Saturday, October 28, 2017

Pope Francis on Paradise

I was looking at our church bulletin and our Pastor published the following by Pope Francis on Paradise.  As a 73 year old, I am thinking more and more about "the last things".  This is very beautiful and profound... enjoy!

"Paradise is not a fantasy place, nor is it an enchanted garden. Paradise is the embrace of God, infinite Love, and we enter thanks to Jesus, Who died on the cross for us. Where there is Jesus, there is mercy and happiness; without Him there is cold and darkness. In the hour of death, the Christian repeats to Jesus, 'Remember me'. And even if there were noone to remind Him of us, Jesus is there, next to us. He wants to take us to the most beautiful place that exists. He wants to take us there with the good there has been in our life, great or small, because nothing is lost of what He had already redeemed. And in the house of the Father He will also take all that which in us still needs to be redeemed: the shortcomings and errors of an entire life. And this is the goal of our existence: that everything is fulfilled, and is transformed into love."
"If we believe this, we stop fearing death, and we can also hope to depart from this world in a serene and trustful way. He who has known Jesus no longer fears anything. And we too will be able to repeat the words of the elderly Simeon, also blessed by the encounter with Jesus, after an entire life consumed in expectation: “Lord, now you are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation” (Lk 2: 29-30)."
"And in that instant, finally, we will no longer need anything, we will no longer see in a confused way. We will no longer weep pointlessly, because everything is passed; even the prophecies, even knowledge. But love no, that remains. Because 'love abides' (cf 1 Cor 13: 8)."

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Be Not Afraid

From listening to folks talk (and even some clergy) I sense that people are very fearful, due to the tragedy in Las Vegas (among other violent events).  But are we forgetting something?

First, our world has always been very violent because humans are violent by nature, not necessarily because we are "evil" but due to ignorance that violence of any kind whether murdering adults, children, or unborn babies, will accomplish some type of "good" - things are not any more violent now than they ever were, throughout history - it's just that now, the news services quickly, tell us about all the violence in gory details... that's the only thing that's changed.

Second, those of us who are believers should not be afraid and there is a beautiful hymn to this message (actually that was something St John Paul told us repeatedly as well).

The hymn starts like this:

"You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst...
You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way...
You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand...
You shall see the Face of God and live!

Be not afraid, I go before you always
Come, follow Me and I will give you rest! (taken from the Words of Jesus).

So, be not afraid... God is there by our side and He has it covered.

Why does He allow us to live in an imperfect world? To make us stronger in our Faith!  So, be not afraid and remember that Jesus is right by our side and loves us, unconditionally and infinitely.

Friday, August 11, 2017

I get by with the help of my Friends!

Reading a letter for one of the patients at the group home

So today, I do my visiting - bringing Communion to mental patients in a group home which I have been doing weekly since 2002 with only skipping one week in 2004 or so when we went to  a GT in California. But I have this awful hamstring injury (too much exercising - I forget I am 72 years old ** sigh **).  However, I feel I cannot skip this no matter what - because they cannot get anyone else to go minister to mental patients which is sad because they are really wonderful people. 

What I am finding out, is I'm finding ways to get stuff done even with this hamstring injury and sometimes getting something done requires the help of another person. 

So, for visiting, since, I cannot walk out to the car (can hardly walk at all even with a walker), I rode my scooter out to the car and climbed in the car. (thank Heavens I have a bunch of mobility scooters!) 

At the church, the lady brings Sacrament out to me in the car so that worked OK and I ministered to the people at the home from my car... they are very beautiful people by the way - I often see Jesus in their faces and somehow these last two weeks when I've had this injury, I've really experienced great ministries there.  One fellow who is Catholic and didn't take Communion for years, suddenly not only has been taking Communion regularly but also I've been able to instruct him a bit in the Faith.  Another lady really wants to become Catholic so I instructed her a bit, and am going to pursue how I can help make this happen.

Usually after the visiting the group home for mental patients, I go by the Post Office and pick up the week's mail.  This is no big deal when I'm on my feet but today, it was a problem of course.  So thinking a bit, I remembered that since we carry a walker with wheels in the car, I thought I'd use that. Only, getting it out was a problem until a nice man came along - I asked him if he would get the walker out for me. He did and even held the door while I slowly made my way up the ramp.

Our box is at the other side of the Post Office boxes, again, usually no big deal but today it was too far to walk even with the walker (I found out the one with wheels doesn't give the support like my other walker).  I saw this lady coming toward me and I asked her if she could push me to my mailbox because I could sit on the walker and be pushed.  She did that and even pushed me out to the car, down the ramp and was so nice - seemed happy to help.

Finally, I usually go to Jimmy John's (which has awesome sandwiches if you have one near by you) to get DH a tuna sandwich and a pickle.  But even parking in the handicapped zone right in front, was too long a walk so I called them and told them I was sitting outside and asked if they could deliver to the car which they did!

 I never hesitate to help others but I'm usually a very independent person and like to do things myself. But today, I found that receiving help from kindly people not only blessed me but seemed to bless them also.

Amazing I'm still learning at the age of 72 but I sure will be happy when this injury gets better (usually takes about two weeks).

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Sentimentality about the Latin Mass?

With all due respect, I grew up Protestant/agnostic. But I searched for God for years. Mostly, I had Catholic friends but even the intelligent ones could say nothing about their religion except three things. 1. If you eat meat on Friday and die before you can get to confession, you will go to h-ll, 2. If you don't get to church on Sunday, and die before you can get to confession, you go to h-ll, and 3. Unbaptzed babies go to a place similar to the Buddhist Nirvana, called Limbo.  No one could give me a reason WHY they believed these things! When I ended up in private instruction because a kindly nearby priest had ministered to my mother and we were instructed from the Baltimore Catechism, I was truly astonished at the beauty and logic of the religion but when attending the then Latin Mass, in 1962-63, I was shocked at the behavior of the crowds at Mass, most of whom said their Rosaries and didn't seem to understand what was happening on the altar. I finally sought out a Missal and followed that way but was not surprised at the confusion after Vatican II.... I don't know where the disconnect or how the disconnect happened, but clearly the average Catholic in the pew did not have a clue what was going on at Mass!so I get a bit weary of some Catholics who still call the Mass of St Justin the Martyr promulgated in the vernacular 50 years ago, the "Novus Ordo" and effectually fail to even LEARN about the why's and wherefores of Vatican II which was after all, a REFORM!!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Pope Emeritus Benedict did NOT criticize Pope Francis

Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict

Recently, several Conservative sources quoted Pope Emeritus Benedict as saying that the Catholic church was close to "capsizing".  

This was a partial quote out of context in an attempt to change the meaning.  Not surprisingly, Pope Emeritus Benedict was upset about the misrepresentation and through his secretary, released an article clarifying things.

"Almost capsizing" was a phrase Benedict used often but never without the other part of it, assuring his listeners that even though the church rode in difficult waters, the Lord is always with His Church.  He was upset that he had been misquoted and portrayed as if he was criticizing Pope Francis. 

The article his secretary released can be found at the following link:

Benedict did not criticize Pope Francis

Monday, June 26, 2017

Danielle and Mohammed in the TV show "90 Day Fiancee" - what went wrong

Danielle is a clinically obese middle ager, around 43 years old.  Mother of several teen or adult kids, she has, apparently a bad cystocele - this is when the bladder, full of urine tends to leak under pressure.  You can be born with one of these - I was - but it gets worse after childbirth.  They do a surgery to fix it but it isn't really that fixable - I know this, because my mother had surgery on hers several times and it still did not fix it which is why I wear "briefs" rather than seeking surgery.  Mohammed is a 27 year old, rather good looking man who either has had an unsuccessful marriage or has not been married - we are not told which one or why.  He is Islam but obviously not really into the religion and of course, Danielle doesn't seem to be into religion either. And if I may say it, some real religious belief on the part of both, might have saved the marriage.  From what I can tell, the two of them met when Danielle was traveling - Mohammed is from Tunisia - they had a whirlwind romance and then, continued their relationship in emails, possibly phone calls and letters.  Danielle apparently misrepresented her financial status, giving Mohammed the impression she was wealthy - (and keep in mind, many from third world countries think all Americans are wealthy anyway!).  She did scrape together the amount needed to bring Mohammed to the USA but what she didn't tell him was, it was her last penny.  They quickly got married but things did not go well.  Mohammed, possibly due to lack of education and/or skills, combined with being Islam and a foreigner without a green card, at a time this is not the most popular thing to be in the USA, and the fact that he and Danielle lived in a smaller town, tried to find work but had no luck in landing a job.  In my opinion, the marriage was doomed from the onset - they didn't really get to know each other and bottom line, neither fully disclosed - what might be possible issues.  Needless to say, wedding night "funsies" didn't work out as Danielle emptied out her bladder on Mohammed.

In a loving marriage, intercourse is not the bottom line - practically speaking, it's mostly for having kids and I do believe the Lord made it fun because humans would not bother doing it, if it were not fun. But of course, if you listen to TV, fun is the bottom line of intercourse but that's TV.  Hubby and I are in a long term marriage where he became unable to indulge, due to atherosclerosis, in the 23rd year of our 51 year marriage (which by the way, none of his medical providers figured out that this was a sign of atherosclerosis and that info is easily accessible, even to lay persons on the internet) and we discovered that our practicing celibacy has not only brought us closer to God but has increased our spiritual love between each other - I can attest to the fact that, other than conceiving kids, intercourse really isn't that important in the overall scheme of things.

In the last meeting of several of these folks on this show, "90 Day Fiancee", Mohammed said things which really hurt Danielle about her difficulty with intercourse and bladder problems.  When the other folks tried to point that out to him, he got very angry with the whole crowd and walked off the stage.

I didn't notice this the first time I watched the show but when I re-watched it today, I realized that both Danielle and Mohammed have a temper, and neither of them wants to realize that there were problems on both sides - his AND hers.

And that's the bottom line, why that marriage was a train wreck.  To sum up... Danielle should have given Mohammed full disclosure about her cystocele and the problems it could cause during intercourse.  She's also likely in perimenopause and so might not be able to bear Mohammed's offspring.  Mohammed should realize that he knew her age and the fact that she might not really the one for him in marriage, if he wants to start a generation of offspring. This marriage was doomed from the beginning and both of them should have left the relationship in area of a friendship rather than a marriage.  Mohammed did use Danielle to enable him to come to the USA and she spent her last penny doing this.  But apparently, neither of them are very employable and so they had serious money problems - Mohammed somehow felt that Danielle had a lot of money and could support them both.

Full disclosure is important before all marriages and full disclosure might have saved both Danielle and Mohammed, a lot of sadness.  But a strong belief in God whether through Islam or Christianity, might have saved the marriage also and shown them the way to true love.

Here is a story about this couple in 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Answers to anti Catholic questions

"There are likely less than one hundred people who hate the Catholic church but thousands who hate what they wrongly THINK is the Catholic church" (Fulton Sheen)

Since there has been a rash of anti Catholicism on social media lately, here are some answers to the usual allegations:

To answer the question, first: about a man wearing women's clothing, (the anti Catholic referred to the Pope's robes). The "Dalmatic" (robe) worn by the Pope is similar to the garment that Jesus wore.  In looking at the profile photo of the anti-Catholic, I noticed he wears a unisex hairdo... I think it's rather hypocritical that his hair is worn in a hairdo which I have mostly seen in women, when he criticized others for "women's clothing", referring to ecclesiastical robes, beating us with a Bible verse quoted out of context. (Deut 22:5) Answers to other questions:
1. Pedophile priests? Fact, less than one percent of Catholic priests have been accused of sexual misbehavior and less than that, convicted. Compare to the 10% of Protestant/Evangelical leaders accused and the 20% of public school teachers accused.  These are govt statistics... which can easily be looked up on the internet. But keep in mind, the church is NOT a haven for the perfect but a hospital for sinners. A perfect church with perfect people, would have no place for any of us in it.
2. Catholics do not pray to Mary...they ask Mary to pray to Jesus for us, like we ask our fellow Christians to pray for us.  If you believe in Christianity, you should believe that Christians who departed from this life before us, are in Heaven (as Jesus promised) and certainly CAN pray for us here on earth but there are several places in the Bible which affirm the practice of intercessory prayer.
3. The Rosary is a meditative prayer which uses Mary the mother of Jesus, like a prayer partner in order for us to LISTEN to GOD rather than the Evangelical way people pray of talking to God and not listening.  There are many Protestants who pray the Rosary also. This, you would need to study to understand it and how to do it.
4. Actually, you can get extremist about symbols...the early church incorporated many pagan symbols, Christianizing them.  For example, if anyone who has a Christmas tree at Christmastime, is using a pagan symbol. Trees like that were decorated for a pagan feast called Saturnalia.  That issue is handled in several places in the New Testament, for example "It's not what GOES IN TO THE MOUTH which is evil but what comes out." (for one, Matt 15:11)
5. The present Pope saying he felt he was not one to judge homosexuals or same sex attraction was being true to what Jesus told us (rather emphatically) to not judge, like in Luke for example: "Luke 6:42 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye." Catholics do not believe in sex outside of marriage and less than 25% of Catholics can indulge in sex without committing sin.  Must be in a Sacramental marriage, must not be using birth control and must be male and female.  The rest are expected to observe chastity.  I personally know a Catholic who left the church so she could co-habit with her boyfriend.
6. The pope is never worshiped - he's just the leader of the Catholic church and respected as such because the lineage, religiously, can be traced back to St Peter to whom Jesus gave the "Keys of the Kingdom". Also see John 20:22 ff: "And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit.Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." or also in Matthew 5...
6. The Catholic worship service which we call "the Mass" from the Latin "Missa", can be found almost the same as it is celebrated today, in the writings of Justin the Martyr, who lived around 150 AD.  It includes over 30 minutes of Bible reading.

Well, you are perfectly welcome to quote this in case an anti Catholic comes at you, beating his/her Bible but keep in mind that ignorant people may not read through all of this because typically, ignorant people have poor reading skills.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Long Island Medium - what is happening here?

Teresa Caputo is a charming, good looking gal  in her 40's or so who calls herself "the Long Island Medium", obviously referring to where she lives in NY state and what she does for a living.  From her description at the beginning of each show, she says she's basically a Long Island housewife except for one thing...she "talks to dead people."

Doing some research, I find either people are totally skeptical or total believers that she is actually talking to dead people, neither of which I feel to be the proper explanation .

As Teresa states, she is an active Catholic,  therefore there is a problem to this paradigm ... Catholics believe that people, after they die, are basically not available to people on earth, except by a special permission from God for an isolated incidence. They either go to h-ll or to Heaven (purgatory, where final purification takes place, is a "room" in Heaven) and can not be contacted at will by humans on earth.

So who are these spirits Teresa is contacting? Some say they could be demons or "fallen angels" who seem to hang around the earth and might be mimicking love ones, but there is likely,  another explanation not quite so sinister.

It could simply be that Teresa is an extraordinarily talented mind reader, to the extent that if she concentrates, she can read the thoughts of people she is with, which she, herself, may be mistaking for the thoughts of the deceased. Obviously, if the clients are in mourning for a loved one, many of their thoughts would be concerned with remembering the person, especially if they are with a Medium and have hopes of their deceased loved ones coming  through. Teresa also gives consoling advice to her clients which appears to help them to better, cope with their loss.  Some of the advice she gives, is general advice which works for many of those in mourning.  For example, if the deceased could talk to the living, he/she would likely want the relatives to move on and enjoy life as best as they could do.

After watching several seasons of this show, I tend to think the telepathy theory explains it. We all have the ability to do that and exhibit it from time to time like for example, when you and a close friend or loved one come up with the same thought at the same time, but it makes sense that there are folks who are extraordinarily talented and practiced in this discipline and Teresa may well be one of the telepathy talented people.

She couldn't be reading with Discernment of the Holy Spirit, the Gift of soul reading such as St Pio and St Andre Besette had,  as God does not allow a person with this Charismata of the Holy Spirit, to get money for readings. I observed that, as a friend of mine who has Discernment of Spirits, found out when he tried to read at psychic fairs.  Because his readings were very accurate, he was wildly successful however, the Holy Spirit let him know that reading for pay, was, in his case, a sin against the Holy Spirit, and it took him some years of study to find out why God had such a problem with him reading at fairs when God seemed to have no problems with folks like Teresa Caputo. Also with Discernment, a person who can soul read may see plenty of negative things the person being read would rather not disclose, thus not providing the entertainment factor people seek when they approach a medium.

Bottom line, Teresa is likely, not committing sin and seems to help many of her clients, so no harm being done and maybe even some good things are happening. In addition, her talent seems a good source of income, helpful, especially since her hubby is somewhat disabled.  (One article stated her net worth in 2013 as 2.5 million bucks and her pay for each season of the TV show as $400,000.00)

  And the show is entertaining enough to be one of the more popular shows on TLC. People, seeking a proof of the afterlife, watch the show avidly.  

"Long Island Medium" is well filmed with nice scenes of Long Island, and the Caputos who appear to be a loving family.  Additionally, Teresa's readings are often as interesting as the clients being read. In case you are wondering, I number myself among the avid fans of this show!  It airs on TLC...check your local listings! (photo is house in NY where Caputo spent her childhood)