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Do Strays Cats Purr?

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Here's the thing.  I like the Psalms.  I like to write psalms. I find that writing my own psalm about God is prayer--my most focused prayer.  However, I need a poem for my writer's group and a poem about God wouldn't be acceptable.

So I wrote a psalm about my cat.  I used the same literary form as Psalm 1:

Blessed is the man who does not walk
   in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the way of sinners,
   nor sit in company with scoffers.
...

See how synonymous ideas are expressed, line after line, yet the original theme is developed.  You get the idea?   Well, here's my secular psalm:


Lucky is the cat who lives in my house
   in the bosom of my loving family,
in the warmth of a fireplace,
   or an air-conditioned, sunny room.

Rather than the stray who thinks he is free
  and though he may go here and there,
he will never choose to enter human embrace
   nor feel a gentle pat on the head
nor the stroke of a caressing hand
   nor the kiss of a child--or anyone.

  …

Franklin Cultural District: A Favorite Poem Project - Oct 25

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Franklin Cultural District: A Favorite Poem Project - Oct 25: The Franklin Senior Scribblers' Writers' Group is hosting A Favorite Poem Project . It is scheduled for October 25 at 10:00 AM at the Franklin Senior Center.  I'll post more as the date approches.

Heaven for Stutterers

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At retreat today, the retreat friar told us a poignant story.  The assignment was "What is heaven?"  Naturally, everyone had their own opinion.  There was one, however, that stood out.

One of the eighteen-year-old students stuttered very badly.  She said, "Heaven is a place where everyone stutters."

She explains that once a year she attends a conference for people who stutter.  She loves to go to this conference.  Everyone there stutters.  She feels very comfortable.  She is not alone.  She can relax and stop thinking about what others think of her.   She feels most at home there. It's heaven.

Indeed.

She's right.  Heaven is where we will feel the most comfortable.  We will be home.

Nothing is Impossible with God

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This is the first "interview" type of book, I've ever read.  I'm referre ing to God or Nothing, Robert Diat.  I liked it and when I think about it, I think I'd like any book that used an "interview".  Think about it.  Read the question, and if you don't care about the answer, skip it.  You only read the questions that interest you.
Cardinal Sarah, A Conversation on Faith with Nicolas

The book was written by Nicolas Diat.  The only information in the book about the author was this terse sentence, "Nicholas Diat is a French journalist and author."

The book was translated by Michael J. Miller and that's all the information that is given.  Imagine that!

Anyway, I learned a lot.  Cardinal Sarah is not the conservative right-wing nut the liberals make him out to be.  He's very reasonable and even when explaining difficult dogma, he's very kind and compassionate. His journey from a small village in Guinea to become a Cardinal in Rom…

Latest Update on My Favorite Poem Project

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There are now 18 readers, plus a Middle School Class reciting O Captain, My Captain!  I sent out 26 invitations and I got 20 responses.  Half of the six who didn't answer are politicians.  Politicians!  Do you believe it?  What kind of politicians don't respond to their constituents?  Why don't they just say "no."  What?  Are two choices, "yes or no" too many for you?

One is a state senator, another is a state representative, and last is the chairman of my Town Council.  Do you think I'm going to vote for them again?  Do you think anyone in my family is going to vote for them?  Do you think any of my friends are going to vote for them?

If they can't respond to an invitation, how can we trust them to respond to our needs?

Not Your Usual Prayers

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This article in Aleteia caught my eye.  It is talking about dangerous prayers.  The article's author, Elizabeth Scalia says that Flannery O'Connor once said, "my prayers take a line through Flannery O’ Connor: “Lord, I’ll never be a saint but I might be a martyr if they can kill me quickly!”

I'm even worse.  I will try to be a normal, ordinary saint, but please Lord, never a martyr. I'm such a coward.

The article's eye-grabbing headline is "Dangerous Prayers."  I won't be a spoiler.  Read the article to see what they are.

A Funny Thing Happened at Mass

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Welcome to the 7:30 AM Mass, Father.  
Little did this unsuspecting priest know about the first morning Mass on Sunday.  Because people are just waking up, or because there is no music and that throws people off, or because God wants us to pay attention, crazy things happen:

Lectors read the correct Sunday in Ordinary Time, but the wrong year.

Mass celebrants knock consecrated hosts off the altar.

The entrance procession goes the wrong way.

Acolytes don't show up, drop the chalice, can't get the tops of the cruets, have no water to wash away the priest's iniquities, etc.

Lectors don't show up.

People show up during the Liturgy of the Word.

The celebrant announces the wrong intention.

Do you get the idea?  This morning hit a new high/low.  Everything was fine until just after the Consecration.  Everyone heard a loud thump.  99% of the people wouldn't know what happened because they couldn't see what had happened.  But we lectors who are up on the sanctuary saw.…

On the Way to the Concert

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Some friends and I went on a pilgrimage of sorts to a John Michael Talbot concert.  First we lunched

Then we happily chatted as we traveled to a Poor Clare Monastery in Andover, MA

Onward to Saint Basil's Seminary in Methuen, MA. Our final destination, All Saint's church in Haverhill, MA, where the concert was held.



And lastly, John Michael Talbot, himself.  


100 Years

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Last night I went to Fatima Shrine in Holliston, MA for the celebration of the 13th.  The 13th is the
date, 100 years ago, that an apparition of the Virgin Mary appeared in Fatima, Portugal.  Mary appeared on the 13th of every month for about three months, except for the time the children were in jail.

The children never changed their story, even jail didn't deter their memories.

Here is a picture of Bishop Thomas Tobin from Providence, RI, diocese.  He was the Mass celebrant.  After the Mass, we processed reciting the rosary and singing and holding candles around the rosary rock formation.  It was quite impressive.

Beryl Markham

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Circling the Sun by Paula McLain had me fooled.  I thought it was fiction.  I didn't know that the main character, Beryl, was a real person until I finished and read the Author's Note, at the end of the story.

What a life!  Beryl's parents moved to Africa when she was a child.  She grew up there.  Beryl's mother left her and her father, for a lover.  Regardless, she had a happy childhood, albeit, unconventional.  Africa is off the grid.  Due to unfortunate circumstances, Beryl married while still a teen.  I don't think she had a choice.  Her father had to move and she was on her own.

That was disastrous.  Beryl goes on to marry others, although her heart really belonged to Denys Finch Hatton, but he was unavailable.  Beryl became a noted horse trainer and later an airplane pilot.

Her life was anything but quiet.  She was considered a loose women and scandal followed her everywhere.  There was nothing she could do to stop the gossip so she lived the way she wanted t…

A Good Thief

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This past weekend, some unauthorized person used my credit card.  How did he get it?  Dunno.

I only use this particular card to track certain expenses.  Vacation expenses are an example and this is the last time I used it.  That had to be when they got my number.

But I also got an e-receipt.  So as soon as I received that receipt and saw this unfamiliar charge, I called my bank and canceled my card.

I wonder if the thief purposely had the store send an e-receipt just so I would cancel it, and not be out of any money.  He knew that anyone would cancel their card when they saw someone was using it.  But they didn't care.  They had already received their stolen goods.  Only the store would be hurt.  Their goods were stolen.  But I wasn't hurt.

The Bell Tolls

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TheBell Tolls by R. Franklin James is a Hollis Morgan Mystery.  Hollis Morgan is a probate attorney who finds herself involved in criminal law.  What’s interesting and what shadows her, is that she is also an ex-con.  Flashes of her past are haunting.  Breath catching fears pop up unbidden.  But this adds interest to her research and current detective work.  The reader will find himself rooting for her and fearful of anything that would knock her down.
Hollis currently has the task of delivering packages that a client has requested to be delivered after his death.  Unfortunately, his demise was caused by murder.  Also, unfortunately, Hollis gradually realizes that these packages were proof that her client was engaging in blackmail.  Hollis’ deceased client has her returning the incriminating evidence to his victims, to let them off the hook.  Why?  Good question—keep it in mind, because being kind is out of character, for Hollis’ client. The bell really tolled because Hollis’ client w…

To Win Them Back

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To Win Them Back: As Ezekiel is appointed watchman over the house of Israel in today's first Reading, so Jesus in the Gospel today establishes His disciples as guardians of the new Israel of God, the Church.

Out of love, we correct people.  And we are not to do it in anger, or in any manner that would drive them further away from God.  Simply ask them to open their heart.  Give Faith a chance.

Read the rest of the article by Scott Hahn.

Prove That You Love Me

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Lectio:  Romans 13: 8-10

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.  The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not kill, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Studium:

These are specific examples of "love."  Love is an emotion that some find easy to profess and even easier to betray.  If you really love someone, your actions will prove it.  Doing the commands that Paul tells the Romans is how to prove to neighbors that you care about them.  Christians should be doing these things.  Love your neighbor and you fulfill God's law.
   Rabbi Hillel says, "What is hateful to you, not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah, while the rest is commentary on it. Go and learn."

Meditatio:

Morning Walk

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Either before daily morning Mass, or after, I've been walking.  This walking has a dual purpose: exercise and prayer.  I pray a rosary while I walk.  It takes about 15 minutes, which I consider perfect.  My favorite route for walking AND praying is a cemetery.

Walking through the cemetery focuses my praying because I pray for certain names on the grave stones.  Sometimes it's for all the oldest dates of death.  Sometimes it's for children.  Sometime's it's for stones so aged with mold and moss covering them that the engravings are illegible.

Today I came across a grave with the inscription above.  I know that's a popular saying to put on grave stones.  At least that what's I've always been told.  But I had never personally seen it.  As I read it this morning, it struck me in a humorously reflective way.  What kind of person would put such a verse to perpetually mark their last words?

Was the deceased angry?  Did he think it was funny?  Then again mayb…

Falsely Accused Priests

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We all know there are bad people and priests are people, too.  What some priests did was despicable.   But there are some priests who were falsely accused.  They are innocent.  And I know a few inmates in my ministry who are not priests and are innocent, too.  But it's the priests I want to focus on because the church gave out money to accusers which resulted in a flood of accusations.

A good article to read is one by a falsely accused priest, Father Gordon MacRae.  Because the main stream media usually doesn't publish religious articles, this piece is on Linkedin.  Please read it.  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/weapon-mass-destruction-catholic-priests-falsely-accused-macrae

Cardinal O'Malley urges president to keep DACA policy

Cardinal O'Malley urges president to keep DACA policy: BRAINTREE -- Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley urged President Donald Trump not to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program amid reports that the president is considering doing so.



Not considering it.  He's done it.

Ravensbrück

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I've been on a hiatus down the Cape.  While there, I devoured the book, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.  I was engrossed.  The story is true; the details aren't, but they give you a taste of what Kelly wanted to convey--an important part of history.

The heroine was a real person, Caroline Ferriday.  She was a socialite who before WWII was trying to help French orphans.  Then war breaks out.  After the war, Caroline learns about the experiments the Nazis were doing on healthy Polish women and feels she must help them.

Parallel to Caroline's story is Kasia Kuzmerick.  She is one of the Polish women who were victims of the experiments.  Her story is riveting.

Also is the story of the doctor who did the experiments, Herta Oberheuser.  A Nazi who let her ambition drive her.

The story is about the three women.  Also, remember that after the war, Poland was annexed by Russia.  The poor women who were experimented upon weren't helped, at all.  Caroline Ferriday gets them t…

Jesus, Jesus, Wake UP!

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Cardinal DiNardo said, "Considering the "cosmic" damage caused by Hurricane Harvey so far, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said Monday, “The people of Houston, I have to sayare rather resilient, but this is really stretching them." Calling for prayer on behalf of the affected region across the country and around the world, DiNardo said, “I think we have to wake up Jesus in the boat!”

Jesus in the boat is a reference to Matthew 8: 23-27.  

Enough!  Hurricane Harvey caused the kind of panic we now see in Texas.  They need God's help, yesterday!  It's time to appeal to God.

Avoiding Embarrassing Situations Receiving Holy Communion

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Avoiding Embarrassing Situations Receiving Holy Communion: I was recently making a retreat at a Monastery in the Catskills. At Sunday Mass, I was asked by the Chaplain to distribute the Precious Blood to the nuns and lay people in attendance.

This article in the Pilot relates the story of the priest distributing the Eucharist and asking the person if they were Catholic. It was a girl.  She must have not been holding her hands out correctly.  Just in case you didn't know that there is a correct way to receive, this article will tell you how.

God the Designer

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For Boston priest and bishop, eclipse trip went 'from science to spiritual very fast': BRAINTREE -- For three days they traveled, driving a total of 1,352 miles from Massachusetts to their eventual destination of Athens, Tenn. Once there, they pulled into a parking lot, put down chairs, and settled in to watch the show.



Father Paul Soper and Bishop Mark O'Connell, the event marked their friendship with clarity.  Clarity?  During an eclipse? Yes, their friendship with clarity, not the event--itself.  You see Father Paul is interested in science, Bishop Mark is interested in law/people/etc.--not science.  Their friendship is an example.  They are different but enjoy and appreciate each other's uniqueness.



Since science can tell us when each eclipse is coming, Father Paul and Bishop Mark have been planning to see it since they were in the seminary.  And so they did.  Bishop Mark said, "all very interesting, cool science, but not exhilarating."


Father Paul saw i…

Update on Poem Project

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Last April I presented the My Favorite Poem Project to my writers' group, the Senior Scribblers.  They said, "Go for it!"  So I thought I'd tell you how it's progressing.

I think it's progressing very, very well.  The local newspaper is covering it.  The local cable company is covering it.  And!  They are reading their favorite poems.

I have sent out twenty six invitations.  I've got back eleven.  Six have said yes.

I've got the space secured and the time.  I'm in the process of making up flyers.

What do you think?

Trust

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Lectio: Isaiah 22:19-23

Thus says the Lord to Shebna, master of the palace:  
"I will thrust you from your office
and pull you down from your station.
On that day I will summon my servant
Eliakim, son of Hilkiah;
I will clothe him with your robe,
and gird him with your sash,
and give over to him your authority.
He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
and to the house of Judah.
I will place the key of the House of David on Eliakim's shoulder;
when he opens, no one shall shut,
when he shuts, no one shall open.
I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot,
to be a place of honor for his family."

Studium:

It was not unusual for a change of positions in the court.  Princes are fickle.  In these verses, Shebna is in disgrace.  He was the treasurer.  What he specifically did is not the point.  He did something.  The point is that temporal positions aren't forever.  Don't rely on princes.  Their favors are fickle.  We need to pray for our princes (leaders).
   …

No one Cares

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The Coleridge Taylor Mysteries are about a newspaper reporter who is interested in solving the murders no one cares about.  Lights Out Summer by Rich Zahradnik is the latest Coleridge Taylor mystery. Taylor works for a news wire.  The large, flashy newspapers cover the big news.  They seek the sensational, the latest titillation that the public seems to clamor over.  But Taylor would rather find the story of the people who interest him the most, like Martha Gibson.
Martha was a hard working young woman, who was murdered.  The crime seemed unsolvable, but Taylor was determined to find the killer.  In researching Martha’s life, he becomes enmeshed in Martha’s sister’s drug life and her employers’ rich lifestyle.
The reader will expect the drug dealer to have killed Martha.  Then it seems like someone in Martha’s employer’s family.  All this sleuthing is done on the side because Taylor has to do some reporting on other news. 
Taylor has a girl friend named Samantha, who is a private de…

Cat Got Your Tongue?

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Has the cat got your tongue?  It's an expression that is asking someone why they're not answering.  Well, my cat didn't have my tongue, he had my iPad.

I've been looking for my iPad for four days.  The last time I saw it, one of my grandchildren was playing a game on it.  I've been looking for it, ever since.

I'd hear it gong for the Angelus.  So three times a day, I'd be alert to listen from what direction the gong sound of the Angelus was coming from. It was in the living room, somewhere.  I dusted.  I vacuumed, lifting furniture.  I searched the bookcase.  I tore the room apart.

NADA!

I prayed to Saint Anthony:

Tony, Tony, please come down.
Something's lost and must be found.

Today I went to my Lay Dominican Chapter.  During the Intercessions in Evening Prayer, I asked that my iPad be found.  Afterward, one of my "cloistered brothers," suggested I go to the APPLE website and have them find it.  I said, "How can they find it?"  He s…

Towards the Feast of the Assumption

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Towards the Feast of the Assumption: The old Catholic Encyclopedia, published before the dogma of the Assumption of Mary was defined by Pope Pius XII in 1950, is nonetheless edifying in what it says about the Feast which the Church celebrates on August 15...



Read The Pilot for the rest of the article.  It's a Holy Day of Obligation and while the pews aren't filled as they are on a Sunday, there are a surprising amount of people, especially considering when the parish offers a selection of Masses to accommodate people's schedules.  I credit it to the love the people have for the Blessed Mother.



Catholics have a soft spot for Mary.

Argonauta's Selections

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This is how one of my book clubs (Argonauta) chooses its book selections.  No more Irish stories, memoirs, and mysteries.  Not because they're not good, au contraire; it's that we've read too many and are sick of them.  I predict we will add African stories to the list because there's two on this year's list.

We met in a restaurant for breakfast--a quiet, not rushed atmosphere, place.  Each of us ordered a huge breakfast.  After breakfast, the bidding discussion began.  Here are erthe resulting selections:

September:  Lilac Girl by Marsha Hall KellOctober:  Circling the Sun by Paula McLain
November:  Britt Marie Was Here by Felix Bachmann
December:  Bossy Pants by Tina Fey                                        
January: Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
February:  Eleanor Oliphant by Gail Honeyman
March:  The House at Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper
April: Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Burke
May:  The Tea Planter's Wife by Dinah Jefferies
June-August: To Be Decide…

Fairy Rings and Fairy Forts

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Today in my writers' group, a member read her piece on Fairy Rings.  This is what she described:

They're on hills.
Trees are clustered together.
From the sky, they're circles of trees.
Walking into the trees, you'd fall down into an abyss.

Theories abound as to their purpose.  A popular guess is that these were for defense.  The enemy would fall into the deep holes.

Curious?  I know I was.  My google search couldn't find these types of Fairy Rings.  In fact, Google references mushroom circles as fairy rings.

However, there's something called Fairy Forts.  They are circular settlements.  Around them were walls made from rocks, gravel, dirt or some sort of earthenware, and maybe trees.  The purpose was for protection from wolves and other predators.

Better information is from the website where I got this picture: http://irishimbasbooks.com/the-difference-between-irish-fairy-forts-fairy-rings-rath-and-lios/ This woonderful has a plethora of Irish folklore.  Clic…

Naivete

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Spine Damage by Sharon St. George will leave you with a good feeling.  All’s right with this world.  St. George ties up all the loose ends.  There are no dangling story lines or plot plops.  Everyone and everything are as it should be.  The good guys win and the bad guys get their just desserts.
What else do you want?  Good writing?  How’s this:
When we reached the location on the dock where I’d seen the man fall, a roly-poly harbor seal with impressive whiskers poked its head up from the basin’s briny seawater.  He gazed at us with round, curious brown eyes—another hungry resident hoping for a handout.  P. 226 Saturday morning, I woke to the harbor’s usual salute to the senses: the crying of gulls, the pungent smell of seawater, and the bright morning sunlight striking my face through a porthole in the forward berth.  The aroma of coffee confirmed that Nick had been up at least long enough to start a pot brewing.  P. 232
Spine Damage is the fourth book in the Aimee Machado Mystery serie…

Last Day

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Ninth Day: Devotion to St. Dominic This is the covenant with them which I myself have made, says the Lord: and my words that I have put into your mouth shall never leave your mouth, nor the mouths of your children, nor the mouths of your children’s children, from now on and forever, says the Lord. (Isaiah 59:21) As St. Dominic lay dying just outside of Bologna at St. Mary of the Hills, he requested to be taken back at once to Bologna that he might be buried “under the feet of my brethren.” There, having assured his spiritual children that he would be of greater assistance where he was going, he left them his last will and testament: “Behold, my children, the heritage I leave you: have charity for one another, guard humility, make your treasure out of voluntary poverty.” Be therefore followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1) O wondrous hope that you did give at the hour of death to those who mourned you, when you did promise to help them even after death. Father, …

Entering Eternal Life

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Eighth Day: The Death of St. Dominic Well done, good and faithful servant; because you have been faithful over a few things, I will place you over many. Enter into the joy of the Lord.        (Matthew 25:2) St. Dominic died at Bologna, August 6, 1221, at midday. Father Ventura, prior of Bologna, was present and thus describes the death of St. Dominic. “Father Dominic returned from Venice about the end of July. Although very weary with traveling, he conversed on the affairs of the Order with me till late. I begged him to rest that night, but he prayed in the Church till Matins at midnight, and then was present in choir. Afterwards he complained of his head, and his last illness began. Lying on a straw mattress, he called the novices around him and exhorted them to fervor with cheerful words and smiling coun­tenance. After being carried to a hill not far off, for better air, he preached to his brethren and was then anointed. Fearing that he would not be buried ‘under the feet of his bret…