Verily

She watched her, whenever some movement there caught her eye, speaking animatedly, nodding vigorously, and her hands extended out to no one seen while the priest prayed, and again when the choir next sang. And in the quiets.

She saw the other eye-catcher — the de-sized one with the wheelie-walker and the pom-pom hat in a lovely hand-knit sweater — saw her make her way laboriously but surely across the sidewalk and up the ramp into the church, albeit with assistance there to stop the rolling backward. Whom she guarded after Mass until safely borne away.

She saw the oversized young man who didn’t know what to do with his feet, or perhaps he’d wanted to make a dash for some door — but which one? He was too far up front and center to make it back outside before a bolt of lightning would miss him. Turned out he was with the RCIA group, though he hadn’t gone up with the others for the blessing. “I’m with you, pal,” she thought, “I get it. Even now. Invisible is preferable. God sees. That is enough.”

She watched people watching babies. Once when she closed her eyes, she heard a quiet cry from somewhere left of her, or perhaps very far away.

When she opened her eyes, she finally smiled. The parted crowd revealed the couple. Dirty hair carefully parted and combed on his middle-aged head, and gentle remembered courtesies extended to the ragged little blond at his side, guiding hand at her back.

The smile? Who knows? Something about the halt, the lame, the blind.. and the Gadarenes. Something about the beggars, the lepers, and the widow’s mite. Something about the number of turtledoves.. and a far-off cry clearly heard.


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Either way, there is never an echo

Lent. A good time to awake thinking of Josh Groban — his voice and equally clear eyes, and of that which he so often chooses to sing:
The invisible longing..

 

Even – and especially – now, we may sing to Him (Who never minds our typos)..

 

Even now — and always — some songs may be sung by Him..


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Everyone, sing!

He admitted it right after Mass.  He named all the Lenten programs and initiatives being offered, after having incensed the Gospel earlier as well as the altar after that (as always): “I intend to make this the holiest parish in the whole state.”

One knows without even thinking about it that his intent is for our benefit, not for his own in any way; every fruit will be for the Lord, not for his human basket.

“That is his job,” some would say –and if so, we’d know exactly how hard his life can be at times!

I have a friend who, even as a small child, slept on the edge of her bed “so that the Holy Family would have enough room.” It was likely no surprise to anyone, except maybe to her humble self, that she became a lifelong (so far!) religious sister. I have a feeling that today’s (Roman Catholic) pastor may’ve gotten the call at a similar age, though it took living secularly before he made the move.

If you’ve guessed his heritage to be Italian, French Canadian, Irish, Nigerian, Kenyan, Polish, Asian…  you’re right. It doesn’t matter that he’s Polish, except in one way. All the above who’ve been raised Catholic, whose relatives are Catholic, whose friends and peers were and are Catholic, who have some consecrated relatives, and who may know of truly Catholic politicians — well, all of that helped! The Lord plants many a seed, but they each need steady light and frequent watering to bloom. We lived in the land of steady Light and frequent Water-ing.

Indeed, as I grew up in the midst of working class ethnicities (all of whose immigrant parents weren’t exactly welcomed with open arms), we had one other thing in common always: Holy Mass (and all the sacraments). Baptisms, First Communions, Confirmations, Confessionals, Last Rites, wakes and funerals and burials — always someone in the neighborhood(s) was involved in any/all of the above.

In every family, there was always at least one member who had a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin and/or to her holy earthly spouse. My grandmother was devoted to both. She had middle-named all her boy children “Joseph” and all her girl children “Mary.” She and an Irish neighbor woman used to gather frequently in the afternoon to pray the Rosary. I might be being half-fanciful in this, but I believe Mrs. Griffin may’ve prayed it in Gaeilge, and Memere, (definitely) in French. The Rosary, too, is like Mass — universal. We all know what is being said and pled, offered and effected, no matter what language it’s in.

Today, because St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Sunday — always the Lord’s day — there was zero green seen in the Church, except for muted colors in shirts and the Aran sweater or vest, and the only green I could handily find: two barrettes that I affixed to a purse flap. I was much too hurried to go dig out the little real-shamrock-under-glass pin, or the aunt’s lapel pin of himself in Bishop attire. I wrecked the Sneem woolen mills scarf long ago, gave away the Connemara marble brooch as well as the socks of Irish sheeps’ wool as gifts to special friends who are Irish, but who may never gain Irish soil itself.

Any items I might’ve accessed to wear are tucked into final giving boxes. Gift boxes for my children and grandchildren on that fateful day when they all gather in church for my sake. In each box is something brought from Ireland herself (mostly by others), something from Memere’s Fr. Canadian/Mi’qmak side, and something from my own life that I loved. I think it might help, on that day, but I know for sure I’d like to have received something like that from any passed loved one.

As for himself’s feast day, not to worry. Standing directly behind the cantor today (and every Mass) is a giant statue of St. Patrick in full Bishop attire! His huge staff rests on the ground but rises to Heaven, and he himself is standing upon a mess of vipers. I don’t know that I’d like to sing before his imposing self, except that in his other hand, he is holding up a small shamrock –to remind us. Not of Ireland, nor of himself. Of the way, rather, he explained the Holy Trinity. One cannot hold a single shamrock of any size and appear unapproachable. I should take to doing that, perhaps.

😉

*I cannot leave this ‘blogpost so bare on this day..

 

 

*Maybe you didn’t see this part earlier… I didn’t have it here earlier — that could be why!:  I feel a need to go quiet for a while. You could call it a holy need. (I can’t. It’s always way more complicated than holy!)  Lent is a good time to figure out complications, though. Quietly.  🙂

 


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Runs-with-wee-folks

Few of us get very bent out of shape by the St. Patrick’s Day hoopla. All the cutesy (and tacky) extra-secular green things at the checkouts or taking up whole aisles in stores — well, we like to play, and especially on this northeastern coast where so many Irish people ended up! We will allow the playing (with lots of groans) and just hope everyone makes it home okay (and to Mass okay) on himself’s own holy day, though this year it falls on a Sunday. DOUBLE the reason to make it to Mass, then!

Love for Saint Patrick goes much deeper for most of us, or at least for many. He is, in every way imaginable, a heroic man. He was abducted as a teen (from what is now Scotland, I’d read, but is suddenly biographied as Roman Britain) by Irish pirates. He was enslaved for 6 years, escaped, was retaken, escaped, returned home, and — though it took a while to get up the nerve for such a task — returned to Ireland on his own to do what he could, God-wise, for his beloved Irish. Some surely think of his dream for a holy Ireland (especially) as only a dream. He did not and neither do his followers, wherever they’ve landed.

Faith persisting, in light of all the madness that surrounds us, is as besmirched as the Son of God/Son of Man/son of Mary even in a land that (I hope still) shows us its statues and crosses and Marian half-shells in public everywhere. (“Aye, faith in God was always scoffed at,” might say the great Irishman, Moses. No apologies, here, either, and I do believe that wherever she lives, now, Erin is Won by the intercession of Patrick, Brigid, and many other evergreen souls.)

Here’s St. Patrick’s Lorica. It’s an impressive breastplate — and again, I’ve now lived long enough to see it questioned (as originally being his) — but the rest of his life, his daily slog, is even more reflective of his faithfulness, and thus, even more impressive. I’d suggest saying/praying the Lorica aloud — to hear it in one’s own voice is startling. Empowering.

(Patrick — naturally Celtic or not — would, I’m all but certain, remind you that the great Feast of St. Joseph, earthly spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary and legal father of Jesus Christ, always arrives 2 days later — March 19. He would, I’m all but certain, humbly tell you that Joseph’s life is the one to keep your heart’s eye upon far more than himself’s.)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Behave (says Padraig, I’m utterly certain).

❤ ❤ ❤


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It’s Lent..

Lent means evil has scored somewhere in the world of mankind. It is never satisfied and cannot stand God or His favorite creation — and, least of all, active non-worship of itself.

Prayers for New Zealand (today… Where and who will it be tomorrow? Or at Easter? And Christmas? And all other holy days/seasons?)

Anyone care to shout, “Guns don’t kill people!”? I don’t know about NZ, but many here will shout it — albeit not for a couple of days, just to be decent.

Indeed, many will cling to their fear/hatred openly, again, and expound/advocate it as a right; it will just look like guns — like any gun anywhere in the world — which by its owned, stolen, borrowed existence bears a latent/dormant will to kill.

I’ve never heard of an “Active Stabber” “Active Pummeler” “Active Torcher/Acid-er” protocol, but “Active Shooter” protocols exist all over the place, here and in other countries — indeed, the shooting is quite active — and, especially for us, its protocol is a quiet way of admitting defeat.

Mosques, churches, temples, nations, ethnicities in the same nation, schools, nightclubs, federal institutions, global entities — stricken, bombed, suicide-missioned, mowed down… but mostly taken, held, and shot up with affordable, accessible guns.

Fear and hatred, unrest, distrust and a dearth of goodwill shall exist for all our lifetimes; that is exactly what mankind shall not be freed from, thank You anyway, God! However, we are mankind in the better ways, too, and we all have the year-round duty (and power) to make it harder for evil to score a win of horrible losses. If that needs to be legislated, let it be so, for the sake of all.


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When shove comes:

I have yet to read von Balthasar’s whole book, “Heart of the World,” but this one chapter has been enough to ease my soul for a number of years. It is Jesus speaking to His church. I read it at the height of the American scandals (Massachusetts) and I was a basket case by the end. A thankful mess. Cried my heart out. He’s GOT this.

When someone has caused me to feel down — be they some other religion, none, or a skewed form of my own — by ravaging my beloved Church Who is modeled on Mary Ever Virgin and literally bears the very Heart of the world, Who has put the holiest people on earth into my immediate surroundings — all of which I can hardly speak well enough to, or I’d have done so by now! — I come back to this.

And you can bet it’s one reason I love Jesuits! Always, the Jesuits — making me nod. Indeed, a re-reading doesn’t make me cry — that was just that once. For all the years since that horrible night, it makes me nod.  I nod, “Amen.”


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Having written about how we need to reduce our consumption of meat and dairy recently, it’s worth asking what we should be eating more of. Besides the five a day of fruit and vegetables of course, which everyone hopefully knows about by now. Diets vary around the world and according to taste, custom and income […]

via Less meat, less dairy… and eat more nuts — Make Wealth History

(Relax note: I’ve passed along Jeremy’s blogsite before in these past couple of years; he’s got his eye on the greener more sustainably healthy-for-all options and has doable suggestions!)


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Less meat, less dairy… and eat more nuts — Make Wealth History

Fun, and a question

Well, it’s the big day! I’m going to attempt to re-treadle-belt the old Singer sewing machine!

Apart from that riveting bit, I have a question for you.

Daughter and I have noticed many a time when some of the ads on her iPhone (I’d better check — she may have an Android, now) or tablet, and those on my tablet’s homepage (I can’t recall about my phone) seem too incredibly coincidental to be coincidental for a household that has opted to not have any listening devices (unless/until we opt for the “Okay, Google” moment — something I have never used, expressly to avoid any listening function!).

Last night was really a little ooky. DH and I had just spoken about the size of their (pre-planned) supper — tortilla chips and taco sauce, cheese and vegetables — and how he said it was only about a pound of ground beef he’d added for the two large pans’ worth.

Not long after, when I opened my tablet’s homepage in my room, what was there but a suggestion for “tonight’s supper”: a pan very similar to the two that had been on our table that evening — tortilla chips and taco sauce, cheese and vegetables — and it mentioned that this recipe and others needed only “about a pound of ground beef.”

Gah!

I carried the little tablet upstairs and showed daughter. “Something IS listening!” I said. She said she’s suspected it for quite some time and that it’s all interconnected is her guess, though at first, we both had put it down to being coincidence, over and over..  I said, “But no one had their phones at the table..” She said grandson may’ve had his in his pocket. He may have it set to listening mode? We’ll have a look later.

Both of them have Gmail and maybe Chrome or other Google functions and I have Google search as my homepage on the tablet, and two of us may have the “Okay, Google” thing on our phones.. we’ll see! (By the way, DH has a flip-phone in a duct-taped case from the early 2000s, I believe, and I’ll tell you what — my trusty backup, a smartish TracFone, has not only a built-in Facebook app [free unlimited access with WiFi!] for keeping in touch with kids on social media, but has no listening function… and I’m happy enough with that tiny screen, eh?) I can’t do much about Big Brother, but neither electronics nor marketing is ever allowed to monitor/shape my life without my express permission.  And maybe I’m just too naïve anymore.

Anyway: has this happened/been happening to anyone (/everyone) else out there?


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Push comes to shove..

There are some serious down sides to every human life, no matter how good it is (or appears) otherwise to onlookers. Heart-rending, heart-breaking, heart-thundering. I could all but be hired to write a Christmas letter for folks, but no matter how glowingly I or another may relate something, you can be sure of one thing: I or another is keeping the bad at bay. That’s how we do! Not hidden — at bay.

The bad is not going to overwhelm me, although I let it do so once. Once was once, period. I thought about laying my life down in the worst way, and it would’ve benefitted absolutely no one. We don’t see that at the time, though, and things can indeed feel overwhelming and — worst of all — unchangeable, so we have to learn to keep the bad at bay.

If possible, we also need to trust in a higher intelligence that cares about each and every one of us, trust in a higher love to pull the good from the bad and make it pay off for us — right here, right now in this life. If we can’t believe, or can’t yet, then we need to trust in the love of others to haul us through the fire — and we need to somehow trust that our love is JUST as crucial to someone else. “God is love,” says John, but “Love is God” is something we can all say immediately understandably.

One way or another, though, we have to choose to keep the bad at bay. It doesn’t just happen. The best way to do that is to think of the good or to at least remember it — or to actively look for it. One example: An agnostic friend with whom we were simply having dinner suddenly demanded to know what kind of God would take his beloved father away like that, so early in life (years before). I said with far more trepidation than is obvious (and there’s precious little time to pray for a wise answer when someone’s eyes are boring into yours, waiting..), “Maybe the same God Who gave you this lovely woman and these lovely children for your family.”

I expected a horrible argument for such a seemingly lame response. There was silence (most thankfully) — and a considering nod (praise God! No one wants to prove the existence of God as much as one wants to wish another to consider the existence of God’s LOVE. Only His love is more powerful than ours. Ours is limited, finite. His is not.. and He sees around corners!)

Above all, though, however we do it, we must keep the bad at bay by forefronting the good in our lives, which is almost always immeasurably bigger than the bad, and far more concrete. We must focus on the good. The blessings (of prosperity or health). The peace. The love. No matter how small or fleeting it presently seems. The laughter. The sharing. The kind words. The pleased look in someone’s eye. The lilacs, the birds, the sun on the water, the sand, the wharf, the us-victorious alleyways, the sports non-fumble that gained a moment of glory, the musical note that came out perfectly, the recent “Good morning!” The hope someone has for us. The patience, too.

In a word, “life” (if not yet, in a word, “love”). We must let life of every kind keep death of every kind at bay. Make it do so. We must focus on the good — hold it so close that nothing from the evil one comes between for long — and live. Truly live.

 


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As the snow melts..

I’m taking a break here in my UTTERLY FREE TIME (*giggles with delight*) from all this sorting and organizing I’ve been waiting umpteen months to get to. Until now, it’s all just been moved around a number of times to make room for summer, fall, winter, birthday, and Christmas things.

Anyway…

HI!! How YOU doin’?

I am (and have been for some time, now) longing for something pretty. I can be nailed to the floor by a floral side-body purse (and, uh, matching flats!), but my visage’s window for that is closed. However, my eyes want something art-deco-vased-single-perfect-white-orchid-on-a-bare-wooden-table, you know? Mm, mm, MM!

My enormous bare wooden dining room table has sparkle glue (blue) and gouges, scrapes, and I could pretty much nickname it Hulk Hogan. My bare wooden piano top has carved birds and lovely little greenhouse plants on it, but it’s in the cave-room. Dark, cool, clockface-squinty. Well, the single orchid is just out, so I’ll have to green-tablecloth the kid-attractor, Hulk, and go get us a single deep purple hyacinth.

I might also seek out one of those beautiful non-real roses that look like they’re in a clear vase of water. I don’t have anywhere to put that, either — I’ll just carry it around. 😀

Well, time to get back to it all. I hope you’re having a wonderful Monday. If not, I hope God is so near, He looks like a white orchid.. or a deep purple hyacinth.


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