Monday, December 28, 2009

A reflection...

Well, there ended up being no time found to post when I wanted to say something and then when I had time, my mind was cooked. But that's OK. The end of Advent/Beginning of Christmas was busy, but at times, blessedly enveloped in silence. Even when we were singing in the choir at the Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve I tried to let silence rule. In between songs, just the reflection of the Baby Jesus in the womb. Not easy. I feel that Mass is sometimes the hardest place to focus in on Our Lord. Just too many distractions, but that's another issue, another post. Concerning the Choir, every year H and I say this is it, no more Folk Choir and regular Choir singing at the holidays, but we end up doing it anyway. We're asked, and we feel guilty saying no! At least H can sing, I just squawk along and try. But Lida keeps asking me back, so I can't say no, can I? I always equate it with Our Lord asking. Who can say no to someone or something that is good for one and all but pushes us out of our comfort zone a bit? I can't, not any more. The comfort zone was a topic in our meditation yesterday at our Secular Franciscan Christmas Gathering. Let me say right first, our gathering was just that, a gathering of brothers and sisters of like mind, devoted to living the Gospel and following in Our Lord's footsteps wherever that may lead. It felt really good to be there, breaking bread and praying together. At our monthly meetings there is always work to do, and even after the meeting proper, when we have a little snack, about half of our group has to leave on account of time constraints. So yesterday was a day to just relax and chat, to enjoy each other's company and rejoice in so many blessings that have been given to us. That said, in our group of about 25 or so there are two or three strong personalities that, at times, well, what can I say, strong personalities are just that; strong. Yesterday they weren't there, and the gathering took on a decidedly different feel. Our hostess, Marilyn steped in for the reading and reflection, and it was beautiful. Our Minister, Rich, played his guitar quietly in the background. The sun broke through the grey overcast and streamed in through the windows with that slanted and weak winter brightness. Some spoke of Francis, others of Our Blessed Mother, and I think we all felt the presence of Jesus there.
I know for myself, my comfort zone was nudged big time when I became Grand Knight for our K of C Council 1395. I don't consider myself G.K. material, didn't have any aspirations for it and tried to stay clear of the one-man committee that was trying to find a worthy G.K. But as I believe, God, when he wants us for something, he knocks on that door, and keeps knocking, nudging, until we let him in. It was good to hear others speak of their experiences this way, and in that, knowing we are not alone in our dealings with God. As I write this I see more clearly how we must let God lead us, to almost shout the phrase that has been sung so many times before; Lord, show me the way! Show me Your Will that I may do it!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve Day

Hopefully I'll find time this Christmas weekend to post. A lot has gone on during this Advent, almost too much. Isn't that always the way this time of year? The secular world nudges in no matter how hard we try to keep it out. And we really don't want to keep it out completely, we just are trying to keep focused. And that can be very hard unless one lives in a cave. Maybe that wouldn't be so bad...

Merry and Blessed Christmas, and thanks for all the exchange of ideas during this year!

Peace to all as we await the Lord!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A reflection...

A wonderful reflection today in Medjugorje Day By Day.

C. S. Lewis...wrote that "Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbor is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbor, he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ is vere latitat-truly hidden."
In this sense the love of neighbor is parallel to the love of God; we cannot love one without the other since they are inseparable-the vine and the branches, the Mystical Body of Christ.

Reflect of the words of St. Teresa of Avila: "Though we do not have Our Lord with us in the bodily presence, we have our neighbor, who, for the ends of love and loving service, is as good as Our Lord himself."

I just wanted to share that with everyone. It seems that in these days of Advent I know I myself, in prayer, have felt, seen and heard many gifts given to me by Our God, for me, more than ever before. It seems every time I turn He is there, though not in plain sight, he is there watching to see if I saw, if I caught the glimpse, or felt His touch.

Our God is a wonderful God.

Friday, December 11, 2009


Yesterday, being Thursday is our day of Adoration in our parish. I have the 5-6pm hour, which gives me just enough time to get there after work. After Sister Barbara left about 5:10 I was alone with Our Lord. For the beautiful silence in there it could have been midnight. Only the creaks and groans of an old church. During this Advent season the Friars are offering Confession from 6:30-7:30, after which Our Lord is returned to the Tabernacle. This Saturday, on the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe I will re-consecrate to Our Lord Jesus through Mary for the third year in a row, so having confession available was truly a God-send. I've been thinking lately about Confession, and how last Sat. with a priest who hasn't heard my confession before I sort of froze up, and never got to the place where I wanted to go, to confess a different level, you might say, of my sinful life. I just ended up repeating the same round of sins as usual, the same repeatable sins that I do week in and week out. I don't know, but I think I may have these sins, to some degree, the rest of my working life, because I relate these sins to my work place, the place where I am 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. I struggle with these sins, pray about them, gain on them and then, they overtake me again. A constant battle, but the Lord has granted me the gift to know that these sins, these challenges are my cross to carry for Him, my road to travel to Him.
In Confession I think Fr. R. was able to understand somewhat where I was going in explaining the reason why I wanted him to be more firm with me and not fall back on the mantra "Your too hard on yourself!" I'm done with that penance. I need to hear it from a Priest, from Jesus-on- earth that when you daydream during Evening Prayer that is wrong, don't do it, focus on the incense rising to Heaven. That even though one tries to do three Rosaries' a day, if not even one is done truly from the heart then why bother? These human frailties bother me, and I hope Fr. R understood, I think he did but more importantly do I understand what He wants of me, or am I just listening to myself, dreaming of what I'd like to be.

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.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


I've been quiet this week, trying to absorb and let blow over an event that took place last Friday. Sometimes human nature can really throw you for a loop. I hate to use more cliches' but just when you think you know someone...
All it was was a small minor incident of misunderstanding, which turned into someone storming out of an event where we Secular Franciscans were helping together. A soup kitchen, of all things. I'm not going to go into details, but someone didn't like being told how to do a certain job and instead of working out the disagreement, that person just stormed out over how to stack bread...
It seemed like a rough week everywhere, at work and in our parish. Everyone on edge. At times like these I have to remember and keep in mind that Satan loves to start things and then get in the middle of them. We know he likes nothing better than to see husband and wife, children and parents, friend and friend going at it. That seemed to be the theme last week. And some people don't realize when they're hurting someone. To walk out of a soup kitchen over bread, when your in the wrong, really upsets people, which I personally witnessed. I had to watch myself. I've been known to let folk have it when innocent people get trod on. All we can do in times like that is soldier on and pray, pray, pray. At our Secular Franciscan monthly meeting on Tuesday, the issue was brought up, but in a general way, nothing serious was touched upon. Everything just blows over and lets make nice. And how ironic; the theme of our meeting was forgiveness! I didn't say much, mostly because some of the older members really had excellent insights into our discussion and I basically had nothing to add. But I thought afterward, doesn't apologizing go along with forgiveness? If your wrong and hurt someone, do you wait for unwarranted forgiveness or do you apologize?

Like I said, I better keep my mouth shut.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Trust in God!

This is a reflection from today's reading in the book Medjugorje Day by Day, by Richard J. Beyer. This is about persevering in faith, and I just felt like sharing it with you.

A missionary named Noreen Towers had worked for years among the poor in Nigeria. In spite of all her efforts, she saw absolutely no progress. She says: "I became despondent. I finally reached the breaking point one night. . . I was beaten. When I went to bed, I didn't know how I could continue." The next morning, shortly after she awoke, something strange happened to Noreen. It was as though Jesus himself said to her, "Can you not trust my plan for you?" She writes:
Then I realized that I did not have to see the plan; I only had to trust him. I arose from my bed a different person. My encounter with the living Christ changed me from a broken, defeated person into a person with unshakable hope and faith.
Today, the woman's work among the poor is bearing remarkable fruit.
Like all virtues, perseverance is a gift of grace, yet Christ never fails to bestow it on those who ask. This is the primary challenge-to rely not on our own strength and endurance, but on the Lord's. It was summarized once in a small prayer: "O Lord, I can't. You can. Please."

This short story really made an impact on me this morning, maybe because I, and maybe we, are always trying to do everything on our own; I know I do. I frustrate myself to no end, trying to get this done, make that right, please everybody, be the hero. It's still hard for me, real hard, to give up control of my life to God on a day to day basis. On a Sunday, or on retreat, it becomes easier to do, or at least to talk about it. I've got to learn to give that same love back to our Lord in the way of loss of self, in dying to Our God.

Those words are still ringing in my head: "Can you not trust my plan for you?"

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Watch out for you-know-who...

As I've always said, my job brings out the worst in me. Sometimes good things, but mostly its just a lot of temptations. And I know that's alright, God has put me here just for this, for my discipline, to combat all those temptations, but more important to show the Face of Jesus to my co-workers, to spread the Gospel by my words and my deeds.
Perfect example: I receive an e-mail from a fellow co-worker, asking me to perform a certain task, to find some paperwork on the shop floor and change some numbers. Fine. I can do that. Then I realize that I think she's the only one who can perform said task, it was decided during a long and boring meeting that took place a couple of months ago. She even took the minutes to this meeting. Whatever. I ask a fellow co-worker to confirm this fact of who can change the paperwork and immediately the backstabbing starts. So and so this and so and so knows this! CC the boss on this! So on and so forth, you get the idea. And part of me wants to join in on this tirade! With all my might I have to zip my lip because the old me wants to come out at times like this, join in the fun, heap on the slander, gossip, gossip, GOSSIP! My point is you-know-who is always there, always waiting for the slightest slip-up on our part, to jam the knife in just a little deeper. I saw him coming this time, I didn't join in, I just sort of graciously got out of the conversation and left, and told myself I'll handle this my own way.
He is real. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The further we go down the Road, the sweeter the walk, but also at times the darker the journey becomes. I know I have to stay vigilant at all times, I'm my own worse enemy. Just keep focused on the Cross.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thoughts on a Marian retreat...

H and I and two others spent this past Saturday at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy in Stockbridge, MA. A wonderful priest, very Marian, Fr. Anthony Gramlich gave a one day retreat on St. Louis De Montfort's book True Devotion to Mary. Two talks, lunch, confessions, Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, another talk, Benediction and then Mass. Whew! What a day. My wife and I have both consecrated to Mary, me just last year on the Feast of Guadeloupe, H for a few years now. I used 'My Ideal Jesus Son of Mary' by Fr. Emil Neubert, S.M. and was planning on using it again for my re-consecration, but after hearing direct quotes for De Montfort I think I'll use his book. Fr. Anthony really knew his stuff, and although a long day, it was very inspiring, very spiritual. My consecration last year was just another in a series of, I don't know, quiet inspired moments that found its way inside of me and stayed. Your hear about these devotional acts, then you read a bit on them and it's like a seed that's planted; once in there on fertile soil, things grow. After a while it all becomes a way of life, a good life that once lived one couldn't imagine living any other way. I remember hearing and reading about the total freedom that comes from giving oneself over completely to the Lord. I could not imagine that; I had no clue, no matter how many ways I thought about it. My conversion was still at its beginnings; God was talking but I couldn't understand him, not fully, not yet.

The more you give in, the more he brings you along.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

St. Teresa!

Today, as we all know is the feast day of St. Teresa of Jesus. Her and St. Francis may be the two more modern-type Saints that I admire. And I say that only because of her writings, which are so inspirational and educational and Francis because, well he just is. The two common threads I have with these two great saints is that one can really feel that you know them after delving into their lives through books, movies and videos. St Teresa almost makes deep contemplative prayer seem easy, and I mean that as saying that her explanations are quite easy to follow. I just finished Interior Castles a month or two ago and there's so much to take in that the words have really stayed with me, sitting and percolating under the brow.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Thoughts on Odin

Today has been a day similar to four years ago when we left Odin in Steubenville for his first year in college. I must have cried for the first twenty miles as we headed back east. Back then I didn't know enough to lean on Our Lord for help. Today, although I feel, and know, and see the world around me with a different eye, and I know he's there to help me, I'd just as soon let the feelings of separation and sadness wash over me, flow thru me for a bit. Letting go like that, one gets that alive feeling, and for me it makes O's leaving for a year more bearable, in a way. Make any sense? This will be hard, I know, but I also know that in a week or so I'll sort of get used to him being gone, almost like back at school. And with the cell phone he's not that far away. But still...

Last night him and Celena bought pizza for us all for our anniversary. Josh was there, Celena's boy friend, (I think our future son-in-law, but maybe I'm wrong) and we all ate together as a family. After, Odin sat with us to do Evening Prayer, something he hasn't done at all for a while. All in all a really great night to be a dad.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mixed feelings

I'm writing this post tonight with mixed feelings; tomorrow is our 25th wedding anniversary, 25 short years, to be honest, but also tomorrow our son Odin leaves for North Dakota for a 1 year mission trip. He'll be staying at St. Michael's Church in Dunseith, which is a small town almost at the Canadian border. Looking on the map tonight we noticed that Dunseith is almost as far north as Fort Kent, Maine, which is well up there. He'll be taking the train out of Hartford, CT tomorrow morning at 6:26, and should be arriving in Pittsburgh later in the day. He'll spend a couple of days with friends in Steubenville where he went to college, and then on to Chicago and then to ND. If we don't get up there to see him or he doesn't get home for a visit, one year is a real long time to not see your son. I can't imagine if he would be in harms way somewhere, overseas. I really can't fathom that. I'll try to pray all the more for people in those situations. He's been home since he graduated in May and just couldn't find a job in his field. So now he'll be staying with Father Jeff, doing whatever has to be done, and getting paid $100.00 a month. No money, but he won't really need any, and the experience is everything. I'll really, really miss him, though.

Well, after we drop O off at the train station I'm taking the day off (vacation day #14, 1 left) and H and I are going on a small pilgrimage right here in our own backyard, so to speak. Tomorrow is also the anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, and a friend of ours usually walks from his house in Stafford to St. Mary's Church in Hampden, MA, where there is a small shrine set up to honer Our Blessed Mother and the children. It's 13 miles one way, and Neil walks to and from, reciting the rosary the whole way. He told us he says about 200 decades on the trip. Neil is in his 60's and not that physically fit. Helen saw him last year, walking along the road, hair blowing crazy in the wind. She stopped and asked if he wanted a ride and that's when we found out about his solitary Walk to Mary. We decided this year to join him but at the last second he couldn't get the day off from work. So I think we're going anyway, just the two of us. Rain in the morning, maybe we'll wait until after lunch, we'll see. I'm really looking forward to it and Helen, well, like she says, "You decide," so I did. We go.

Right now I'm up waiting for our daughter to return home from driving a friend of hers back to Plymouth St in New Hampshire. Three hours up, three back. She should be here around 1:00am. I wasn't too happy with this decision of hers, but I probably also would have done it for a friend, and H would have, too. So here I sit, writing an overlong post. Sorry about that. If you stopped reading this long ago, I don't blame you. Peace to you all.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Last thoughts (for tonight!) on profession

More on profession.

I just want to say that today I did feel different, but not in any way that was feeling different, if you know what I mean. Friends asked me today, "So, do you feel any different," and I had to answer, no, not really, but the difference I did feel was a more subtle presence of, I guess maybe the Holy Spirit in me, or something that I'm labeling as such. It was like as I went along just doing what I do at work and God kept giving me these little insights into things, insights into just the everyday stuff that happens to people. But today these mundane type of events felt more real, or maybe the word is more realized in a new light. I don't know, I can't really explain. I do know that I felt much more at ease with myself than yesterday, when I didn't know what would happen. Would I burst into tears up there in front of everyone? Or worse, would I get a leg cramp? (That was more likely.) Neither happened, and I thank our Blessed Mother for that. Mary, please be with me right now, help me to not embarrasse my family! And she did.

Following Francis...

Last night at a special Mass, Joe & Sandy, Loraine, Barbara and Helen and myself professed to spend the rest of our lives living Gospel to Life and Life to Gospel. Fr. R presided and Fr. T assisted. It was, beautiful. The Rite of Profession is done right after the Homily, and Fr. R spoke well. He spoke not only to us, but to everyone in the congregation, reminding us all that God is not done with us yet. I was so glad that my brother and sister were there to hear those words. I just started to write something that I shouldn't, I was being judgemental and I want to stop that NOW. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law also came, my parents and our son and daughter. What a crowd, just for us! The Lord brought great joy to St. Edward Church last night. I so wished that one or both of H's sisters would have come, but no, no one showed. She didn't seem to mind, but I'm sure it bothered her just a little.
I wore my newly made brown vest sewn together by H. It is beautiful! I have no idea where she found the time to do it, but there it was, hanging in the closet two days ago with a card. She really takes good care of me. More on profession later...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009


Tonight, at a 7:00pm Mass, my wife Helen, myself and four others will, God willing, continue our journey as candidates by professing ourselves to the Secular Franciscan Order. Pray for us as we pray for you!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

First Friday Mass

The Lord raised up the lowly one and exalted
him to the ends of the earth

Ant. 3, Morning Prayer, Oct. 4Th

Sometimes I get, well, not overly excited, but when the Lord does great things for me, I must praise Him. This past Friday was an off day at work for us, since the economic upturn hasn't completely caught up to our company's downturn yet, so we still have a four day week every other week. But no matter. I'm able to go to morning Mass, and this week it was also First Friday, which meant 9:00am Mass instead of 7:30. Plus, the kids were there from the school, which is always good to see. Found out during Fr. R Homily that the children are saying at least one decade of the Rosary every morning in the parking lot during this month, the month of the rosary. I say, Excellent! Start them young and then it becomes a part of their life. Father also spoke of the Guardian Angels, whose feast day it was on Friday. And then of course about St. Francis, and how he so loved Our Lord, and the Cross and all of creation. A great homily, spoken straight from the heart. H and I felt the call to climb the stairs to the choir and help our organist, Lida with vocal chores. I love to see the kids heads turn around and look up when they hear H belt it out. I love to sing with my wife! She helps me to sound ok. So, considering I wasn't amking any money, it was still a beautiful morning. Oh, yeah, plus rosary with the Rosary Women. I love doing that. Peace.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The next few days...

This has been an exciting few days for me. Last Tuesday, the 22ND was mine and H's last fraternity meeting as candidates. These last 2 1/2 years have been at times a struggle, but mostly filled with exhilarating moments, especially during our round-robin segments and ongoing formation discussions. I never knew just how deeply God has worked his way into my soul, the me of me. Many times I've had to stop with my presentation just because I let my emotions get the best of me. At 54 I'm still one of the youngest members, and I think sometimes the enthusiasm of H and myself can scare people. I'm hoping our Brothers and Sisters will grow to understand us a bit more. We're coming in next Wednesday and we're coming in for life! I invited my Mom and Dad, my brother and sister and there families, but we'll see who shows. At first I think they thought us joining the Seculars was a type of novelty idea on our part, something that was going to either wear off or not amount to much. I'm thinking they all looked into it a realized who the S.F. are and what the commitment is, and I think they all accept our choices. I hope so, but if not, so be it.
And this Saturday is the Transitus of St. Francis. 783 years ago on Oct. 3rd Francis flew from this earth. We are so lucky to have 3 Franciscan priests at our parish, and every year they have a nice service that evening. Other Friars and Sisters come from around the area, especially from Chicopee MA. We, the Seculars, will have a little something set up in the church hall for after the service. For a follower of St. Francis, this is a great time. I have to admit, Franciscan priests are a different lot. Some go by the letter of the law, so to speak, others, the spirit of the law, and the differences can be seen especially in the way they dress, when they're not working, so to speak. Cutoffs or jeans, tight tee shirts, lots of tattoos (Yes! Yikes!), almost anything goes in the spirit of St. Francis. I realize now that I'm more of a traditionalist. I guess maybe because I was somewhat wilder in my youth I feel closer to the more prayerful spirit of Francis and the Church. I think also, for me, there is never enough time for quiet prayer, or maybe not enough time to do nothing. When one does nothing, that leaves a lot of time for prayer.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Word loss for sure

If this is Friday, then it's a fast day. I don't want to spend a lot of words on this gift that God has given me, but I think now that the more I find it difficult to fast twice a week the more I pray about it and then the more I understand the whole gift. Get it? If it was easy for me I probably wouldn't get anything out of it. After all these years fasting still leaves me feeling, I don't know, more prayerful perhaps for lack of a better word. This is a poor attempt to describe a feeling that I can't even describe to myself. Failure!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The unexpected gift...

First, as you can see, I've changed some colors on the blog. I grew tired of the black, and it was beginning to make me uneasy, in a way. And I've come to love the browns and greys of the Franciscans, and, God willing, Oct. 7Th H and I will be professing together into the Seculars. A big day. As the time comes nearer I can sense an attitude adjustment taking place, believe me, with no will of my own. It can only be the Holy Spirit at work. I thought months ago I was ready then to profess and I was, but not in the same way I am now. The excitement of something new has passed; now the idea of the long haul has settled in and it is good. I know this is the right thing. But as all things that have to do with Our Lord God, as one door opens and you pass thru another appears, and you pray and pass thru into something different, and then the Spirit gets a hold of you and points you yet again. To me, that is part of the freedom of living with Christ, laying all your prayers, hopes, dreams, humbleness, humility at His feet, at His altar, at Himself, and letting go. When we can do that the eyes open, the heart is freed, the mind is tuned to Him. These are the small changes in my life that I try to do every day, to open my eyes, to free my heart. Some days the journey is smooth. Most days the road is rough. My job is a rough road at times, and I fail miserably at bring Jesus to the forefront there. That's usually my biggest regret at the end of the day; my failure to proclaim him to my brothers and sisters as I should. This last bit of a revelation came to me in the last 15 minutes or so of this afternoons Adoration, after Our Lord had lulled me into a strange state of, well, not prayer, and not sleeping, really, but it seemed I was in a tranquil state and then alert, tranquil state and then alert until the last few minutes when all the thoughts of the failures and how Francis must have felt when he chastised himself, when opportunities were missed even by him, moments lost by me. Every once in a while we're given a small insight by God, and I know I've missed 99% of them given me, but I think I felt a small one this afternoon. It was a small unexpected gift, a simple yet beautiful flower from a friend.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Evening Rosary - aftermath

Just want to say that Monday evening rosary, The Sorrowful Mysteries, were beautiful. Just three of us, but a perfect way to end the day.

Just a note on last night. My old self reared its' ugly head yesterday, I hope only the product of a long weekend doing 'stuff' contrary to my normal living. Probably too much time at the fair, seeing too many people, which, in and of itself is not bad, but at times I can't handle it too well anymore. Come last Sunday that was my situation. I needed quiet time and I couldn't find it and instead of seeing the situation as it was and getting through the day praising God for giving me difficulties, I failed completely, feeling sorry for myself, and taking some of it out on H. I read a great quote recently but I'm afraid I don't know where or who from. It goes like this; "No matter if he is playing, working, eating, talking having fun or even sleeping, he is in prayer." I'll figure out who said it and where its from, but these are truly words to live by. Well, that was my failure, not staying in prayer most of the time this weekend. So this evening I really needed the time in church and the calming effects of Our Mother and the Rosary. Thank you Rosary folk and Praise God!

Evening Rosary

Today is the third Monday of the month, so that means Evening Rosary at our church. Two Mondays' ago it was Labor Day, and I really didn't expect anyone to show up but I was hoping, but at 7:00pm it was only H and I. Which really doesn't matter to me. I'm there to start the rosary at 7:00 and to make sure the doors get locked when we're done. God provides the rest. But I do have to say, with the westering light flowing through the stained glass just as we begin, and only a few lights on inside the church, with the heavy silence broken only by our voices in chant-like unison, St. Edward Church is a beautiful place to be on a Monday evening, whether it's only me, or H and myself or 6 or 8 others. It's a nice place to be.

Come and join us.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Over-done at the Big E

Today H and I, our son, our daughter, her boyfriend, (good kid), H's two sisters and a niece went up to New England's great fair, The Big E. And it was good, for most of the day. Everyone got along just fine, we shared food, (although being Friday, H and I were fasting, sort of. More on that later.) saw a lot of stuff and enjoyed each other's company. But by the time late afternoon rolled around, I'd had enough. Too many people, too much noise, too much of the world I'm trying to leave behind pressing in all around me. H felt the same. For those 4 or 5 hours that this Fair had pushed itself into my consciousness I had lost track of God a little bit. He wasn't first and foremost in my mind, or on my lips or in my heart. Once we decided we'd had enough we couldn't get out of there fast enough. On the way back to CT H read a bit from The Fatima Crusader which calmed us down a bit. It was just too much being back into that world of bright lights, entertainment and random buying of stuff one really doesn't need. I'm not coming down on fairs. I really do love them, and I have to spend most of tomorrow and part of Sunday (oh, no! not Sunday!) at our local Four Town fair. I guess I really only like a fair in little doses and not when I let all the fun drive out Our Lord and Savior.

About that fast...

Today, being Friday is a fast day for H and myself. Wednesdays and Fridays are the days our Blessed Mother asks us to fast, so we do, bread and water. Been a few years now, no big deal. H is much better than me, I drink coffee during the day at work, sometimes have a couple of crackers, maybe a pretzel or two. It's extremely hard for me to fast the way I believe the B. M. intends, asks us to. H, on the other hand is rock solid, and although she speaks to me of temptations on her fast days she hardly ever wavers. Well, today is a fast day and we're going to The Big E! If you've never been there let me say this; lots of food booths of every kind. And the aromas! Not a good place to be on a fast day. Anyway, today September 18 the readings from the red book entitled Proper Offices of Franciscan Saints and Blessed were for Joseph of Cupertino, Franciscan priest of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual. It was also a Franciscan Feast day, which H and I usually celebrate as a feast, namely by not fasting. Which was fine, and we planned on feasting today, no problem, until there, in our daily reading in Medjugorje, Day By Day, for today the 18Th of Sept. Our Lady tells us: Observe the complete fasts, Wednesdays and Fridays. Pray at least the full rosary, the Joyful, Sorrowful, and the Glorious Mysteries. Well, the feast was put aside, and we gave up what probably would have been an afternoon of over doing it anyway to a day of ignoring the smells and avoiding the sights and for us to just nibble on the crackers that H brought. We did share clam fritters with everyone, but we somehow justified having them by saying they were mostly dough, which they were.

A day of fun at the fair is behind us, Bless the Lord.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

After 4:00 Mass this afternoon we had our Knights of Columbus Officers Installation Ceremony. I think at final count we had five Brother Knights who didn't show, two of which had told me that they couldn't make it, they would be out of town. No problem, your still an Officer. Our District Deputy was the man in charge, and he did a great job. I really like him a lot, and look forward to working with him when I have to. Three of our wives were there also, and they actually adorned us with the jewels. Fr. R. was there and participated, and I think he knows or can feel the urgency and high expectations that this new leadership brings. I don't know. I'm not a born leader, at all. I have to get all of my Grand Knight leadership skills from our Lord, literally. As I stood in front of our District Deputy as he read to us the moving passages of the K of C installation ceremony, I prayed. Prayed that I could do the job my Brothers elected me for, to lead them and to help them to accomplish our goals in the name of Our Lord and God. H thought I was getting ready to faint, but that was the farthest thing from my mind. Just standing before the altar, with the huge Franciscan Cross hanging before me I have to admit I thought of Francis and the awesome responsibility that he took on for his Brothers and our church. And at the same time I felt, well, not love, really, but the good vibes that were all around us in the church. I'm so glad that we had the installation in the church, after Mass. I was the right choice.
This has been a soul-moving week for me. I use soul-moving for lack of a better word, as I don't think eye-opening works here. Adoration, prayer with H everyday, Mass this morning and this afternoon, private gifts from above for my interior journey, how can I complain about anything? But I still do! I'm an A_ _! Lord, smack me and punish me for such stupid thoughts! Bless He Who Reigns Above Forever!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thorns and Adoration! Rejoice!

Friday morning, and I don't know if I'm still feeling the after-effects, (so to speak), of yesterdays' hour of Adoration, but, well, some days everything is more clearer than others. Ever have a day like that? Today is one for me. Thursdays' Adoration was the first of the Fall through Spring schedule that our Parish follows, 12:00 noon until 7:30pm. I am there from 5-6. As soon as I entered the Church I could feel Him, and He lead me and opened me for an hour to just plain peace and enlightenment (for lack of better words. I'm at work, so I'm rushing this post!). And then this morning, during Morning Prayer with H, the Reading, 2 Corinthians 12, the thorn in my side and My grace is sufficient for you, brought about (again!) an intoxicating feeling of humility in me. It's hard for me to read these passages, I can almost hear Paul's voice, even though he probably never actually read this letter to anyone, instead being read by millions of faithful through the years. Today, Paul slapped me a little harder than usual. It could be because of trials going on in my life right now, even though small to most still loom as obstacles to contend with to me. This reading, combined with Adoration reminded me that trials are given to us to celebrate, to gain strength and to keep us on the right road.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Evening Prayer

Tonight, as every Wed. at 7:00pm we have Evening Prayer at our church with our fellow Secular Franciscans. I was asked to be the antiphonerian, which i love because I just happen to really love the pauses between each segment. (I don't know the proper name.) The pause after saying the antiphon for the second time and before saying the next one gives the prayer a special magic to it, as if it needed any more magic. I especially liked the Reading, Ephesians 3: 17-21, the first line; May Christ dwell in you hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life. I don't remember that line before, and I don't ever remember it smacking me between the eyes. But between the light through the stain glass windows, the reading, the timbre of the Evening Prayer, I just didn't want it to end.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A change of view

Back on-line after a long delay. Our PC was down but now up and running again, and I'm going to try to post every night, if possible. Be patient with me, I'm slow and stupid at formulating myself lately, and most of the time I only wish to read others' blogs and not write in my own. But we'll see...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Step Back

I have to admit, these last few weeks have been, for me, a muddle. July and August are very busy for us, with running off almost every weekend to do a changeover at Lavarehouse, then this, and then that, well, you get the idea. I know I'm complaining and I have NOTHING to complain about, so I'll stop complaining and get to the point. I have a hard time merging my secular life and my spiritual life together. Does that make any sense? I see so many people who, to me, have no problem with it. Lately, with all the stuff that goes on (in my life) the Holy Spirit, God, everything seems to be pushed back, far away, almost like, and I know this will sound weird, but all my spirituality is stuck behind my forehead! My head is filled to the brim with my God, my personal Holy Spirit but their stuck inside me, they can't get out. That's how it's felt the last few weeks. Different events in our lives have, I'll admit, tested us, H especially, but I let the world of people bother me too much and I can't break out of that human thinking mode, I've got to get myself back into seeing and thinking through Jesus' eyes, the Eyes of God. Man, I hate that in myself! Well, I don't hate it, but you know what I mean. I comes down to the Gospel theme lately of Loving Thy Neighbor. It's easy when everything is fine, it's another story when road rage fills you or somebody you know and love stomps all over somebody else you know and love. It's at those times that I now realize that I have to bring myself to the Foot of the Cross. To beg Our Lord for that guidance, that grace to see and love my neighbor as I should. Lately, I've hit a wall with my actions, I've subconsciously thought that I can deal with things on my own. I know I can't deal with issues that are like monkey wrenches in my life. I myself, alone have no patience for any of it. You hear people say you have to give it up to Our Lord, use Our Mother, talk to her, ask for her intersession, but until you really see the need, with your interior eye, you'll never ask.
Last evening, in the heat of the Church, during Rosary, the Sorrowful Mysteries, some things came together. I was forced back a step, not by me, but by, I believe, the Virgin Mother. Slow down, child, your way too wound up. Listen to the prayers your saying, don't just say them! I felt those words in my heart, last night, but I didn't realize it until this morning, during my ride to work and my morning Rosary. A gift of remembrance, a light for me to see by. I still don't know what has changed but for now life isn't so so muddled as before. Issues still exist but for now my heart is filled...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Fr. Vincent

"If you wish God to forgive you your offenses against God, forgive your enemies what they have done to injure you. At the very instant when you forgive your enemy, God will forgive you." St. Vincent Ferrer

Wow. Something about that little quote from that great saint just opened my eyes this morning. As followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ we and forgiveness are bound at the hip; the act of forgiving is part of our life force, just as important as love thy neighbor. Forgiveness and Love Thy Neighbor go hand in hand, and I'm afraid I've been guilty of not praying more about them. I can still feel parts of my old self at times when I don't love my neighbor, for whatever reason, and it angers me. I say praying more about them because for me, in prayer, in quiet contemplation over an issue, a problem, whatever, through prayer I seem to get closer to an answer. It usually doesn't happen right away. but slowly, like a night fading to morning. I need to be more vigilant.

But back to Saint Vincent.

As soon as I read his quote today I thought of a friend of mine, a priest who was once at our church. Franciscan through and through, and very Marian. He helped open my heart and mind in the short time I knew him and I'll always be thankful to him for that. He loved to come to our home and say the Rosary on the porch in the evening. He even said a Mass there on the night he blessed the house. They moved him from CT to Florida because of his command of the Spanish language, so now he gives Mass in Spanish and it's wonderful to hear. Gee, do I miss that man, that Brother.

And, of yeah, his name is Fr. Vincent.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sometimes I just want to post, but I really don't have anything worldly to say. Nothing heavy, or uplifting, nothing controversial or spiritual, nothing in the vein of what I think my blog should be.

Who cares.

It's summertime, and I'm taking a vacation from all that!

Last Friday, the 7Th, on my untimely lack of work day off, I decided to take back our garden. Take it back from the choking weeds that I haven't gotten to all summer. It was probably too hot to be out there all day but I didn't mind. It was really good to be out there, in the quiet 0f the mid-day. It was prayerful, silent and physical all at the same time. H came out every once in a while to pick raspberries and check on me. She found a zucchini squash hidden in the weeds and leaves, good for a bread. Lately, running up to the Vineyard every weekend can turn from exciting at the beginning of summer to a drag as the summer wears on. That said, its still a great place once we get there and drop our bags in the Little House. But last Friday I was just enjoying a long, beautiful summer day, the kind of day one needs to clear the mind. The next day, early, 5:00am-6:00am we had our turn keeping company with the Holy Eucharist during Nocturnal Adoration. I'll admit I was distracted and somewhat tired, and my conversation with Our Lord was interrupted more than once by daydreams and such. I feel so bad after, like I wasted a good opportunity by being not prepared. Something I must live with and try to move on from...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

A glimpse of Our Lord at work...

Last night we had our monthly K of C meeting, my second as Grand Knight. I felt much more at ease with my position than last month, when I was truly a fish out of water. I did get all the way to the church hall before realizing that I'd forgotten the tackle box (yup, that's what it is!) that contains our officers medals that we wear, well, sometimes wear, and the gavel, home. Too late to go back. Since it was our August meeting, a meeting that we sometimes don't even have, I wasn't too worried about not having the box. I did have to use my hand to pound on the table at the correct times, though. And I did think of Nikita Krueschev(?) back in the day pounding on the table at the United Nations with his shoe. And I really was concentrating on the meeting, really!
All went well, and we finally, I hope got past the issues of the maligned election we had back in June. To make a long sad story short, one member accused another of bad election practices. A letter went out to Supreme. Last night our District Deputy dealt with it in a very professional and timely fashion, end of case. Well, bitterness and anger tried raising it's ugly head after the D.D. had explained and we had straightened out our issues. I was able to cut the conversation off quickly, and in the vacuum left by that say my piece on the matter, which was we are Catholic men, Knights of Columbus and followers of Jesus Christ the Risen Lord. Their will be no witch hunt under my Council. Supreme decided that the matter was closed, and so did I. Done deal, now we move on to do Gods Work. (I almost said if you want to pursue the matter, take it up in the parking lot, but I didn't.) After that we got down to some business, but it's hard with only 13 members there. But all in all, a good meeting.
I learn about myself at these meetings. I know it's because I've never been in this position before and I think my Brother Knights look up to the Grand Knight for leadership, whoever the GK is, and now it just happens to be me. At every turn during the meeting I'm sub-consciously asking Our Lord for guidance, because I most certainly couldn't be doing any of it on my own. I realize I'm learning to ask, to ask him for help in this decision, in that action. I'm only realizing now that it is all a lesson in humility, in humbleness. These actions are bringing me closer to Him, I'm seeing that now. Humbling oneself is very comforting, in a way. Now I can't wait for the next meeting, instead of dreading it. Praise and love God forever!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Another Friday fast...

Our Blessed Virgin Mother calls us, through the visionaries at Medjugorje to "Love, pray and fast." Pretty simple, right? Not so simple. Never simple. After the excitement of discovering the revelations of Our Lady at M. and the beginning of the fasting process, the life of fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, week in and week out, trying to stay focused on the purpose of it all, well, at times it can be difficult. Harsher words than difficult come to mind but I'll refrain. The difficulty has nothing to do with Our Mother, fasting, the bread and water she asks for or even the number of times a week that's involved. It is me. Inside me. The place where the true battles rage on, even on the good days when things are falling into place, those interior battles rage on. Over the years I've tried different ways of 'living' on those days, but none of my approaches seem to last, seem to be able to comfort me as I get through the day. Some may find comfort in a fast day. I think (big word there, think) I'm coming to the realization that my 'comfort' is in my struggle, that in fasting twice a week I'm given a subtle reminder of what is what and who is who. Remember your priorities, k. Your mind doesn't drift too often, but here is a way to stay focused. Here is help from the ancient days. Here is help from Above. Use it.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Summer Fraternity Picnic

Our Secular Franciscan Order had our summer picnic this past Tuesday evening next to a picturesque lake in southern Ma. This is our (my wife and I) third picnic with the Seculars and it really does feel homey. The main dish is grinders, the long ones cut into holdable sizes, and at the end of a long day they sure taste good. H and I never get grinders from take-out, we'll make our own first if we're craving them, so that in itself was a treat. Franciscan style, everybody brings a little something but no one knows what anybody else is bringing. So if we had grinders and 12 plates of brownies, so be it. When Francis and the Brothers went begging each had a large wooden bowl and all the food went into it and at the end of the day all the Brothers sat together and feasted on whatever came back in the bowls. No one knew what they would have at the end of the day, but whatever it was they praised and thanked God for the gift. Such humbleness to Our Lord!
We had only one tray of brownies.
H made a raspberry pie, with berries picked fresh that afternoon. Into the big brown bowl! A big hit with everyone. After the meal, Evening Prayer. For me, an especially moving E.P., with the reading from John just stopping me in my tracks. Today, only the fragrance of the reading is left with me, although I've been meaning to return to it. Something for later...
The Friars left after we sang the first of many old-timey songs, the same ones we always sing. R loves them, so we sing them. After a while more spiritual songs were requested, which we complied with, although on some we were a little rusty. All in all a good evening of coming together as a family, feasting, praying and singing together. Oh yeah, The Divine Mercy was said on the way to the lake by the 4 of us in the car. God is good!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


It has been a while since I've posted, and although a lot has happened, I've come to an impasse as to whether any of it is worth blogging about. My life just isn't exciting enough to warrant constant blogging. I'm boring!

Well, I'm writing now, that means something... Plenty of great things have happened since June 23, and I'm finally formulating them in my mind, which is a good thing. I seem to go through periods of non-speak, or better yet non-blog. Maybe I'm coming out of that now.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What if.......

Just finished reading a couple of articles about parishes in my area that are going to have to share priests, on account of the shortage of priests world wide. It makes me sad, because it seems that every church should have a least one priest, but that, in this day is a dream. Why has it come to this? Is this a divine test of some sort, by God, to weed out the faithful? I don't believe that. The secular world has too many temptations that allow men to stray from the Path of Christ, and some to never return. And to try to find holy men who will step forward from this crowd is becoming harder and harder. So.....
I started thinking. Now I know for sure, and I still feel in my heart that it is not right, but I let my imagination wander a bit, and, especially after reading again an article that told how priests were allowed to marry for about the first 1,000 years(?) of the Church, what, now just what if men who were already married, good, devout catholic men, who for many years have felt the calling to follow Christ, what if those married men were allowed to become priests? And still stay married? I would have to think about that one...
Just something that I've been mulling about...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I've seen other posts about this, but I didn't think I had the problem, but that's usually the first sign that you do have a problem. I have to admit I do daydream at times during The Rosary, morning or evening prayers, praying in general. I think I thought that that little bit of slipping away was normal, but it's not. And I think that's why I've been a bit unsatisfied with my prayer life, and not knowing why. "Pray constantly," it has been said. (ST. Paul.) But at work, in the shop, driving a car in heavy traffic, it's just not going to work. I think for me, the Rosary in the car, contemplative-type prayer while driving will just have to be as good as it turns out. I'm so used to doing it I don't think I could stop, and just listen to the radio. Yech! I'll allot a bit more time for formal prayer in private, or with H. This month has sort of torn me up, mentally, physically and spiritually. So much stuff has happened, worldly things that I try to separate myself from, but these events happen and they suck me in. I become part of them and I feel stretched.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The complaining Grand Knight

It looks like my career as Grand Knight has been stopped in it's tracks. Apparently after the floor nominations and a motion to accept the slate, there was no vote! Crazy stuff, two years in a row now. State will probably shut us down. I am so torn, well, not really even torn, I don't particularly want this assignment at all, but I do believe that the Lord wants me to do this. I would have never said yes if I didn't believe that. I'm not sure how this will play out, the election thing. Plus, T.T. is mad as heck that he didn't get his job as Warden back, he's threatening to quit. Egos must be assuaged.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Rosary

This past Monday evening our Parish had its first Evening Rosary, which consisted of H, myself and two women, one who had never finished a Rosary and one who never says the Rosary out loud. You could say it was a first for both. Although only two people showed up I still deem it a success, as on that beautiful, warm, late spring night two more voices floated up to Heaven in prayer. I hope they return in two weeks, and I hope I can do a better job, act a little bit more confident, etc. I don't think H won't be there to help, (she is much better at explaining things than me. I called the Pearl of the Mystery "the bullet point" DUH!) Regardless, I will continue even if I'm alone, which is a joy in itself. I do hope word gets around and a few more people come. The Virgin Mother says "Pray, pray, pray!", so that is what we will do.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Busy time

What a whirlwind last few days, and tonight more stuff is happenning. At 7:00pm is our first evening Rosary, lead by me. I'm a little nervous, but not much. I feel the guiding hand of Our Virgin Mother with me. I can only hope that people will respond, even just out of curiosity. We will see.
Yesterday we had a small graduation party for Odin and Celena. My parents were there, along with my brother, sister and parts of their families, an aunt, an uncle, friends, etc. Some of Odins buds were able to make it, but most of Celena's friends were working. She took it all in stride, though. O had a great time. Good to see faces and hear laughter from all the relations and friends. Even Father D showed up! What a wonderful blessing for us.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Tonight is our Secular Frnciscan monthly meeting. I have the Omnibus, which I've just read, here at lunch. After the second opening, I read. And as it sometimes happens, something that is murky becomes crystal clear. Lately, for months, really, my spiritual life is, well, murky, for lack of a better word. I think I know what I'm looking for as I travel on the RB50, but then Bang! I'm shown what I've REALLY been looking for the whole time. A confirmation on something that was gnawing at me, a revalation that begins as a dot in the distance and becomes a freight train aiming right at me. Again, it happened with reading Francis. An affIrmation by the Friars becomes MY affirmation. The train has run me down again.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I've been trying to find the right words to convey what happened to me beginning with Lent, through Easter (I know, it's still Easter!) then The Jamaica Trip, next The Retreat and lastly out to Steubenville Ohio and a weekend at Franciscan University. All heady stuff. Well, don't expect anything more, if ever. I have no words for what Our Lord does, or The Father does. Lent was hard in some ways and a relief in others. I like Lent. I like the way it forces me inward, because most of the time I can't focus enough to do it on my own. From Palm Sunday until Easter Sunday I'm frightened and mesmerized at the same time. And then the Jamaican Trip. Being at St. Mary's Above Rocks was, to me living a true Franciscan life. Helping people, total strangers, really praying together, living simply. An experience that I reflect on often, wondering how I can incorporate that same charism into my every day life.
Our Lord is always asking us to come, follow Me, and we hear the call, not with the actual voice of Jesus but in the different events that sweep us in, events that God puts in our path. Sometimes we walk right by, oblivious to our Lord's calling. I was blessed, these past four or five weeks to hear the Quiet Whisper, to feel that wellspring of love rise in me and cut off my speech, stop me in my tracks, many times. Two and a half days of quiet solitude with the Maronite Monks of the Eucharistic Adoration slowed me right down, and turned me inward even more. And then for Heln and I to see my son Odin graduate from Franciscan University, well, that was one of the most proudest moments in my life. Just keep breaking out the tissues!
I didn't start out with much to say but I found a word or two. I'll end this by saying to just keep listening, Our Lord is constantly speaking to us, always showing us the way to him. We must watch and listen.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May 14th, St Mathias, Apostle

"What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see the misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men and women. That is what love looks like."

St. Augustine Of Hippo

I could not of said it better. God calls us all to follow in His Sons' footsteps, to be like His Son, to love like his son. Many times I find myself ignoring the sighs and sorrows of my fellow workers, people I work with every day, and even my own family! I can tell something is wrong but I'm hesitant, I say nothing. Lord, help me to see and react, to be that caring person, to my friends, family and especially to strangers. Please help me to open this stone cold heart...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Man guilt

So Mother's Day has come and gone and my feelings of inadequacy are right up there where they usually are; not feeling like I've done enough for anyone. When it comes to Holidays, Birthdays, anniversaries, you name it, I fail. For all that Our Lord has said about giving you'd think I'd at least have a clue. None. Whether or not I do anything or do nothing, I still feel guilty.
In a slight depression, if I think about it, and if not, it goes away. I think (I shouldn't!) I get caught up in outside issues and these events get in the way of clear thinking. Clear thinking to me is an unaltered path to God. I'm selfish, I admit. When my prayer life becomes interrupted I get cranky. So the events of the last few days have thrown me out of sinc a bit; too bad. As a Franciscan I must learn to be flexible, not static or rigid.

It's probably the head cold that's making me feel bloated and weird, and not anything else at all. Or the 9 hour ride back from Ohio and then the 3 1/2hrs. sleep Sunday night before work on Monday. No complaints! I know it's just the cold, they always knock me for a loop. And writing this all down is helping to wash these feelings away. (Also, I knew I should have steered clear of that doughnut!)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Many Issues...

Last night our Knights of Columbus council had its monthly dinner meeting, consisting of my K of C favorite; meat loaf, mashed potatoes, corn, salad and bread. Yum! And of course, coffee and our gallon of red wine. (2 glasses.) Our Grand Knight has been trying to get me to run for Grand Knight in the upcoming election. At the last meeting I reluctantly told him I'd think about it, more just to appease him (I really do like Herman. He's 93. Yes, 93.) Last night I told everyone no, I will not accept the nomination. But I did agree to Chancellor. (whatever that is. Looks like #3 man.) John H. and I both had to eat and run on account of the last choir rehearsal for the Confirmation Mass tonight. Sadly, it will be the last time we sing together for a while, since H and I only sing with the regular choir on special occasions. We sounded good, or rather Lida said we sounded good, which is all that matters.
Celena has another case of cellulitus(?) starting from an alleged bug bite. She's on meds but I still worry about her all the time. She's mature for her age, big and strong, but still so fragile. I've been praying for her constantly since I awoke; this mornings Rosary I dedicated to her. She goes to the doctor at 1:15.

Monday, May 04, 2009

I'm still trying to come to some type of inner understanding on what took place with me in Jamaica. To say it was a profound spiritual event is just using words that I don't deserve. This trip, this mission and what took place was for me, God showing me something, about myself, other people, my stone cold heart, I don't know. I'm still in the reflection mode. I know it was good. (Ha!, now that's a lame word!) It's almost like one has spent his or her life looking at something with one's head directed in a certain way; then something (the trip) or someone (God) or the combination reaches down and helps to turn the head. A new view has occurred, a new way of thinking emerges, something new from something old.

...more later...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Final Preparations!

Getting ready to leave tomorrow for the Jamaica Mission trip and getting ready is always a trying time for me; I'm not good at tying up the lose ends and whatnot. That I leave to H, and I shouldn't. I have this romantic idea of just throwing a couple of things in a bag and running out the door, like Bilbo Baggins did, following Gandalf and the dwarfs in 'The Hobbit.' Not! I also get real emotional about my daughter, Celena. I know, by a long shot that I haven't lived up to her expectations as a Dad, and I haven't lived up to MY own expectations. We all wish we could have been the perfect dad. I just doesn't happen. So the regrets tear at you, and all the more when its time to part. I just want to watch over her, hold onto her, make sure no harm comes to her, calm her fears. I don't know if I've ever accomplished any of those things. I know she doesn't need me to do any of those things, I'm just a father and I want to, probably just to calm my own insecurities and fears. Odin, on the other hand, I never worry about. His existence on this earth supports me.

I know I'll feel better when I get on the plane.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Last of Days

As we all know, tomorrow begins The Triduum. Lent proper ends after Holy Thursday Mass and the Paschal Fast begins. From what I've read it is a stricter form of fast, which I may just seque into. This Lent has had its ups and downs for me, at times feeling far away but often the Crucifixion appears very close, just outside my field of vision. I wish ( I shouldn't) I could find more quiet time in my life, right now it's just not there. But I'm not here to pick and choose. I'm here to do what the Lord asks of me, and my main job is to listen to Him.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Bearing the Cross

I just read a wonderful story on the internet about two young men from Fairfield University in southern CT who each built a 40lb. cross and then carried them the 22 miles to St. Mary's Church in New Haven. I felt so proud and happy for these men, to show their 'Face of Christ' to all the world that I figured I would leave a comment. After registering, I wrote a very nice (so I thought!) comment, religiously laced and expressing what I thought was a very spiritual view of the event. It must have been a bit too spiritual, because the webmaster immediately deleted it. Gone. Not to post. What did I say so wrong? It's gone, now, I can't even reproduce it. Such a sad time when our true christian views are shut down. And about a religious event, too.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Before I get too far with anything, I must thank the Lord. I don't know of any good way to say it, and saying it really means nothing. I can only thank the Lord by putting on that suit of armor that is Christ, and bring him with me everywhere I go, to help me with every thought I think and with everyone I meet. I forget, His love I drive from my immediate thought sometimes so easily, and I become a whining boy, (yes, a whining boy!) feeling sorry for myself when all around me wonderful things are happening, beautiful Christ-filled people are making the world move, keeping it spinning in place instead of flying off, and I'm a whining boy. Thank you, Lord for the three eye-opening moments these last few days, first with H, then with a pancake and finally with words from the Gospel, written by St. Paul and uttered by a priest. Thank you for planting my feet firmly here on the ground with my eyes turned heavenward, remembering the Cross.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This day started rough. At times my body feels worn out, stiff as heck, especially getting out of bed. Ouch! I asked and He complied. So that complaint is written once and never more.
I haven't talked with C yet, only to say good night after she got home at 10:30 last night. I heard she was a bit rough with the Rabbi but I'm sure he can take it. C is a deep one, and I think she has the room inside of her to let all ideas, be they spiritual or secular, have a home. I know her fairly well, and I know she thinks about things she hears, tossing them around inside. She'll think about the visit with the Rabbi.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thinking of You, Lord, no matter what

I sometimes feel that I'm looking for answers where their are none, or, that that answer hasn't been revealed yet, or something. This especially happens when I'm stressed, when the work day is not right or my daylong prayer is broken and fractured, and time goes by and then I realize, Hey, what have I been doing? Nothing good, it seems. Ignoring our Lord, that's what I've been doing. Those times can make a day seem useless, not really useless, but the day can seem that way.


That was two days ago, and now it's the Feast of the Annunciation of Our Lord, and things look and feel a lot better. Dark funk clouds get a hold of me at times, it's like if I stray just a little bit to either side the dark funk swallows me up. Not a good thing, I'm not complaining about it, it just happens. I figure The Lord has a purpose for it, so I just let it go. I do wish I could hide when it happens though, everyone notices and that's what I hate the most. (Well not hate, really. Too strong a word.) I just silently praise the Lord for all he has given me, the glorious and the grey.

H and C are on their way to see the Rabbi, a wonderful old Rabbi who goes by that name, who holds mini spiritual retreats every Wednesday for basically non-Jews. H normally has to shuttle people to and fro from these events, but C only had a 1/2 day of school which lead to her going with H. Not without complaints, but she went. I sent her a text message saying to forget about yourself for two hours and enjoy the company of God.

She didn't text back, which means she's thinking about it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Try as I might, after this most recent 'event' at work, after my heartfelt and sincere apology to the person I offended, I'm still feeling a cold lump of uneasyness in my chest. Since then this person, even though she said she accepted my apology she really hasn't, and has since refused to speak to me or have any interaction with me unless I initiate the conversation. And even then it is one word answers, dripping with hate. She cannot get passed the forgiveness stage, and maybe I shouldn't even be forgiven but I feel that I'm stuck in a place with no firm ground. I know I must move forward but I really don't want to leave this person behind. I felt that, a long time ago the Blessed Virgin Mother asked me to look after her, do whatever she asked of me, and I have. But my skin is not thick, and she can be, in my opinion, mean at times. I get no closer to an answer through prayer, I just seem to dance around the issue but get no closer.

Maybe this is as close as I can get.

St. Francis, walk with me today, be at my side and help me be humble, more humble than I've ever been.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Thoughts on Lent...

With the focus on, for me, the different aspects of Lent (fasting, prayer, penance) a quietness has settled in on me, as if the world of noise and distraction has been turned down a notch. Still, little things pull me away from God, and I find I'm constantly hammering at myself for for stumbling. I'm not very good at work, my buttons get pushed to easily and then I find myself in a place I shouldn't be. My workplace brings out the worst in me, I realize that now. It is a challenge everyday to see the Lord Jesus before me.

I fail constantly.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


So Lent begins...

A friend gave me a small calendar, 'My Lenten Daily Devotions'. Each tearoff has the date, a Gospel reading for the day, etc. Near the bottom of the page is a reading. My Offering to God: "I will anonymously do something kind for someone. "

I hope I can.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Night Willies

What is with the dreams, all of a sudden? Not just forgettable dreams but ones that have been turning out wrong, dreams that challenge me. I don't ever remember dreaming of nuns, priests, brothers or sisters but I am now. And a man that I haven't seen in years dressed as a priest. Not good dreams. It's like I have to stay awake during the dream to keep myself out of trouble.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday, in the middle of the long haul between New Years' and Easter. That's how the work time frame is viewed here in the shop, the time one works continually between holidays. It's sad, but a reality. I find myself thinking that way at times, knowing full well I shouldn't. I'm still dealing with inner issues that, often enough, freeze me in a place that I can't get out of. At times my prayers are answered in a way that I can see first hand but mostly God is hidden, hidden behind myself. I know myself is what I must get rid of, lay at Our Lords feet and say here, here it is, I can't handle it anymore! The baggage is just too much.
I'm trying, everyday I try.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Thursdays are good days for me. I have the 5-6pm hour for spending time with Our Lord in Adoration. After about 10-15 minutes I'm the only one left in the church. If I can unwind and quiet myself enough the silence inside and out is truly God sent.
This week was no different.
Then, H and I have the 6-7pm hour on First Friday, at All Saints Church, Somers. This week we recieved a call on Wed. night asking if we could fill in for the 1-2am slot also.
We accepted the invitation, without hesitation.
We've always wanted to to an overnight slot, and it was beautiful.. We read the Office provided for us, which took the whole hour, and I mentioned that I did'nt think that was right, I thought we read too much. We'll get it right.
Then, up at 5:30am for Rosary at the church before Reposition, then First Saturday Mass. All beautiful, beautiful. And to do it with my companion through life, my wife H.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I never left, but I'm back

Back up and running after a long delay.