Tag: Faith

Small Towns Do Big Things (aka, America Is OK)

 

A text from my sister prompted this post.  She lives in a small, rural mountain town in Maryland.  It read as follows: “We had a luncheon after church for our lead singer/guitarist.  He is moving to Williamsburg, VA.  We are also taking a collection for a church in the Kentucky floods.  A couple is going down to take the supplies and funds.”

I asked my sister, is that the chubby guy that sings? I remembered him, as I watched those church services online during Covid.  Her pastor’s very encouraging and passionate sermons were an inspiration during that time, and I remembered this talented musician.

Here’s a sample about six minutes into the video:

A Hand Holding Back a Tidal Wave

 

A story crossed my email from Crisis Magazine worth reading.  It presents the life of a lowly servant in the trenches – holding up a hand against evil, trying to protect an enormous flock of young, abused girls in Mexico.  The powerful hand is attached to the body of a thin, older priest named Father Dan Leary. Here is an excerpt:

A single American priest, Fr. Dan Leary, has worked seventeen-hour days the past several weeks to spiritually and mentally prepare the teenage girls for what might await them in some of the most dangerous towns in the world. Long hours are not uncommon to Fr. Leary; he has no days off. Seventeen- and eighteen-hour days are standard.

The girls have learned how to protect themselves against the evil ones; they’ve been sent out as warriors who understand the spiritual battle,” Fr. Leary said. “They have exorcised water and salt. They will be praying their rosaries on break; they’ll be walking to daily Mass in their villages, they will be in prayer. They know God is with them to protect them, moment by moment.

‘Evil’ Season 3 and Why I’m a Better Catholic for Watching It

 

I’m going to keep this short, sweet, and to the point. I’m a failed Catholic. We all are, in that none of us are perfect. I didn’t get married in the Church because the bureaucracy makes me angry. I’m frustrated by marriage preparation and timelines and insistence upon brick and mortar … unless you have enough money.

And so, I was married by a former Catholic priest with similar gripes. With my family, under the sky and a canopy of sequoias, I stated the same vows I would have in the Church but still with a man sanctified and called by God.

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We have a 24/7 classical music station, via public broadcasting, and on late Sunday afternoons, a wonderful program comes on.  It highlights young classical musicians from all walks of life.  They sheepishly talk about their influences, inspiration for the piece they are presenting (sometimes written by themselves), while sharing their culture and challenges. The host […]

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Reading the Signs: Time to Turn Around

 

I saw the headlines on the Texas elementary school shooting flash on the TV screen, like most of you. My husband said, “I don’t want you to see this.” It didn’t work. I laid awake with my own mental pictures and tried to put the pieces of a distorted, senseless, fragmented, and tragic puzzle together. The pieces didn’t fit. I read the story this morning — an 18-year-old Hispanic boy who had a dark, online life and somehow acquired guns.

As I read the story in detail, the same responses came after … guns and the foul gun lobby, then celebrity comments like, “We can do better.” It’s sick. Since this ugliness continues, we are obviously not doing better. Not even close. I thought about a boy who became a stoic monster, with no feeling or expression on his face — who had nothing to live for and wanted to cause tremendous pain. Where did he live? Was he pushed across an open border with nothing and sucked up by a ruthless gang? Where are his parents right now? I want to know these things because he can’t be the only one. Texas has a big border — and they keep sounding the alarm to deaf ears.

I thought about Davos, Switzerland, because we’re told the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” is on our doorstep — get ready. Klaus Schwab and all the drivers of the great digital, technological, marvelous age soon to come are piled up together, weaving their New World Order. Part of that is “order” is the allure of endless social media, where this boy wanted pictures of guns posted — where he was rambling to people he didn’t know to post his pictures.

Spiritual Chemistry

 

In the next couple of weeks, a very dear friend of mine and her husband who live here in Florida are moving to Indiana. (Yes, they know how cold the winters will be!) They are moving for what I think are sensible reasons—anticipating aging, health difficulties, and wanting to be with one of their sons and his family.

And I will miss her so very much.

We met when Eileen responded to a notice I put out for people to join a meditation group I was forming. The moment we met, we clicked. She was not a regular participant, but came often enough for us to get to know each other. Although superficially we didn’t have a lot in common (although we were Conservatives, which is a very big deal), we shared many values about life, relationships, and marriage.

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We’re renting a house while our new home is completed. We sold our last house on a whim, not thinking it would go anywhere, but the current real estate market threw the rule book out the window. We were stunned that our crazy asking price was met within 36 hours, cash offer above asking price.  […]

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The world is once again, profoundly different than just a week ago as Russian forces moved into Ukraine.  Pictures of war in Europe on this scale, not seen since WWII, fill every news outlet.  It feels like the beginning of something that cannot be stopped. It even looks and sounds like an old movie from […]

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How often is it that we hesitate to do the right thing, the thing that would have been a no-brainer not so long ago, but now stops us in our tracks to consider it first, a pause that leads us to entertain a bazillion fears about what might happen … if … we … stood […]

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I’ve been wanting to do the Ancestry research for awhile, even the DNA thing and held off.  I think I want to go ahead and do it, and share with my sister as part of a special Christmas gift.  Can anyone suggest their successes (or not) with this research?  Are there different levels and were […]

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Discerning the Lord’s Voice

 

St Ignatius of Loyola, Father General of the Jesuit order, prepared a guide to help Christians distinguish the voice of God in their hearts and minds from other voices during prayer. Those others are one’s own voice (reason and imagination), the voice of the world (learned expectations and concerns), and the demonic voices which seek to confuse, isolate, embitter, and discourage. St Ignatius insightfully recognized that evil spirits attack a person differently in moments of weakness than in moments of strength. A summary of his rules can be found here

To that timeless advice, allow me to add a few further thoughts. 

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Lion of Judah on the throneI shout Your name, let it be knownThat You are the King of kingsYou are the Prince of PeaceMay Your kingdom’s reign never ceaseHail to the King! In the book of Genesis, there’s a repeated theme throughout the book that is perhaps my favorite theme in all of scripture. The […]

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They say COVID was and is an “opportunity” to “Build Back Better”. This is the mantra of the World Economic Forum, our current president and other world leaders.  It includes many goals that seem good, even virtuous and “inevitable”. I appreciate learning. I also don’t want to become an older person who is closed-minded to […]

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Everything Changes

 

Today I visited the woman who made me bald. Well, that’s not totally true. When my hair began to fall out in clumps, which is a really gross experience, I figured I would look less gross as a bald woman. So, I called Karen, my hairdresser to take it off—take it all off.

To digress for a moment, Karen is a very special person (although she might deny my description of her). She is a devoted Christian, a firm conservative and is fearless about speaking what is true for her. One day a couple of years ago I mentioned I was a Jew. She was delighted to hear it; her eyes lit up with anticipation. That very day she asked me if she could ask me questions about Judaism, and I said, of course! I can’t remember what our first conversation was about, but I do remember the tenor of our exchange. Her curiosity, follow-on questions, and even her comments about the practices of Christianity and how they related to Judaism (or didn’t) were steeped in sincerity and delight. Never once did I feel uncomfortable about her questions or motives.

Are You Going Back to Life the Same Way – Post-Covid?

 

Are you going back to your life the same way, post-Covid and now Covid 2.0?  I ask because I think many are not. I’m not.  Getting back to normal is like after 9/11, a new normal. It may be a good thing.  Let’s examine this more closely.

First (and this is a big one), parents have gotten an up front and center view of what their children, starting in kindergarten, have been being taught. Climate Change, Critical Race Theory, White Privilege, multi-gender identities, indoctrination on a massive scale, that take the parents’ boundaries out, along with reading, writing, math, art, sports, science, and literature as the priority, and placing the focus on an extreme progressive ideology.  At any rate, at least parents are aware and can take steps to do what is best for their children and family.  Prior to Covid, many were unaware of what was taking place within our schools, within teachers’ unions, and even the innocent library.

Where We Do Not Wish to Go

 

“Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were young you used to fasten your own belt and you would go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will put a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (John 21:18, New Catholic Bible)

I attended a Catholic Mass this past week to watch a cousin graduate from 8th grade and move up to high school. While I haven’t been a Catholic for 40 years, it’s still pleasant to listen occasionally to the familiar old service. The Church made changes to the liturgical responses a decade or so ago, and I find it a little jarring to hear something slightly different from the words I memorized in my youth; if not for that, I’d still be able to recite the responses correctly, even after all these years.

The Temptation to Doubt: Was it God … or Just a Thing?

 

I didn’t sleep much last night, which isn’t very different from every other night, but last night I had something new on my mind. Images of my mother’s ravaged body after decades of experimental drugs administered by heinous injections intended to treat her RA, which they did, but they also slowly killed her off in so many other ways.

She was hospitalized in the late ‘90s, and while still in what would be a weeks-long coma, I stood alone at her bedside in the ICU shortly after she’d suffered a severe brainstem stroke. Being the self-righteous prig that I sometimes was back then (and still can be now), I said something like, “Well Mom, this is how things go when you make poor choices.”

Yes, I really said that … or something close to that.

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“Faith does not, in the realist, spring from the miracle but the miracle from faith. If the realist once believes, then he is bound by his very realism to admit the miraculous also. The Apostle Thomas said that he would not believe till he saw, but when he did see he said, “My Lord and […]

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Is Palm Sunday Still Honored?

 

Today is a holy day among Christians, at least it used to be. Palm Sunday was always featured in headlines and honored.  The only headline I saw this morning was a bombing in Indonesia during a Palm Sunday Mass, with fatalities. Does the world still stop on this day, and think about its significance?

In Matthew’s recounting of the entrance into Jerusalem, Matthew specifically draws attention to a number of Old Testament prophecies being fulfilled in Jesus.

In the first verse of Matthew’s recounting of the entrance into Jerusalem, we hear that Jesus and the disciples were in Bethpage. Bethpage is one of the last villages on the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, and is located on the Mount of Olives.

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The individuals who rise to national prominence here in the U.S. puzzle me with their apparent mediocrity–the lackluster communication skills (or slick speaking ability devoid of content), the lack of clear principles, the absence of fresh ideas. I find it frustrating that we can’t elect strong, principled leaders in a country of more than 300 […]

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