, and about five minutes later, (or so it seemed) I was awakened by little voices as they went down the hall to get breakfast with their dad. It was 7 am. I texted my daughter that I would be down soon. Then I snoozed until 7:30, got dressed and combed my hair, brushed my teeth and began another day.

    The trip to the park the day before had been too much for my daughter. She went back to bed after my son-in-law went to work, and I drank a few cups of coffee. Before I was fully awake, the kids decided they were still hungry. They wanted a snack, and decided on sweet pickle chips. I did not argue, even though it was only 8:30 am, and the thought of eating pickles made me queasy. I simply placed a plate of pickles on the table. G and E colored coloring books while snacking on the pickles, and I finished my coffee.

    Unfortunately it was raining that day. We were stuck the house. We played with hot wheels cars, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, a toy roller coaster, Cosy Coupe cars and a play kitchen. Then it was time for lunch and a nap.


    After a couple of hours of sleep, both kids were recharged. They were happy to see PopPop come back through the door.

    Mass with G.

    Since my daughter thought she could handle E alone for an hour, my husband and I took G to church. Unfortunately, the rain was worse. G didn’t mind; she got to wear her ladybug raincoat and shiny black boots. We arrived at the church right at Mass time. G sang along and played quietly with a Minnie Mouse for about ten minutes. Then she asked, for the first time, if we could go home. G was quiet, except for when the church was silent. Then others heard more questions about wanting to go home. The Mass progressed. G was being good. My husband showed her the words in the hymnal. Right before the collection was taken, G ventured out into the aisle, where she began to twirl and dance in her black rain boots. We were seated on the far right, so no one was bothered by G’s twirling except me. (I was afraid she would trip over her own feet in the boots).

    The twirling and dancing came to an end when a beautiful lady dressed in red, an usher, walked down the aisle toward us. She smiled at G and began twirling along. She said she liked that dance. G darted into the pew and sat facing front, and the lady in red walked on down the aisle.

    On the way home, G demonstrated her backseat driving skills to PopPop.

    Grandchildren

     

    E was happy to see us. The kids played with PopPop until their father came home around 7:00. Then it was time for us to go home, and leave the family alone for some downtime.

    What a week. We had a lot of fun, but I think the best part for me was witnessing my granddaughter kneel beside her bed, make the Sign of the Cross, and pray the Hail Mary all by herself.

    The week began again today. I go back tomorrow morning to become exhausted again. It will be fun. G and E are my world.

     

     


  • A 30 Second Guide To How Gun Free Zones Affect You

    (This post was inspired by David Wong’s A 30 Second Guide to How the Gay Marriage Ruling Affects You).

    In case you missed the news, or are perhaps wondering at numerous Facebook posts dedicated to the memory of four Military heroes, there has been another shooting in a gun free zone. (Sadly, a fifth victim has also died).

    11700948_10156477394675377_600792526817586342_nEach time a shooting in a gun free zone occurs, thousands of people, many of whom are neither lawful owners of firearms, nor have any idea of the part gun free zones play in making people less safe, begin squawking through their keyboards, telling all and sundry the reasons gun free zones protect the people forced to enter them, and lately,  parroting the fact that the current insanity re firearms on Military installations was first enacted by a man named Boooosh.

    IMG_3269

    For these folks, I’ve written this handy guide.

    If you are a citizen who is under the impression that anyone named Boooosh is both an evil genius while at the same time being the most stupid person or persons ever to inhabit earth from its inception, and who chooses to stay out of gun free zones:

    The gun free zone policy will not affect you in any way.

     

    If you are a citizen who is under the impression that because a policy enacted many years ago during a different era by a person named Boooosh is somehow set in stone forever and unable to be changed by legislative process, and who chooses to stay out of gun free zones, and who will treat any injury or death incurred by family or loved ones who must spend time in gun free zones, or who choose to spend time in a gun free zone as an acceptable risk:

    The gun free zone policy will not affect you in any way.

     

    If you are a citizen who does not posses a firearm, and who does not enter gun free zones (or any zone or public space, including cities, towns, villages, neighborhoods, schools, hospitals, churches or any other space open to the public, whether it be a gun free zone or not):

    The gun free zone policy will not affect you in any way, though it may affect friends, family, acquaintances and others you may know.

    aptopix-chattanooga-shooting

    If you are a citizen who either possesses a legally held firearm and a concealed carry permit, or who does not posses a legally held firearm and concealed carry permit, and who chooses to stay out of gun free zones, or was lucky enough not to be in one when a shooting occurs:

    The gun free zone policy will not affect you, on condition that none of your loved ones enter gun free zones. If your loved ones must spend time in gun free zones because of their profession or place of education, or if they choose to do so, as in seeing a movie or shopping in a gun free zones, you may possibly be affected at some point.

    984177_10153531330752502_5763172303507641431_n

    If you are a citizen who possesses a legally held firearm and concealed carry permit who is forced to spend time in a gun free zone due to employment or schooling, and who decides to ignore the gun free zone policy:

    The gun free zone policy might perhaps affect you and your co workers or fellow students, however, your chances and their chances of survival in the case of a shooting increase significantly.

    If you are related to someone who must work, go to school, or chooses to spend time in a gun free zone for other reasons, or if you yourself work in a gun free zone or chooses to spend time in one for whatever reason:

    The gun free policy may or may not affect you.

    10418979_10153476514521336_950279457808314315_n

    If you are under the impression that Americans who possess legally held firearms and concealed carry permits or open carry permits will not step up to help those who serve and protect them (see screenshot above) until the policy which prevents said Military from carrying weapons to defend themselves and others on Military installations is amended or changed: 

    You are mistaken. (see photo).

    11709597_1091787717517261_494072740735892871_n
    Armed citizens line up to guard Georgia recruiting center day after Chattanooga shooting.

     

    If you are a criminal, who possesses a firearm in defiance of state or federal law, and you choose to enter a gun free zone with your illegally obtained firearm to commit a crime, whether it be a robbery, shooting, or other illegal offense, and there are no citizens who were brave enough to defy the gun free zone policy:

    Congratulations. You’re assured of success in your endeavor.

     

    If you are a criminal, who possesses a firearm in defiance of state or federal law, and you choose to enter a gun free zone with your illegally obtained firearm to commit a crime, whether it be a robbery, shooting, or other illegal offense, and there IS  a citizen or citizens  who were brave enough to defy the gun free zone policy:

    You may run into a problem. Please see above scenario with linked article re citizen who defied the policy and saved himself from someone like you. Perhaps you should rethink your plan.

    If you are someone who holds the opinion that people get shot in places that do not have a gun free policy:

    well-duh-tell-us-something-new-sherlock.jpg

    The gun free zone policy will not affect you in any way unless you enter a gun free zone on the wrong day and do not accept any injury incurred as an acceptable risk.

     

    If you are a friend or family member of anyone who was hurt or killed in any shooting, crime or other incident in a gun free zone…

    Please know that many, many Americans are mourning right along with you. We are so sorry for your hurt and loss. We are praying for your loved ones who were hurt or killed, and we’re praying for you.

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    Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,

    and let the perpetual light shine upon them.

    And may the souls of all the faithful departed,

    through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

    Amen.


  • Crushed By Comedy

    Yesterday I saw the trailer for ABC Family’s (Disney), new sitcom, The Real O’Neals. (Please click link to watch. For added context, read the comments on You Tube.)

    Now, if you watched, you will know what I am about to discuss. So right off the bat, I’ll say this: If you’re reading this, and you’re one of those people who think “Christians & Catholics are way too sensitive. They’re always claiming they’re persecuted, when they’re the ones who are always persecuting other groups,” here’s a warning:  I’m going to write my thoughts here. If you typically laugh when religions are mocked, this probably isn’t the best place for you, unless you have a thick skin.

     

    I intend to write TO the people I’ve just described, you understand. I’m just trying to minimize any hurt I might inflict on the folks who might be offended at the following post. If you can’t take what you love to dish out, you might want to quit reading this. Go put your jammies on and get your mom to make you a cup of cocoa instead.

    I’ve given you fair warning.

    First, a few photos:  My Rosary was given to me as a birthday gift by my sister and her family about ten years ago.  It’s a big part of my life. At one point in my life I prayed it every single day without fail. These days I don’t always manage to say it every day. Last night, after  watching this sitcom trailer, I immediately turned to this prayer, though, for comfort.

    IMG_2103
    My Rosary. I try to pray it everyday. Sometimes I miss a day.

     

    (My statue of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is in the dining room of my home. She is not, nor has she ever been perched above my toilet.)

     

    IMG_2104
    My Statue of Mary, Mother Of Jesus.

     

     

    IMG_2105

    Above  is the china cabinet in my dining room. The photo of the little girls in the white dress is me. It was taken on the day of my First Holy Communion.

    Inside the homes of my mother and sister are similar statues and photos, along with crucifixes, Bibles and Catholic reading material. So, In at least three families in America (probably more, but these are the homes that I frequent) the Virgin Mary is not placed in the room where people go to take a shit. Who knew?

    When my friends and I do charity work in our church, we never keep the money. (Just so ya know.) There are at least a few Catholics who actually collect money and other supplies for the needy, and then ……actually GIVE THE COLLECTION TO THOSE IT IS INTENDED FOR. Now I know this may be difficult for some people to believe. After all, ABC and Disney would NEVER lie! They made a sitcom out of the goodness of their hearts to inform non Catholics about the way Catholics conduct their affairs at home, at work, and at church.

    However, before you sit down to enjoy family time with your children while watching The Real O’Neal’s, you might want to say, (to yourself only, of course): “I seriously doubt it, because I get all my informashun about the fools who believe in Jeeezus from TV shows, but there may be a few Catholics who don’t act like the O’Neals. I mean, even a broken clock is right twice a day. Maybe they’re all not like that.”

    Now, please. I don’t mean that you faithful folks who learn everything you know about religious people from the boob tube should mention this to your children. Never, ever do that! They are getting their education on Catholicism in an entertaining and fun way. Best that they never consider that Christians might actually be decent people. That would be heretical. Don’t do it!

    You must sit with them in your living room, and laugh when the laugh track prompts you. That way, your kids can learn the truth without you having to say a word about what you know: That Catholics are all slimy hateful fools who know nothing about compassion or acceptance of others. You, as parents, are being given a gift by Disney. Don’t blow it! Even if you know of a Catholic here and there who acts in the exact opposite way than that of the O’Neals, do not tell your children. They need to know what’s what. Make sure you start them young. Progress, you know…

    Okay. Enough snark. Now I will admit my true feelings. Ever since I watched that trailer, I have felt beaten and crushed. Not physically, of course. Only mentally. I was terribly upset after watching it. I almost cried. I slept last night, only because I took a sleeping pill. In fact, I will admit that I am crying, right now. This is my blog. I pay a fee for my website and blog, and this is what I decided to write about.

    Following is the creator of this sitcom, Dan Savage, an anti-bullying advocate, speaking to a group of high schoolers. Please watch.

     

    The girl who walked out of the auditorium crying reminds me of me. I simply can’t help myself. It’s difficult to watch your entire life and what you believe be trashed in a hateful manner by someone claiming to be an expert on the damages bullying can do. Especially when the expert bullies others, wishing them to be stricken with cancer, and then admits that he, himself engaged in bullying.

    I refuse to sign a petition demanding The Real O’Neals show be cancelled, though. This is because I know that there’s another one lurking in the mind of some sadistic hater just waiting in the wings. This is going to get worse before it gets better, if it ever does.

    Christ tells us to love and pray for our enemies:

     

     

    However, I hope He’ll for give me if I put it off until tomorrow. I already put it off until today, but I simply cannot bring myself to say a prayer for Dan Savage and the people who created this sitcom. I’ll try again tomorrow. Perhaps, at Mass this evening, I will look at the beautiful stained glass windows depicting the Saints, and find it in my heart to ask God to give me the words I should use to pray for Dan Savage.

    Again, I must admit that I’m ready to cry. I hope to feel better later.

    Since I’m one of those people who simply can’t learn the lesson progressives are teaching: (You, as a Catholic, are a hateful bigot. Your entire life is based on lies in an old book. You play with beads while chanting, like some throwback to medieval times. You follow an old man in Rome. You pray to a magical sky God who doesn’t exist. You are stupid. You are backward. You deserve to be ridiculed, mocked, hated and shunned. You deserve this. You deserve it, and you need to just accept it. Your feelings do not matter, because one thousand years ago, the crusades happened. You are a freak, your parents were freaks and your children are freaks. They will always be freaks. Your grandchildren, if they are lucky, will learn from we the tolerant and enlightened that you are a freak. They will laugh at you, too, behind their hands. It does not matter how hard you pray to your fake and hateful God. You are NOTHING. Nothing. You need to understand this. Learn your freaking lesson, now, or else).

    I guess I’m finished my rant. I will probably spend this day crying to Our Lord and His Mother. People may say, “Why would you allow others to make you feel as though you are a piece of shit? Why should they ruin your day?”

    I don’t know the answer. I only know that, today, that’s exactly how I feel. I have learned to deal with hurt of this kind over the years. I don’t know why this particular episode hurt me so much. I only know that it hurts.

     


  • Baltimore

    I was glued to the TV last night, watching another American city self destruct. I don’t know the answers, and I’m waiting for the results of the investigation of Freddy Gray’s death. To judge anyone except the people who are supposed to be leading Maryland at this point would be wrong, and unfair. IMO, the mayor and Governor were and are derelict in their duty, but it’s much too late to change the results.

    Larger issues are in play, anyway. Has anyone noticed a pattern? How many more American cities will be destroyed before things change?

    quote-for-peace-is-not-mere-absence-of-war-but-is-a-virtue-that-springs-from-a-state-of-mind-a-baruch-spinoza-175778

    The above quote is profound. America, at this point in time, has retreated from anything remotely resembling the word “war.” We have retreated from even admitting we have enemies. So… the war is over!

    Where the hell is the peace? Where? Is there peace in the Middle East? In Western Europe? In Eastern Europe? In South America? In Mexico? In the United States of America? Where is the peaceful state of mind? Where is the benevolent attitude, and the confidence that justice is being pursued? I look around, but I don’t see it. All I see is a number of ugly incidents which seem to be battles in some sort of war masquerading as “Peace.”

    Last night another American city was looted and burned. People’s homes, jobs and businesses were trashed. I think I may have written a blogpost on this same scenario during the Ferguson Riots. It seems to be getting closer to my neck of the woods. Right now I’m wondering which city will be next.

    The following song from Barry McGuire has been on my mind a lot lately. Click here to listen.

    “Eve Of Destruction”

    The eastern world it is exploding
    Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
    You’re old enough to kill but not for votin’
    You don’t believe in war but whats that gun you’re totin’?
    And even the Jordan River has bodies floatin’

    But you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Don’t you understand what I’m tryin’ to say
    Can’t you feel the fears I’m feelin’ today?
    If the button is pushed, there’s no runnin’ away
    There’ll be no one to save with the world in a grave
    Take a look around you boy, it’s bound to scare you boy

    And you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Yeah my blood’s so mad feels like coagulating
    I’m sitting here just contemplatin’
    I can’t twist the truth it knows no regulation
    Handful of senators don’t pass legislation
    And marches alone can’t bring integration
    When human respect is disintegratin’
    This whole crazy world is just too frustratin’

    And you tell me
    Over and over and over again my friend
    Ah, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    Think of all the hate there is in Red China
    Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
    You may leave here for four days in space
    But when you return it’s the same old place
    The pounding of the drums, the pride and disgrace
    You can bury your dead but don’t leave a trace
    Hate your next door neighbor but don’t forget to say grace

    And tell me
    Over and over and over and over again my friend
    You don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction
    Mmm, no, no, you don’t believe
    We’re on the eve of destruction

    This was written in the 1960s. It’s one of those anti-Vietnam hippie songs that blame “the man” for everything going wrong in the world. The people who protested the Vietnam conflict said they were going to change the world.

    Well, who’s in charge now? Them. The same people who dissed American values back then are the ones running America now. So why all the conflict? Why all the riots? What the hell happened?

    IMO, they happened. The peace is always just out of reach, like one of those merry-go-round rings I could never reach as a child. Talking heads speak of justice and peace, but a few hours later we see destruction and flames. It’s no wonder ordinary people feel that we’re on the Eve Of Destruction.

    However, there is a wild card. Click here to see what one mom did to combat the absence of peace America is caught up in. She’s mother of the year as far as I’m concerned.

    As for Baltimore, at this point in time, we who have no power can only pray for the innocent victims, and pray that such a thing doesn’t erupt in another American city before the time comes to walk into the voting booth again.

    I’ve only visited Baltimore once or twice. I thought the Inner Harbor was a lovely place. It’s awful that the people who live in Baltimore are afraid and mourning their town. It’s another tragedy in this “peaceful” world.

    In honor of Baltimore, click here for  another piece of poetry in music.

    My City Of Ruins

    There’s a blood red circle
    on the cold dark ground
    and the rain is falling down
    The church doors blown open
    I can hear the organ’s song
    But the congregation’s gone

    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

    Now the sweet veils of mercy
    drift through the evening trees
    Young men on the corner
    like scattered leaves
    The boarded up windows
    The hustlers and thieves
    While my brother’s down on his knees

    My city of ruins
    My city of ruins

    Come on rise up!
    Come on rise up!

    Now there’s tears on the pillow
    darling where we slept
    and you took my heart when you left
    without your sweet kiss
    my soul is lost, my friend
    Now tell me how do I begin again?

    My city’s in ruins
    My city’s in ruins

    Now with these hands
    I pray Lord
    with these hands
    for the strength Lord
    with these hands
    for the faith Lord
    with these hands
    I pray Lord
    with these hands
    for the strength Lord
    with these hands
    for the faith Lord
    with these hands

    Come on rise up!
    Come on rise up!

    Come on rise up….
    Bruce Springsteen
    Prayers for Baltimore, America and Peace in the World.

  • April Reflections

    I’m participating in a scripture study on Acts at a neighboring parish. Though I’ve read parts of Acts, I’ve never really studied it in depth. There’s a lot to ponder.

    During our discussion today, I was struck by the many different ideas and perceptions of others. Everyone is different, and I enjoy listening to the ideas of other people in Bible studies. Sometimes an idea that never occurred to me will be presented, and I find help in my growth as a follower of Christ to consider and reflect on what others have learned. I hope they feel the same about me.

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    This is why (though I can understand and respect people who pray only at home, and feel no need to attend any sort of Church) I truly believe churches and other places of worship are central to the overall well being of many people.

    Of course, I’m not talking about the folks in the pews who come to church on Sunday and then go out the door and begin doing the opposite of what Christ teaches. Every church, religion, group, field of business and workplace has such people. This has always been true. Such people have always been there and they most likely always will be. When faced with the damage they do it’s best to just remember that God loves them as much as he loves all of us. Then we should forgive them and pray for them. Unless the offense is criminal, it’s best to just leave them alone and pray that they might hear Christ’s message at some point.

    I’m speaking of the people who seem to really want to live Christ’s message. I’ve found that when I’m among a group of believers who are trying to do what Jesus would do (whether in a church setting or just a social or work setting) I feel uplifted and good inside. I don’t feel uncomfortable or afraid to share ideas. Even though the people in the scripture study probably have different beliefs than me on many issues, everyone seems willing to listen to others. This, to me, is a very good reason to actually join a church.

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    The church where the scripture study is being held also has daily exposition of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. I went inside the sanctuary afterward, to spend time in Adoration. This is truly a gift. I feel I can tell Jesus anything and everything while I’m in His presence.

    Then I wonder why I don’t take advantage of this gift on a regular basis. I hope, after the scripture study is over, that I will continue to visit Christ — Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Who knows what I will learn, just by sitting quietly in His presence? The church is only 10 minutes from my home. I should take advantage of this opportunity. I’m sure my life will be better because of it.


  • Happy St. Patrick’s Day

    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Everyone wishes they were Irish today 🙂 What a great heritage the Irish enjoy, especially today.

     

    I come from Italian roots on my dad’s side, and English roots on mom’s side. My mother sort of became Italian by default, though she does still cook in in a manner handed down from her mother, who was born in the North Carolina Blue Ridge. Mom’s ancestors came to America from England in the 1700’s. Some old world Celtic traditions were handed down in that part of Appalachia, so maybe it’s not so strange that I enjoy this Irish holiday.

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    Who wouldn’t? The Irish are fun.

    They drink great beer. Irish dancing is a wonder to behold. Irish cabled sweaters are intricate and cool. I plan to knit one for my husband before long. There are lots of fun traditions associated with St. Patrick’s Day.

    My daughter went to Ireland during her junior year of college. I don’t know how she managed it, as she was working her way through as a waitress, and due to her penchant for parking on the wrong side of the street, she seemed to be keeping the borough of West Chester, PA in business through constant parking tickets, fines and the like.

    However, somehow she managed a trip to Ireland. I don’t know all that went on, of course. After all, she was in college. I do remember hearing that she narrowly escaped a bar fight in Limerick.

    She’s lucky. Back then, my 5’2” little girl weighed approximately 102 pounds, soaking wet. Today, 14 years later, she’s about three pounds heavier. (Unfortunately for me, she got her weight genes from her father.)

    My husband and I worried about her for the duration of the trip, of course. That’s only to be expected. However, she does have a beautiful little daughter of her own now. Someday she’ll know how we felt. Paybacks, as they say, are hell.

     

    St Patrick Shamrock Image

    St. Patrick is one of the most beloved and well known saints in the Church.

     

    I love to look at the stained glass window depicting him in my own parish church. There are lovely prayer traditions associated with St. Patrick.

    From Saint Patrick’s Breastplate

    Christ be with me
    Christ before me
    Christ behind me
    Christ in me
    Christ beneath me
    Christ above me
    Christ on my right
    Christ on my left
    Christ where I lie
    Christ where I sit
    Christ where I arise
    Christ in the heart of every man
    who thinks of me
    Christ in the mouth of every man
    who speaks of me
    Christ in every eye that sees me
    Christ in every ear that hears me
    Salvation is of the Lord.

    There are many Irish prayers, blessings and sayings that have come down through the ages. All are poetic and beautiful, and sometimes sad.

    Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

    Do not stand at my grave and weep,
    I am not there… I do not sleep.
    I am the thousand winds that blow…
    I am the diamond glints on snow…
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain…
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you waken in the morning’s hush,
    I am the swift uplifting rush
    Of gentle birds in circling flight…
    I am the soft star that shines at night.
    Do not stand at my grave and cry—
    I am not there… I did not die…

    Ireland_Passing

    May neighbours respect you,
    Trouble neglect you,
    The angels protect you,
    And heaven accept you.

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    I hope everyone reading this has a fun and blessed St. Patrick’s Day. I think I’ll see if my grandkids are doing anything special today. Maybe they will make me a construction paper shamrock. 🙂

    Irish_Blessing_by_Mjollnir419


  • Music – An Inspiration

    I’ve been working on a project in my mostly nonexistent spare time: Deciding on “songs” for the characters in my series of books.

    Most writers find that their characters (both good and bad) become real to them. Mine have to me. In my mind each character has a distinct personality, part of which pertains to music.

    I must admit that deciding which song fits each character is turning out to take longer than expected. I’m trying to find songs that the characters would listen to while at the same time conveying the personality of the character. My favorite music genre is Classic Rock, so many characters’ songs will reflect this, though I do include other genres for characters who would, if they were people rather than fictional characters, listen and identify with different music.

    Some characters were easy to assign a song. Reese, for instance. Reese is a secondary character, but still very important to the overall series. Reese is someone who knows exactly how he feels on a minute to minute basis. He’s also an Iraq War Veteran and no nonsense auto mechanic. Reese’s song is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets.”

    Other characters weren’t so easy. After some thought I decided on Led Zeppelin’s “Battle Of Evermore” for the character I call the Battling Angel.

     

    The sky is filled with good and bad
    Mortals never know.

    Oh, well, the night is long
    The beads of time pass slow
    Tired eyes on the sunrise
    Waiting for the eastern glow

    The Angel is in the service of St. Michael the Archangel, and is sent to warn and protect main characters Jason and Michelle.  St Michael, of course, is in the service of Christ, who I wouldn’t dream of assigning a song. He’s my Boss. He gives me assignments. I just do my best to carry out His orders.

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    I’m beginning to note ideas and plotlines for book three. While writing Tears Of Paradox  and The Notice, (coming in mid-February) I relied heavily on prayer and reflection. I wanted Christ to be at the helm, and I tried to write what I felt He would want me to write. I’m going to do the same thing while writing book three.

    I plan to complete the entire character/song list within a few weeks and then include it in a second blogpost. I already know protagonist Jason’s song, but I still haven’t decided on a song for another pivotal character, Brad.

    Following are the words to Michelle’s song, The Scarlet Tide, as sung by Alison Krauss. This is from the movie “Cold Mountain” –a terrific film.

    Well I recall his parting words
    Must I accept his fate
    Or take myself far from this place
    I thought I heard a black bell toll
    A little bird did sing
    Man has no choice
    When he wants every thingWe’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the brideMan goes beyond his own decision
    Gets caught up in the mechanism
    Of swindlers who act like kings
    And brokers who break everything
    The dark of night was swiftly fading
    Close to the dawn of day
    Why would I want him just to lose him again

    We’ll rise above the scarlet tide
    That trickles down through the mountain
    And separates the widow from the bride

    Michelle is separated from her husband, not knowing what the future holds. She’s also, for all intents and purposes, in the middle of a civil war. This is one of the songs that inspired The Storms Of Transformation series, book three of which will be set in the North Carolina Blue Ridge, in roughly the same area as the fictional Cold Mountain.

    More in a later post.


  • No One Can Drive You Crazy, Unless You Give Them The Keys

    I read a quote this evening: “No one can drive you crazy, unless you give them the keys.” Okay. Fair enough. We can’t change the behavior of others, we can only change the way we react to it. This is the way I’m choosing to live my life from now on.

    That’s why I didn’t mention Trig Palin and his dog to my mother. As many people are aware, Sarah Palin’s son Trig was photographed while standing on his dog.

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    Because of media programming, many Americans hate Palin and her family. Some of the people who hate this family probably have no idea why they hate her. They’re simply following the herd. What began seven years ago has become a hard habit to break. Since Americans have been conditioned to believe Palin and other Conservatives do not merit the same respect or compassion as those of other ideologies, the hate is permitted to flourish. I’ve come to the conclusion that it will probably stick around for awhile, so with the exception of retweeting the most insane hatred in order to expose it, I give up. Palin has become the punching bag for any Democrat with a cell phone who happens to be having a bad day. Since the rules of “leave children out of it” do not apply to traditional Americans, Christians, and Conservatives, Palin’s children are also targeted on a regular basis. Since the hate began seven years ago and hasn’t lessened in intensity, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s okay in the eyes of many Americans. Here is an example of the latest in Palin hate.

     

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    You may be wondering what this has to do with my mother. My mother and father lost a little girl in 1970. The little girl was my sister, Lori Ann. She was three years old when she died. She had Down Syndrome, like Trig Palin. When Sarah Palin came onto the political scene in 2008, our family was thrilled. My parents admired Sarah for obvious reasons. Then the hate began, including hate for Trig. Of course it hurt our family; I’d be lying if I said it didn’t, but everyone has their crosses. Maybe this is ours. I’m not writing this post to garner sympathy. I’ve already come to terms with this unfortunate situation.

    Still, I didn’t mention the latest hate-fest to my mother. It’s January, a bad month for her. My father passed away in January of 2012, and the Holidays are hard for us. I was hoping mom missed the Trig comments. Unfortunately, she didn’t. She mentioned it on the phone this morning. That’s why I’m blogging about it. It bothered me all day, and this is what I chose to write about. I included the screenshots of hate-tweets on the off chance that some random person reading this might find empathy for Trig and his family. They are human beings, the same as the rest of us, even though the media dehumanizes them.

    It’s a shame, but many Americans have bought into this premise, the same way they’ve bought into the premise that a human child in a womb is only a clump of cells. Despite advances in science and technology, such as ultrasounds which plainly show the children, some Americans insist they are not children, and have no right to their own lives. This is an unfortunate fact.

    I’ve been part of the respect life group in my parish church for five years. In those five years, we have made little to no headway in bringing awareness to the plight of the unborn. In fact, certain parishioners seem to be clutching pro-abortion ideology in a death grip, up to and including promoting it in schools.

    Perhaps we made mistakes in our approach. The four of us organized trips to the annual March for Life, tried a pro life movie night, handed out pro life prayer cards, and sat at a table at the church bazaar and tried to interest parishioners in learning about unborn children. We raffled off handmade baby quilts, blankets and sweaters, and held a “baby shower” every spring. The baby items were then donated to a crisis pregnancy center. Somehow, though, we find that we have the support of less than half the parish. Maybe even less than a quarter. Again, perhaps it was our approach. Maybe we tried too hard. Maybe we didn’t understand that people didn’t want prayer cards containing prayers for the unborn. Perhaps we came across as being pushy. Our reasoning was that we were doing our work in a Catholic Church, the rules of which are that abortion is not allowed, so we figured most people would be on board. Why go to a Church when you disagree with a non-negotiable in the Catechism? It was sort of common sense for us to believe that Catholics would see the truth with all the technological advances of the past ten years, but science and technology seem to have overtaken our church and left it in the dust of 1973. Our group seems to have made enemies, not friends, and we’ve even been actively shunned and snubbed at times. So be it. Again, I’m not asking for sympathy. I’m certainly not a victim here.

    However, after five years, I admit I’ve burned out. Since I’ve decided to live my life differently, I’m cutting my losses. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, so as of this week, I’m quitting the respect life ministry. I know we have done some good for actual babies and expectant moms, but I cannot bang my head against a brick wall in my own parish any longer. Perhaps the group will keep going in some capacity, but I won’t be participating in anything but prayer.

    The same people who trashed Trig Palin this week over a dog are probably the ones who wanted his mom to abort him. Many people said such things before Trig was born. Seven years hasn’t made much difference. There’s no reasoning with such people. Pro abortion ideology brings out the ugly in people. Perhaps they themselves are suffering and don’t know what they’re doing when they treat a child such as Trig the way they do. I can’t wonder why anymore. I’m making a decision to just pray.

    My mother feels some pain inside, every time Trig or his mom are disparaged. I do, too. So do numerous other families with special needs children. But whatever–we’re strong. We’ll handle it. We really have no other choice, do we?