Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Dan Hickey.
Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it. —Einstein
In May of 2011, while scanning the Long Island Sound on the top deck of the Port Jefferson ferry, I had an epiphany. At 25 years of age I had lived roughly one-third of my life and it struck me that the hazy image of the man I aspired to be in the future might not come to fruition merely with the passage of time. The man I envisioned myself being at 50 years old would be the product of what I focused on building into myself in the intervening 25 years. It was at that moment that I first decided to get serious about the man I was becoming instead of drifting in the current with only a muddled picture of what it meant to be a good man.
The first step was to think about what kind of man I wanted to be at 50. The list grew to ten attributes around which to focus my intentional growth in the hopes of embodying those things in the future:
A Devoted Man of God
A Steadfast Husband
A Loving Father
A Family Builder
A Loyal Friend
A Community Builder
A Leader and Mentor
A Healthy Man
A Lifelong Learner
A Virtuous Man
“It’s good to get away from chaos and from din,
To seek in solitude and peace the beauty that’s within,
To go into a quiet wood and breathe it’s loveliness,
To contemplate in silence those things which calm and bless”
101 Places to Pray Before You Die: A Roamin' Catholic's Guide Kindle Edition
by Thomas J. Craughwell
THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: PAYING A VISIT TO THE BLESSED SACRAMENT
A Countess who became a Poor Clare Nun was asked to explain Her long and frequent visits to the Blessed Sacrament in the church. She replied “Oh I could stay there for ever – – What do I do? Well –
What does a beggar do when he sees a rich person? What does a sick man do when he goes to see a doctor?
What does a thirsty man do at a cooling spring? What does a starving man do at a table full of good food?”
Whenever you get a chance – Do drop into a chapel to visit the Lord
Take Holy Water reverently on your fingers and Bless yourself.
Walk towards the Tabernacle, genuflect and kneel.
Speak to the Lord in your own way – for example Jesus this is Jimmy …………
Since 2017, Priests for Life has worked with Heartbeat International and Good Counsel to urge pastors – of all denominations – to place information permanently in their church bulletins and on their websites on alternatives to abortion and healing after abortion. It’s easy, it’s free and it will take just minutes to accomplish. And lives will be saved.
For example, one very comprehensive resource is Heartbeat’s OptionLine.org
God Is Good & So Are YOU!
Jan 29, 2019
I felt this was a fitting picture. Fr. George’s Wake and Funeral Mass will be held at St. Barnabas.
I have had the pleasure for the last 8 years to bring to you the life and wisdom of one of the greatest men I have ever known. Through his writings we all came to know him just a little bit better, and in that process, our lives – if we followed his simple suggestions – became better too! The old saying, “they broke the mold when they made. . . ” amply applies to George Patrick McKenna.
8 years ago, Uncle George wanted to put out a 5th book, and when he got an idea in his mind, believe me, it was hard to change it. His nieces (one is my beautiful wife), would visit him every Saturday and Sunday, and weekly they would hear about his plans. Understandably, we had doubts. He was 92 years old, and at the time was going through some health issues. Would a book make sense at this late time in his life? My daughter suggested a blog as a means for him to reach even more people than a little paper back would, and the cost would be nothing but the time spent typing out the page. In a short time, Uncle George agreed to give this new technology a try and his little Blog – which has now reached 147 countries and has been viewed more than 53,000 times, was born.
Each week became routine. The blog for the week would be created from his treasure trove of writings, he would review the finished project, it would be published, and then his nieces would read to him each and every comment that was sent in. It not only brightened his day, but it gave him the hope and will to keep moving, keep living, and keep looking forward to tomorrow. I can confidently say that YOU, each and every one of YOU who sent in your thoughts, your love, and your gratitude – kept this humble servant of God, not only living, but thriving up to the end.
Through these 8 years, I have marveled at the love, admiration and gratitude of the comments that you have all written about Fr. McKenna. As his family, we knew he was special, but that took on new meaning when you all confirmed what we already knew.
I continue to be amazed at the memories you have shared. These stories were sparks of hope and life for Fr. McKenna. You might not realize this, but this little blog and YOUR response, YOUR acceptance, YOUR love and most importantly, YOUR COMMENTS kept him going these last 8 years. We all need to be loved and appreciated. Without this beautiful gift, our lives would be lonely, despondent and bleak. Uncle George’s existence was supported and nurtured by the outpouring of love you showed each and every week through your comments.
This Thursday and Friday we will be saying our earthly good byes to our Uncle, Friend, Priest, Confessor, Teacher and Spiritual Guide. Thank you, to each of you for giving us these extra 8 years to live and love this remarkable man. You made a difference in his life, more than you know.
A Lenten Morning Prayer:
Lord Jesus, you lived and died for me.
Help me to keep that thought before me today so that whatever life brings, whether it be success or failure, satisfaction or disappointment, happiness or sorrow, I may offer it to you.
Through me, may everyone I meet this day see You Lord, see Your presence and experience Your love. Lord I offer You today.
May I serve You by serving others in Your name making all that I do a gift of love and thanksgiving for all You have done for me. Amen
Bless me heavenly Father,
forgive my erring ways.
Grant me the strength to serve Thee,
put purpose in my days.
Give me understanding,
enough to make me kind.
So I may judge all people,
with my heart and not my mind.
Teach me to be patient,
in everything I do.
Content to trust your wisdom,
and to follow after You.
Help me when I falter,
and hear me when I pray.
And receive me in Thy kingdom,
to dwell with Thee someday.
The health benefits of fasting from food have gotten a lot of attention in the last several years. What’s often forgotten in these discussions, however, is that fasting has been practiced for thousands of years not only for the sake of the body, but for the spirit as well.
Doctors + Cures:- Doctor Stoney was the local doctor about fifty years ago. He never listened to the people's complaints. He was considered a very fussy man + people often laughed about the way he treated patients who went to him. He would say when the people went to him "ome in, come on, put out your tongue here's a bottle, take it." This was said to everyone + was said all in one breath.
Before him, was Doctor Watson: He was a good man + looked after his people well.
But the very old people never cared for doctors. They preferred to pray.
Catholic News Article
Catholic education should be celebrated – Kate Liffey
The year before last, my now-96-year-old father, Robert McQuillan, decided to take a little trip down memory lane.
He made contact with his old secondary school, the former Christian Brothers’ secondary in Dundalk.
He received a warm welcome from the current principal of Coláiste Rís, Padraig Hamill.
The old roll books were taken down from a dusty shelf somewhere and my dad’s name and the names of his fellow students were mulled over; memories flooding back for my father and the story of the school’s pivotal role in the education of the youth of Dundalk since 1869 unfolding once again as the two men talked together.
Listening to my dad reminisce about his education, I imagine his story as a fairly common one for his generation and the generations after his.
He was born in 1923, the third son of seven children. His father was a master blacksmith who worked on the Great Northern Railway but it was primarily from his mother that the wish for a good education came.
He started primary school in 1928 with the Sisters of Mercy and then moved in 1929 and went to the Christian Brothers’ primary, in the 60th year of the school’s founding.
His first teacher was a Belfast man, Johnny Barnes. My father remembers him fondly as a great soccer player – something with which the Brothers at the time were not too enamoured.
Robert McQuillan still remembers the names, and personalities, of most of the teachers, the laymen and the Brothers, who taught him.
He remembers the exact fee for the education he received – 30 shillings a term, with the third boy and following boys free.
My father tells me very matter-of-factly that without the Christian Brothers and other Religious Orders like them in the town, there would have been no education at all for boys like him.
He doesn’t ‘sugar coat’ it either, acknowledging the complexity of the history of the Brothers in Ireland.
But for my dad, he will always be grateful for the rich educational experience he received from them and what it empowered him to do with his life.
Four of the six boys in my father’s family – one little boy, Danny, sadly died from diphtheria as a child – went on to sit their Leaving Certificate.
His sister and two of his brothers sat the Intermediate Certificate, now the Junior Certificate. This was no mean feat in terms of academic achievement for those times.
One of my father’s happiest memories was the day the Leaving Certificate results were published.
Brother Sullivan came out to the family home and the envelope was handed over with very matter of fact words of congratulations; he had come in the top four candidates in the town.
The results were published in the Dundalk Democrat and my grandfather carried the newspaper cutting to show his friends at work. That was in 1941.
A number of years later and all of my uncles who achieved their Leaving Certificate results read at university, with one going on to gain a PhD in mathematics.
My dad graduated as a mature student with a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) from University College Dublin.
It is worth remembering, of course, that all of this happened in my father’s family well before the introduction of free education.
Fast forward to this year, and having helped prepare many thousands of young people for the world in which we live, my dad’s old school in Dundalk will celebrate, with a certain very justifiable pride and satisfaction, 150 years of its existence in 2019.
Across every town in Ireland, north and south, similar schools were set up by large numbers of religious men and women. They were founded to serve the needs of local communities.
In the case of the Christian Brothers, founded by Blessed Edmund Ignatius Rice in the early part of the 19th century, ‘the local’ mattered a great deal.
Local needs around education were met locally. Well over 100 schools were established up and down the country, the most recent one in Bray, Co Wicklow in 1956.
The history of these schools is obviously mixed – and that of course, must be remembered – but that they sought to serve local communities, especially poorer communities, is significant.
One of Blessed Edmund Rice’s most famous sayings is: “Were we to know the merit and value of only going from one street to another to serve a neighbour for the love of God, we should prize it more than silver and gold.”
The theme of Catholic School’s Week in 2019 – which is being celebrated this week – is ‘Celebrating the Work of our Local Catholic Schools’.
For all of us who benefited from a Catholic education, it is worth reflecting that when we talk about the characteristic spirit or ethos of our local Catholic schools, we are not just talking about the faith context of the school, although that is important; rather, we are also referring to the school’s history, and geographical and social context.
All of this will hopefully make for a rich, honest and very real celebration of all that has been achieved in Catholic education in local communities and in the lives of thousands – even hundreds of thousands – of young people.
Among that number my dad, Robert McQuillan, is very happy to count himself.
Kate Liffey is the National Director for Catechetics and co-ordinator of the National Faith Development Team Council for Catechetics of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
This article appears in the Faith Matters column of The Irish News newspaper of 31 January 2019 to coincide with the celebration of Catholic Schools Week 2019.
This content is provided by www.catholicnews.ie, the news source for the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference. All queries relating to the article should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The letter said the council had “read about statements which expressed the fear that the Knights of Columbus held many extreme beliefs. It is our great pleasure to assure you that this fear is not grounded in any truth. The Knights of Columbus in general, and O’Boyle Council in particular are dedicated to the three fundamental principles of charity, unity, and fraternity.”
Prayer for the Poor
God of Justice,
open our eyes
to see you in the face of the poor.
Open our ears
to hear you in the cries of the exploited.
Open our mouths
to defend you in the public squares
as well as in private deeds.
Remind us that what we do
to the least ones,
we do to you.
Wed, Sep 19, 12:43 PM (10 days ago)
Where War or Peace Originate
Mahatma Gandhi noted that “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” He also said that “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.” A Christmas Song urges us: “Let there be peace on earth/and let it begin with me./Let there be peace on earth/the peace that was meant to be./With God as our Father/ Brothers all are we./Let me walk with my brother/ in perfect harmony.” God creates us to be the stewards of the earth and our stewardship is either wise or unwise, good, bad, or ugly. My mother used to say that there’s nothing wrong with the world except the people in it. The world doesn’t change us; rather we change the world by how we change our self in our thoughts, words and actions. By changing myself I change my world. Gandhi noted that, “As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.” Only Jesus can help us remake our self.
It’s in remaking our self that we come face to face with who and what we are. We’re created by God in His image and likeness in our soul. But our human nature has been tainted by Original Sin and so we suffer from a fallen nature that’s prone to selfishness, sin and divisiveness. We can’t save our self from sin. Since only God can lift up our fallen nature He alone can save us from our sinful tendencies. He does this in the Person of Jesus Christ. He’s our Saviour. He carries out God’s Old Testament promise: “I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts. I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees.” (Ezek 36:26-27) God put that new spirit in us the day we were Baptized and renewed it in Confirmation. That day God remade us by freeing us from Satan’s grip through adopting us as His children. However, despite God placing His Spirit within us, we still have to choose to unite our spirit to His. God never forces us to observe His decrees. He respects our free will. The choice is ours – choose peace or war, good or evil.
It’s not what’s outside of us that changes us but what’s inside. “It is not what goes into a man’s mouth that makes him impure; it is what comes out of his mouth … what comes out of the mouth originates in the heart and it is these that make him impure.” (Mt 15:11, 18) What originates in the heart begins in the mind. So what we fill our mind with takes root in our heart. That’s where peace or war begins. St. James, inspired by the Holy Spirit, confronts us by asking, “Where do wars and conflicts among you originate? Is it not your inner cravings that make war within your members? What you desire, you do not obtain, and so you resort to murder. You envy and you cannot acquire, so you quarrel and fight… You ask and you do not receive because you ask wrongly with a view to squandering what you receive on your own pleasures.” (Jas 4:1-3)
The Holy Spirit revealed that, “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every vile behaviour.” (Jas 3:16) This is how war starts both within us and between us. None of is immune to desires that are prideful, lustful, avaricious, covetous, wrathful, envious, slothful, and gluttonous. They are at war with the seven virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance. Jealousy and selfish ambition always create conflict both internally and externally. Jesus confronted the Apostles’ conflict over which of them thought he was the most important. He sat them down and informed them that the only acceptable ambition and only way to eliminate conflict was to be a humble servant practising hospitality especially to those whom society considered to be insignificant. “If anyone wishes to rank first, he must remain the last one of all and the servant of all. Whoever welcomes a little child for my sake welcomes me. And whoever welcomes me welcomes, not me, but the One who sent me.” (Mk 11:35, 37)
To change our self and put an end to war within us and between us, we must fill our mind with God’s wisdom through meditating on the Holy Scriptures as faithfully interpreted and taught by Jesus’ One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Christian Wisdom is thinking, feeling and acting on our knowledge of Jesus Christ plus our experience of His presence in His Church plus common sense. St. James shows how that wisdom counteracts our warring passions: “Wisdom from above, by contrast, is first of all innocent. It is peaceable, kindly and considerate; it is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. The harvest of justice is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.” (Jas 3:17) War or peace begins with you and me. (frsos)
Wed, Sep 26, 12:48 PM (3 days ago)
Which Spirit Guides Yours?
There are two basic spirits guiding the human spirit: the Holy Spirit and the evil spirit. God’s Spirit guides our individual spirit to Jesus. Satan, the evil spirit, leads us to godlessness, egotism, destruction, and eternal deprivation of love, joy, and happiness - hell. St. Ignatius of Loyola emphasized the importance of discerning which spirit is influencing our spirit so we can know whether we’re headed for consolation or desolation. Our spirit is always led toward either holiness or sinfulness.
The Holy Spirit is the personification of God the Father’s and God the Son’s love for each other; a Spirit of unconditional love. When we invite the Holy Spirit to join our spirit He enables us to receive the gift of unconditional love which the Father and Son share with One Another. The Holy Spirit is God’s gift to us of His divine love for us. It always brings consolation. The Holy Spirit transforms us into God’s image and likeness. There we experience the joy of the Lord, our soul’s fulfilment, the peace that only Jesus can give.
This Sunday Jesus’ Church reminds us that the Holy Spirit comes to those who invite Him. Joshua wanted Eldad and Medad stopped from prophesying because they weren’t present when the Spirit came upon the elders. Moses replied, “If only the whole people of the Lord were prophets, and the Lord gave His Spirit to them all.” (Num 11:25-29) Jesus encountered something similar when John reported, “Master, we saw one who is not one of us casting out devils in your name; and because he was not one of us we tried to stop him.” (Mk 9:38) Jesus responded, “You must not stop him; no one who works a miracle in my name is likely to speak evil of me. Anyone who is not against us is for us.” (Mk 9:39-40) The Holy Spirit always leads people to Jesus present in His Church where they can meet Him in the Sacraments and feel His love. Therefore, we should invite the Holy Spirit to direct our spirit every morning so we can experience God’s unconditional love throughout the day. A popular hymn, “The Spirit Is A-Movin’ All over, All over this Land”, reminds us that, “People are gatherin', the church is born,/The Spirit is a blowin' on a world reborn./ Old ones are dreaming dreams, and young men and women see the light./ Old walls are falling down, and people all over are speaking with each other./ Filled with the Spirit, we are sent to serve, we are called out together, we are called to work./ The Spirit fills us all with pow'r, to be God's witnesses to all we meet.”
Satan is the evil spirit who hates God and therefore hates love. Satan “… brought death to man from the beginning, and has never based himself on truth; the truth is not in him. Lying speech is his native tongue; he is a liar and the father of lies.” (Jn 8:44) The lies are: we can save ourselves from sin; I must put myself first; science alone has the answer to human fulfilment; Jesus’ Church isn’t necessary for salvation; death is the end of everything; sex is morally good outside marriage; everything is relative, no universal truths and norms.
Satan’s goal is to convict us of sin and therefore does everything possible to tempt us. You and I are fair game for Satan’s lies since we’re prone to egotism and selfishness. Therefore easily tempted to rely for happiness on money, popularity, possessions, and pleasure gained at the expense of others. St. James warns: “… the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts … it was you who condemned the innocent and killed them; they offered you no resistance.” He reminds those who “live a life of comfort and luxury” that it will all collapse on them the day they die. (Jas 5:1-6) Satan’s influence is evident in war, violence, abortion, euthanasia, suicide, sexual immortality, etc., all based on lies. Satan not only leads the human spirit to self-destruction under the guise of power, popularity, licence, possessions, and pleasure, but also cultures. We see this in what St. John Paul II termed “the culture of death” in our world.
Because Satan is constantly trying to lead people away from God, Jesus was very explicit in warning us to resist temptation. “But anyone who is an obstacle to bring down one of these little ones who have faith, would be better thrown into the sea with a great millstone round his neck.” (Mk 9:41-42) He warned us get rid of our hand, foot, eye if it causes us to sin, because it’s better to enter God’s Kingdom maimed than enter hell intact. (Mk 9:45-48) This is all the more reason to make sure we’re led by the Spirit that leads us to Heaven and not the spirit that leads us to hell. “Come, Holy Spirit, guide my spirit and kindle in my heart the fire of Your Divine Love that I may be created and with Your help renew the face of the earth. O God who instructed the heart of the faithful by the power of the Holy Spirit, grant that by that same Spirit I may be truly wise and share in His consolation through Christ our Lord. Amen.” (frsos)
Lourdes: Family seek answers over World War One 'miracle' cure
The family of a World War One soldier said to be cured of paralysis after a pilgrimage to Lourdes in France look to learn more about his history.
Jack Traynor from Liverpool took the waters in 1923 and his family said he was fully cured by it.
His descendants say he came home pushing his own wheelchair.
This story was shown in full on BBC Inside Out North West on BBC One on Monday 3 September, and is available via iPlayer for 30 days afterwards. 03 Sep 2018
Resources From The Irish Bishops on the upcoming referendum can be found on www.chooselife2018.ie with a weekly online newsletter and features (available in porch). From the Irish Bishops “Our Common Humanity” “We believe that human life is sacred from conception until natural death and that Article 40.3.3 (8th Amendment) reflects the appropriate balance of rights. We ask God’s blessing and guidance on each member of our society in responding to the significant responsibility that we have to defend this right for the present generation and for the generations to come”. Let us support the dignity due to every unborn child, and support every woman, couple, and family in a crisis pregnancy.
Muintearas Iosa is 40 years old! celebrate with us!
For 40 years, Failte, Foghlaim and Guí have been at the heart of the young church (Eaglais Og) here in Limerick diocese. Muintearas Íosa is a diocesan youth group that has been providing young people with opportunities to gather for a wide variety of experiences and in a wide variety of settings since 1978. Muintearas Íosa events vary from one day events, evening events, overnight stays to an annual 10 day stay in Brú na Gráige, in Ballyferriter, Co. Kerry. Members must be over 16.
On the Saturday after Easter we celebrate Muinteareas and we welcome all who have been involved over the years, and their families. All we ask is that you let us know how many are coming (so we have some idea of numbers), that you bring some food to share, and that - if you have photos or memories you're happy to share - that you share them to the email in the poster! Thanks!
From Fr. McNamara.
HOLY WEEK FULL OF CHOICES
Heading into my third Holy Week in the Parish I am reminded that it’s a week full of choices and because of Calvary we are free to choose. Here are some choices which I have put together for this very special week. I hope you find them helpful.
I CHOOSE LOVE………….
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. This week I will love Jesus and what Jesus loves.
I CHOOSE JOY…………….
I will invite Jesus to be the God of circumstances. I will refuse the temptation to be cynical. I will refuse to see people as anything less than human beings, temples of God’s Holy Spirit, created by God. I will refuse to see any difficulty or problem as anything less than an opportunity to see God.
I CHOOSE PEACE………….
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live. What is available to us at the Reconciliation Service in Listowel this Monday evening can help us enjoy Holy Week better.
I CHOOSE PATIENCE…....
I will overlook the inconveniences of daily living. Instead of cursing, the one who takes my place I’ll invite him to do so. Rather than complain that the wait is too long, I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clinching my fist all I have to do, I will do them with joy and giving it my best.
I CHOOSE KINDNESS……..
I will be kind to the unkind, for such is how Jesus had treated me. Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise. There is loads more that could be added to these. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek God’s grace. All of us can make this week Holy.
Charlie Lamb put it this way…..”every 1st of January that we arrive at is an imaginary milestone on the turnpike track of human life, at once a resting place for thought and meditation, and a starting point for fresh exercitations in the performance of our journey”.
Choose Life. A pastoral letter from Bishop Brendan,
The Antichrist and the Temple in the Christian Mind
Former Manchester United footballer enjoying life as a priest
By Sean Ryan -16 July, 2017
A former Manchester United footballer turned priest has spoken
for the first time about how being a €600,000 a year footballer left
him feeling unfulfilled. Belfast-born Fr Philip Mulryne OP was recently ordained a Dominican priest. He celebrated his first Mass in Belfast on 10 July and will take up a position as chaplain at
Newbridge College in Co. Kildare in August. Speaking to RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke about his decision to become a priest, Fr Philip (39) said that while he enjoyed his 13 years as a professional footballer which saw him play for Manchester United, Norwich and Northern Ireland, he eventually fell out of love with a “footballer lifestyle”.He added: “There’s no running away from that. I obviously lived
the life of a footballer and it’s well documented. Things were given to young men very quickly.”
Speaking about the lifestyle he said, “I had a Ferrari 360 Modena. I always said to myself, if I get to the Premier League with Norwich I’ll buy one of these. This was my dream car as a child. I had it for three months, then I sold it. I got bored of it.”He continued: “At the age of 20 I had to stop and think, why is thi stuff not satisfying me? I’m bored, it’s not enough, nothing’s ever
enough.”Fr Philip explained that he hit a low point after a World Cup Qualifier to England in 2005. He was sent home for breaking a curfew and going drinking. He said, “It was a turning point, it
made me reflect more. “As a footballer you’re caught up in the whole way of life. You never stop to take stock and think, this isn’t going to last forever. What am I going to do after?’’
He took a year out of football in 2009 to return to Belfast, and later decided not to return to the game. He added, “I have to say I found it tremendously liberating and freeing. To be caught up in
that rat race of always accumulating and the pressure it brings, it was making me restless. The notion of living very simply from a faith perspective was very attractive to me
Sean Sheehy 2017 May
11:58 AM (8 hours ago)
A man was asked, “What do you do for a living?” He answered, “I live for a living!” Back in the 1950s a film titled, “I Want to Live” portrayed a woman who’d made immoral choices and ended up being convicted of murder by association with a murderer. She didn’t commit the crime but was nonetheless convicted and executed. She protested her conviction all the way to her execution pleading, “I want to live!” Judging by the number of people who commit suicide it seems that not everyone wants to live. Still we possess an instinct that life is precious. So we naturally try to prevent people from harming themselves. Life is precious because it’s a gift from God. If someone gave you a gift and you threw it away it would indicate that you didn’t appreciate it or the donor. We don’t create our own life. It’s the sine qua non for everything we yearn for – love, peace, happiness, freedom, joy, etc. This is why we want to preserve and live life as fully as possible and forever. No reasonable person wants to die except in a desperate attempt to escape hopelessness. Even people who commit suicide don’t want to die; rather they want to escape a perceived bottomless pit in their life that, in their mind, has reduced life to nothing. The motivation isn’t to stop living but to stop hurting. So, in a distorted manner of thinking, by ending their life they’re trying to end what seems to be making their life hopeless. As the Life-Giver, only God can provide us with the wherewithal to live and make life worth living by giving us the help to rise from what pulls us down. Easter celebrates life that survives suffering and death and enjoy an eternal heavenly existence.
God didn’t create us to suffer and die. He created us to live for a living. But, through the abuse of free will, we separate our self from our Life-Giver and that puts us in the realm of suffering and death. Death is the result of separation from the Giver of life. It was to remedy this tragedy that God sent His Son, Jesus, the Word-made-flesh, to bring hope of life after death to the world. He revealed, “The thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy. I came that they might have life and have it to the full.” (Jn 10:10) The “thief” is Satan who tricked Adam and Eve into thinking they could live without God only to have them experience death and suffering that has affected the whole human race. Sin causes suffering, whether personal, communal or institutional. But Jesus brought hope of healing and resurrection when He announced, “I have come not for the self-righteous, but to call sinners to repentance.” (Mt 9:13) Through God’s grace of repentance and the gift of forgiveness we’ve the power to overcome sin, overcome our suffering, and be resurrected from the dead.
After Jesus’ Ascension, St. Peter told his listeners when they asked what did they needed to do: “Repent and be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit … Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” (Acts2:38, 40) He comforted them by teaching them: “In His own body He brought your sins to the cross, so that all of us, dead to sin, could live in accord with God’s will. By His wounds you have been healed for you had gone astray like sheep but you have returned to the Shepherd and the guardian of your souls.” (1 Pt 2:24-25) The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Life who enlivens our spirit and purifies our soul. If we focus only on the body we reap corruption because the body corrupts in death. But when we attend to the needs of our soul we attend to life that’s eternal because Jesus guards it.
Jesus is our Shepherd who guards our soul by cleansing it from sin in Baptism and Confession, and nourishes it with His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. This is why the Psalmist reminds us, “The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want … He refreshes my soul.” (Ps 23:1-3) As the Shepherd and Guardian of souls, Jesus “calls His own sheep by name and leads them out … He walks ahead of them and the sheep follow Him, because they recognize His voice.” (Jn 10:3-4) He identifies Himself as the “gate to the sheepfold.” “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be safe.” (Jn 10:9) As the Gatekeeper Jesus both protects us from harm and leads us to what nourishes our life so we can have it abundantly. We hear His voice through His Church as she proclaims His Word, guided by the Holy Spirit, and made visible in her Sacraments. Jesus is the Life-Giver and He alone leads us to the fullness of a life that’s joyful, peaceful, restful, loving, and eternal. If you want to have life to the full follow the Life-Giver in His Church. He alone reveals, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (Jn 14:6) (frsos)
Apr 26 (7 days ago)2017
The Breaking of Bread
Anyone who reads the New Testament is familiar with what Jesus did on Thursday night as He celebrated the Passover Supper with His Apostles. During the meal, “… taking bread and giving thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying: ‘This is my body to be given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ He did the same with the chalice after eating, saying as He did so, ‘This chalice is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.’” (Lk 22:19-20; Mk 14:22-24; Mt 26:26-30; 1 Cor 11:23ff) The following Sunday afternoon two of Jesus’ disciples were walking home to Emmaus grieving over His crucifixion and deeply saddened that all their hopes and dreams had been dashed. As they covered the seven miles from Jerusalem to their home the risen Jesus appeared walking beside them, but they didn’t recognize Him. He asked them what they were discussing and they related their tale of woe. Then He chided them for not believing the Scriptures. “What little sense you have! How slow you are to believe all that the prophets have announced! Did not the Messiah have to undergo all this so as to enter into His glory?’ Beginning, then, with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted for them every passage of Scripture which referred to Him.” (Lk 24:25-27) Nearing home they invited Jesus to spend the night with them since it was getting late. He accepted their hospitality and, “When He had seated Himself with them to eat, He took bread, pronounced the blessing, then broke the bread and began to distribute it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; whereupon He vanished from their sight.” (Lk 24:30-31)
Have you ever had an “aha” moment in your life? It’s a particular time, event, or experience when you have a sudden insight that makes sense of something. These two disciples had their “aha” moment when Jesus sat at their table and took bread, blessed it, broke it, and distributed it to them. The “breaking of bread” was the event, the experience that gave them the sudden realization that the man doing this was indeed Jesus Christ. After He vanished from their sight, “They said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning inside us as He talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?’” (Lk 24:32) Immediately, they set off for Jerusalem with their great news that they had seen Jesus. When they met their fellow disciples in Jerusalem, “They recounted what had happened on the road and how they had come to know Jesus in the breaking of bread.” (Lk 24:35)
Jesus often mentioned the Scriptures regarding the promised Messiah. But hearing it didn’t convince them of His resurrection. It was in the “breaking of bread” that they recognized the action of Jesus and then the Scriptures made sense to them. The “breaking of bread” is another way of describing the Holy Eucharist that Jesus instituted on Holy Thursday evening and ordained the Apostles and their successors to continue His sacrifice: “This is my body, which is broken for you; do this as a memorial of me.” (1 Cor 11:24) St. Peter explains, “Through Jesus you believe in God who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Pt 1:17-21) It’s one thing to listen to God’s word but it’s in the action of the Eucharist that the Word becomes visible. It’s in the Eucharist that we see and adore Jesus’ Real Presence to and among us. It’s in the Eucharist that we’re able to proclaim with Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:28) St. Paul expresses it thus: “Is not the cup of blessing we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread we break a sharing in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor 10:16) The Eucharist is the celebration of the Risen Jesus really present, body, soul, and divinity in His Church and in each member who receives Him in Holy Communion. It’s through meeting Jesus in the Eucharist that He is able to enter into a Holy Communion with us, individually and communally, transforming us into a Holy Community. There He physically touches us and we touch Him.
The Catholic Church, under the leadership of the Pope, successor of St. Peter, emphasizes and makes participation in the Holy Eucharist at Mass essential and obligatory. Why? Because the Christian faith is all about believing in the Risen Jesus who alone makes salvation possible. Refusing to participate in the Mass is a refusal to recognize and celebrate the Real Presence of the Risen Jesus. Jesus Himself reminds us, “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men – the Son of Man will acknowledge him before the angels of God. But the man who has disowned me in the presence of men will be disowned in the presence of the angels of God.” (Lk 12:8-9) The celebration of the Eucharist is our “aha” moment when we recognize and proclaim that Christ has died, Christ has risen, and Christ will come again. It’s in the Mass that we recognize Jesus’ resurrection and put our self in the presence of God and His angels. (frsos)
Holy Week: Sacrifice Brings Joy
Charles Dickens gives us the character, Ebenezer Scrooge, in his Christmas Carol. Scrooge was a miser and as, a result, a miserable person. He hated Christmas because it was about generosity and gift-giving. It wasn’t until he had a change of heart and began to share that he regained his humanity and a spirit of joy. We all have to learn that sacrifice brings joy. It’s the antidote to selfishness which fosters a greedy spirit that isolates and keep us worried, fearing we’ll lose our possessions or won’t have enough to make us feel secure. Jesus taught us, “There is no greater love than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (Jn 15:13) Love is all about sacrifice, which is why sacrifice, as an expression of love, always bring joy when the focus is on giving rather than on receiving.
This week is called “Holy Week” by Jesus’ Church. It begins with Palm (Passion) Sunday - people shouted “Hosannas” in the morning and roared “Crucify him!” in the evening - and concludes with Easter Sunday when we celebrate Jesus’ Resurrection - to the amazement of Mary Magdalene and His disciples - having conquered Satan, sin, suffering, and death. The Church proclaims the Gospel from the Passion Narratives found in the Gospel of Matthew on Palm or Passion Sunday and from St. John on Good Friday. In these narratives we find a description of the greatest act of self-sacrifice, humility, and love for others on the part of Jesus that the world has ever seen or will ever see again. Jesus epitomized His love of others - you, me, and everyone from the beginning of human history until the end of the world - in His passion, death, and resurrection. In laying down His life so that we might live demonstrates the ultimate in caring. He laid down His life for sinners – those who rebelled against God that they may repent and be saved. “It is precisely in this that God shows His love for us: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8) He underwent excruciating abuse from His betrayal by Judas, to agonizing in the Garden of Gethsemane, being scourged at the pillar, crowned with thorns, carrying His cross, abandoned by His disciples, with the exception of His Blessed Mother and John, and finally being nailed to a cross. On that cross Jesus called out in His agony and feeling of abandonment, fulfilling the prophecy in Psalm 22, “My God, my God why have you abandoned me?” (Mt 27:46) But, quoting Psalm 31, Jesus expressed His total trust in His Father when He prayed as His body hung upon the cross, “Into Your hands I commend my spirit; ….” (Ps 31:6)
Jesus’ suffering was more excruciating than any suffering we might experience because He was totally innocent. “Though He was in the form of God … and it was thus that He humbled Himself obediently accepting even death, death on a cross!” (Phil 2:6, 8) Suffering of the innocent is far more painful than the suffering of the guilty. Jesus is the first to give human suffering a value. He shows us that it can be used to help others. He used His suffering to bring about salvation from sin and death for all who seek it. Jesus didn’t seek suffering but He accepted it as the price to be paid to ransom us from Satan’s sentence of death. In Gethsemane, He prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this chalice pass me by. Still, let it be as You would have it, not as I.” (Mt 26:39) No one wants suffering, but if it comes, we know that God can use it to help us do His will and become more like Jesus in our attitude and lifestyle, if we trust in Him.
The events of Holy Week challenge a world that flees from suffering, rejects sacrifice, promotes greed, and wallows in selfishness. The delusion of such a world is that we can be happy without sacrifice. Without sacrifice love is impossible. Without love happiness is impossible. To make sacrifices is impossible without a spirit of generosity and the realization that if we want to get we must give without counting the cost. Jesus teaches us to give for the sake of giving because it is in sacrificing, like Scrooge learned, that we find joy. Jesus reminds us, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over, will they pour into the fold of your garment. For the measure you measure with will be measured back to you.” (Lk 6:38) This week is holy because Jesus gave Himself wholly for our salvation. His Good Friday sacrifice brought the joy of Easter Sunday. Christianity is all about ministering to others in Jesus’ Name. Thus we become like Him, and being like Him, we embrace suffering and willingly sacrifice ourselves for we know it will bring joy. (frsos)
Easter with a Capital “V”
The song “Everybody Loves a Winner” choruses, “Everybody loves a winner/Everybody loves a winner/But when you lose, you lose alone” When you win everyone wants to know you, even those you beat. But when you lose the well-wishers disappear. Laugh, and the world laughs with you; cry, and you cry alone. Last Sunday I watched a Gaelic Football final between Kerry and Dublin. Dublin were forecast to win, even by Kerry followers. But the predicted losers won only to be greeted with effusive praise from their detractors. On Good Friday in Jerusalem it looked like Jesus lost. Feeling abandoned, He called out in agony, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46) Jesus cried alone.
Have you ever been in a situation feeling all alone when friends distanced themselves from you? When Peter was identified by the servant girl as a friend of Jesus, he replied, “Woman, I do not know him.” (Lk 22:57) When a team is losing, fans often leave even before the game is over. But when the team is winning no one wants to leave. Why? Because we all want to identify with winners, not losers. We laugh when we win, but we cry when we lose.
Easter is the culmination of Holy Week when Jesus was seen to be a loser and abandoned by His disciples. The man who had performed so many miracles, freed people from the possession of evil spirits, and even raised people from the dead, now hung crucified on a cross. Mary Magdalene, whom Jesus rescued from her sinfulness and showed her an unconditional love she’d never experienced before, was devastated. Jesus’ disciples, including His Mother, sought safety in prayer in an upper room thinking that all their hopes and dreams had been dashed by the crucifixion of their Teacher and Messiah. All seemed lost, fearing for their own life expecting the same fate as Jesus.
It’s now Sunday morning, the third day since Jesus’ death and the disciples feel so alone and vulnerable. But something was about to change. That change was epitomized in the experience of Mary Magdalene. She came to the tomb as a final act of love toward Jesus to anoint His dead body. She had previously braved the ridicule of Simon the Pharisee to crash a banquet to anoint Jesus’s feet as a sign of her gratitude. “She brought in a vase of perfumed oil and stood behind Him as His feet, weeping so that her tears fell upon His feet. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissing them and perfuming them with the oil.” (Lk 7:37-38) At Jesus’ death this same Mary comes to anoint His body before final burial. But to her consternation she finds the tomb empty. So she runs to tell Peter and the others the news. They don’t believe her. “Meanwhile Mary stood weeping beside the tomb.” She was in the depths of grief and desolation. A man, whom she thinks is the gardener, asks her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who is it you are looking for?” (Jn 20:11-15) Then the man said her name, “Mary!” No one said or could say her name like Jesus. Spontaneously “She turned to Him and said in Hebrew, ‘Rabbuni!’ meaning ‘Teacher.’” She recognized her beloved Savior who rescued her from a loveless life and ran with open arms to clasp Him in joyful incredulity. Jesus, I’m sure with a smile, responded, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Rather go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God!’” (Jn 20:15-18) Mary ascended with the risen Jesus from the pit of grief and loss to the heights of joy and happiness; from death to life, despair to hope, losing to winning.
Jesus, the apparent loser on Friday, let Mary see that He is the real winner. Easter is the celebration of victory with a capital “V”. The Webster dictionary defines victory as the “overcoming of an enemy or antagonist. It’s the achievement of mastery or success in a struggle or endeavor against odds or difficulties.” Easter reminds us to celebrate Jesus’ victory over suffering and death, the wages of sin. Jesus showed us that suffering has value when we use it as a means to salvation, either for ourselves or others. It leads us to salvation when we see it as a sign that we’re dependent on God for every good thing, especially a life that will enjoy complete and eternal happiness. Christianity is the only religion that can truthfully promise a happy life after death because its founder, Jesus, is the only one who raised people from the dead and also rose Himself from the dead. This is why faith in Jesus, as the source of our meaning, purpose, power, peace, happiness, and a joyful eternal destiny, is the only faith that can deliver on these hopes and desires. Christianity is for winners. Why, then, isn’t everybody Christian? Because Christianity is paradoxical: to win we must be willing to lose. It’s in losing our life to Jesus here on earth that we win life in Heaven. This is why we can greet one another with “Happy Easter!” (frsos)
Faith Comes through Hearing
There’s an adage that says, “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” This was the Apostle Thomas’ mind-set upon being told Jesus had risen from the dead. “His answer was, ‘I will never believe it without probing the nailprints in His hands, without putting my finger into the nailmarks and my hand into His side.’” (Jn 20:25) For Thomas, the idea of resurrection was too good to be true, therefore it probably wasn’t true. But probability and possibility aren’t the same. The probability doesn’t rule out possibility, especially where God is concerned. The Gospels record that a week later, “Despite the locked doors, Jesus came and stood before the disciples. ‘Peace be with you’, He said; then to Thomas: ‘Take your finger and examine my hands. Put your hand into my side. Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe!’ Thomas said in response, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (Jn 20:27-28) Jesus addressed him, “You became a believer because you saw me. Happy are they who have not seen me and have believed.” (Jn 20:29) Thomas’ faith was conditional. He wanted to see before he would believe. Seeing is believing, but believing is seeing without seeing physically. How? We see through hearing.
The Holy Spirit inspired St. Paul to write that, “Faith, then, comes through hearing, and what is heard is the word of Christ.” (Rom 10:17) The three things that characterized the members of Jesus’ young Church were their devotion to “the teaching of the Apostles, the communal life, the breaking of bread (Eucharist), and prayers.” (Acts 2:42) First came the “teaching of the Apostles”. The Apostles teaching centred on what Jesus taught them – His word. Hearing Jesus’ word called them to faith and developed their trust in Jesus. Faith is what we rely on to give us meaning, purpose, value, power, and a hopeful destiny. To be Christian is to rely on Jesus to give us true meaning, a unique purpose and self-worth, to empower us to change things for the better, and give us a bright future in which to hope. To sustain our faith in Jesus to provide us with these gifts we need to hear Him speak to us. This is why we need to attend Sunday Mass as a minimum requirement to hear God’s word proclaimed and preached to us. If we don’t regularly hear God’s word our faith in Him will deteriorate and we will fall victim to false gods and their false promises.
It was through listening to Jesus’ word preached by the Apostles that fostered a community spirit. They celebrated this community spirit in the “breaking of bread”, the Eucharistic celebration in which they recognized Jesus’ Real presence and the gift of Himself in Holy Communion as the nourishment for their souls. In the “breaking of bread” the Apostles carried out Jesus’ command at the Last Supper when He instituted the Holy Eucharist and ordained them to “Do this in memory of me.” (Lk 22:19) The fourth source of sustenance for the faith of the first followers of Jesus was prayer. What is prayer? It’s a response to God’s word to us. This is why the basis for prayer must be hearing God’s word first. St. Jerome, back in the 4th or early 5th century, insisted that “Ignorance of the Sacred Scriptures is ignorance of Jesus Christ.” Our prayer can’t be effective unless we’re hearing God first and then speaking to Him. Since God initiates our prayer, it follows that we must first listen to Him tell us who and what He is for us before we can speak to Him about who we are and what He wants us to be. If we don’t listen to God we can’t know Him. And if we don’t know Him, how can we speak to Him in an intimate and trusting manner, which is what prayer is all about. Only through listening to God’s word to us can we pray with the Psalmist, “My strength and my courage is the Lord, and He has been my Saviour.” (Ps 118:14)
It’s through hearing Christ’s word that we’re able to believe in Him and love Him without seeing Him. In order for every man, woman, and child, to believe in Jesus and love Him He founded His Church to faithfully preach His Word and celebrate His presence in her Sacraments until the end of time. Through, with, and in Jesus’ Church the preaching of the Apostles, the communal life, the breaking of bread, and prayers continue. Since Jesus came to free us from sin He authorized His Church’s leadership through the power of His Spirit to forgive repentant sinners. “If you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven them; if you hold them bound, they are held bound.” (Jn 20:22) It is this forgiveness that makes us receptive to the “Peace” the risen Jesus offers us. Our faith in Jesus, then, comes through hearing God’s word which teaches us the way, truth, and life that leads to happiness. “Although you have not seen Him, you love Him; even though you do not see Him, you now believe in Him … as you attain faith’s goal, the salvation of your soul.” (1 Peter 1:3-9) We believe and love Him because we hear His saving Word. (frsos)
Last Letters from the Holocaust: 1942
30 August 1942
Les Milles Camp, France
"I can hold my head up high"
Anne Meininger's Last Letter
Anne Meininger wrote these words in her last letter, sent from France to her daughter, Hilde Garti, in Bulgaria.
Eugen Meininger and Anne née Stern lived in Göttingen, Germany. Eugen was in the cattle business. In 1913, their daughter Hilde was born, and their son Franz-Josef was born about 8 years later. In October 1935, Eugen was informed that his trade license had been revoked, and that he had to stop working immediately. Eugen died of heart failure at home the same day. He is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Göttingen.
Hilde married Robert Garti, a Bulgarian Jewish dentist who came to Germany to study, and moved with him to Bulgaria , where their daughters Renée (later Rina Lavie) and Jeneline-Jenny (later Gila Ofir) were born. In 1937, Franz-Josef immigrated to Eretz Israel (Mandatory Palestine) with the Youth Aliyah, and settled in Kfar Yehezkel.
My darling, darling children,
Today, on your birthday, my thoughts are intensively focused on you. My dear Musch, I hope that you had a good time today, given the circumstances. What wouldn't I give to be with you? We must be patient, that day will yet come. We have been in the camp since Wednesday, and I am truly all right. You at home don't need to worry about me. I am together with many acquaintances, but we will not be staying here although I don't know when we will be leaving. In any event, write to me at Gusty: 7 Rue St. Francois Le Sales, Annecy (Haute-Savoie). She will send the mail on to me.
I hope that you are all right, my loves. Just don't worry about me unnecessarily. The main thing is that we can receive news from each other. Keep writing to me diligently, and send me sweet pictures. It's the mischievous one's [Anne's son, Franz-Josef] birthday the day after tomorrow. This year these are not happy days for me, but I can hold my head up high. You know your mother, she's brave like that. I would love to go to my friends, Otto and Marta, as then I would have pleasant, good people around me. They would definitely be able to help me. Maybe I'll visit Tiltchen. The weather is very good, and I'm in the fresh air all day. You probably have a lot of work. If I was with you, I could be very busy and helpful. When I see you, I will open wide, surprised eyes. I wish it would already happen.
I'm finishing for today. My four dear ones, stay well, and keep writing to me conscientiously.
I kiss you,
Your loving Mutti [Mother]
Was Jesus Really Tempted?
by Friar Jim Van Vurst, OFM
Yes, he was—and more than once! In fact, Matthew, Mark, and Luke give descriptions of Satan tempting Jesus, especially in the desert following his baptism. Mark briefly states that “Jesus was tempted,” while Matthew and Luke go into considerable detail of three separate times when Jesus was tempted by Satan. Jesus rebuked Satan, but the temptations continued.
But there is a reason why some believers struggle in accepting the fact that Jesus was tempted. That is because many tend to think that temptation is proof of sin. And that is simply not true.
The first point to stress is that Jesus, though divine in nature, was also human. That’s why Paul reminds us that Jesus became “like us” in all things but sin. What that tells us is that Jesus really did enter into our human experience. At the same time, however, we can be sure that you and I have never been tempted the way Jesus was. It would be vain on our part to compare our experiences in life to what Jesus experienced.
The important truth is that temptation is never a sin. Temptation is simply an invitation or pull toward sin. Basic moral theology insists that sin is not in the feelings, emotions, intellect, or fantasy. Sin can only reside in our hearts and in our will. But it is very easy to assume that, when our emotions and imaginations are bombarding us mercilessly, there must be sin in us somewhere. No! All that proves is that we are prone to temptation as wounded human beings.
Every human being experiences temptation. We are fooling ourselves if we make exceptions, as some do for the saints. Many ordinary Christians think the saints were so holy that they could bat away temptations without any trouble. Not true. Read their autobiographies and you will understand that, at times, they struggled in trying to live a life of faith, hope, and charity. That’s the important fact to remember. The reason anyone is tempted to commit sin is because he or she is struggling to be good, not because he or she is bad.
Just as Jesus was tempted all throughout his life, so was Jesus’ sinless mother, Mary. What a prize she would have been to Satan! Mary’s life was one of total faith in circumstances that would have provided Satan with ample opportunity for temptation. The experiences of both Jesus and Mary are truly a blessing for us to understand that temptation is not sin. It’s a struggle; frustrating at times, yes, but never itself a sin.
From Fr. Kevins Newsltter
MEET THE PRODIGAL DAUGHTER
All of us have our thoughts/views on the beautiful parable of the Prodigal Son. I love it – there are so very many aspects to it, but how many of us ever give any thought, care or indeed concern to the Prodigal Daughter?
Let us introduce you to her……
Great poets have sung the beauties of home,
its comfort, its love and its joys;
How back to the place of its sheltering dome
I welcome the Prodigal Boy.
The picture, his father with pardoning smiles and
glittering robes to unfurl,
but none of the poets though it worthwhile,
to sing of the Prodigal Girl.
The Prodigal Son can resume his old place,
as leader of fashion’s mad whirl,
with never a hit of his former disgrace –
not so for the Prodigal Girl.
The girl may come back to the home she had left,
but nothing is ever the same.
The shadow still lingers o’er the dear ones bereft,
society scoffs at her name.
Perhaps this is why when the Prodigal Girl,
gets lost in life’s devious track,
she thinks of the lips that will scornfully curl
and hasn’t the heart to come back.
Yes, welcome the Prodigal Son to his place,
kill the calf; fill the free flowing bowl,
but shut not the door on his frail sisters face,
remember she too has a soul.
Prayer for the New Year
Lord in this New Year which we have begun,
may we have enough happiness to keep us agreeable,
enough trials to keep us strong,
enough sorrow to keep us human,
enough Freedom to keep us happy,
enough failure to keep us humble,
enough success to keep us eager,
enough wealth to meet our needs,
enough faith to banish depression,
enough hope to look forward,
enough love to give us comfort,
And enough determination to
keep us going
A New Year's Prayer
May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain,
But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making your path easy,
But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you,
But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making your life always pleasant,
But by showing you when people and their causes need you most,
and by making you anxious to be there to help.
God's love, peace, hope and joy to you for the year ahead.
WHEN IRELAND'S CAUSE WAS SOLD FOR A BATTLE OF WHISKY.
The Sacred Heart Review, Number 12, 13 March 1909
We are all more or less familiar with the part played by the unfortunate love of liquor in the Irish rebellion of 1798. The tale has often been told, (although no lasting lesson has been learned from it,) of advantages won by valour and lost by liquor in that struggle of Wexford's peasantry against the disciplined might of England. But an earlier example of the unholy and traitorous part played by liquor in Irish history is, perhaps, not so well known. In view of the coming feast of St. Patrick, it may be well to recall it. In 1601 when a Spanish force, sent over to help Ireland win back her ancient independence, was occupying the town of Kinsale it was besieged by the English. But the English were in turn surrounded by an Irish army under O'Neil and O'Donnell, and thus were placed between two fires. It was decided that a general attack should be made on the English by the forces of O'Neil and O'Donnell on the one hand, and the Spaniards on the other. This attack might or might not have succeeded, according as the English, whom it was hoped to take by surprise, fought well or ill, but, anyway, there was treason in the ranks of the Irish, the English were apprised of the proposed attack , and the Irish and Spanish forces were disastrously defeated. This is how it came about: A certain Brian MacMahon whose son, it seems, had been, some years before, a page to Sir George Carew in England, " for old time's sake " sent a message to Carew asking for a bottle of whisky. The whisky was sent, and so grateful was MacMahon for the gift that he informed Carew of the intended attack. "The list of Irish traitors is a long one," says the Rev. E. A. D'Alton in his history of Ireland, "but our history records no more infamous transaction than this bartering of faith and country for a bottle of whisky." The Irishmen who drink to excess on St. Patrick's Day are guilty of a crime against their birth land and their religion which differs only in degree from that of Brian MacMahon. Drunkenness on St. Patrick's Day is a species of treason to the old land and the old faith which every loyal Irishmen should reprobate and condemn.
From Father Kevin