Thursday, September 27, 2012

Merton - Setting Our Soul Free

[drawing by Thomas Merton]

 “We know when we are following our vocation when our soul is set free from preoccupation with itself and is able to seek God and even to find Him, even though it may not appear to find Him. Gratitude and confidence and freedom from ourselves: these are signs that we have found our vocation and are living up to it even though everything else may seem to have gone wrong. They give us peace in any suffering. They teach us to laugh at despair. And we may have to.” - from No Man is an Island

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Archbishop John J. Myers Pastoral Letter On The Sanctity Of Marriage

When Two Become One:

A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage

Marriage is as old as humankind. From the beginning, God created the human race in His own image and likeness. Sexual difference and complementarity have been present from the beginning as part of God’s creative plan. Equal in dignity but complementary in their sexual difference, men and women who are called to marriage are intended to form one-flesh unions. Thus, marriage can be seen as the “primordial sacrament” predating the Fall and surviving original sin. It provides the ideal context for children—citizens of the state and of the Kingdom—to be formed, nurtured and educated. It is therefore the fundamental building block of every society and of the Church, a matter of vital concern to both.

Archbishop John J. Myers, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Newark, has written an important and beautiful pastoral letter concerning the sanctity of marriage. I would urge all of you to print the letter - read it - and share it with your family, friends, and all your fellow citizens. Please, be sure that your parish family is aware of the letter and has access to it.

You can print the Archbishop's letter by clicking HERE

God bless !

Andy Williams, Our Huckleberry Friend is Gone

Very sad news today, Andy Williams is gone. My parents loved this guy - so I grew up watching and listening to him. His voice was amazing...a beautiful gift from God.

God bless you Andy, for all the joy you brought into this world.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Message from Bill Donohue

The Catholic League is the nation's largest Catholic civil rights organization. Founded in 1973 by the late Father Virgil C. Blum, S.J., the Catholic League defends the right of Catholics – lay and clergy alike – to participate in American public life without defamation or discrimination. It is led by its' President, William A. Donohue, Ph.D.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Final Communion

Remembering Thomas Merton: A final communion with ‘Uncle Louie’
By Patrick Hart

My abrupt departure from Rome in June of 1968 was in response to asummons from the newly elected Abbot of Gethsemani, Father Flavian Burns. He had replaced Abbot James Fox, who had been Abbot of Gethsemani for 20 years prior to his resignation in late 1967. My work at the Trappist Generalate in Rome was originally an assignment for three years, to be followed by several years at our Monastery of Roscrea in Ireland. But alas: “Man proposes; God disposes…”

When I arrived back at Gethsemani, Abbot Flavian told me that Father Louis, or Thomas Merton, would be doing more traveling in the future and needed a full-time secretary to take care of his enormous correspondence. Abbot Flavian added that he had asked for me, since I was acquainted with handling his manuscripts during my decade of service as Abbot James’ secretary.

After a few days, Merton invited me to his hermitage to fill me in on what my job would entail while he was traveling to the Far East. I recall when I arrived at the hermitage after walking up the hill where his hermitage was perched overlooking the knobs to the East, Merton was walking slowly at the edge of the woods facing his hermitage reading Conversations: Christian and Buddhist by Aelred Graham, the English Benedictine monk who had been headmaster at the Portsmouth Priory School in Rhode Island. Having welcomed me to the hermitage, I presented him with a gift from Pope Paul VI, with whom I had an audience shortly before leaving Rome for the States. It was an elegant bronze crucifix, which some bishops of the Vatican II era were sporting as a pectoral cross. Merton smiled and thanked me for hand-carrying it through Europe and the Isles before returning to the States. He placed it on a desk in the main room of the hermitage, and excused himself as he retreated to the kitchen of the hermitage where he retrieved two bottles of beer, and one frosted glass. He opened one and poured it into the frosted glass and offered it to me, while he himself used a glass from the kitchen, non-frosted. A small thing, but after 40 years, I still remember it as an indication of the singular hospitalilty of this American Trappist hermit for another monk on a hot summer afternoon in Kentucky.

Read the rest HERE

Thanks to Beth at Louie Louie

Thursday, September 20, 2012

On Caroline Kennedy's Catholicism

Caroline Kennedy spoke at the 2012 Democratic Convention. She brought up her "Catholicism" to make some kind of point. Jennifer Hartline commented on her blog "Wake Up, Deborah." I believe that JH is right on the money.

Ms. Kennedy, I know you grew up Catholic. I know you were raised in the Church. I won’t speculate on the exact nature of your faith, but I can say this for certain: What you professed that night at the DNC was NOT Catholic. You seem to indeed have a very specific creed, but it’s not the creed of the Catholic Church.

Your speech that night was scandalous. There’s no other word for it. It was disgraceful. On the one hand, it made me furious, and on the other hand, it made me feel very sorry for you.
I am furious with you and every other public “Catholic” in this country who makes a mockery of our faith by living in utter contradiction of what the Church teaches while claiming to love the Church, love your faith, and take your faith seriously. You obstinately persist in championing grave and intrinsic evil, while wearing your ashes on your forehead as an empty display of authenticity. You claim to love the Church you persecute and blaspheme at every turn. You claim membership of a Body you despise through your actions.

When you champion the “right” to kill the child in the womb, you despise the Body of Christ. When you champion the “right” to treat the child in the womb as a thing rather than a person, you despise the Christ Child. When you champion the demise of true marriage through its redefinition, you despise the Holy Family. When you champion the demise of the family by casting aside the primacy of mother and fathers in raising children, you despise the Child Jesus. When you champion the proliferation of contraception and require your own Church to violate Her unchangeable teachings about the sanctity and dignity of human life and marital love, you despise the blessed humanity of Christ.

You do not correctly represent the Church when you make such scandalous remarks as you did that night. You may wish to fashion a Catholic Church more to your liking, but you don’t have that authority or ability, thank the Lord.

>> You can read the complete article HERE

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Homily - 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time 2012

Have you ever had to live in a question? I have. Through the years I have dealt with health issues. I go to the doctor for a check-up; he sees something out of the ordinary - performs a few tests - says to come back in a week for the results. I go online to a health site and diagnose myself, playing doctor. There are a multitude of diseases that match my symptoms. The question forces me to look at my loved ones differently; I sense the importance and preciousness of our relationships. My daily routine has more meaning - exercise, a morning shower, work, Holy Mass. After a week, the doctor gives his response. I am no longer lost in a question.

The disciples experienced the same. They witnessed many of Jesus miracles - calming the storm, feeding the five thousand – still; lost in the question. Who is he? Jesus always asked questions, “Do you not yet have faith”? “Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do what I tell you to do.” Along the way to Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asks the disciples another question, “Who do PEOPLE say that I am.” I can hear their sigh of relief; He is asking about other folks thoughts, not ours. The disciples answer in a casual way, “John the Baptist, Elijah, one of the prophets.” Jesus slows down – stops and gazes into their eyes. “Who do YOU say that I am?” For two thousand years men and women have lived in this question – the response has changed everything.

Recently I watched a movie, “Of Gods and Men.” It is about nine French Trappist monks who lived in a monastery in Algeria in the 1990’s. They lived lives of ACTION and CONTEMPLATION. Fostering understanding between themselves and their neighbors – they provided medical and charitable assistance to everyone – as all were treated as Christ himself. In 1993, Algeria was caught up in a civil war. It was dangerous for the monks to be there, even more so, as they refused the protection of the military. The Superior called a meeting to discuss their options. The monks were frightened – some doubting their own vocations. Do we stay or do we go? After much thought and discussion, they are unanimous in their decision to stay and live out their call to serve God by serving this community. The monks considered this civil war immoral. Although remaining neutral – they would not help insurgents. This effort to remain neutral would bring consequences. In May 1996, a radical religious faction active in Algeria, kidnapped seven of the monks and threatened to hold them hostage until France released several of their own imprisoned compatriots. Several weeks passed, and still the French government refused. In the end, the monks were killed by beheading.

The superior, Fr. Christian de Cherge, knowing that one day this would happen, left a note. “If one day it should happen to me – and it could be today – to be a victim of the terrorism that threatens to engulf all the foreigners living in Algeria, I would like my community, my church and my family to know that my life was given to God and to this country.” Regarding a probable violent death, he remarked “which I do not desire since I cannot rejoice in the thought that the people I love will be accused of my murder,” Fr. Christian ended his note by forgiving his future assassin, “who would not be aware of what he is doing.” This incredible act of Love – this demonstration of faith - is in direct response to Jesus’ question “Who do you say that I am.”

You may think that this example of sanctity is extreme. It is not. We are all capable of great acts of love. We just need to trust in God. The servant in today’s reading from Isaiah says “The Lord is my help – therefore, I am not disgraced.”

In response to Jesus’ question, Peter’s reply is clear “You are the Christ.”

Is our answer to this question the same? If YES, we side with the Psalmist when he says “He has freed my soul from death, my eye’s from tears, my feet from stumbling.”

Jesus goes on to say “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel, will save it.” Pope John Paul II commented “that we take a stand for Him, almost to the point at times of a new martyrdom: the martyrdom of those who, today as yesterday, are called to go against the tide in order to follow the divine Master, to follow "the Lamb wherever he goes.”

There is always a cost to discipleship. Peter did not think so and was rebuked by Jesus “Get behind me Satan. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.”

As American Catholics, we do not fear the kind of persecutions like the monks in Algeria endured. This does not mean we do not have to have the courage to stand up for our faith – our Christian lifestyle. We never compromise on the Truth that is Jesus Christ. We stand up for our belief in True Marriage, our belief in the dignity of the human person, from conception to natural death. We stand up for the immigrant, who is neither legal nor illegal, but who is a child of God – who enjoys the dignity only God can give. We ask the Spirit for understanding – to recognize laws that are just and unjust, remembering the words of St. Augustine "an unjust law is no law at all." We work for peace in our world, for human freedom. We pray for and defend our clergy, our religious and our laity, who persevere in their dedication to God.

Today, I hear the Lord say to me “Deacon Brian, who do you say that I am"?

My response....

You are my friend – You have laid down your life for me.

You are my teacher: I believe You are the Truth, and I follow You.

You are my God – I adore You and rest in your mystery.

You are my Savior – You have brought me out of my blind, stupid, enslaving ways
You make up for all my failures.

May all of us in the Church draw closer to the Lord each day. May we grow in holiness of life and be effective witnesses to the truth that Jesus Christ is indeed the Son of God, the Savior of all mankind and the living source of our hope. Amen.

Deacon Brian J. Murphy

** Many thanks to the late Father M. Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Comfort and Console Us, Strengthen Us in Hope

O God of love, compassion, and healing, look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions, who gather today at this site, the scene of incredible violence and pain. We ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here— the heroic first-responders: our fire fighters, police officers, emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel, along with all the innocent men and women who were victims of this tragedy simply because their work or service brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion to bring healing to those who, because of their presence here that day, suffer from injuries and illness. Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy. Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well of those who suffered death, injury, and loss on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Our hearts are one with theirs as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.

God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world: peace in the hearts of all men and women and peace among the nations of the earth. Turn to your way of love those whose hearts and minds are consumed with hatred. God of understanding, overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy, we seek your light and guidance as we confront such terrible events. Grant that those whose lives were spared may live so that the lives lost here may not have been lost in vain.

Comfort and console us, strengthen us in hope, and give us the wisdom and courage to work tirelessly for a world where true peace and love reign among nations and in the hearts of all.

Pope Benedict XI--Prayer at Ground Zero New York, 20 April 2008

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pro-Life Democrats Are Being Hunted to Extinction

Here is a very interesting article out of Patheos, written by Representative Rebecca Hamilton - Pro-Life Democrats Are Being Hunted to Extinction...

I’ve got a strong pulse for somebody who’s supposed to be extinct.

I am battered, chipped, stained and cracked in a few places. But extinct? Nope. I am a pro-life Democrat, and according to a recent Weekly Standard article, I am a living ghost of times past.

Is that true? Am I one of the last of my kind, the final dinosaur stumbling to the end of its species? Well … maybe. Maybe I am.

The Standard article makes a good case for the notion that even if there are a few pro-life Democrats rattling around, they are so compromised that they have no significance. Democrats for Life of America is a case in point. This gutsy little band of warriors keeps hanging on in the despised fringes of the larger Democratic party; doing their best to be the voice of life in the party of abortion.

I had great hopes for Democrats for Life of America. I still hope for them. I have spoken at their national convention, and was for a while one of their two state directors in Oklahoma. But as the Standard article makes clear, their presence at the Democratic National Convention this week is a sad affair marked primarily by the absence of anyone paying them the least little bit of attention. Not a single current Democratic office holder bothered to show up at their event.

They did have a smattering of former Democratic office holders. They were mostly people who either gave up or lost their office as a result of the fight to put pro life language into the Affordable Health Care Act. Pro-life Democrats took a beating in the last election, which explains the total lack of interest from those currently in power.

In my opinion the reason why pro life Democrats took such a drubbing at the polls in 2010 is simple. They compromised on the Affordable Health Care Act. There was a moment in time when pro-life Democrats held the aspirations of pro life people in their hands. They were the ones who had the power to force the President to accept language that would have blocked using federal money to pay for abortions. This language could have staved off attacks on religious liberty such as the HHS Mandate.

For a while they held tough. I remember how proud I was of them. Then, they blinked. I understand the enormity of the pressures they were under. I’ve read that at least one of them was threatened with the closure of military bases in his district. This would have cost thousands of his constituents their jobs. That’s not a small thing to an elected official. Your constituents trust you and rely on you to take care of them. When these power throw-downs come along, you are often all they’ve got. Protecting them becomes a reflex, similar to the reflexive way we jump to protect our children.

President Obama placed these Democratic office holders in the terrible position of either endangering the livelihoods of thousands of the people they were supposed to protect, or caving on the pro life amendments to the Affordable Health Care Act. That is the sort of threat that would make any decent office holder quake.

When he offered them empty promises as a sop, a way out, they jumped on those promises. The rest is history. The ink was barely dry on the Affordable Health Care Act when the President began to renege on the promises he made to pass it. We have now reached the point that he has turned it into a direct attack on religious freedom with the HHS Mandate.

But even before the HHS Mandate, the whole pro-life Democrat house of cards had come tumbling down.

Pro life people, rightly outraged, vowed to never support another Democrat. Those pro-life Democrats who had failed to fight to the death over the Affordable Health Care Act were mostly either defeated at the polls or simply decided not to run for re-election. What we got as a result was a Democratic Party that was even more fixedly pro abortion (as opposed to pro choice) and nihilistic than ever before. This distillation of the party also resulted in the loss of the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. The party that was left was leaner, meaner and narrower in focus than ever before.

All this raises two questions, both of them very serious to the pro life cause and the future of our nation. The first question is simple and straightforward: Is it possible for anyone except an exception to be a pro life Democrat?

Read the rest HERE

God Is Back In The Platform !

Now, should we put "God" back into the platform? or should "God" stay out of the platform. We need a two thirds majority to put "God" back into the platform. Let's take a vote on it. mmmmm...seems to be half and half. Well, I think we have met the necessary two thirds majority - so "God" is back in the platform! And if you don't believe me, just look at the screen to my right. There it is... "God" is back in the platform... amazing how fast we got that video up and running, isn't it ???

Respect Human Life

"...there is no element of the common good, no morally good practice, which a candidate may promote and to which a voter may be dedicated, which could justify voting for a candidate who also endorses and supports the deliberate killing of the unborn, euthanasia or the recognition of a same-sex relationship as a legal marriage. The respect for the inviolable dignity of innocent human life and for the integrity of marriage and the family are so fundamental to the common good that they cannot be subordinated to any other cause, no matter how good it may be."

~ Raymond Cardinal Burke

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Moving Forward ?

I was reading through the 2012 Democratic Party platform. It differs from the 2008 platform, as the word "God" is now omitted. I guess this is a move "forward." If you wish to read the platform, it's HERE. I pulled out a few lines and posted them for your review. I also injected my own two cents. Feel free to comment....

Protecting A Woman’s Right to Choose. The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe (not safe for the baby) and legal abortion (killing), regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy (what clergy could ever take part in killing a child?);

President Obama and the Democratic Party are committed to supporting family planning (another term for contraception AND abortion) around the globe to help women (abortion not only destroys a child, it destroys the mother)care for their families, support their communities, and lead their countries to be healthier and more productive. That’s why, in his first month in office, President Obama (always moving forward!) overturned the “global gag rule,” a ban on federal funds to foreign family planning organizations that provided information about, counseling on, or offered abortions. And that is why the administration has supported lifesaving family planning health information and services.


The Church can not and will not tell you who to vote for, but all Catholics, and all good Christians should and must vote on the side of life, from conception until natural death.

"A nation that kills it's own children is a nation without hope."--John Paul II

Joe Biden and Paul Ryan - Who's Catholic ?

Andrew M. Greenwell, Esq. posted an important article on Catholic Online today. What is the difference between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan in terms of their Catholic Faith. You can read the entire article HERE.

Biden on abortion: "My position is that I am personally opposed to abortion, but I don't think I have a right to impose my view on the rest of society. I've thought a lot about it, and my position probably doesn't please anyone. I think the government should stay out completely. I will not vote to overturn the Court's decision [in Roe v. Wade]. I will not vote to curtain a woman's right to choose an abortion."

(N.B. Of course, if a woman has a "right," then the state must enforce that right, so for him to stay that the "government should stay out completely" is a falsehood or at least absolutely inconsistent with his prior statements.)

Biden on same-sex "marriage": "I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties. And quite frankly, I don't see much of a distinction--beyond that."

Now Ryan:

Ryan on abortion: "I cannot believe any official or citizen can still defend the notion that an unborn human being has no rights that an older person is bound to respect." "How long can we sustain our commitment to freedom if we continue to deny the very foundation of freedom--life--for the most vulnerable human beings?"

Ryan on same-sex "marriage": "I believe that marriage should remain between a man and a woman, and I have heard from many of the people I represent who are concerned about activist judges abusing their power and rewriting our society's definition of marriage."

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day

My grandson Oliver is enjoying a relaxing moment watching cartoons, waiting for his dad to come home from work (yes, work today!) and bring him and his mother to a BAR-B-CUE.

Time for rest; time for play
We celebrate on Labor Day.

Throughout the year we give our best
We each deserve a little rest.

The days and weeks and years march on
Work well done an unspoken song.

We thank you Lord for giving life
Even when work seems more like strife.

In work we have a chance to show
Our talents perhaps, but surely to grow.

Interrelating and doing our jobs
Helps us remember we’re an important cog.

On the wheel of life we turn and go on
Fulfilled when we say
"A good job we've done."

Prayer by Susan Helene Kramer

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR. - A Modern Day St. Francis

Fr. Benedict Groeschel. He is a good man, a Catholic priest, a friar, who has devoted his life to serving the poorest of the poor, the homeless, the destitute, the abused. He is a staunch supporter of life. He is a modern day St. Francis who preaches the Good News by his works of love in action. One mistake of words can not erase a life of love. In the words of St. Francis "It is in pardoning that we are pardoned."

God bless Fr. Benedict, and our Holy Catholic Church.