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June 2018

July 2018

Dog Food As Wedding Flower Ballast

When clearing the wedding flowers away from the altar after a recent wedding, our sacristan made a discovery in the bottom of our urns which contain the florists arrangements.

The rectory garage door is sometimes open during the day's heat and needing some weight to keep the urns upright, the florist must have been exploring. The nearest handy, heavy items were cans of dog food which were added to the bottom of the urns.

An interesting, but nosy solution at the same time. Lucky I had extra!

Dog food


Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Scapulaire_carmeliteThe Carmelite "Brown" Scapular was shown by the Virgin Mary to St. Simon Stock, an early superior of the Carmelites during a time when their Order was under persecution, as an assurance of Mary's intercession especially at the hour of their deaths. The small, portable scapular of today derives from the work garment of the Carmelites. Keeping this in mind, the wearing of the brown scapular reminds us our responsibility to work for the Kingdom and of Mary's loving intercession for the disciples of her Son.

 

 

Daytime and night time scapulars from the late 1800's worn by the Carmelites.


Friday The Thirteenth

Most of us cope with little superstitions without too much of an impact on our daily lives. Saying "God bless you," after a sneeze is even attributed to a superstition regarding the devil.

Sometimes superstitions and arbitrary actions can become compulsory for the individual and begin to hem their lives in with restrictive rituals they must perform or avoid. Their daily rituals become far more oppressive than crossing fingers or throwing salt over their shoulder. Let us pray that those who are held prisoner to these compulsive rituals are loosed from their bonds by God's grace and the compassionate, knowledgeable care of others.

Too often even our religious faith can become more about following rules or avoiding sin than cultivating a relationship with a God who loves us. Let us ask to experience God's love more fully especially in the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.

Shutterstock_1044380716


The Rule of St. Benedict

Benedict

Think for a moment about the genius of a rule written over one thousand years ago, which still has relevance for a community of persons to live in harmony for their whole lives. It's often summarized in a short phrase, "ora et labora," i.e. pray and work, but that doesn't quite do it justice. It's not as if you go off to work everyday, come home and then pray. No, the prayer and the work are one. Both are done for God.


Annuals and Perennials

Annuals
Annuals
AnnualsIt's too beautiful a day not to take at least a few pictures of God's blooms. Some of the perennials in the rectory front yard are coming on strong, not bad since they have only had a couple of years to get going.

In the meantime, a wildflower mix of annuals has provided some color while the lavender, Russian sage and clematis become more established. The stand of coneflowers is really impressive this year; I was relieved since while they were growing I thought they might be weeds!

 


Faith A Two Way Relationship With God

Flood
Workers Prepare to Rescue Trapped Thai Soccer Team

Faith is a two way street

       A relationship between two persons.

       Divine faith is a relationship

       Between us and Jesus.

It’s unlikely that anyone hard of face

       And obstinate of heart

       Will have faith with you.

 

The first reading says it: they'll have a frozen look, no matter what you say;

They'll exhibit a stubbornness of heart that remembers every slight.

When we tell our spouse, our friend

       Our son or daughter

"I have faith in you" – then we work toward

       Real trust, real love.

 

Jesus offered himself in faith

And was rejected by those who

Watched him grow up.

They prejudged him;

Their minds were made up;

Their conclusions already drawn.

He was the carpenter’s son

Nothing else, surely nothing greater.

Their faces were frozen

And their hearts hardened.

 

It can be the same way with us:

I’ve prayed before, I’ve asked for this 1.000 times

I know what the church will say

 

That freezes us into an old way of being

And eliminates the possibility of

A living faith strengthening

Our relationship with Jesus.

Faith is offered to us

To grow, to change,

To cooperate with God’s grace.

 

I think of the Thai soccer team

Trapped deep in the cave.

Their hopes were rewarded

When help arrived.

Now they need faith in God,

In their own ability,

In the skill and care of the divers

And in prophet-like courage

To save themselves and the others.

They need to learn how to dive,

To overcome their fears

And do it quickly and well.

 

One headline read: Fear and courage are both contagious.

Your own courage helps someone else.

And they need to cooperate

With the grace they have been given

To be rescued.

 

So do we.

 


Augustine on Spiritual and Bodily Virginity

 

AugustineThe sanctity of the soul remains even when the body is violated, the sanctity of the body is not lost; and that, in like manner, the sanctity of the body is lost when the sanctity of the soul is violated, though the body itself remains intact. 

City of God, Book I, chapter 16.

Augustine's comments were made during a discussion of the virgin martyrs in the early church who chose martyrdom rather than be sexually violated.

He counsels that victims of sexual abuse should not feel shame since the blame for the sexual transgression is not their own, but rather on the aggressor. 

The mind and will can remain pure and chaste, even in face of non voluntary acts the body is made to perform.


July 4th 2018

July
Let us give thanks and pray.

Today is a day to give thanks

       To those who have served and sacrificed

       To preserve our God given liberties

       To thank those who have handed on

       Their faith and their civic virtues

       To we their children

       And to pray that our nation always

       Walks with our God

       That God give us strength and courage

       To do so

       And to guide us on the way of mutual respect

       And peace.


St. Swithun

An English abbot renowned for miracle working and his sanctity of life. Since it rained on the day his relics were translated from outdoors to indoors, the legend grew that it would rain continuously for 40 days if it rained on his feast day. The same is said to be true for sunny weather. Apparently even meteorologists note that the weather pattern in England on this day tends to be rather stable and might be a predictor of weather to come.

He is the patron saint of Winchester Cathedral where a modern shrine stands over his original resting place which was desecrated during the reign of Henry VIII.

Shrine
Swithun

 


Discuss and Debate, Don't Demonize

Demonize

A New Kind of Bigotry


Over the short history of our nation, we have struggled with bigotry of various kinds and generally have forged agreement that bigotry has no place in a democratic country. Not only does it marginalize certain groups, often denying them their fundamental God-given rights but tears at the fabric of our common good.
The consensus that irrational hatred for certain groups is odious seems to be dissolving over the last decade or more. Now it seems acceptable for certain groups to demonize even those who have different opinions than their own. Rational discourse is gone. Civic protections become unraveled by press or mob outcry. Employers cave into pressure from the loudest special interest group who protest the employability of persons holding certain opinions. We don’t discuss, we litigate.
As we reflect on the history of our nation this weekend, perhaps we can nourish the hope for rational civic discourse and debate to return to the public square. If we can’t even talk with our fellow citizens and elected representatives, how can we hope to hold our own in the world.
The spirit of hope and healing which Jesus brings in today’s gospels and the reminder that we are all made in the image of likeness of a loving God from Wisdom can focus our prayer for national unity around respect for persons, not only of different races or lifestyles, but also Americans who in good conscience hold different opinions from our own.