March 31, 2009

Urgent Prayer Request

For me. I'd rather not publicly say why just yet. God bless you!

March 30, 2009

You Are Mine

Probably a Cranky Cathy post. I’m trying to be charitable but well, you know…

I love my parish. I think our music director is awesome and does a really good job. I despaired last year when the parish changed out our Breaking Bread hymnal for the Gather hymnal (Comprehensive-which I have fun with and interpret to mean chock full of as much dreck along with solid material as you can stand!). However, I have to say that our music director does a good job of selecting mostly solid classic material from Gather. Once and a while though, he’ll pick a piece that sets my teeth on edge. Yesterday, before Communion, we had this piece by David Haas.

"You are Mine"
Reprinted without his permission because he didn’t ask for mine before he wrote this ____

I will come to you in the silence
I will lift you from all your fear
You will hear My voice
I claim you as My choice
Be still, and know I am near

I am hope for all who are hopeless
I am eyes for all who long to see
In the shadows of the night,
I will be your light
Come and rest in Me

Chorus:
Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow Me
I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine

I am strength for all the despairing
Healing for the ones who dwell in shame
All the blind will see, the lame will all run free
And all will know My name

Repeat Chorus

I am the Word that leads all to freedom
I am the peace the world cannot give
I will call your name, embracing all your pain
Stand up, now, walk, and live

Repeat Chorus


Friends, I try to be a sport and sing on but this was SO bad that I quit after the first two lyrics. I scanned on ahead (I read fast) and quickly decided that I had a problem singing this piece because I know I often struggle to define myself and my relationship to the world but I can say with certainty that I long ago figured out that I am not God. My fans are probably devastated by that revelation but it is what it is. LOL!

Look at the tense of this piece. Aren’t we singing like WE are God? I am the Word? I am or I AM? Should everyone be bowing before ME? If I am God much less a god than we should all despair.

As the song labored on, I retreated into myself and meditated upon the De Profundis.

I noticed, though, that few were singing along. Is it possible that more Catholics have figured out that not only is this material suspect theologically it’s also embarrassing? How many of us want to sing out “I love you and you are mine” to a room full of strangers? Honestly, maybe I’m not in touch with my “feelings” but I’d have trouble even singing this to my family. As a matter of fact, my Dad was with me at Mass and he wasn’t singing either. I should probably be upset that he doesn’t love me enough to yell it out in public but I’m not because I know he loves me without having to be forced to tell me so at Mass. Speaking of which, I’m probably a complete dummy, but aren’t we supposed to, in a way, tell God we love Him at Mass? Even so, these lyrics still make no sense to me. God can just go sit down and take it easy because it appears I’ve got all the worlds healing and despair covered. It says so.

The Gather hymnal, helpfully, has themes listed at the top of each section. For example; this set of songs is for Lent, this set is for Advent etc. I’m thankful they do this because much of the time I have no idea what the editor was thinking including some of these pieces where they are much less in a Catholic hymnal. The thematic guide helps me figure out where his head was at. I think.

This song. “You are Mine” is in the section marked (wait for it!): “Comfort” which I take to mean: “Funeral” which is another reason why I wonder that we are singing this piece beside the fact that it’s dreck. Oh, I get it, it’s Jesus’ funeral? No, wait, it’s OURS because we are singing it?

I’m not comforted, I’m confused.

Prayers for Swissmiss

Please, if you can, say a prayer for Swissmiss today. She is going to be prayed over at 12:30 p.m. CST (6:30 GMT) by a good and holy servant of God. But, you can never have enough prayer so get on it! God bless you.

March 27, 2009

Connections

I think all of us have connections of some kind, whether personal, professional, friendly, family, a favorite restaurant, your parish, your city, your neighborhood.

What does it mean to be connected?

I see connection as an attraction, something compels you to go back or go to the thing, person or place. It could be love, it could be tradition, it could be enjoyment.

Often, we hear or read people say "I have a connection to the church"

Is connection a strong enough word in that instance?

Is it connection if the terms of the connection are one sided? If you are the sole definer of the connection is that a relationship? Is your connection is self-defined is that always connection or habit?

I've read people who say they are compelled to change the church because they are unsatisfied with it. They remain because they have a "connection". They will not leave because they have a "connection"

How much of a "connection" can there be if you deny or refuse most or all or even any of the Church's teachings? Is that "connection" or pride or stubberness-both? I'm never going to "cave in" to the Church's demands. I want them to change to suit me. I have this connection.

Maybe YOU have a connection but what about the rest of us?

Maybe you feel this connection to the Church that compels you to remain. Maybe you have a connection to a few like minded parishioners. But, what about the rest of us? Those of us who are totally connected to the Church, the Body - because we have given ourselves fully to it. We believe it all and we try to live it. How can you be connected to us-the Body of Christ? How can we all be "connected" when some of us are seperated? Some of us are present in body but their hearts are far, far away.

March 25, 2009

Distributism

My recent post on Our Word gets, I hope, a dialogue (see how prog I still am? LOL!) going or, at least, people thinking about Distributism. I also somehow, in my usual random goofball way tie it in to The Waltons

My blog posts are not heavily detailed or long on citations. Sometimes, I wish they were, or I think that they should be, but I'm not sure this medium lends itself to that type of heavy scholarly analysis.

I could do the heavy research and post a dissertation on a topic but who would read that much in blogdom? I know blogdom is scorned, by researchers and major media outlets, for being just a bunch of opinionated folks who can throw a few thoughts together (guilty!). I agree that anyone can blog and we need to question bloggers credibility or motivations; but, I think that same discernment should be applied to anyone and anything we read.

I always wrestle, internally, with how "scholarly" to be on the blog. Should I cite sources and have back-up for my thoughts? Regarding the later, I'll call a psychiatrist who can diagram out my thought processes. In the course of doing that, he will go insane realizing it's not possible to map out the random free-associations of Cathy of Alex! LOL!

Angelus Domini Nuntiavit Mariae

March 24, 2009

What The World Needs Now

Is Love, Sweet, Love….

[screeeeech]

Sorry, don’t know what happened there.

Look, even the Holy Father has a headache these days….



He’s probably heard about Obama and Notre Dame too…or maybe he’s read my recent blog posts and wishes his predecessor (Bless His Memory) had never said a word about “New Evangelization”

In any case let’s take A Moment of Divine Mercy

In a little over a week it will be time to start the Divine Mercy Novena in the 9 days leading up to Divine Mercy Sunday (the Sunday after Easter). You can pray a Novena at any time, of course, but many pray the specific Novena before the applicable Feast or Solemnity.

Often, Catholics pray the quick and easy (but potent) Divine Mercy Chaplet. You can pray the Chaplet with or without the Novena (or the Novena with or without the Chaplet). I pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet at least once/day. It takes about 5 minutes. It’s an excellent reminder of Christ’s Sacrifice for us-you and me. Though we may be different we are all sinners.

Now, I know some of you don’t like to hear that. That’s fine for you, Cathy. You be a sinner, but I’m just fine.

Christ died for all of us whether we admit it or not. If we were not sinners, He’d either still be here or God would never have sent Him. Think about it.

Oh, yeah, what does pro multis really mean again?

I often use the DM Chaplet along with the 3 Hail Mary’s before the Mysteries kick off in the Holy Rosary as a charity check on my cranky head. I’m often accused of a lack of charity. I often accuse myself of a lack of charity-just ask my Confessor. Well, he will not tell you anyway so take my word for it!

I have an image of the Divine Mercy at my desk. Not an accident. If you know my struggles in the work arena, you know this is not an accident.

The blogosphere could use a dose of Divine Mercy. Seriously, I know it’s bad when I’m not the crankiest person around.

I’ve read a lot of Catholic bloggers getting attacked lately-Catholic priestly bloggers have been especially singled out of late. Often, it’s not even the post content that sets people off. Frustrated and angry people are using the comboxes as an opportunity to air their personal ideas, beliefs and grievances in an uncharitable way.

Let me take a moment to send a deep curtsy to all the solidly Catholic Blogging, Tweeting, Plurking, My Spacing, Facebooking, Podcasting, priests, deacons, religious and seminarians out there. It’s not like they have nothing else to do, or nothing else they could be doing, but they are called to evangelize thru the New Media.

I’d hate to see Catholic bloggers quit because they get discouraged. I’d especially hate to see solid Catholic bloggers quit because they have Trolls sitting on their blog who are angry that someone is rattling their bridge too close to their cave.

Don’t get angry and attack the Troll in response. Cling close to the Son.

We all get attacked. It’s part of being a solid Christian. It’s part of evangelizing for the Faith. Just remember: Charity, always, Charity.

Often your enemies are honestly seeking but they hide it with anger and rage directed at you.

Personally, I'm memorizing the Te Deum because I feel like hard times are coming. If I'm led to the scaffold, I'm sure as heck not caterwauling "Gift of Finest Wheat!"

12 Ecological Mysteries

My dear friend, Angela, couldn't help herself and started "visioning" the 12 Ecological Mysteries that I mentioned in my post yesterday. You can read Angela's post here

For the record, I made up the term. I've NO idea if they exist but I can see it. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned it? Don't need to put my creativity out into the prog universe.

March 23, 2009

Forget Your Self -- A Lenten Spiritual Reflection

How many of you rolled your eyes and tuned out the minute you saw “Lenten Spiritual Reflecton” Yeah, me too. LOL!

If I were to give a Lenten “meditation”, “talk”, “presentation”, “rap”, “spoken word performance”, “drama” whatever..I’d keep it short. It would be this: “Forget Your Self”

Imagine for this Lent, for a CHANGE, you could forget your usual self? You could step out of your comfort zone and actually try to live like a Catholic for 40 days!?

40 days to start with and who knows where that could lead?

I know.

That’s why some of you are too scared to do it!

Gosh, if I make a resolution to pray every day, that could cut into my Hulu viewing time! Who knows where that could lead?

If I go to Confession before Easter, oh no, I may actually feel good afterwards and want to do it again!

If I start reading the Bible alongside the Catechism will the Magisterium start to make sense to me!? Oh, the humanity!

What are my “barely Catholic” friends going to say?

I know. They will be shocked. Ask yourself this: if they really are as truly “open to everything and everyone no matter where they are on their journey” why are they freaking out? Why are they turning their backs on you? I know. The supposedly liberated will not return my calls anymore. Oh well. Vaya con Dios. I know the Truth is a scary thing when you’ve spent your entire life denying it. It’s horrifying holding the mirror containing the 10 Commandments up to your face. Talk about “Picture of Dorian Gray”. I’d be terrified to see a painting of me wherein all my sins would show up on my complexion. Clinique does not make a deep cleanser for that. Sorry, I’ve checked.

Lent is, to me, a time to forget the self. Step away and back and forget about your baser instincts. You know the ones I mean. The big NO-NOs. The stuff listed in the mortal sin section of the “Examination of Conscience”

Don’t forget about those little ones too. The venial sins. The ones that eat away at you, slowly, like rot eats at a piece of healthy wood.

Sure. The dietary stuff is better than doing nothing but how many of us know Catholics (I used to be one!) who laughingly and mockingly say they are giving up chocolate for Lent. Big whoopidoo! No wonder the Baptists mock us. Is that it? Is that all the Sacrifice you have in you? Sure, chocolate may be habit for you, but, seriously, how many recovering chocolate addict 12-step groups are there?

Work on the really HEAVY stuff.

If I had a recommendation for those starting out with baby steps it would be these: daily Rosary (the real deal not wack crap like 12 Ecological Mysteries or some d--- a-- s---like that), Confession, Sunday Mass.

I know many of my regular readers are scratching their heads at how square one those recommendations sound. Honestly, those are revolutionary ideas to many.

Sunday Mass is SO critical to our life in Christ. It IS the Central Mystery. It is THE Sacrament. So many, Catholics, take it for granted. There is no substitute that you can do or perform on your own that will give glory to God as much as the priest (acting in the person of Christ) offers during Holy Mass. It IS Calvary. You are there. Just saying a quick prayer on your way to the baseball game on Sunday and calling that an adequate substitute for your presence as part of the Community of believers present at The Sacrifice is weak and pathetic.

So often during my dissident days, I felt like the Community (and as an extension-God) should be honored that I condescended to find an hour in my busy schedule to join them for Mass. I was also surrounded by people who felt and acted the same way. Step out of your self.

I fall off the wagon, often, during my Lenten resolutions/intentions. It’s never too late to get back on. There are only a few weeks left, get on it! Better late than NEVER has seldom been truer.

March 19, 2009

Prayer Request for Swissmiss

Gentle Reader: Please remember Swissmiss in your prayers. Her tinnitus is still very bad. She's truly hurting.

St. Jude pray for us!

Outrageous!

My recent post at Our Word and Welcome to It! manages to string together: AIG, corporate bailouts, Trivial Pursuit, Barack Obama and Lionel Ritchie.

I don't know, it made perfect sense over a tumbler of scotch last night!

March 18, 2009

Fishers of Men

Recently, Redneck Catholic had a couple posts about fishing that made me long for my fishing pole. If you are not reading Redneck's blog you should be!

Scripture is full of imagery of the Apostles casting out into the deep and hauling in so much fish that their nets are full to bursting. Several of the Apostles are, literally, fishermen. Jesus vows to make them "fishers of men"

We are the fish in the nets-rescued from the deep by the Apostles and brought into the boat-the Church.

When I was a kid I spent a lot of time fishing and netting with my paternal Grandfather on the Leech Lake Reservation.

Grandfather's philosophy of fishing was that it didn't matter how you caught them as long as you got them into the boat: snagging, spearing, netting, hooking thru the lip, the belly, just plain dumb luck. Whatever. Get 'em in the boat.

Sure, some of his tactics were probably illegal but 'we gotta eat' was his justification.

Evangelization is probably the same way. Not illegal (well...ok, debate amongst yourselves!) but probably just as sloppy as Grandpa and I fishing. It's probably totally dumb luck that I ever manage to evangelize anybody. In any case, it's not me, it's the Holy Spirit working thru me. I'm sorry to the Holy Spirit that I'm such a poor host. He probably spends a lot of time shaking his head and sighing. Well, if he had a head and could sigh-he would!

But, get 'em in the boat is the goal!

But, how do we treat them once they are in the boat? No, I'm not weighing anyone and throwing them back (I stink at catch and release anyway!) but I feel like my crankiness and lack of charity can be a big deterrent, rather than a lure, at times. Sure, sometimes it's funny. Well, but is it?

I know I tend to lean towards the Trad side of Catholicism but I hope I'm not so far right that I forget to be charitable. I rely on people to tell me when I've gone too far and, inevitably, someone does. Thank you.

Honestly, I've learned more from newbie Catholics or people who send me emails asking honest questions than I feel like I've taught anybody else. That's probably horribly sad but there it is.

I guess, like fishing, we need to adjust the bait to fit the situation.

March 17, 2009

Rivers of Green (Envy)


As a Catholic of French-Canadian ancestry, I continue to be upset that the Irish Catholics have their Patron Saint’s Feast day on the secular U.S. calendar. Rise up my French-Canadian brothers and sisters! This lack of diversity and inclusion cannot be tolerated!

I call for October 19th to be a reserved spot on the U.S. calendar for Saint Jean de Brebeuf-a patron Saint of Canada!!

On October 19th, everyone in the U.S. may feel free to engage in stereotypically French behavior like: wearing scarves and berets, smoking unfiltered cigarettes wherever they darn well please, be snooty with anyone who does not speak French, drink lots of Burgundy and eat Blue Brie with baquettes.

This shamrock emphasis is not fair! Does it have ANYTHING really to do with the Trinity or is it some Leprachaun thang?

Outrageous? Hey, it's not like the day has anything to do with the actual Saint Patrick anyway!

In any event, look at St. Brebeuf, he's SO ready to party! Just look at him! Those Jesuits throw the best parties! Ask
Terry!

March 16, 2009

The Devil Went Down to Daytona


I know in some Catholic churches it's their practice to drain the Holy Water fonts during Lent. If you are like me, you load for bear before Ash Wednesday (translation: fill your Holy Water bottles) just in case you are unfortunate enough to encounter a drained font during your travels.

I had the misfortune once to enter a Catholic church that carried the meaning "go into the desert" WAY to far. They put cacti in the empty Holy Water font. Yep. There I went dipping my hand right into a thorny cactus! Unless you attend a snakecharmer church in the Applachians, I fail to realize how yelling "OW!" is an expression of evangelistic fervor.

I can take or leave covering the statues during Holy Week. I know the intent is to remove our focus from them to the Central Mystery of Our Faith about to unfold. I also know that the statues are just statues. Despite what our haters say, Catholics do NOT pray to statues. It's like having a photo of a loved one on your desk at work. It's an image that you can look at with a smile, but you know it's not REALLY them.

But, my sacramentals like Holy Water? You're kidding, right? Is the Devil on vacation for 40 days? You may think you are safe as long as you are not on Spring Break but you are wrong. The Devil is everywhere.

If Satan could tempt no less than Jesus during His 40 days in the desert what will Satan try to do with us? All I know is: I'm not Jesus so I'm worried. Give me the weapons I need. Keep those fonts filled. Teach the people why they are there.

Now, I know some parishes teach that we don't need Holy Water fonts because that's so medieval and not Vatican II etc. etc. and thus if they even still have the fonts they are always empty-whether it's Lent or not. If anyone can show me any official Vatican document that says something along the lines of "Take holy water fonts out of your parishes because we don't believe in them anymore" I'll concede the point.

Save yourself some time because you will not find one. Holy water is as necessary today as it was since it poured out of the side of Christ with His Blood.

If you believe, if you BELIEVE that water can be blessed. If you believe that an object can be blessed. If you believe that YOU can be blessed than you have Faith.

I'm a simpleton. I'm naive enough to believe that water can be blessed by a priest. I'm cowardly enough to believe the Holy Water sprinkled on my bed before I lie down to sleep can protect me from Satan. Not only that, it can protect me from myself. How many times, has the presence of Holy Water on my person stoppped me from committing serious sin? Who would want to sin with a blessing upon them? Yuck.

Maybe that's why so many Holy Images are gone from our schools and our homes. It's easier to sin and teach error without them staring at you. I know, believe me, I know.

Friends: Got Holy Water? Use it.

March 15, 2009

Location, Location, Location

Gentle Reader: Sorry, I've been scarce (I know my haters rejoiced but now I'm back to ruin your day!) but I've been really busy at work (things are still going well) and the looming crud finally caught up with me. I stayed home from work Friday and went to Urgent Care and got some antibiotics to clear up the ear infection that had developed. I'm tired and on a lot of cold meds. Surprisingly, not TOO cranky but you've been warned....heh-heh.

I know many of my readers participate in prayer vigils and sidewalk counseling outside of abortuaries. I've been Tweeting with Argent this week regarding the sad story of an abortuary near her home that appeared to close but really didn't. They now open only when there is a baby to kill. Thus, you can be sure that anytime you see someone approach the door, they will more than likely be coming out a few pounds lighter-physically.

I see this as a tactic by the abortuary to make the continuous vigil presence go away. Well, really, I'm not sure where their heads are at much less where their hearts are. I know people who assist with abortions fool themselves into believing they are doing a lot of good. Who can blame them? Who would want to face reality in a place like that? In a job like that? Can you imagine telling people what you do for a living? I'm an abortion doctor. I work the reception desk at an abortion clinic. I'm a nurse in abortion clinic. Great, pass the potatoes.

I've often pondered the location of abortion clinics. Those of you who have ever owned a business know that location is an important key to its success. Is it an accident that abortuaries are usually located in either:

* out of the way or disguised locations
* poor neighborhoods
* liberal neighborhoods

Locally, one of the most notorious abortuaries is the Planned Parenthood location in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul. Highland Park is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city. It's also one of the most liberal. It votes, heavily, Democrat. Obama and Wellstone (their fallen hero) stickers are everywhere.

The pro-life movement opened a chapel next door-Praised Be Jesus Christ!

However, there is also a Dairy Queen next door. I always wonder who could swallow food in there if they knew or cared that only a few feet away a mother may be weeping uncontrollably as a baby is being vacuumed out of her body? Yes, I'll have a Peanut Buster Parfait-thanks. I wonder how the managers explain the vigil presence outside to their staff? I wonder who would want to work there? My first job was at a Dairy Queen. It was located in one of the toughest neigborhoods in Minneapolis. The only thing I had to ponder was how to get to the building without a pimp trying to recruit me or a dealer trying to sell me something. Seems tame compared to trying to get to sleep everynight knowing you are crossing a divide greater than any union picket line every day you go to work.

Or are the employees, who are probably high school age or slightly older, given justifications by their parents along the lines of "rights" and "choice" and "Ignore those religious wackos" Is it a source of pride to have this bastion to "choice" in your neighborhood: "Honey, I worked hard to give you a life in a safe neighborhood that also has it's own abortion clinic! I need to pick up some stuff at Lund's"

I drive by that clinic often. I vigil there often. It turns my stomach to see all the business in the area and life going on as "normal" in the midst of that citadel of abomination. I was heartened last weekend as I was heading to make a Holy Hour at a local Perpetual Adoration Chapel to see a man on a bicycle with pro-life posters heading south on Fairview Avenue. He had pro-life posters on his BIKE! Tell me that isn't green! I was sure he was heading toward the Planned Parenthood to vigil. Everywhere there is hope we can believe in and it isn't in the White House. It's in US.

If you have not yet made a commitment to life. Now is the moment. Now is the time.

I usually shop at the Petco in Highland Park. I've decided I'm not doing any business in Highland Park anymore. This stance is going to present challenges for me because the neighborhood is a convenient point for meeting up with my friends in Minneapolis but so be it. Inconvenient for me: yes. Chance of evangelization to explain why I will not do business in that neighborhood anymore: priceless.

March 08, 2009

The Sign of Jonah

On Monday, March 9, 2009, President Obama is expected to sign legislation allowing embryonic stem cells to be used for medical research. Eight years ago, President Bush restricted the use of embryonic stem cells by denying the use of new lines.

Like many in the pro-life movement, I heard this news late Friday. I was so horrified that I did not know how to react. A headline in the press yesterday said this legislation "will breath new LIFE into medical research."

This is no time to be clever or make light of the horror that is upon us, though I'm sure the headline writer applauded himself for his creativity.

How long will it be before we see embryos created for the express purpose of being destroyed so they can be harvested for stem cells? How long will it be before these new embroyos are no longer discarded aborted embroyos or cryogenicically frozen embroyos in sperm banks but early-term fetuses in the womb that will be harvested maybe because the gender of the embroyo is not what the parent desires or it is determined that the embroyo has "issues"?

Earlier this week, Washington became the second state in our nation to enact a "death with dignity" law. Isn't that clever? Would you rather die with dignity or live with dignity? Define: dignity. Is dignity only defined by choice? Choice to kill. Kill yourself, kill your ailing parent, kill your patient, kill your child. This is dignity? Sounds like murder to me.

We are surrounded by death. We are a culture of death peddlers. Death enablers. We managed to isolate DNA. We can grow babies. We think we are gods-not gardeners.

We are gardeners. God created and gave us this Garden to take care of and we are failing miserably. We are not caring for much of anything or anyone. We certainly are destroying it well. We don't tend, we bulldoze.

How many times has God looked down and thought about smiting us? How many times have we been spared? How many times has God shown mercy upon us who don't deserve it because of the penance and fervant prayers of a few? Perhaps our brothers and sisters in religious orders, engaged in continual prayer on our behalf, have done us more of a favor than we may ever know?

The people of Ninevah took seriously the shouts of the prophet Jonah: "40 days and Ninevah will be overthrown!" We are in 40 days of Lent right now. Coincidence? The people of Ninevah did penance, fasted and repented; from the King on down to the cattle in the field. God spared them.

Pray that this continual assault on life is the Sign. With all this extreme disrespect for life, will more pro-"choice" and pro-death people FINALLY realize things have gone too far and repent and turn away and start advocating for life?

If we don't repent we will be destroyed.

Tomorrow, I'm going to fast, do penance, and pray to the Lord tomorrow in reparation for this horror and to beg, yes beg, for His mercy.

May God have mercy on us all.

Cross posted to Our Word and Welcome to It!

March 04, 2009

Compassion

Yesterday morning, I stopped in at one of my neighborhood convenience store/gas stations to fill up with gas and to use their cash machine inside to deposit a check. I was done filling up outside and I was at the ATM inside depositing the check.

I heard one of the clerks at the register saying “Ma’am” then again two more times “Ma’am, Ma’am”. I kept looking over wondering if she was trying to get my attention. She was not looking at me so I went back to my business.

Then, she suddenly got on the intercom that you hear out at the pumps and said “Ma’am, I want you to come back in here and pay for those two sandwiches you have under your coat”

I looked outside and the woman in a blue car that looked like it was wired together, very obviously had pulled her coat closed over a bulging area near her chest that she was holding close to her. At the sound of the clerk over the intercom, her face contorted into a mixture of: embarrassment, shame, fear and pain all at once.

She got in her car and sped off.

The clerks busied themselves calling the police and pulling up the in-store and pump video records.

I left the store, got in my car and went to work.

I could not, I can not, get that woman’s face out of my mind. I was right next to a desperate person and did not even know it. I was using the gas pump right next to her and I could not tell, as I went about my life, that she was in trouble. I was thinking of the Gospel from the other day:”When did we see you hungry, Lord?”. How many times are we next to people in dire straits and we don’t even know it? We are too busy and they are busy hiding.

The woman was a thief. Yes, I know that and I’m not condoning her actions. However, I can’t help but wonder:

Where those sandwiches for her family?
Where those sandwiches for her? Were they her breakfast and lunch?
Did she use all the money she had to fill up her car to get to her job but then she had nothing left over for food?

I offered a Divine Mercy Chaplet for her on my way to work. It was all I could do.

Friends: Times are tough. Many are barely getting by and are going without in order to survive. I wonder how many parents these days are skimping on their own meals so their children can eat? Jobs are scarce. Layoffs are everywhere.

A co-worker and I who both commute nearly an hour to work have noticed that in the last two months our commutes have been cut by nearly 10 minutes each way. I’m convinced it’s because: people are either using mass transit more often if they can, or they are carpooling, or there are fewer people on the road because so many just don’t even have a job to go to.

Justice, yes, but, compassion, too. What would I do if was desperate? What wouldn’t I do?

During Lent, we are encouraged to give alms. Often, we interpret that to mean money to charitable organizations that serve the less fortunate. Certainly, money is needed, but if you are in a position to donate food to a food shelf this is a great time to do that. Food shelves will often take monetary donations so they can buy the food for their clients.

There is a list of Twin City food shelves here

Many local grocery stores accept food shelf donations in the store. Check with your grocer.

Many Catholic parishes also have food shelf collections. Check with your parish office.

March 03, 2009

Saint Jude


Gentle Reader: Many of you know that I have had "challenges" with my current job. In particular, my boss and I do not always play nice together. It's a little bit her, it's a little bit me as the song goes...It's been known to get REALLY ugly. To add to my stress levels, the neighbors in the house next door are extreme partiers and loud even when they are not having a party. I go home from work to find peace and little can be found.

I have a regular devotion to St. Jude where I complain to him in general about my latest whining drama. Recently, however, one of my Confessors said: "You should pray for healing between your boss and you and your neighbors and you" I started doing that during prayers to the Saint asking for his kind intercession in these matters.

For a month now, my boss has been, shockingly, nice to me. To the point, where I've felt like asking her if she is terminally ill. LOL! You know me. In reponse, I've been decent to her and we've been getting along pretty well. So well, that I have not done any job hunting for several weeks now. The spell of niceness has occurred before and it's usually followed by more ugliness. But, it's NEVER lasted this long.

Last Thursday, we had a big snow storm and I arrived home after a 2 1/2 hour white-knuckle commute thinking I'd have to snowblow my sidewalk and driveway. To my astonishment, my sidewalk was already done. My "bad" neighbors had done it. I could tell by the track. I make a huge point out of stopping exactly at the end of my property and turning around so as to not do ANY of theirs as a sign of my disdain for them. But, I've been known to do my neighbors on the other side as a favor. For all my talk of being a good Christian, here people who claim to be personally spiritual but attend no organized denominational church, displayed a greater grasp of the third theological virtue than I do. I was deeply ashamed.

I had my chance to "pay it forward" on Saturday when one of their dogs got out of their yard. I saw him running around and it was a cold day. I called to him. He came and I noticed he'd been hurt. I cleaned his wound and wrapped him in a warm blanket and carried him next door. The neighbors thanked me and I was able to thank them for clearing my sidewalk. We may not be inviting each other over for dinner; and maybe things will never be totally fantastic; but olive branches were extended and received with gratitude and relief.

This weekend, I was pondering these reversals of fortune and it, suddenly, dawned on me that, if you thought Samuel was slow to hear the Lord, I'm even worse! It startled me to realize my prayers for healing had been answered!

Thank you St. Jude!

Galatians 6:3

My most recent post for Our Word and Welcome to It! blog is up

I think it's probably a piece better suited for my blog but Mitchell is desperate for material, which is why he asked me to write for his blog in the first place, so it is what it is.

If you think Catholics don't read Scripture you may want to rethink that thought! LOL!
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