Noli Irritare Leones Yet another thoughtful calm commentary on religion, Catholics, politics and the world written by a non-Catholic.
Catholic Sensibility A "peace"ful website by a sensible Catholic liturgist usually avoiding the Catholic blog fratricide
Real Live Preacher OK, OK, He's not even Catholic--But he's a model for the unapologetic Christian who evangelizes with the lure of a Cristian life well lived and observed, not the hammer of screaming apologetics hellfire and brimstone.
Open Book Most unapologetic site by a true apologetic Catholic in the best sense of the word
Here's a quiz for you. See if you can identify the saint with the patronage. Some are pretty easy. Some can be guessed with a little knowledge of scripture and history. Some stumped me completely. Is there some reason why St. Thomas More is the patron saint of both lawyers and difficult marriages? Some saints have multiple patronages. St. Joseph, understandably is in great demand for workers, fathers, those near death and real estate agents. Some patronages have multiple saints--ugly people for example, may need all the help they can get. Saints Drogo and Germaine, pray for us!
I'm not sure there's an official list of patron saints, but I do like to be able to check out some of the background of saints to see why they might be the patron of a particular activity. Now I know why there are so many parishes named for St. Emydius in California. (Google if you don't believe me!)
The 100 patron saint list doesn't include some of my favorites. My own special patron did not make the list. Neither did my confirmation name saint I selected because my parents were told they might be childless. Obviously, they were not.
Somebody I pray to for special reason , who is not a saint--yet.
When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She obtains wool and flax and makes cloth with skillful hands.
I have been very lucky to have first hand experience with the truth of this scripture.
Curiously, I haven't found a similar passage about husbands. Maybe wives don't need to be told this truth as often?
Thorns and snares are on the path of the crooked; he who would safeguard his life will shun them. Train a boy in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not swerve from it. The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. He who sows iniquity reaps calamity, and the rod destroys his labors.
Proverbs 22: 5-8
My son has not been going the "way he should go." Yet, I must leave this in God's hands, reluctantly.
A faithful witness will not lie: but a deceitful witness uttereth a lie. A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: the learning of the wise is easy. Go against a foolish man, and he knoweth not the lips of prudence. The wisdom of a discreet man is to understand his way: and the imprudence of fools erreth.
Telling the difference between the truth and a lie is sometimes painfully simple. Other times, it's maddeningly frustrating. Sometimes those who speak wisdom and integrity do so very quietly. Today, have I listened to others as well as I could?
I served as an extraordinary Eucharistic minister for 6 years.Too long, in my opinion.I decided to resign last year because I could detect a sense of habit and routine setting in.This duty cannot be performed by habit or routine.I cannot take it for granted, so I needed to step back, even though there is a shortage of people to serve as EEM's.It's better not to do this duty than to do it poorly.
I look upon this duty as me simply serving as the extensions of the hands of the priest.He just didn't have enough hands to go around, and I am contributing my hands during a time of priestly shortage. Someday, the EEM will no longer be needed.
Even so, I was often overwhelmed by emotion after serving as an EEM.The faith of those who receive is radiant on their faces and my own poor faith is put to shame.Oh yes, there is the many casual recipients and many who I suspect do not have a clue or care about what they are doing.That is mostly not my call, but I do report any abuses, general lack of reverence or other problems to the priest.
I attempt to be "invisible" to the recipient. This is a meeting between the person and God.I just happen to be nearby.I try to be both reverent and unnoticed but will not hesitate to climb over pews to deliver the Body of Our Lord to an elderly or handicapped person who cannot go up to the altar.
Today is the anniversary of my wife’s death. She died in a freak accident that still leaves me puzzled years later. This time of year always lays heavy on my heart but a few blog posts from different directions hit me. Flos Carmelli, in particular had a very interesting series of posts, (The comments and responses are also very enlightening.)
Because of my wife’s death this subject is of more than academic interest to me. I hope she is among those who have been saved. I am not sure I am in the top half of worthy humans so I certainly home “multitudes” are saved. I also believe there are evil people who have rejected God. That exhausts the limits of my knowledge on this subject.
The other subject that I had to face was the role of chance, contingency, and perhaps luck in our lives. My wife died at age 39, in the presence of her 12, 10 and 3 year old sons. She suffocated when a piece of camping equipment landed on her. The “zone of danger” was very small, approximately 3 feet square. The hazard existed only for about 5 seconds and you had to face a particular way to get a fatal result. My wife had to get up from her position and move into the danger zone within a few seconds for all of it to happen the way t did. Although my sons were the first aid response, their efforts were unsuccessful.
I was away on a business strip and had arrived earlier that evening, the Wednesday before Easter. She and the boys were on a short camping trip, to arrive Holy Thursday afternoon. As a family we would observe Good Friday, and celebrate Easter with our combined extended families. The accident happened at 2:30 a.m on Holy Thursday. Easter did not happen that year.
The cascade of events leading up to her death was so precise, it could not have been planned any better. I realized that “Why?” was not a question with any meaningful answer. I did decide a few things. God did not “intend” (in the same way we humans intend) for my wife to die. A series of random contingent events happened, as they happen every day. God does not intend for three young boys to watch their mothers suffocate. That leaves us with a mystery. God has the power to intervene, but does not, whether it’s mothers suffocating or passenrsers on American Flight 11.
I concluded from that, and from listening to other stories when I later joined the bereavement ministry, that God’s consistent failure to work miracles to save lives is somehow related to the concept of free will. I can’t get any closer than that.
Interestingly, in our bereavement ministry classes we collect the top ten stupid things people say to those who are grieving for a lost loved one. Number one on the list—by far:
“It’s God’s will.”
Number 2: “I know exactly how you feel.” Number 3, for people like me, “You’re lucky you’re still young, you’ll find somebody fast.” My own personal favorite was “My dog died lat week, I know just how you feel.” Told to my 3 year old son: “God needed another mother in heaven to watch over all the babies that died.” My son replied simply, “I need my mom, He can go find another one.”
All of these people mean well, but the comments all display a belief that somehow God plays some form of cosmic chess game with humans as pieces. I don’t think this is true. I am not sure of God’s plan for us. I do not know why thing happen the way they do and how God works in our lives. I am very suspicious of those people who claim that they do know. I do not believe that God works miracles (defined as departures form the laws of nature) very often and perhaps only a handful have occurred in the last 1900 years. I think He very seldom interferes in human events. I know He cares for us, but He cares in ways that we cannot comprehend and it is unfair of us to think He will intervene miraculously in our lives.
I do believe in the power of the Eucharist, a miracle that occurs daily. I believe that God speaks to me in the silence of the Blessed Sacrament chapel.
My next post will discuss the role that our priests play when we are dealing with the loss of our loved ones.
Our family went skiing this past weekend.On the way back we stopped at Manzanar.I happened to stumble across the site several years ago when it was just some abandoned foundations in the middle of nowhere.Since my last stop, the U.S. government has put up a very impressive visitor's center.
This was a reflective visit and, as I walked around, I pondered the icon of one of the most extreme episodes of injustice in U.S. history, surpassed only by our treatment of the Indian populations and slavery.The concept of American concentration camps is hard to fathom.
The visitor’s center describes how different groups of Japanese Americans handled this terrible injustice.Many young men enlisted in the U.S. armed forces during World War II while their relatives were interned in the Manzanar concentration camp. The most famous of these Japanese American units were the 442nd, the “Go for Broke” division, and the 100th Infantry “Purple Heart Battalion." Not trusted to fight in the Pacific theater, these units suffered heavy casualties in the Italian campaign. Our country owes a huge debt of gratitude for the bravery of these men fighting against fascism.
I am in awe of these men who sacrificed their lives for their country that was incarcerating their families.I’m afraid bitterness would have overcome me.Still, their combat bravery highlighted the awful injustice being done.
Others reacted differently and refused to be relocated to the camps.These Japanese Americans took a different tack against injustice.
Yet in many ways they achieved just as much.Fred Korematsu refused to be relocated and went to jail for standing up for justice, just as Martin Luther King and Gandhi did.As a result of his personal integrity, he lent his name to a Supreme Court case synonymous with injustice, the Dred Scott decision of the twentieth century.His own denunciation of authority with dignity made him a hero as much as the brave members of the 442nd.
The different roads to justice undertaken by the Japanese Americans in World War II allow all of us today to reflect on our own approach to justice today.
Along with most other people, I struggle with how to prevent injustice and mostly how to handle injustice in my own life.We all have one example of handling personal injustice, but I doubt I would be brave enough to emulate that example.My personal failures only add to the injustice in the world today.
The foremost problem in Jewish religion
is how to get Jews to take the Bible seriously without taking it literally. - Mordecai Kaplan
When faith is completely replaced by
creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is
ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom
rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of
authority rather than with the voice of compassion, its message becomes meaningless. - Abraham Joshua Heschel
Although time has passed, the pain is still there. Yesterday, I talked with a woman recently widowed after 60 years of marriage. Her 82 year old husband and childhood sweetheart died a few months ago. I did feel bad for her because I can't imagine how she feels. But I also felt a stab of jealousy towards her and a stab of anger towards my dead wife. I expected her to outlive me and she somehow failed me. I'm the one living with pain and raising sons into adults.
The best thing for me to do when I have moments of grieving is to take at least an hour and pray at our Church' s Blessed Sacramant Chapel. If I'm lucky there's Eucharistic Adoration, but even if there isn't, the lighting, dim, with a single light on the tabernacle, allows me to be as alone on earth as it is pssible to feel and God enters my soul, bringing peace in ways I don't expect.