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.