Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Obligation or Opportunity

Another gem from my parish’s Deacon Ken

Obligation or Opportunity

A father in northern Wisconsin, the day after a major snowstorm once quipped, “Aw, nuts!” He grumbled to no one in particular as he looked out the picture window upon 14 inches of new fallen snow. “Fourteen inches of obligation!” His kids looked out the same window. “Yippee!” they shouted, and rushed to put on their snow clothes. For them it was 14 inches of opportunity! Same snow - two completely different perspectives. I wish we could think more like kids. I wish our first response to winter would be snow angels rather than shovels. When severe adulthood squeezes out childish play, the snow becomes an unpleasant burden. He muttered something about “bleak midwinter” to his wife. She rebuked him gently. “It's not so bleak, honey. In fact, it's like a beautiful post card out there! Just look, the snow sparkles like diamonds!” I suppose beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

Bishop Desmond Tutu observed that each day is a gift, and that is why it is called the present. Whatever the day brings is part of the gift, and that includes snow. As winter approaches, it would do us well to focus on the opportunity, rather than the obligation. Otherwise, it will be a long winter of discontent. Whether you look for the positive or the negative - either way - you'll find it. Joy comes with gratitude. Misery accompanies grumbling and complaint. “In everything”, the Bible says, “give thanks.” That includes the bleak midwinter! Christmas is just around the corner. I think I'll make a snow angel!

My First Christmas in Heaven

From my parish bulletin - my pastor publishes this poem each year as he is aware, for many, Christmas can be a depressing time, especially for those who have lost a loved one in the past year. So if you are feeling a loss, perhaps this will help.

My First Christmas in Heaven

I see the countless Christmas trees,
around the world below
with tiny lights, like heaven's stars,
reflecting on the snow.
The sight is so spectacular,
please wipe away that tear
for I am spending Christmas with
Jesus Christ this year.
I hear the many Christmas songs
that people hold so clear
but the sounds of music can't compare
with the Christmas choir up here.
I have no words to tell you
the joy their voices bring,
for it is beyond description
to hear the angels sing.
I know how much you miss me,
I see the pain inside your heart,
but I am not so far away,
we really aren't apart.
So be happy for me, my dear ones,
you know I hold you dear,
and be glad I'm spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year.
I sent you each a special gift
from my heavenly home above.
I sent you each a memory
of my undying love.
After all, love is a gift more precious
than pure gold.
It was always more important in the stories
Jesus told.
Please love and keep each other
as my Father said to do.
For I can't count the blessings
or love he has for each of you .
So have a Merry Christmas
and wipe away that tear.
Remember I am spending Christmas
with Jesus Christ this year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sacred Heart of Jesus



A friend recently posted about anxiety. I do not treat this issue lightly. Anxiety raises its head for all of us from time to time, for some it is almost all consuming. I thought the article below would be of some help. It ends with St. Francis’ Peace Prayer; reading it slowly and consciously, for me, brings immediate relief.

As a young man I also enjoyed “Desiderata” which at one time I had memorized.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
 As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
 Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
 Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
 If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
 for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
 Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
 Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
 But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
 and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
 Especially, do not feign affection.
 Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
 Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
 Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
 you have a right to be here.
 And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
 and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
 With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
© Max Ehrmann 1927

But, I find, that the greatest aid in addressing anxiety is turning to your faith and putting yourself in God’s hands. I’m not saying don’t do anything addressing those issues you are concerned with, after all, God helps those who help themselves.

There is also the great Catholic devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It is not as popular today as it was, but it is always there for us.

A Prayer to the Sacred Heart (In Difficulties)

Almighty arms of Jesus before you I come with all my faith
Begging you for comfort in my difficult situation.
Do not forsake me, Good Jesus.
Open your doors in my way
That your almighty arms will open and close as you design,
To give me that tranquility that I so desire.
      (Make your petitions)
Oh my God, receiving that supplication from a wounded heart
that is always fighting for life, With your divine power,
Never let me scramble for want of help
Almighty Jesus, assist me to find shelter in thy
Celestial Country ever.

Finally, here is an article I found that may be of help.

How to overcome anxiety
Learn the spiritual path to peace

Have you ever been in a storm? This summer there were many terrible thunderstorms. My brother and nephew got trapped in one while they were running. On his return, I asked my brother if he was worried. He said, “Well, I sure wanted to settle all of my debts.” My nephew said, “It was the run of my life – or better said, I was running for my life. It was like playing a video game and having no more lives.” Well, to say the least, they were dealing with anxiety.

Anxiety has many causes. Some anxiety is rooted in our fears. These fears can be deep in the soul and may be hard to get a handle on. Trauma in our lives from abuse, or situations that reinforce inner fears, can become deeply rooted and can stay with us all our lives.

Some anxiety is related to a person’s chemistry. Sometimes a person is born with this kind of psychological cross. I have known many persons who have bravely carried this cross in their lives and in spite of the anxiety they may feel, continue to make good choices and do the things that they believe God calls them to in life.

Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling. There is a sense that something is wrong – as if there is a sword dangling from a thread directly over our heads. Anxiety is agitation of the soul. It may be temporary like my brother and nephew in the storm. It may be a daily or long-term struggle. Like a still pool that is disturbed by a rock that plunges through its surface, our soul’s peace can be disturbed through fearful, distressing thoughts or experiences. Sometimes when we are anxious, we can think that a good Christian will never feel this way. That can compound the problem, because now we are feeling anxious for being anxious! Who can save us from this spiral fall? Our Lord Jesus!

First of all, it is a mistake to think a Christian will not feel anxious. Jesus’ final days were marked with distressing situations and His soul was full of sorrow and distress. Jesus sweated blood in the garden of Gethsemani, a name which means the place of the olive press. The olive branch and the olive are symbols of peace. It was an olive branch held by a dove that was given to Noah after the terrible storm that flooded the world. The storm was over. Peace would now rest on Noah and his family. In the same way, Jesus went through a terrible storm of anxiety and distress in the garden as He foresaw His imminent suffering and felt the weight of this world’s sin press down on Him. His drops of sweat became like blood. Doctors tell us that this can happen when someone is undergoing very deep emotional distress. The blood can burst through the capillaries and mingle with the sweat because of high emotional tension and pressure. But our Lord went through it all so that we might experience a peace that comes from God.

How does this peace come to us? How could a person possibly experience peace in the middle of great anxiety? Our Lord knew anxiety beyond what most of us ever will know. He showed us what to do when we are having anxious moments, whether they be small or great. We are to pray. We are to surrender to God and the cross. Jesus prayed a number of times in the garden, “Father, let this cup pass me by, but not as I will, but as you will.” The Father sent an angel to help Him. Jesus, after He prayed, accepted His Father’s will. God’s peace flowed from within Him. When Peter cut off the ear of the High Priest’s slave, who came to arrest Jesus, Jesus said, “Put your sword back into its scabbard. Shall I not drink the cup that the Father gave me?” (Jn 18:10) He healed the man. He accepted the cup of suffering in peace.

God’s peace can come to us even as we go through distressing situations. As we grow in our union with God, the anxiety and distress of the inner soul gives way to a deep and profound peace that no one can take away. Our risen Lord’s first words to the Apostles in John’s Gospel were “Peace be with you!” (Jn 20:19) Peace is our risen Lord’s gift to us when we go through trials of faith and trust. He is there to calm the storm, to instill faith and free us from fear.

---Fr. Bill Ashbaugh

The first step to peace: surrender yourself to God.

For our Spiritual Fitness this month, we will practice surrendering ourselves to God. The fruit of this exercise will be the gift of peace from Jesus that overcomes our anxiety.

1. Reflect on the question: “Who is really in charge of my life?” Let God be in charge. Pray “I surrender to you my Lord and my God.” A good celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation will restore the soul’s peace.

2. Read and pray: about what Jesus said to Martha who was anxious. (Luke 10:41-42) “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things. Only one thing is required.” I know many people who get upset when they hear this Gospel passage. They say, “Jesus, we need people who work and are active, too.” But the Lord was trying to help Martha overcome her anxiety and driving need to “do.” He wanted her to experience the peace that comes from “being” with Him.

3. Be aware of anxious feelings: Write down when they occurred and consider why you were feeling anxious. Read and pray over Matthew 6:25-34, or Matthew 8:23-27.

4. Go for a walk and look about you: “Be still and know that I am God!” (Ps 46:10)

5. Do not allow your fears or anxieties to stop you from doing what is right and good. If you are seriously tempted to avoid doing a good thing out of anxiety or fear, pray for the courage to do it, and then do it! God’s peace will rest on you.

6. Prayerfully read: Psalms 34, and 131

7. Don’t worry about doing all of the above: Just pick one and do it well!

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow your love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith in you. O Divine Master, grant that I may not seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood, as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, it is in dying that we rise to everlasting life.
– Prayer attributed to St Francis of Assisi

Finally, John 14:27

"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

Monday, December 8, 2014

Here is a painting of the Immaculate Conception Franciscans should like. By Albert Küchler (Brother Peter of Copenhagen) - Immaculate Conception with St. Bonaventure, Francis, Anthony and Blessed John Duns Scotus - Rome - Pontifical University Antonianum.

Immaculate Conception

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo
Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Many people think it is a relatively new thing, but it is not. It goes way back in Christian history. Actually, the concept goes back to the 5th century. But it was only defined as dogma in 1854. Many also confuse it with Jesus' birth - it deals with the concept that Mary was born without original sin.

"We declare, pronounce and define that the doctrine which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the first instant of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace of the Omnipotent God, in virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, was preserved immaculate from all stain of original sin, has been revealed by God, and therefore should firmly and constantly be believed by all the faithful."
—Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, December 8, 1854

Why is the Immaculate Conception important?
"The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the belief that God interrupted the flow of human history by a special act and preserved Mary from the stain of original sin from the first moment of her conception. This action of God reminds us of two important truths – truths which have been obliterated in the rationalist, secular-humanist modern world.

"The first is that God is alive and at work in the world. He has not abandoned the human race, but he cares enough to be involved. Through a special act he preserved the Virgin Mary from the stain of original sin, and through this unique action he reminds us that he is still engaged with the human race in our eternal struggle. This world is not empty of God and empty of grace, but it is still charged with the grandeur and humility of God. Rationalism is not the final answer. The miraculous is still alive in the world.

"Secondly, the Immaculate Conception reminds us that human life is sacred from the first moment of conception. We are taught by divine revelation and by divine interaction with the world that the first moment of human life is the moment of conception. In a world threatened by genocide, suicide, war, murder, abortion, and euthanasia, the Blessed Virgin – under her titles of Aparecida and Guadalupe – speak to the world of the sacredness of human life and of God’s care and love for the human race.

"Finally, it is no mistake that the Immaculate Conception is the primary image of the Americas. The Americas are the ultimate battleground in the war between secular, godless humanism and the divine mercy of God in the world. The blessed Virgin, Immaculately and miraculously conceived, offers her son for the Redemption of the world and the conversion of the Americas."

- Fr. Dwight Longenecker

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain forever a child.” 
    —   Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 bc), Roman orator

Food for Thought

“So it is with sorrow, each thinks his own present grief the most severe. For of this he judges by his own experience.

He that is childless considers nothing so sad as to be without children; he that is poor, and has many children, complains of the extreme evils of a large family. He who has but one, looks upon this as the greatest misery, because that one, being set too much store by, and never corrected, becomes willful, and brings grief upon his father.

He who has a beautiful wife, thinks nothing so bad as having a beautiful wife, because it is the occasion of jealousy and intrigue. He who has an ugly one, thinks nothing worse than having a plain wife, because it is constantly disagreeable.

The private man thinks nothing more mean, more useless, than his mode of life. The soldier declares that nothing is more toilsome, more perilous, than warfare; that it would he better to live on bread and water than endure such hardships.

He that is in power thinks there can be no greater burden than to attend to the necessities of others. He that is subject to that power, thinks nothing more servile than living at the beck of others. The married man considers nothing worse than a wife, and the cares of marriage. The unmarried declares there is nothing so wretched as being unmarried, and wanting the repose of a home.

The merchant thinks the husbandman happy in his security. The husbandman thinks the merchant so in his wealth. In short, all mankind are somehow hard to please, and discontented and impatient.”

—   Saint John Chrysostom

Sunday, November 23, 2014

When Faced with...

Only One Black Friday

Going Fishing

Lovely photo I ran across.

Christ the King Sunday

Today is the feast of Christ the King. It is a relatively new feast, established in 1925 on last Sunday of the church liturgical year (a new liturgical year begins next Sunday as Advent begins) to emphasize the place of Christ at the center of life and to challenge the increasing denial of the place of God in life seen in communism and the secularism of that time [and as it is today still]. The Kingdom of Jesus is about a new way of relating to one another — a way that Jesus revealed by His life and teaching. Jesus demonstrated His kingdom as he blessed, loved, forgave, healed, and served the people He was speaking to. He welcomed the poor and the marginalized. He taught about His way of relating in parables that prioritized forgiveness over revenge, service over being served, and sacrificial love over self-serving arrogance. The Kingdom way of relating is expressed in this Sunday's Gospel as Jesus tells us that what we do to the least of our brothers or sisters we do to Him. Jesus’ Kingdom is present whenever we relate to one another as the God of all creation desires us to relate. It is the only Kingdom that will last forever.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Not All Wounds...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Leaning Towers

Deacon Ken of my parish
always manages to have a great post each Sunday. Here is another:

The Leaning Towers … The Tower of Pisa, one of the world's great landmarks, was originally designed to stand up straight. In 1773, it began to lean shortly after the onset of construction due to a poorly laid foundation. The word Pisa “, I've heard, actually means "marshy land." This might explain why history's most famous church bell tower started going off-kilter before it was even completed. Several years ago it looked like the Tower of Pisa was headed for toppling. Moving one-twentieth of an inch each year, it eventually ended up 17 feet out of plumb. Alarmed architects and engineers puzzled over it, and in 1990, created a plan to remove 38 cubic meters of soil from underneath to straighten the tower by 18 inches. Now, they say, it is stable for another 300 years.

Perhaps you will be surprised to learn that the leaning Tower of Pisa is not the most tilted tower in the world. In November 2007, the honor was given to the leaning tower of Suurhusen in Germany. Though not as beautiful or old as her sister in Pisa, the 15th century Suurhusen bell tower is the greatest leaner on earth. You don't have to be pretty to be crooked. Once again, the sway from vertical is due to marshy soil and a faulty foundation. These twin towers teach us an important lesson. If you want to stand straight, you need to have a firm foundation. Parents, if you want to grow good adults, start your children when they're young. This is the most important task for mothers and fathers. Teach your children the depths of truth, character, integrity and faith. And most importantly, teach them about God. When they are older, they will display it.

Engaged couples can build a great marriage by building on the firm foundation of selfless love, faith and trust. Marriages built on shallow soil seldom last. A life, built on the rock solid foundation of God, faith and the Bible, will stand straight and strong through all the storms of life. If you've started off wrong, and find yourself leaning, there's still hope but it always goes back to the foundational issues.


Book Recommendation: A Call to Joy

"Contrary to popular belief, Catholicism is not a religion of sin and punishment, rules and regulations, but a religion of growth, fulfillment, love and joy."
 -- Matthew Kelly - A Call to Joy, p 43.

This is a great book.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Cost of Making a Difference

Deacon Ken, of my parish, posts an article in the parish bulletin each week, and if you have read my emails, you will note that I have forwarded many of them. Well, he did it again. Here is a good one:


Don't pray that God will make your life easy – instead, pray that he will make it worthwhile. Nothing worthwhile comes easy. There is a price tag for any measure of accomplishment. I have never met a successful person who coasted to their desired destination. You can't win if you merely float. The only fish in the river that float along are the dead ones.

Some folks think that if they just sit around in their Lazy-Boy recliners long enough, success will come knocking on the door thinking, "Someday my ship will come in." Perhaps you have great ideas swirling around in your mind. You have great visions, dreams and intentions; however, if you don't do something about it, you're just daydreaming. You're acting like a dead fish. If you wish to go the distance, and make your dreams happen, you must pay the price. There is always [a] price tag for achievement. What is the price?

1. Hard work. People who [win] in life generally work harder than those who don't. Those who squeaked by fulfilling minimum requirements will never rise to the top. "Success," said Thomas Edison" is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration."

2. Stick-to-it-ive-ness. When a job gets hard and problems pile high, we are all tempted to quit. The difference between those who make it and those who don't is whether or not they cave into that temptation. Instead of giving up, give it your all.

3. Misunderstanding. Anybody who rises above the ordinary will be misunderstood. Critics come out of the woodwork when someone begins to accomplish something new and worthwhile. People often question the actions, motives and even integrity of the brave soul who dares to make a difference. Consider the whale. When he rises to the surface and spouts, he gets harpooned. There is definitely a price to pay, but it's worth the cost. Wouldn't you rather go out in a blaze of glory then die of dry rot?

This article hit home. I see so many people, most of them young, who just seem to be coasting along, like a dead fish in the water. I worked all during high school and college. In fact, my first jobs in seventh and eighth grades were at a neighborhood youth center where I “manned” the coat room for the other kids who were there after school until their parents came home from work. I then swept the activity rooms and halls and stairways. During the summer I helped the adults with the children on the summertime day trips – all for five dollars a week.

I did this not only to supplement the family income and have some pocket money, but to save money to buy a car. I had to have a car to drive my dates around. I have to wonder where is the enthusiasm and motivation of today’s youth? Mostly, I see the girls driving the guys around, probably in her father’s car.

Happily, I have a neighborhood kid who is always coming by asking to cut my grass, snow-blow my driveway, or some other odd jobs. He has bought himself a cool bike, neat shoes, and buys his brother and friends treats, like McDonald’s.

I know the physics; all objects want to remain at rest unless another force moves them. We get into a comfort zone, we like familiar things, watch the same TV programs, drive the same way to and from work every day. I think the trick is to break those patterns. We need to get used to change, so we don’t get traumatized when new challenges arise.

I’d like to share two things that have to help me along. My friend Pat told me about a dream board (I think that is what she called it) – to post a picture of something you would like on your refrigerator. This will remind you of your goal several times a day. Perhaps a picture of a car or a new sofa, perhaps a picture of a thin person to lose weight, or a cigar with a circle and line through it to stop smoking.

The other is what I call “Page for the Day.” The night before I will write down what I need to address the next day. It is funny how easily we can forget the things we need to address. Then there is what I call “One Thing.” I ask myself what is the one thing I can do that day to address some problem or get something accomplished that day? Even if it is something small – it provides a sense of accomplishment and progress.

I hope Deacon Ken’s article and my random thoughts are helpful to you.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Reagan Vs. Obama - Social Economics 101

This is a great video.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Fortnight for Freedom - 2014

I’m late on this. June 21st began the 3rd Fortnight for Freedom initiative. Not sure how I missed it. Perhaps it was not publicized enough. Did you hear of it in church, was it in your bulletin?

Our religious liberties are in danger of being taken away. This is real. We need to pray, to know the issues and be actively involved. This is of great concern for me. As a student of history, I've learned how easy it is for a state to take away one’s freedoms and liberty; Nazi Germany is the prominent example. Think of Poland and the other Eastern European countries under communist rule. Please don’t be like an ostrich with your head in the sand, or next you may find yourself attending Mass in someone’s basement.

By the way, if you didn't hear of this in your parish, or the diocese made no efforts to bring this to you, you may want to ask your pastor, or even write the bishop and ask them why not.

Peace and all Good!

Please see the article in the National Catholic Register here.

Three Cheers for Megan Kelly

Republican Congressman's Epic 1 Minute Obama Critique On House Floor - J...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ashamed of the Gospel?

Robert George Speaks at National Prayer Breakfast

From time to time we run across something that impresses us and naturally we want to share it. This is such a case. The video is 33 minutes but well worth the time. The text can be found here.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sunday, May 25, 2014

New Book by Scott Hahn - Sounds Great

Angels and Saints: A Biblical Guide to Friendship with God's Holy Ones

I just read an excerpt from Scott Hahn's new book and it sounds great. Please go here to read the excerpt.

And here is the link to the Amazon page.

After reading the excerpt, I think you are going to be as enthused about it as I am.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Tribute to Mothers - A Maintenance Manual

One of my Deacons often posts a great article in my parish's bulletin. Here is another::

A Tribute to Mothers... 

Today is Mother's Day and a friend of mine reminded me that many of us take better care of our cars then we do our mothers and yet we only expect our cars to last 5 or 6 years but we expect our mothers to last for a lifetime. Maybe we need maintenance manual for mothers so we would know how to take care of them at least as well as we do our automobiles.

Here are some items that might be included in such a manual.

Engine: A mother's engine is one of the most dependable kinds you can find. She can reach top speed from a prone position at a single cry from a sleeping child. But regular breaks are needed to keep up that peak performance. Mothers need a hot bath and a nap every 100 miles, a baby-sitter and a night out every 1,000 miles, and a live in baby-sitter .with a one week vacation every 10,000 miles.

Battery: Mother's batteries should be recharged regularly. Handmade items, notes, unexpected hugs and kisses, and frequent "I love you"-s will do very well for a recharge.

Carburetor: When a mother's carburetor floods it should be treated immediately with Kleenex and a soft shoulder.

Brakes: See that she uses her brakes to slow down often and come to a full stop occasionally. (A squeaking sound indicates a need for a rest).

Fuel: Most mothers can run indefinitely on coffee, leftovers and salads, but an occasional dinner for two at a nice restaurant will really add to her efficiency.

Chassis: Mother when their bodies are properly maintained. Regular exercise should be encouraged and provided for as necessary. A change in hairdo or makeup in spring and fall are also helpful. If you notice the chassis begins to sag, immediately start a program of walking, jogging, swimming, or bike riding. These are most effective when done with fathers.

Tune-ups: Mother need regular tune-ups. Compliments are both the cheapest and most effective way to keep a mother purring contentedly.

If these instructions are followed consistently, this fantastic creation and gift from God, that we call MOTHER should last a lifetime and give good service and constant love to those who need her most.

Happy Mother's Day and Blessings to all Mothers!

Easter Season, Easter People

Some of my Franciscan family, my faith community and friends know that when Easter season comes I encourage everyone to jump up and down with joy and shout “Alleluia.” Who cares if people think you’re crazy; we are an Easter people, we recognize that Jesus’ resurrection is the event that will gift us with everlasting happiness. So it is most fitting we rejoice. And not only during the Easter season, but year round.

People should ask, “What bring that person so much joy?” Be sure to tell them the secret.

In the 4/27/14 issue of Our Sunday Visitor, Gretchen Crowe reminds me of some things we should be doing during these eight weeks of Easter. Here they are:

Be joyful.
Increase quality family time.
Pick up a spiritual book.
Maintain spiritual devotions.
Follow the Faith.
Turn to the Holy Spirit.
Befriend a saint.

See her article here.

Happy Easter!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Saint John Paul the Great and Canonization Aeriel Photo

It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.
- - St. John Paul II

Saints John XXII and JP II canonization.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

You have enemies?

Sounds a lot like one of my life mottoes:

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
-- Edward Everett Hale

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

40 Ways We Fail

Once again one of my Deacons put a great reflection in last Sunday’s bulletin. I thought I would share it with you. Reflect on each. If you see yourself, if you’re like me, we have some work to do.


During these 40 days of Lent, oftentimes we should look at ways we fail and take steps to correct them during Lent. I've come across a list of 40 ways we often fail; see how many you are guilty of and make an effort to correct them before Easter.

1. Focus on all the reasons why it won't work.
2. Don't bother praying.
3. Intend to begin, but don't start.
4. Stop proceeding at the first speed bump.
5. Facing backwards, tried to re-create the past.
6. Whine and complain often.
7. Fear making an investment.
8. Put in only what is required.
9. Be a self-centered person.
10. Find someone to blame.
11. List a dozen good excuses, and use them all.
12. Absorb and reflect negativity.
13. Ignore wise counsel.
14. Hoard.
15. Manipulate people for personal gain.
16. Belittle yourself and others.
17. Fail to write down your goals and dreams.
18. Major on the minors and minor on the majors.
19. Don't prioritize your use of time.
20. Don't budget your money.
21. Live humorlessly.
22. Overreact when someone disappoints you.
23. Carry grudges and bear resentments.
24. Fail to plan ahead.
25. Never learn from mistakes.
26. Make mountains out of mole hills.
27. Maintain an overinflated opinion of yourself.
28. Strive to win every argument.
29. Refuse to grow.
30. Shrink back from committing yourself, saying "no" to everything.
31. Overcommit yourself saying "yes" to everything.
32. Be a fault finder and gossip.
33. Be less than truthful.
34. Expect to fail.
35. Keep waiting for your ship to come in.
36. Disregard integrity and morality.
37. Always play it safe.
38. Throw temper tantrums.
39. Don't finish the work.
40. Forget to say “thank you.”

Yes, it's an extensive list and hopefully, you don't have many to correct, but we still have time to work on it. Happy Lent.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pope Francis' Message to the Pontifical Academy for Life

"A society is truly open to life when it recognizes that life is precious even in the elderly population, in the disabled, and even in those who are gravely ill or in the process of dying."

Twenty years ago John Paul II instituted the Pontifical Academy for Life. Following is an excerpt from Pope Francis’ message to them in commemoration of the anniversary. [Bold highlights are mine.]

“….The work undertaken takes as its theme “Aging and Disability”. It is a topic that is extremely relevant to our own day, and something likewise always very close to the Church’s heart. Indeed, in our society one encounters the tyrannical dominion forced upon us by a logic of economics that discounts, excludes and at times evens kills our elderly––and today so many fall victim to this. “We have created a ‘throw away’ culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised––they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the ‘exploited’ but the outcast, the ‘leftovers’ (Evangelii Gaudium (EG), 53).” The social-demographic predicament of the aged is a stark reminder of this exclusion of the elderly person, and especially when he or she is ill, disabled or for any other reason rendered vulnerable. One easily forgets that the relations among human beings are always relations of reciprocal dependence, which manifest themselves according to different degrees throughout the life of a person and become indispensable in situations of old age, illness, disability and indeed suffering in general. This requires of all of us our offers of necessary help through interpersonal as well as community relationships, in an attempt to answer the present need of these persons in their respective situations.

At the root of any discrimination and exclusion there is, however, an anthropological question: how much is man worth and upon what does one base this value of his? Health is certainly an important value, yet it does not determine a person’s value. Furthermore, health is not in and of itself a guarantee of happiness––this is verified even in the event of unstable health. The fullness toward which all human life is oriented is not in contradiction with any condition of illness and suffering. Hence, the lack of health or the fact of one’s disability are never valid reasons for exclusion or, and what is worse, the elimination of persons. The gravest deprivation experienced by the aged is not the weakening of one’s physical body, nor the disability that may result from this. Rather, it is the abandonment, exclusion and deprivation of love.

The family is the mistress, one might say, of acceptance and warm welcome as well as of solidarity. It is in the very womb of the family that education draws in a substantial manner from relations of solidarity. In the family, one learns that the loss of health can never be a reason for discriminating against any human life. The family teaches about not falling into an individualism that weighs oneself against the others. And it is here, in the family, that “taking care of you” constitutes one of the fundaments of human existence and a moral attitude that must be promoted, and again through values, conscience effort and solidarity. The testimony offered by the family becomes crucial in the sight of every facet of society in its consistent affirmation of the importance of the aged person as he or she is a subject of the community, who has a mission to fulfill, and about whom it is always false to say he or she receives without offering anything in return. “Whenever we attempt to read the signs of the times it is helpful to listen to young people and the elderly. Both represent a source of hope for every people. The elderly bring with them memory and the wisdom of experience, which warns us not to foolishly repeat our past mistakes” (EG, 108).

A society is truly open to life when it recognizes that life is precious even in the elderly population, in the disabled, and even in those who are gravely ill or in the process of dying. When society affirms that the call to the realization of one’s humanity does not exclude suffering, and instead teaches how to see sick and suffering persons as gifts for the entire community, whose presence calls everyone to solidarity and responsibility, only then may this society call itself open to life. This is the Gospel of life that, by your scientific and professional endeavors and sustained by Grace, you are each called to spread….”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Do not shop at OfficeMax

OfficeMax should be totally familiar with the term shyster as that is what they are.
Here is one example. They have a sale - Paper Mate White Pearl Erasers 3-pack $2.49. Buy 1, get 1 at 50% off.

They also have Paper Mate Pink Pearl Erasers 3-pack $1.69. Buy 1, get one at 50% off.

So I bought two of each. Now I’m an accountant so I know how the math works:  White Pearl $2.49 x 1.5 = 3.74 for the two. Pink Pearl $1.69 x 1.5 = 2.54 for the two.

I was charged 2.99 each for the Pink and $2.49 less 1.25 = 1.24 each for the White.

How did the Pink at $1.69 jump to $2.99? So I was overcharged $3.44. So I was charged 25% more than I should have.

I went to the store to complain, the manager said it is because of mix and match. Nowhere in the ad or in the store did it say anything about mix and match. So buy one get one at 50% off is not true. They take 50% off the cheapest item. So if you by two items at $10 and two at $1 they take 50% off the two $1 items and not 50% off the $10.

So I called customer service to complain. She was familiar with this flim-flam which they call mix and match, and would not refund me the amount overcharged. So I have no intention of ever walking into an OfficeMax again due to these deceptive practices.

Is this the kind of store you want to deal with?

I have to laugh because their receipt says they are one of the world’s most ethical companies. That doesn't say much about the other companies. And if you have to say you are ethical, does it not reveal they are not?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Ghent Altarpiece in 100 Billion Pixels

Unbelievable. I have seen this before but never realized the amount of detail.

Fr. Z. reports:
They Getty Foundation collaborated to render the Ghent Altarpiece in 100 billion pixels. Yes, that’s billion with a b.
Go here.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Our Rules for the Government

News around New Year's Day was that government bodies had 40,000 new laws that took effect on 1/1/14. That is on average 800 new laws for each state. The truth of the matter is that most of these laws are schemes dreamed up by the politicians to raise money. So I thought this little graphic brings home the proper message.

Thursday, January 2, 2014