Sunday, August 15, 2010

Courtney and the Feast of the Assumption

The daughter of a good friend died on this date 32 years ago. Since I have been aware of this, her death and the feast of the Assumption have been for me inextricably linked. Fr. Tim today spoke of the hope and trust that we can have that what God did for Mary through her son, he will do for us through that same son.

And it is indeed my belief that an innocent nine-year-old girl has, like Mary, entered into all joy, and will at a point outside of time, be reunited with the dad who misses her still.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A walk

This morning's walk around the park was not unusual, really, but there did seem more things than usual that caught my attention: The delicately colored sunrise with edges of clouds gleaming and rays of light pouring forth; the pale female cardinal, the first I've spotted in weeks; the horde of ants, thousands maybe, crossing at a point in the park path with an unknown purpose; the entire flock of sparrows, startled by me, who with a whooshing sound flew out of the huge bush in someone's backyard.

These things reminded me, in one way or another, of God. The park is sometimes my church, and these things today were my sacramentals. And it's the Catholic church that has taught me to see the world in this way.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The world is about to turn.

Last night I took my Catholic self over to church once again to rehearse the songs that eventually get stuck in my subconsciousness. In his planning Paul had worried about whether two different settings of the Gospel text were overkill. Nah. How can you go wrong with the Magnificat, especially when both versions with their Irish melodies are a joy to sing? It's questionable whether Mary actually prayed the canticle that echo Hannah's song. But even if the evangelist gave them to her, the words are no less a marvelous expression of the confidence in God to make things right and to bring justice to the world.

And so in the singing, my own confidence was strengthened, something needed after days of news reports of the world's maladies, including the dire consequences of severe flooding in various places.

It is my Catholic upbringing that causes me to ask, no longer if, but how I am called to be an instrument of God in effecting needed change in the world.  As one small step in trying to answer that question, my next stop will be the Catholic Relief Services website.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Very often for no particular reason, my head will be filled with snippets of song. Most often it turns out to be liturgical music, maybe because I am so much engaged with it twice a week. It's the intersection between music and prayer, I guess.

Today as I walked around the park, what came to me was the Gospel Acclamation we've used most recently. Maybe it said something about my frame of mind early today that the song that came to mind was, "Alleluia."

Sunday, August 8, 2010

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today's gospel and homily got me wondering about how much I really trust God.

Another thought still with me as the sun is in the process of setting has to do with the global aspect of this church I belong to. For one thing, our parish is currently served by Indian Pallottines. I became a tiny bit more acquainted with a culture very foreign to me with the three years Fr. Ralph spent here as our pastor.

And this morning, as happens each year, the preaching (and presiding today as well) were entrusted to a missionary priest. This guy was from Ohio but belongs to an order serving in twelve countries. In addition to making some good connections with the Scripture, he spoke of the good work of his congregation and of their needs in furthering that ministry. I hope that our parish responded well in helping our brothers and sisters in other lands.

As for us, we had not brought money to church, but we can fill an envelope next week. And how much will we decide we can part with? Sometimes I think that question has a lot to do with how much we trust God.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


The other day my daughter was talking to me about decisions she needs to make regarding what she will do immediately after her college graduation next spring. Among other words, I encouraged her to listen to her feelings in trying to determine a direction. I also added TMI about St. Ignatius of Loyola.

It is St. Ignatius, another Catholic guy, who has most influenced the way I look at how to go about deciding important things.

The bombings

The anniversaries of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are coming up. I know this because of a couple of e-mails with background information and action suggestions sitting in my inbox, and because I received an invitation to an observance. Members of a local Pax Christi group are going to fast today, and this evening get together for Mass, a renewal of their vow of nonviolence and then a meal together.

I can't attend, but I said I might fast to join them in that way. I don't know how it will work out with food, but I think that I will do this: I will fast from Facebook for the rest of the day. It's been taking hold of me somewhat lately! And at some point during the day I will pay some attention to those e-mails.

So my reflection about war and peace today will come about through Catholic sources because of a once-Catholic person that I met almost a year ago when a Catholic organization planned a conference at my Catholic place of work.

Tuesday of the 18th week

I went to Mass yesterday, something I do occasionally in the summer. On Tuesdays the summer rotation of the local parishes brings it to my church, the church around the corner. Sr. Margretta caught me going in about two minutes before Mass was to start and asked me to read, so that she could get on to the conference she is attending this week. I usually like to prepare readings a bit! But I'm fairly experienced and I think it was okay.

At this particular Mass I was moved more than usual, for reasons that to a certain extent are known only to God, I think! It had to do with a confluence of events, recent reading, the state of my spiritual life, and my presence at this particular liturgy.

The Gospel was about Peter walking on water. "Keep your eyes on Jesus," is what the homilist had to say to me.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

18th Sunday

Of course, a very big influence of being Catholic happens every Sunday when we gather for the Eucharistic liturgy. Perhaps I will have some thoughts about that each week. There is actually a lot I could say about today, but I'll try to pick out one thing. The homily reminded me that we should not let possessions "own us," but should own them and use them to build the Kingdom of God. The presider also mentioned the poor, and how when we get wrapped up in taking care of our stuff, we can neglect those who don't have the stuff they need (well, I am paraphrasing).

So, those are thoughts to carry with me into the week. I like when the poor are spoken of. I like when a homily challenges me. If I get challenged enough, I might act. A person responding to the post on my first blog wondered why we needed "a vengeful, judging creature" to tell us what to do when we should just do it because it's the right thing. Of course, that is not how I see God. And I won't speak for any other person but myself: I know my selfish tendencies, and that I need some help, and quite a lot of it at times, to both see what the right thing is, and to do it.