Monday, November 30, 2009

Andrew, my Guardian Angel

Today is the Feast of St. Andrew, which is my middle name, my Dad's name and also the name of my Guardian Angel. How do I know that, you ask? Well, two years ago we were out at Franciscan University in Ohio, visiting our son. If you've never been there it's worth going to if your in the area. For myself, I can truly say that on that campus I felt the real presence of God every time we were there. He is in the buildings, on the grounds, with the Franciscan priests, the brothers and sisters but especially with the students. It's quite a place. The have a beautiful replica of the Portiunculla, the first church that Francis rebuild, and very near to that chapel is a Memorial to the Unborn. H and I always spend time there, sitting on one of the stone benches,
each with our own thoughts. On that occasion, in a great overcoming rush of memory, I remembered that in my previous life, now far back in a time I can't believe at times it actually was, my first wife became pregnant, and she had an abortion. Our baby, and she had the abortion. And I let it happen. Then, as even now, in times of stress, I'm not very good. I usually either freak out, yelling, saying things I shouldn't, emotions running rampant, sense out the window. Or I clam up and hide in myself for a while, hide until someone else takes care of the problem or it goes away. I remember doing just that, I can still remember the numb feeling that settled in. Her Mother even helped her. It was bizarre. I put the whole thing away, put it away in one of those dark chinks we all have just for those occasions. Until Our Lord brought it back for me on that warm October afternoon, sitting on the smooth stone bench, as I gazed at dried red roses that someone had left, the many sets of rosary beads draped across the headstone, the small candles flickering. He let it come back with the strength of a freight train, no holding back, Our Lord saying here, here is a gentle reminder of what man can do, what we do do every day, what I did back then. And it hurt. I had never felt that hurt, never had anyone snatched away like that and I let it happen and he/she was gone. I will always carry with me that tremendously sad howl that came from that dark chink where I'd stored that memory. I'll remember both days, the day I wanted to forget and the day I remembered forever.

And after I'd calmed down, after prayer, after H held me and didn't say a word, all of a sudden he was just there, and I knew with 100% certainty that he'd been there forever, my Guardian Angel, right next to me. I felt God's love coming from him, he felt so familiar and I knew his name was Andrew. In his own G.A way he was saying hey, I'm here, I'm yours, ask me and I'll help.

Andrew has been busy hanging with Helen, whose been battling a possible case of Dengue Fever. By the look of things, he helped.

Friday, November 27, 2009


Okay, I admit, I was wrong. Dengue Fever is the correct name, and it is a mosquito borne virus which is non-treatable and lasts about a week. Ignore most of my last post. H had just about everything that most internet sites explained it as, plus it really puts a strain on your liver. Dr. S. called late today and said to only eat bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Those foods the liver has not quite such a hard time breaking down. H has been eating tiny bit s of everything but what's on that food list, hence the upset stomach and the constant burping.

The road to recovery is taken with baby steps...

H and I signed up for an hour of Adoration at St. Martha's Church in Enfield. This church has a beautiful Latin Rite Mass every Sunday at noon. They've had a small adoration chapel for the last 27 years but at the last Mass we went to the group of parishioners who oversee the scheduling had a table set to sign up anyone who could take an hour or more. The Friday night from 6-7 was open, so we took it. Who wants Friday night from 6-7? Not too many people, by the looks of it. We thought it a good Franciscan thing to do, take the hour that nobody wants. Although we've been to Adoration there many times this was our first night with the 6-7 slot. H couldn't go but she said go, I'll be fine, so I went. Four people there but at 6:05 I was the only one left. And it stayed that way for the whole hour I was there. Just me, the wind outside the window and Our Lord, about five feet away from me. After my readings and prayers it was just one on one, He and I, in the quiet of that room. It was, I feel, the most peaceful and uplifting Adoration Hour I've ever spent. If H wasn't home so sick I would have spent another hour there with Him. At 7:00 no one showed, and by 7:15 I decided to follow the directions on the back of the door for reposing Our Lord. That in itself, although just entailing blowing out four candles, reposing Our Lord and locking the door will always be remembered by me in a special way. I did something special for him. I helped put Our Lord to bed, one might say. For me, it was something especially moving, especially beautiful.

Update #2

After more blood work done this morning Dr. S. phoned with the results: White and red cell count both up, with the white doubling from the last tests (wed.). At that moment he was leaning towards some sort of Hepatitis. Then, 10 minutes later Margaret called to tell us that 16 year old Patrick, who had gone to Haiti with the group was in Mass General diagnosed with Dun gay Fever. Helen immediately called Dr. S. back and he said yes, it all might be making more sense. He said he's going to stop the Hep. tests and focus on the Dun gay Fever tests. One catches this fever from breathing the dust from the dirt roads in poor, third world countries like Haiti. The defecation from all the animals using the road, plus anything that dies on the road turns to dust and Helen's' group breathed a lot of it on they're two hour journey to a far away school. She said they all had handkerchiefs wrapped around their mouths but I guess it doesn't matter much. On last year's trip one of the guys who went contracted D.F. but never had it treated. He just rode it out. I guess it eventually goes away. Yeow! I told her if I had known of this hazard I would have gotten the group a box of decent respirators. We use them at work and a box of 15 I can get for about $16.00. Hindsight is ...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


So this is the latest with Helen; Blood tests confirm no H1N1, no stomach ailment that is known, not even an allergic reaction to the chloroquine. She could still have malaria, even though she took pills to not get it, or it could be a virus, which will just have to work its way out, or who knows. More blood tests on Friday to see if her red and white blood cell count goes up. Right now both are way down, which leaves her very susceptible to any infection. So the two of us are just going to hang low for Thanksgiving. Today she was up for most of the day, hungry as heck but a tuna fish sandwich finally did her in and she's nauseous again. Keep her in your prayers that the Doctors either figure it out or it finally works its way away.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nasty business

A small lull in the blogging scene, although I've been reading plenty of them, just not commenting or posting on my own. Helen returned from Haiti last Thursday evening, I picked her up at Logan in Boston. There's always a little getting used to each other every time H returns from a trip but this time was different. By the end of the day Friday she was sick as a poor dog. And of course its the weekend, so its either the emergency room or wait it out until Monday, which we did. Nausea, ache all over and a splitting headache. A trip to Dr. S neither confirmed nor ruled out H1N1, but they did all the swabs and sent her to the lab with everything in a zip lock bag and a particulate respirator to wear when going into the hospital. He said it also could be a bug picked up in Haiti, but she'll have to wait until the tests are done to find out positive. Nasty business, getting sick...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Weekend

Quiet on the posting front. H is still in Haiti, I'll pick her up this Thursday evening. I've been out of sorts a bit since she left. It's funny how things work. As she made her plans to go to Haiti I made my plans as to what I'd do when she was gone. Nothing special, work on this, fix that. And I did get to most of them, although I couldn't get the leaf blower fixed (too much for me.) I made plans to spend more time in prayer, since the house will be quiet and I'll have extra time. Maybe take a drive to a neighboring town where a favorite church of ours has a daily Adoration that lasts until 10:00pm. Just things I could do on my own, small events to help me through my weekend. Well, none of those things materialized. Thursday Adoration was it. No Mass on Sat. morning. But instead of those carefully laid plans of mine God had his own; the gift of making breakfast for my daughter Celena Sat. morning. Taking care of her laundry (I don't mind doing it. It's been a long time since I helped her out this way.) Celena is a freshman in college, she commutes and our schedules never really coincide, so it was wonderful to spend a bit of time together and help her out. Just different stuff. But you know, maybe because Helen has been gone for a few days and I've been in a non-talking mode, in those times when I was alone, raking the leaves, cleaning at work, it seems I was able to concentrate just a little more on that conversation with God we all try to keep going 24/7. I found I was able to focus on the Mysteries a little bit longer than usual as I said my Rosary. Small prayerful times like those. And realizations that come to oneself during the course of the day, usually buried under the onslaught of our daily workload, to be forgotten almost as soon as they're revealed. Small stuff that grew in size as the weekend went on. Our Lord taking care of me for no reason. I'm just so glad I didn't miss it all.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Now is the time for prayer...

Today is a fast day for me. I've sort of complained about fasting in the past, but I won't anymore. Since H is in Haiti, I figure this is a good opportunity to actually do what I seek, which is to have more quiet time in prayer which will help me (I hope!) to turn inward more. To say there's not enough time in the day is no excuse, but it's somewhat true. I'm going to let my monkish desires prevail, or whatever I think they are. This week is fairly quiet in terms of meetings at night, etc. We gather at the church tonight for evening prayer together, but that's it, and I'm looking forward to that. But I do have to say, living alone is not what I'm used to, spiritually. When H and I are together we do everything spiritual together. Going alone is a bit different for me. It really makes me appreciate the fact the we did begin our conversion somewhat at the same time, we professed together, etc. Two became one, ain't that a fact. Even now, after all these years, the memory of my old self curls around like a smoke, which I'm just seeing out of the corner of my eye. Not good. I think Our Lord put a special trial here just for me these next 10 days. A little invitation, and a challenge for me, too.

Now is the time for prayer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Little Children of Mary

Helen is on her way to Haiti with the group Little Children of Mary to do some mission work. This is her second trip, and she's really been looking forward to getting back there. Ten days down there, and this time they go up-country to a school that hardly gets any visitors with supplies from the states. It used to be a 6 hour ride but with the new road it's only 2, so that's one of the highlights of the trip. Please all keep her and all of LCoM in your prayers. Haiti isn't the stablest of country's, but Margret has gone about a dozen times and knows a lot of people. Also, and this is very exciting, H and Margret have a meeting set up with a high-ranking Minister whom they met over the summer at a LCoM fundraiser. The plan: To change the mind-set of this Minister, who has the power to put weight behind a push for increased abortions on Haiti. M and H hope that through all of our prayers, the intersession of the BVM and they're own witness and faith that they can change this woman's mind to drop the abortion push. Helen was most nervous about this part of the trip, how she couldn't hope that whatever she said to the Minister would do any good. I said to just let God speak through you, and let the words work. We shall see...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Dinner Meeting

Well, I get wound up for nothing. The K of C meeting went real well, tackling most of the important issues with the members we had. And all clocking in at just over an hour. It's hard to get a lot of check-writing done without the Treasurer or Financial Secretary present, but we did what we could. Our core group of Knights is really all who show up anymore, even for a Dinner Meeting, which we had last night. Homemade meatloaf, real mashed potatoes, corn, coffee, homemade bread pudding for dessert and a bottle of red wine before the meal still couldn't bring in more than 15 people. I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Maybe nothing, I don't know. I thought if I appealed to the more spiritual side of the Knights, to bring my Secular Franciscanism to bear, more guys would come back, join in the meetings. I was wrong. Maybe it's just hard to get people to come out at night, I don't know.
My wife Helen and the Deputy Grand Knight's wife, Jean, made the meal. Delicious! Our next meeting will be the Christmas Social, which will bring together the Ladies Guild, Catholic Daughters, widows of Knights that have passed on, the Friars, the Sisters and family members. Not till next month, though. I'm taking a breather right now. Time to focus more deeply on simple prayer. When we have an event coming up I have a hard time putting 100% into anything. It seems like everything I do only gets 60% of my attention, the event, family, work, prayer. I'm sure everyone has the same problem. Right now, back to work. (If I can focus!)

Monday, November 02, 2009

A busy but pleasurable week coming up, the only dark cloud being the Knights of Columbus Dinner Meeting tomorrow night. Being the Grand Knight is not what I wanted, but I have it, so be it. I worry too much about everything, and no matter how much I delegate I always feel that it all rests on me, which it sort of does. (Ignore me, just complaining.)
Helen heads off to Haiti next week for ten days, doing mission work with The Little Children of Mary. Exciting time for her and me, well, C and I will hold down the fort, pray for a successful trip and every ones' safe return.