Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Our Father...

Outside early this morning.

I once heard that Catholics say prayers and Protestants pray.  For most of my life... I always thought.... maybe other denominations were on to something in the way they prayed to God.  They have this way of outwardly praying to God that's energetic... less formal and seems to come out quite naturally.  Now as I look back... I can see the power of reciting 
 the Lords Prayer that Jesus gave us. 
Years ago... my dad was in the hospital.  It was a rough sleepless night for him and it was approaching dawn.  He asked me to pray the Our Father with him.  We both prayed and I couldn't help but notice that after we prayed... he finally peacefully drifted off to sleep.   
At my husbands grandfather's funeral... we talked to an aide from the assisted living home where grandpa had lived.  Grandpa asked this aide to recite the the Lord's Prayer with him and kiss him on the forehead each night.  Because.... that's what he and grandma used to do throughout their marriage before she passed. 
My mom had a stroke years later and she was in intensive care before she passed away.  She barely spoke.  One evening... my siblings and I decided to say the Our Father with her.  Not missing a beat... she recited the whole prayer with us.  It was something that I'll never forget.    
Now...when I say the Our Father at mass...I feel this undying beautiful bond with my parent's.
  Those golden moments... as difficult as they were.... praying the Our Father with my loved ones... have proven to be a blessing and a gift from God.   I shall cherish those memories for the rest of my life.   I can't help but to be in awe and thankful to the aide that showed an act of kindness towards grandpa.  I believe through her... he experienced the presence of God.
Looking past the grief from these last 15 years.... 
I understand now...what the bigger picture was through this powerful prayer.

Today's Gospel Reading:  Mt 6:7-15

Jesus said to his disciples:
"In praying, do not babble like the pagans,
who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them.
Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

"This is how you are to pray:

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

"If you forgive men their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive men,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions."

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Our church.
Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.
~Mother Teresa
If you don't feel Jesus. If you're lonely... go to reconciliation and feel the forgiveness of Jesus. Receive Holy Eucharist and receive the body and blood of Christ. The Sacraments give us tangible ways to feel God.   He gives us these special gifts through his church.  It really is awesome!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Mother Dolores Hart

A few weeks ago I caught an interview on Catholic radio with then Archbishop and now Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Mother Dolores.   I thought her story was interesting.   Today I came a cross an article written about her.  I'd like to share it with you.

Love Me Tender: Mother Dolores Hart on Elvis, her Big Bang Theory of Sexuality, and her Oscar-nominated short ‘God Is the Bigger Elvis’ | Coverage of The 84th Annual Academy Awards®

By Thelma Adams
Yahoo! Movies

Photo: Everett Collection/Getty Images
Look up Dolores Hart on IMDB -- and prepare to be wowed. Hart, a Hollywood brat discovered while attending Marymount College, starred opposite Elvis in "Loving You" (1957). George Cukor directed her and Anna Magnani in "Wild is the Wind" (1957). The future prioress starred in the cult favorite "Where the Boys Are" (1960) -- and even played a nun in Michael Curtiz's "Francis of Assisi" (1961). And then, in 1963, at age 24 on the verge of marriage and following the premiere of her final feature, "Come Fly With Me," this leading lady who had been compared to Grace Kelly and kissed "the King" on screen, entered the Benedictine Abbey of Regina Laudis in Connecticut.
Yes, the Hollywood star gave up the spotlight for God. According to the Oscar-nominated documentary short, "God is the Bigger Elvis," Hart discovered an inner peace and contentment in the cloister that had been absent on stage and screen, and in her engagement to California businessman Don Robinson. Hart has confessed it's tough explaining the change in vocation, but has described it as: "Falling in love. One falls in love with the Lord." Now, the feisty 73-year-old Prioress, Mother Dolores Hart, will not only attend the Oscars this weekend, she voted for them. She's the only nun currently a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Thelma Adams: Why did you agree to make "God Is the Bigger Elvis" for HBO?
Mother Dolores Hart: About two years ago I was taken to Washington, D.C., by a friend of mine for another reason and there I met the now-deceased Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the delegate of the Holy See. When I walked into the office, he stretched out his arms to me and said "Mother Dolores, we would like to make a film on consecrated life." But Your Excellency, I don't have any contacts, I said. I'm no longer a part of the motion picture industry, and I am an enclosed nun. And he said "The Lord will provide." I said I'm sorry, I can't do it. He said, "Pray about this. I'm sure something will happen because the world needs to know about enclosed life." He said, "They really don't know about consecrated life." And we talked for at least two hours, and he showed me his home, and took me to see all the beautiful art pieces that he had, and walked me to my car, which has never happened to me before. I told this to the abbey, and the abbess, and two days later HBO called me -- and neither one had been in touch with the other. We were floored. It was obviously somebody upstairs.
TA: And you don't mean Jeffrey Katzenberg.
See all the Oscar nominees MDH: [laughs] Only the Lord! Obviously, we have to do it. We had never opened the doors of the abbey to this sort of interview, not since we were founded in 1946.
TA: Had any filmmakers ever contacted you personally since you joined the cloister in 1963?
MDH: Of course, but I always had to say no. It wasn't possible. Here was a new precedent, and there was a new reason. The request had come from…it was a request that we couldn't deny
TA: It sounds like "The Godfather."
MDH: So, yes, we said we could do it, and we've never regretted it. HBO could not have been more reverent, centered, and gentle and more really focused in what they were doing. I think they were more frightened than we were. I think Sheila Nevins prepared her group with all of the elegance and creativity of a mother superior.
TA: What did you want to achieve? What did you want people to know?
MDH: We wanted them to take away the truth as they could perceive it. We hoped that they would, by coming into the reality of an experience, find themselves connected to something that would make sense to them. We didn't set up an idea ahead of time. That would deny the Holy Spirit his opportunity to teach them, for them to experience what was for them to experience. We wanted to be there as the conduit, because I believe that every good teacher is meant to be the open book so that those who come in can find what they must learn to help them to know what is true.
TA: One of the fascinating aspects of cloistered life the movie reveals is that sexuality doesn't end at the cloister doors -- but perhaps our notion of it does. One nun discusses her union with others when singing, for example….
MDH: One of the key factors is that in all generations, in every generation, ever since Rome, sexuality has always been understood in one dimension, and that's always been carnality of the experience of the male and female exploitation of one another. That's always the limitation of sexuality, but I think that anyone who really knows what love is, you know that sexuality has the fullness of the human experience of love -- that's not limited to one or two bangs in bed. That's not what it means. And, if it does, I think the human beings are really lost and caught in a terrible network of limitation and psychological doom, because what is our life worth?
Anyone who has ever had a true marriage knows that your sexuality has to go far beyond and into a meaningfulness that allows for a total life experience that covers every aspect, in which one's sexuality covers the total experience of one's being in a love relationship. Now what I'm speaking of, as I know and understand the world of matrimonial sex, but then you take that even beyond those experiences of a marriage -- there is another dimension of marriage and that's the marriage that lives within the corporate level, in which those relationships that we know, and we treasure in our bonds of deep relationships beyond the one-on-one of marriage. And all of us, if we are honest in our heart, we know that we have many of those and we demand in our hearts a fruition of those relationships.
TA: We often hear people complaining that contemporary life moves too fast. "God Is the Bigger Elvis" conveys that speed is a choice.
MDH: It's a choice, and even as I saw every film that was nominated in my category, I thought to myself every film deserves to win because every film brings forth a cry for an honest experience of sexuality.
TA: It's a rich category: "Incident in New Baghdad," "Saving Face," "The Barber of Birmingham," and "The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom."
MDH: That was what amazed me, because each one demanded an honest sexual response in people, in the person, in the network of relationships, in Iraq, in Baghdad. Each one said, "Will there be a true experience?" When they're throwing acid in the face of your spouse, that was horrendous, that drives you to say that, yes, there must be an honest sexuality demanded. And I said to myself when I left the theater, "This is why I came into this whole situation," because we must pray for each one of these situations. Each one deserves the fullness of prayer to be answered. This is why we're here, because we must pray for these persons to be given the gold.
TA: OK, Mother Dolores, given your film's title, I have to ask: What was Elvis really like?
MDH: He was the gold, in that day and age. It was amazing, an unbelievable gift to me as a 19-year-old. The gift was an opportunity. Of course, I didn't know what I had been given. I didn't know who he was. I loved movies, I didn't know anything about songs or singing, so I went to meet him…
TA: To audition for the part as his love interest in "Loving You"…
MDH: I went back to Marymount College and said I was working with Elvis Presley, and the girls screamed and asked if I'd taken a lock of his hair. They said, "You are crazy. Don't you understand?" And I said "no."
I really didn't because I was not following rock and roll. When I met Elvis, I met a very sweet and very courteous young man who jumped to his feet and said 'Hello," and "How do you do, Miss Dolores?" I was very touched by his courtesy and honesty, and I thought immediately I would like this fellow. But I was not impressed by a famous rock and roll singer who was just on Ed Sullivan, or as one of my sisters here said, "Al Sullivan."
TA: What co-star made the biggest impression on you?
MDH: I think Anna Magnani.
TA: Why?
DH (pausing to think for a few beats): In one afternoon, I think she taught me how to be an actress. We had a wonderful scene in "Wild Is the Wind," a scene under a tree. It took us from 2 in the afternoon to 8 at night to do that scene. She didn't want me in the film to begin with -- she accepted me, she tolerated me. She couldn't believe this white, blue-eyed actress was going to come up with anything, but she yanked me through it, roughed-and-tumbled me through this scene. Before we started the morning, she said to George Cukor, and he said, "She will learn the scene in Italian by 2 o'clock." We absolutely plowed through that scene.
Well, flash forward about three years; I was in a studio acting class and Jeff Corey was working me out. I was now bleached blond for the part, like Grace Kelly, and he said, "You are not working well in this scene. Go down the street. There is this foreign film with Anna Magnani, and I'd like you to look at it because she's working there with a young girl and she is terrific, and you can learn more about yourself, and you can learn more about acting." I said, "Jeff, that was me three years ago." I'm going to quit acting classes, and I'm going to learn what I learned from Anna and go back to my instincts. To study acting was the worst possible thing I could have done. The best thing to stay with what she taught me was to follow what was in your heart and what your instincts tell you. That is what she was doing and she was great. TA: You followed your heart right into the cloister.
DH: And that was about it. Thank you, Anna. You're right on track.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

This Journey

Summer morning walk in Saratoga State Park

During these next 40 days we're asked to fast so we can be filled up spiritually.  It's a time to build my spiritual muscle.  On my journey...I hope to set aside extra quite time each day... enabling me to pray more...attend daily mass more... attend adoration... more reading of scripture...and receiving the sacraments regularly.  If I fall short from time to time...I'll try not to feel discourgaed but I'll continue my journey.   For me...it's all about getting closer to Christ and feeling His presence.       

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


The use of ashes as a sign of penitence and remorse is rooted in Jewish tradition.
This Jewish penitential practice carried over into Christianity.  In one early Church custom dating back to the the fourth century...those who had committed serious sin would present themselves to their bishop on Ash Wednesday and he sprinkled ashes onto their hair shirts (early hair shirts were made from sackcloth or coarse animal hair so that they irritated the skin and created discomfort).

  The penitent would then spend the rest of Lent wearing the hair shirt as a public display of sinfulness.
The Ash Wednesday custom of placing ashes on the forehead became universal in the 11th century.  In the 12th century...the practice began of burning the palm branches of the previous year to make the ashes.
After the 16th century Reformation...most Protestant churches did away with this custom.  However...in recent decades...Lutheran...Presbyterian...Methodist and Episcopal churches have reinstated the use of ashes as part of their liturgical renewal.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I look at the crucifix hanging on the wall in our home.   My husband and I have had that crucifix since the day we were married and I see something is right with our marriage. We're in union with Jesus Christ.  There has always been three in our marriage. Just like there are three persons in one God.  Just like there are three entities within a family...father, mother and child. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

US Catholic Church...How many Catholics vs. priests, nuns and deacons through out history?

This year our parish is celebrating its 150th anniversary.  Last night....as part of the celebration....  Father talked about the history of the Catholic church in America.  One of the topics he touched on was the number of Catholics vs. priests, sisters and deacons though out our nations history.  I find his stats interesting.  It's clear to see that the lay are becoming a greater presence in the church.  Here's a quick look.  With European immigrants flooding in to the US....the Catholic population surged from 1850's - 1920's.  A record number of Catholics enlisted during WWII and after the war they took advantage of the GI Bill.  They became more educated and moved out to the suburbs.  President Kennedy was elected as the first Catholic President signifying the acceptance of Catholics.  Around 1965 the Catholic population blossomed and then started to slow down.

Friday, February 10, 2012


                  Author Victor S E Moubarak posted this homily on his blog Time For Reflections.  I'd like to pass it on to you.

Father Francis Maple
Homily from Fr Francis for the 26th Sunday of the year.

Mark 9: 38-43, 47-48

I was once giving a parish Mission and I remember knocking on the door of one home. The moment I entered I sensed a very unhappy, cold atmosphere.Something wasn't right. If I spoke to the husband, the wife didn't exist. If I spoke to the wife, the husband didn't exist. You could sense that there was no communication between them. There was a coldness and hostility. After being with them for 15 minutes I decided to move on to the next Catholic home. The husband saw me to the door and said, "Father, do you ever preach on Hell?" I said, "I do." "Then whenever you preach on Hell in the future always use the example of my wife and I, because in this house there is no love. It is a living Hell. We live our separate lives under one roof. We just can't stand each other's company. We cook our own meals and eat on our own. I have my own living room and bedroom and she has hers. We decided to live like this for the last twelve years. We agreed that going through a divorce is too much trouble. I tell you, Father, living like this is like living in Hell. So when you next preach on Hell use us as an example because there is no love in our home. That is precisely what Hell is! There is a complete breakdown in our relationship."

That man went to the heart of the matter of Hell when he said it was a place where no love exists. I have heard some Catholics say there is no Hell. How can a loving God create such a place? We Catholics must believe that Hell exists. Jesus Himself refers to its existence when He says, "Fear Him, (meaning God,) who has power to cast body and soul into Hell." Hell is the home of Satan and his fallen angels. Is there anyone else in Hell? We just don't know, but Jesus in His parable of the Sheep and Goats warns us that we could find ourselves in Hell if we don't love. He described the sending of those to Hell in these words, "Depart from Me into the fire of Hell prepared for the devil and His angels." Those words indicate that there has been a complete breakdown in people's relationship with God and their neighbour.

What is Hell like? No one knows exactly, because no one has ever come back from Hell to describe it for us. Jesus speaks of Hell in terms of everlasting fire. It is not the fire we see at a barbecue or a bonfire.That fire could not afflict the soul, which is a spirit. To be thrown into fire causes extreme pain and fire is mentioned to indicate the extreme suffering one will experience in Hell. The real excruciating suffering in Hell is the pain of loss. The pain of loss is the eternal separation from God, which constitutes the worst of Hell's suffering. The persons in Hell know that the only Person who can make them happy is God and yet they hate Him. Hell is being fully aware that God is waiting for us with open arms and we can never be with Him through our own fault because we have rejected him. It is similar to the ache in the heart of lovers who are separated. All they want is to be with each other, but this is impossible. That pain is nothing compared to the pain of never again being able to love and possess God.

There has to be a tremendous loneliness in Hell, hating God, hating everyone and hating yourself. It is no good thinking if your friend goes to Hell that you will be able to enjoy each other’s company and console each other. You will be hating each other, wishing you could just turn back the clock and be given another chance to love God and your neighbour. My Mum used to tell us, in Hell there is a clock, which ticks and says, "Forever and ever! Forever and ever!" No picture can paint the reality of Hell. May God forbid anyone of us going there!

I love this illustration of the difference between Heaven and Hell. A man dies and was first shown Hell. He saw everyone sitting at a sumptuous banquet with the finest food and drink, but was surprised to see that everyone was starving. Then he noticed a weak man trying to feed himself. He couldn't, for the forks, spoons and knives were all six foot long and he couldn't get the food to his mouth. Next he was shown Heaven and there he saw exactly the same scene, a sumptuous banquet. But here no one was starving. He noticed when anyone was hungry the person opposite just picked up their spoon and fed them. In Hell there is only hate and selfishness, but in Heaven there is only love and thoughtfulness.

I think of a life as a tree. If a tree leans in one direction when it dies it will fall in that direction. It is not going to fall in the opposite direction. So, too, with our lives. If all the time we are leaning towards God, very likely, with God's grace we shall fall into His arms when we die. But if our lives never point to God, it is very likely that when we die we shall die in enmity with God.

In fact I would advocate that you try to attend daily Mass as the best way of expressing love for God. If you want to avoid Hell make sure you have in your heart love for God and your neighbour. Remember that each of us is one of God's children. He never wants to lose any and would never send anyone to Hell. If someone goes there it will be because of the life which that person has chosen to live. Should we go to Hell it must break His heart. Knowing this a prayer I like to say very often is, "Heavenly Father, do not consider what we truly deserve, but forgive us our sins and lead us all to Heaven to be happy with You forever."

I'll be linking this post to Sunday Snippets -- A Catholic Carnival 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Perfect Healing

Saint Padre Pio Chapel at St. Mary's Pro-Catholic Chruch...Dublin, Ireland

Through out my life... I've asked Jesus to heal many people physically.  Many times those prayers for healings weren't answered.  Or...were they?
As time passes...it's becoming clearer to me.  Jesus heals what most needs to be healed.
It's the perfect healing.
It's spiritual healing.

I prayed for strength and
I got pain to make me strong.
I prayed for courage and
I got fear to overcome.
I prayed for faith and
my empty heart brought me to my knees.
I don't always get what I want...
I get what I need.
~Collin Raye

"This plan of mine is not what you would work out, neither are my thoughts the same as yours!  For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than yours, and my thoughts than yours."
Isaiah 55:8-9

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lake Ontario..Niagara on the Lake, Canada... 'summer of 2011'

While watching Father Phillip Scott on Women of Grace... he explained that when he was kidnapped and held at gunpoint in Peru... he saw a light and he felt at peace.  Infact so at peace... that he wanted to die.  He didn't end up dying though.   In his talks around the country... he tells about his ordeal and the wonderful spiritual insights that he gained during his capture.                                   

'The distance between our life and heaven is only a thread.  Our life and heaven mesh during the mass in receiving the Holy Eucharist.'
~Father Phillip Scott