When hoped for should become a plan

I’ve long wanted to collaborate on a book with my daughter. Actually, I’d love to collaborate on a book with any of my children or grandchildren or all, but this one in particular has always been quite the natural artist. Her illustrations based on her interpretation of the point in my prose would go far to say better, the little I have.

As one of many such gifts over the years, she drew a beautiful pastel portrait of Mary with a crown of stars above, horns under, and the soft, regal, voluminous folds of her garments — above and around her welcoming hands — appearing more wing-like than we might think. I know that Mary must look serious, but the one glaring imperfection was indeed her mouth. She looked almost dour. So dour, in fact, that I secretly tried to improve upon it.

There was also the gift of a portrait she’d done of the Man of Sorrows, crowned. She finished off the thorns, each and every one of them, with black and thus shiny ink seemingly visible from Pluto — the one glaring imperfection.  There was no way to improve upon it, there all in black and white and framed in black wood.

Eventually, it dawned on me that here is a real artist. What she applied — what she let stand, what she framed and with what she framed it — is the imperfection we bring to the holy.  What we see, that we don’t like, is our effect on the holy.

After all, what mother can smile or look beatific when any one of her children is in dire danger?  How could a loving Saviour bear as crown the purposely unnatural-to-God — the hardened, deliberately misformed, dead unfurled leaf affixed to Him by the thankless thoughtless — without it coloring His whole likeness?

For too long, her main canvas has been her skin — for tattoos. I’d really like to improve them, and I never will, but she needs to see where her greatest talent is, and I need it to speak for me.


A Re-blog (“100th [Fatima] Anniversary … Rosary …”)

(Relax note: These two ladies share their beautiful rosary finds/histories with us. I am so often amazed at the beauty of all the above! Today is a special Marian day, as is every Saturday, but this one sets the tone for all.)

May 13, 2017 marked the 100th Anniversary of the day on which Mary, the Blessed Mother, appeared to three children, Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta, in Fatima, Portugal. On that day, Mary told the children to return to the same place on the 13th of each month. The children did as they were […]

via 100th Anniversary of the Apparitions of Fatima Rosary by Ghirelli — Rosary Collector



While praying at San Damiano, he noted what seemed a strayed yet sizable rock, there at the corner of the little church’s altar. He excused himself and picked it up, knowing there was some Reason for the seeing. Holding it up as if an unframed portrait, he saw the notch at the top, saw how it rendered the stone heart-shaped.

When he got back to his brothers, whose eyes were ever upon him, he laid the stone on a blessed cloth, bending over it as if writing on the ground. He had each brother come forth to also apply the pigment he’d mixed together, until they had covered the heart in a brick red.

Then, he gave these first 3 a small branch portion, after laying down his own branch below the heart, so that eventually they’d formed a framed Heart.

At this, the Poverello knelt and wept bitterly.  He took away his branch, snapped it in two (one long piece, one shorter) and wrapped them in twine for a necklace. His brothers had understood. One by one, each removed his own branch and snapped it in two similarly, until all bore the now holy Tau around their very necks.

They processed the stone, wrapped in its cloth, into the little church and placed it on the altar. Following his lead, each brother opened a corner of the linen until the heart was free to all, again, and there they knelt in this newest of life-long vows.


Consummatum est

There’s no accurate way for a human being to take another’s full measure. Like our own brains, we’re complex in parts and stages, in growth and regression, in expansion and retraction. There’s a secret us in every other fold, and a potential saint in every other fold.

It began last night, and I found the rest of the trial this morning.

Indeed, I’ve been tried — and I flunked.

Of the five RCIA journeys I’ve accompanied someone on — four as sponsor and the last as prayer partner — one seems not to have “taken.” In the same way that 11 was good but 12 was better since it was the Master’s original Plan, 4 is good, but all 5 would’ve been better, as surely all 5 had been Planned.

Naturally, it had to be the distant family member (whom I sponsored). I recall initially telling her that since she had been happy for 32 years in another church with her mom and their family, maybe she ought to stay with that. No, she was determined. Something had been missing. So, she signed up and we began.

Nine months later, on that Easter day after the Vigil the night before in which she had fully received all the rites and the sacraments of Confession, Confirmation and Communion at last, she was beside herself with joy. We went to the beach with the girls and her that day, and she was wearing a rosary as a necklace, so that she could touch the Crucifix of the One Who loves her. She all but glowed from happiness.

Time and distance (a move down south) and busyness intervened, and she didn’t go to Mass but once in a blue moon and I doubt she ever made her Easter duty. She fell away. (Even cradle Catholics do.)  We didn’t have a problem until she publicly sold me out on Facebook, told family names/location info I had hidden for years. She didn’t know, so I explained it to her.

She laughed at every sentence, and at my “Please take that down,” and then insulted my friends, there! I had a problem with her refusal (as did husband and adult kids with kids!), and finally had to say I’d contact Facebook admin about her account if she didn’t take her post down within the next 10 minutes.  She had a problem with my problem, and demanded an apology, telling me that both our mothers must be rolling in their graves over the horrible way I treated her, having told her that her problems are not always someone else’s fault.

It ultimately caused a cold war between us. I reeled it all in and warmed when her brother took gravely ill and she had come up here for a visit to him in the hospital, and again a year later, when he died. She stayed with us both times. She also demanded to go to Mass with me; it was her “right as a Catholic.”

She didn’t get it, that Catholics have obligations, not rights. It was too late on every scale to say so, and certainly not a good time for the reminder that we don’t just go to Mass when we want something, or to feel something. We go as duty to the rest of the Church, and duty to God (of course), and because there is no other way to receive His Body and Blood in all known ways.  She had heard all this from way better than me.

After not hearing from her for a couple of years — actually after having been actively ignored — I was both surprised and pleased to see that a card from her was waiting for me last night after work. Maybe we were okay after all. Maybe she’d grown up.

The card had its own printed Easter wishes, so I was dismayed to see Scripture I’ve been hearing all my life penned out as if she thought it would be my first time, and to read her admonition to “Get saved!” — to “Be born again!”  I raised a suspicious brow this morning, and double-checked the card.  Yep, there was a “God bless,” where “Love,” used to be.  Perhaps she had meant well, too, but she had most definitely meant ill.

I called her a b*&%!. Out loud.

On Good Friday.

And now, I can’t get to Confession until after Easter.

So, I return to my first paragraph, here, and submit her to the One Who not only loves her, but knows her. He knows every fold, stage and potential. He sees the begun project all the way to the finished and eternal.

I’ll be in Good Friday Apology School from noon to three, restudying the part where Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Perfect Victim and Perfect Offering of atonement, manages to choke out between the constriction of asphyxiation and the horrendously bled out and thus, full-body thirst, “Father, forgive them…” Like Eve and then Adam before them, they knew darned well what they were doing that day, but then again, they really didn’t. Only He knew the extent of their, and her, and my dis- and mis- and un-knowledge — and loved us unto His undeserved death in our place, anyway, and into His own resurrection.



Brothers, friends

Time and I don’t get along. It’s like that friend who can only speak marijuana.

“Want to go get a slice of pizza and catch up on things?”
[“Oh, haha — give me about 10 minutes, and we’ll have ENDLESS slices!”]

“What do you think of D.C. these days?”
[“Oh, haha — give me about 10 minutes, and …”]

“Doing anything special for Easter?”
[“Oh, haha — …”]

Time stinks. It’s boring. Thankfully, “timely” — today’s blogging word prompt — is a whole other kettle of letters which has more to do with being serendipitous than with time.

I don’t have anything for “timely,” though — let’s let me do “timeless” instead.

I was marveling recently once again that the Beatles, guys in their 20s, could write of those who suffer from loneliness/age.  Sure, there’s “When I’m 64,” which is surprising indeed, but then there’s all the lonely people. I could not for the life of me fathom why young, vital, wealthy McCartney (and least of all, Lennon) would write of Father McKenzie darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there. He’s right, but how did he know?  Of the Fathers I’ve known, most would darn their socks to put on the feet of the deceased who died in the church with their name and nobody came.

I always think of priests on Holy Thursday. My priests (and also Jesuits, and a Byzantine).  One, I have loved like an apostle. Some, I have loved like brothers and friends. Some, not so much. But I’d be lost without them. I’d likely have given up the ghost without reading Jesuits especially, those active academics. If anyone has a poor opinion of them (some do!!), know that in the 19th century, Jesuits were the majority of the world’s martyrs.  For the faith.  Heroic.  I need say no more! Except that many priests are white-martyrs — bloodlessly martyred for the faith, like Damien of Molokai. Many more of whom we know little or nothing. Yet.

Happy Holy Thursday, though tonight they will strip the altar, and prior to this, remove the Blessed Sacrament from the Tabernacle to a place of repose, leaving the little doors open. Empty. It about kills us to see it, doesn’t it?  There’s usually a Monstrance after Mass, though, for Adoration until about 10 p.m.

Tomorrow’s the big day.  It, too, is timeless…



The Eleventh Counsel*

What I found out one day is that love is all there is. That’s the only human reality that is connected to the Divine’s reality, and it is shadowy indeed. Dim. A dim mirror.

Love for others is our one thread to God’s life. *(“Love one another as I have loved you.”)

Even when the mind unravels and we consciously forget love, that thread is sacrosanct, because He is on the other end. It doesn’t go anywhere. It is eternal.

However, with our gift of free will (which is the only reason evil gets a foothold in this world), we can meet the 3-fold criteria for snapping the thread — and can spiritually become Major Tom out here. Fortunately, God can dock Himself anywhere. If we want repairs to the lifeline, it’s as good as done — but He insists we exit the capsule to help. He doesn’t want it happening again. We’re too valuable to Him.

Long version

Shorter version





You will, I will

O, the weddings, the feasts, the high holy days
of life, and these, too —
the palls of the sick, dying,
crippled, deaf, blind, widowed..
See, my friends
have come out, today;
these very stones would hail me
if not!
Do they get it at last,
do they know the reason for an ass’s foal,
slow and long journey into Jerusalem,
and not that my days are so numbered?
Will they be tenacious for me
–or against me. I know, but they don’t
and would never believe it.
Poor Simon Peter..
Yes, I will rejoice today with them!
I have the day, but my hour to deliver them
like new children into the world
like Eve from out of Adam’s side
has long been with me..
o, how I long for this to be


For our love of them,
and you, Mother,
I have set my face like flint..