Friday, January 31, 2014

Pope Benedict XVI, a Brilliant and Holy Man


 Our faith is well founded; but it is necessary that this faith become part of our lives. A great effort must therefore be made in order for all Christians to transform themselves into 'witnesses,' ready and able to shoulder the commitment of testifying - always and to everyone - to the hope that animates them.” Pope Benedict XVI

Mr. Binelli's Rolling Stone article on Pope Francis is nauseating. In it he says that "Benedict was a dour academic." Mr. Binelli does not have a clue - about our Holy Father Benedict and about our Catholic faith. Pope Benedict is a brilliant scholar, a holy man. Take the time to read through his writings. You can find all writings from his papacy here.

God bless Benedict, a gem, one of the finest Holy Father's in history.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Robert Lax, Psalm

I am here for you.  I have no other person to be here for and no other reason to be here.  I am here at your disposal.  Your disposition.  I have no desire except to do what you'd have me do.  I have heard of other desires.  I haven't heard of any that mean as much to me as that.  Haven't heard of any that would mean as much to me as knowing I was doing what you wanted me to do.  Or even not knowing I was doing it.  Simply doing it.
Why would I wish so much to do what you'd want me to?  Only because I think I was made for that purpose.  To listen & do.  To get my mind clear enough to listen & do then do what I hear I should do.  How do I know that the voice I'd hear would be yours?  How can I know that the thing I should do is a good one?
I'd know because there is something I know about you.  I know that you love me.  I know that the things you tell me to do are from love.  You don't tell me to kill.  You don't tell me to die.  You tell me to love.  You tell me to do the things love does.  You show me the way.
- Robert Lax, Psalm,  (Zurich, Switzerland.  Pendo, 1991), pp 8, 10

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pete Seeger Dies in NY

Pete Seeger died today. A man who gave his life fighting for many causes, trying to improve the human condition... if only he would have embraced the PRO-LIFE movement, now THAT would have been a great sign of courage.

Pete Seeger, who helped create the modern American folk music movement, co-wrote enduring songs like "If I Had a Hammer" and in turn became a leading voice for social justice, died on Monday at the age of 94. He was variously hailed in social and traditional media as a "hero", "America's conscience" and "A man of the people".

Seeger died of natural causes at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, his record company, Appleseed Recordings, said. Seeger was well known for his liberal politics, working as an environmentalist, protesting against wars from Vietnam to Iraq. He was sentenced to prison for refusing to testify to Congress about his time in the Communist Party.

 "I always believed that the right song at the right moment could change history."



Read more HERE

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

55 Million Babies Killed Since Roe v. Wade


Hard to imagine, 55 Million babies killed since Roe v. Wade.  An evil decision. The greatest Holocaust ever...

Kristan Hawkins has written an important article for LifeNews......

What can I say that hasn’t already been said about today?

Yesterday evening, I was sitting in my living room working while watching my sons play. I began to think about what my life would have been without them. How different I would be. How their lives have already made this world a different place since they were born. How much I would hurt if I had chosen abortion. Then, I thought of the more than 55,000,000 lives that have been taken in the U.S. since 1973, and I became overwhelmed at the tragedy. Tragedy for the babies, their mothers, their fathers, families, and us. Who is our nation missing? What price is our society paying for the ultimate deceit of abortion?

 40 years ago today, seven men on the Supreme Court decided in favor of a case presented to them from a 27 year-old, unknown, post-abortive lawyer, Sarah Weddington. That case was Roe v. Wade and, along with its companion Doe v. Bolton, it legalized abortion in all 9 months of pregnancy, for any reason, in the United States.

Today, this 27 year-old is writing to you as a survivor of that decision. The undeniable fact is that nearly a third of my generation is missing. We are missing brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, husbands and wives. You see, Miss Weddington’s generation got it wrong. In attempting to correct gender inequality in the workplace and in our society, they set into motion the ultimate act of discrimination – abortion. Instead of glorifying motherhood, they pitted the mother against her child, creating an endless cycle of selfishness, pain, and deceit.

But this generation is determined to set it right. We’ve seen the ultrasounds of our siblings, googled “abortion” and seen the bloody images, and sat with a friend as she cried about her abortion. This youth generation is the most pro-life generation of young people since 1973; we’re even more pro-life than even our parents’ generation. And this week our presence will be known as this generation will be the predominant participants in Wednesday’s March for Life in Washington, D.C. and pro-life rallies across the nation.

This week, we will be proudly carrying our “I am the Pro-Life Generation” signs, and Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry will watch their target audience slip away.

>> Read the rest HERE

What is Human

Here is a short film by Lila Rosa of Live Action. It is "necessary" viewing for those of us who are PRO-LIFE, and "necessary" viewing for those who seek the truth.

"Every individual, precisely by reason of the mystery of the Word of God who was made flesh (cf. Jn 1:14), is entrusted to the maternal care of the Church. Therefore every threat to human dignity and life must necessarily be felt in the Church's very heart; it cannot but affect her at the core of her faith in the Redemptive Incarnation of the Son of God, and engage her in her mission of proclaiming the Gospel of life in all the world and to every creature." (cf. Mk 16:15). John Paul II


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Second Sunday of Ordinary Time A




Jesus is coming up the road to Rome. People ranging from shepherd boys, street vendors - to one of the newly made Vatican cardinals - see him approaching, each one is gasping at the news that “Jesus is coming, Jesus is coming!” each one running to the next person in authority. When a cardinal, with all of the other people behind him, gets to the pope, the pope gasps at the news and hurriedly grabs a piece of paper. All of those assembled look at each other, with everyone eventually egging the cardinal on to say something. When the cardinal says, “Your Holiness, did you hear? Jesus is coming,” the pope says, “Yes! Look busy!”

Yes – it’s a joke – but not really. We are called to be busy – to be busy on mission. 

Last week’s Gospel version by Matthew and this week’s version by John both concern an event, the Baptism of Our Lord. Last week we see Jesus allowing himself to be baptized by John “fulfilling all righteousness.” Upon Jesus is the Spirit of God descending like a dove – we hear the voice from heaven say “this is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.” The Trinity is present at the Jordon. Baptism has changed – from symbolic ceremonial washings to now being born of water AND the Spirit. Baptism is now a sacrament - and Jesus, by allowing Himself to be baptized, teaches us that “we are all to be baptized.” The Church teaches that the Sacrament of Baptism cleanses us of original sin, we receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit, and we become members of Jesus’ Mystical Body. We also become children of the “Light” – called to be “light.”Baptism makes us disciples – who receive a mission. 

John Paul II said “Because of the one dignity flowing from Baptism,” every baptized person “shares a responsibility for the Church’s mission.” 

To understand this “call” to mission, we first have to know “who” is doing the calling – and that is the focus of today’s Gospel reading.  As John sees Jesus coming toward him, he says “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John the Baptist “points to Christ.” He has identified for us the One who “calls.” He is the ONE who chose to lay down His life as a sacrifice for you and me. He is Jesus the Christ. He is the fullness of gentleness, of sacrifice, and of triumph. If we believe that Jesus is the Christ, how can we not heed his call?


Our first reading from the Book of Isaiah presents us with an address to the Gentile nations. “I will make you a light to the nations- that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Here is God expressing His love for Israel, indicating that through that nation, He the Lord will be glorified and praised. Through Israel, the grace of God would shine forth worldwide. 

Brothers and sisters, in baptism God calls us out of darkness into his marvelous light. We are called reflect that “light.”– to be God’s instruments here on earth – to be what Mother Teresa called  “Love in Action”, each one of us, using our God given gifts – pointing towards Our Lord. As Israel was the conduit for the passing on of God’s grace, we too are conduits – to pass on God’s love - be the face of Christ wherever we may be - in our homes, in our workplace, in the soup kitchens, the homeless shelters. Jesus expresses his love to his children - through his children. We are called to mission - to be His “light” in the world.

A beautiful example of this “Light” is the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday we celebrate this Monday. Baptized as a child in the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta Georgia, Dr. King spent his “short” lifetime bringing “Light” into the darkness of racial segregation and discrimination. In 1963, incarcerated in the Birmingham jail, he wrote “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that - hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” Dr. King was a man whose life was formed by the Gospel – who became that light – who, like Jesus – preached gentlenessnon-violence – who sacrificed his life – and triumphed over darkness.


In our second reading, St. Paul teaches that it is the Divine Will that all God’s people –who answer the call – must be united –in “mission.” Paul says to the Corinthians “to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.” By virtue of our Baptism we are members of the Mystical body – one family – all called to be holy – to be saints –to be united with each other - who call upon the name of the Lord.

Now we may say, “Me? Holy? How am I going to achieve that? To achieve - or even attempt holiness in this modern world can seem futile… but we are a people of faith…we know nothing is impossible with God.. So, there is a way. First and foremost, we “pray” we ask Our Lord to make us holy – to be like Mary, submissive to the Will of God, as the Psalmist says “Here am I, Lord; I come to do your will.”

We use our strengths and talents as a gift from Christ. We follow Christ and become like him, seeking the Father's will in all things, the glory of God and the good of our neighbor. We use our personal gifts and fulfill our duties in the spirit of faith working through love. We receive all things with faith from the hand of the heavenly Father.

At our baptism, each one of us is “called” to play a unique role in carrying out God’s divine plan – called to be on a “mission”, being His “ light ” to the nations.

Prayer:

Father in Heaven, ever-living source of all that is good, keep us faithful in serving You.

Help us to drink of Christ's Truth, and to fill our hearts with His Love, so that we may serve You by reflecting Your “light”, united in faith and love, and reach eternal life.


In the Sacrament of the Eucharist, You give us the joy of sharing Your Life, Keep us in Your presence, Let us never be separated from You, and help us to do Your Will.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Gimme Shelter - The Movie

Looks like a good movie...check it out....


Monday, January 13, 2014

Just Say Hello in There

My wife and I married in 1977 - humble beginnings - honeymoon weekend in the Poconos - at home we had - no couch - just a bed on the floor, no box spring - small b/w TV, stereo (does anybody use the word stereo any more?), and all my records, hundreds of records, 45s, LP's.. I still have them all. Back then, a favorite of ours was Bette Midler. Her "Divine Miss M." album.

Bette Midler sings an beautiful rendition of John Prine's "Hello in there." She has made the song her own. I can remember playing it over and over again. Now the song has taken on a deeper meaning to me. Blessed Mother Teresa said the worst poverty in the west was not hunger - it was loneliness, being unloved. Too many of God's children are lonely - in nursing homes, hospitals - living at home while their children live in far off places - the old people - they long for you and me to visit them, to listen to them, to just say "hello in there."


Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Baptism of the Lord

 
Jesus appeared: he came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. John tried to dissuade him. ‘It is I who need baptism from you’ he said ‘and yet you come to me!’ But Jesus replied, ‘Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that righteousness demands.’ At this, John gave in to him.
 
  As soon as Jesus was baptised he came up from the water, and suddenly the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. And a voice spoke from heaven, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved; my favor rests on him.’  Matthew 3:13-17


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Father Baez gets a ride on the Popemobile

The Holy Father is full of surprises. In the crowd at St. Peter's Square, he sees his old friend Father Fabrian Baez - Francis asks him to jump into the popemobile for a ride. You just gotta love this Pope !




Read the full story HERE at CNA

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Frozen in Time


Here is an old picture I took some years ago - of pretty white flowers. I removed the color - then changed the image into a watercolor (or something resembling a watercolor). The flowers seem cold - "frozen in time." They are still beautiful, but now - lost. 

So many of our brothers and sisters, are "frozen in time." Homeless - they live on the streets, moving from one place to another - sleeping under sheets of cardboard on old church steps, hiding under bushes in county parks - afraid to find warmth in the shelters - where the violence only adds to their misery. They seek warmth in Newark's Penn Station, where they are allowed to enter in the late of the evening - having to stand, not allowed to sit or lay down, until the early morning - then moved back into the cold. Some have train passes - they find warmth in the rail car, back and forth - all night long - between Newark and New York. 

The human heart can be frozen. Sometimes we just don't see the suffering. We look the other way - we cross the street. Jesus said "what you have done to the least of my brothers, you have done to me." That brother - that sister - sleeping on the bench - on the soup line - that is Jesus in His most distressing disguise. I think we need to be reminded of that reality, over and over again.    

Jesus, open my eyes - heal me of my blindness - help me - teach me - let me see that my suffering brother, my suffering sister, is You.

 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Epiphany "Bell Sunday"

Journey of the Magi 

by T.S. Eliot

‘A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
And running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.


Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arrived at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.


And all this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Goodbye Phil Everly

I heard the news today about Phil Everly.  Phil and his brother Don influenced more artists than we could count - Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, me.....

Phil, God be with you, thank you for the music...you will never be forgotten.



Friday, January 3, 2014

First "2014" Snowfall in Brookdale Park


New Jersey received it's first snowfall of the New Year ! After shoveling this morning, I trekked over to Brookdale Park and took a few shots. It was 11*F, so I didn't stay outside for long...  enjoy the Robert Frost poem...
 
 Dust of Snow




The way a crow
Shook down on me
The dust of snow
From a hemlock tree



Has given my heart
A change of mood
And saved some part
Of a day I had rued.



** looks like icing on a cake, don't it ? **



Thursday, January 2, 2014

St. Basil the Great


 When someone steals another's clothes, we call them a thief. Should we not give the same name to one who could clothe the naked and does not? The bread in your cupboard belongs to the hungry; the coat unused in your closet belongs to the one who needs it; the shoes rotting in your closet belong to the one who has no shoes; the money which you hoard up belongs to the poor.”St. Basil

Tonight in New Jersey the snow has begun to fall. The temperature is dropping quickly. By this time tomorrow we will have temperatures nearing or slightly below 0*F. This is quite unusual for New Jersey. 

There are many of God's children sleeping outside in the cold. Pray for them - pray that they seek and find shelter.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year and Kudos to Sonia Sotomayor !


I pray that all of you have a Blessed New Year !

And so far, so good. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has granted a temporary Obamacare exemption to the Little Sisters of the Poor - let us hope that this is a trend... Kudos to Sonia ! You can read more HERE.

 Here are some words by Pope Francis, from his World Peace Day Message..


We Christians believe that in the Church we are all members of a single body, all mutually necessary, because each has been given a grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ, for the common good (cf. Eph 4:7,25; 1 Cor 12:7). Christ has come to the world so as to bring us divine grace, that is, the possibility of sharing in his life. This entails weaving a fabric of fraternal relationships marked by reciprocity, forgiveness and complete self-giving, according to the breadth and the depth of the love of God offered to humanity in the One who, crucified and risen, draws all to himself: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34-35). This is the good news that demands from each one a step forward, a perennial exercise of empathy, of listening to the suffering and the hopes of others, even those furthest away from me, and walking the demanding path of that love which knows how to give and spend itself freely for the good of all our brothers and sisters.


Christ embraces all of humanity and wishes no one to be lost. “For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him” (Jn 3:17). He does it without oppressing or constraining anyone to open to him the doors of heart and mind. “Let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves” – Jesus Christ says – “I am among you as one who serves” (Lk 22:26-27). Every activity therefore must be distinguished by an attitude of service to persons, especially those furthest away and less known. Service is the soul of that fraternity that builds up peace. 


May Mary, the Mother of Jesus, help us to understand and live every day the fraternity that springs up from the heart of her Son, so as to bring peace to each person on this our beloved earth.


From the Vatican, 8 December 2013

You can read the complete message from Pope Francis HERE