Tuesday, May 31, 2016


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer's day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented."  G K Chesterton


Not much news to report this week.  Here is the latest on the bird outside my window.  She's still just sitting there.

Not nearly as interesting as the deer at St. Anthony.  The little brown dot at the center of this picture is a little doe.  I didn't want to get any closer and couldn't get a better picture.  I was up visiting Fr. Kovacina and he pointed this little bundle of joy out.  Later saw it gamboling about with Mom.  
 It was a busy weekend at St. Sebastian.  Here is part of our Corpus Christi celebration.  Thanks for the picture Karen.
 And here is the Memorial Day Pot Luck Breakfast with appropriate entertainment.  Thanks for the picture Tom.
Here is class number 3.  About ten minutes:

Thursday, May 26, 2016



“You know what the problem is Father?  From the time a little girl has any concept of what a wedding is, she has been daydreaming about it.  She imagines it and catalogues everything that she likes from movies and such.  And then you come along and say, ‘Sorry, I can’t do that.’  But they do it on T.V. and at the Brand New Jesus Church so you look like a jerk.”

That may be true.  It may also be true that we do not preach and teach enough about marriage and weddings to firmly ground people in what they are and what they do.  So two different philosophical boats collide on Lake Erie and it is rare in these situations that both sides go, “Oooops, my bad,” and then motor along.  Dreams and law collide and someone is invariably upset that there is a scratch on their boat.

One of the biggest philosophical barriers to overcome is figuring out to whom the wedding and the marriage belong.  Much of the world would say that the wedding day belongs primarily to the couple.  It is a consumer mentality.  I want to get married, I am hiring you to do it, and this is how I want it done.  It is my dream day, my life, and my commitment, and therefore it should go the way that I want it to go.

That sounds reasonable.  Aunt Judy and Ranger Rick who will be in attendance are not exchanging vows, are not going on the honeymoon, will not be living with the new couple and didn’t pay for a lick of anything.  The Church (typically) receives some fees for services rendered.  So if someone wants to get married on the beach at noon on Sunday at a destination wedding in bathing suits with “Pretty Woman” playing as the bride walks down the sandy aisle, why should we not cater to the consumer?  It is just good business practice.

But what if the wedding does not belong only to the couple?  What if it belongs to the whole community?  What if marriage is a public thing in which everyone has a stake?  What if the reason the Church is involved is to bring support for the day, the marriage, and the family through example, prayer, and assistance in good times and bad, sickness and health?  What if the reason the bells are rung before the wedding Mass is not just because it is pretty but that a wedding belongs to the greater family of Church and they are invited and the bells are the general invitation?  If it is not all of these things, why not just get married in private and then have a blowout party?  

Like the Mass does not belong to the priest meaning he can’t play around with it because it belongs to the whole Church and they have a right to the Church’s Mass, so too does a wedding ceremony belong to the whole Church, the Church in Akron, the United States, the Americas, the world, and therefore we do what belongs to our common union.  Those in attendance, those expected to facilitate, and those marrying all have a right to that.  It is not a purchasing of a service, it is a joining in the life of Jesus’ Church and the life of generations of Catholics who pray for marriage every day.

Ah, well.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


What if you couldn’t understand the Reader at Mass?  What if today’s readings sounded a bit like this:


Realize tha you wah ransah frugh yo fuelile conuc, hannen on by yo ancess(gravely sound.)”

Someone is sitting at the back of the church, the room is echoey, and bodies with clothes on them are eating up the sound.  Already too softly pronounced consonants are now being put on the missing letters list on the back of milk cartons.  I would fully expect that the Reader be counseled to start enunciating and pronunciation more articulately even if it feels and sounds odd to him, because the important thing is that the words are both heard and understood or else stop reading or having Scripture at Mass.  Ministries are not charitable activities we give to people to be nice.  You must have the ability to do them and do them well for the benefit of the people in attendance because if it doesn’t matter, why do it in the first place?  The stakes are just too profound.

So why do we allow it with music?  Music is Scripture, Scripturally based, and deals with important matters of faith.  It is vital that its message is clear and understood (even if it is in Latin!) or why do it?  Then it just becomes very beautiful (hopefully) background noise.  And sometimes beautiful background noise is called for.  But unless you intend that, why not make sure every work you sing is enunciated with distinction?  It may be that a particular phrase moves a heart and soul toward the Lord in a way that the homily didn’t or can’t.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Love is the parent of brave actions."  from Sir Walter Scott's, "Ann of Geierstein

QUOTE II:  "Men lure no hawks with empty hands."  same source


PCV sent THIS ARTICLE in about the United Methodist pulling their support for a Pro-Abortion Coalition.  Interesting.

PROUD DOG OWNER:  They say that pets start reflecting their masters.  Yesterday Sebastian, a friend and I were walking and came across a pile of trash on the devil strip.  Sebastian jumped in and grabbed a new toy.  He has learned well from me as much of the house we live in came from other people's cast offs.
You know, people think he is all cute carrying around a stuffed toy.  "Oh look!  How adorable!"  Little do they realize he is carrying his prey, the dark side of which is only revealed later.  As is his want, he will later, in private, pin his catch beneath his giant paws and begin by chewing the eyes out and then pull the stuffed animal's brains out through those empty sockets.  

Real cute.
 Actually it is.

BIRD BRAIN:  Well, it's official,  It seems that I have a room mate - albeit one that lives on my windowsill.  She hasn't moved (that I've noticed) since I last posted about her.  I've wanted to work on that window box but I'll wait until the kids go off to school.
Here is the second installment of the Crash Course Philosophy.  It is still pretty good.  It is amazing how much this guy sounds like John Green from Mental Floss.  I hope you enjoy.  About 10 minutes.

Monday, May 23, 2016


There is the famous story of St. Augustine walking along the beach contemplating the nature of the Trinity and watching a young man fill a bucket or a shell with water and dumping it in a hole he had dug.  Over and over again he walked to the ocean a put little quantities of water in the hole.
Finally he stopped the lad and asked him, "What are you doing?"

"See that ocean?" he asked.  "I'm going to put it in this hole I dug."

Amused, the saint replied, "You can't fit the ocean into that hole!"

To which the boy replied, "And neither can you understand in your mind the mystery of the Trinity."

With that the young man disappeared actually having been an angel sent to give the saint an insight into the depth of mystery.

Friday, May 20, 2016


So in high school I was dating a girl whose father was a Methodist minister.  One day I went to her family’s church to play trumpet for the choir.  The service was good, they had a communion service (no, I didn’t partake) and the music went well.  I was sitting in the sacristy after cleaning my trumpet when her mother came in bringing the communion that was left over from the service.  She tilted the silver platter and dumped it all into the trash.  

I had a moment of freaking out - like seeing someone bumping a glass full of water and reaching out to catch the glass before it spills.  Then I realized that she had done it on purpose and was embarrassed.  She said something along the lines of, “Oh you Catholics,” with a kind and broad smile on her face, “it isn’t Jesus anymore.”

It is intellectually easier for a very good Methodist to open up their communion service to anybody who professes the Name of Jesus, even those who are not yet baptized.  This body of Christians does not believe in transubstantiation but that in some way not fully explainable (it is a mystery - understandable) that “the elements are essential tangible means through which God works.”

But let’s suppose that you see something different in Communion.  You see and/or understand a Divine Person clearly present.  It would be similar to the person who sees life in the womb as a cluster of impersonal cells, but you see a vital, viable and inviolable human being - a boy or a girl.  Who would you entrust to carrying your baby to term for you: someone who promises to have respect for your clump of cells, or someone who has love for your baby girl?

If they have respect for your clump of cells, that may be grounds for a very good friendship.  If they would love your baby girl the way you do, that is a grounding for marriage.  And who is invited into THE MOST INTIMATE ACT of the marriage covenant?  Those who are part of the covenant.  Who is invited to Catholic communion?  Everybody.  All people of all times and all places.  But if you have no desire or belief to be part of this mystical marriage in a permanent way, we can share all kinds of things together, just not this Person Who we believe is present to us Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity.  

That is why paragraph 80 (yes!  we have escaped paragraph 79) of the GIRM says that it is desirable that at the Paschal Banquet, in keeping with Christ’s instructions, “His Body and Blood should be received as spiritual food by the faithful who are properly disposed.”  Properly disposed to receive means about the same thing as someone who is properly disposed to receive the sacrament of marriage.  For marriage to be valid, a person must, know what they are getting themselves into, understand it, accept it, and fully give themselves to it and to a partner.  Eucharist is no different.  We are to know exactly what it is that we are doing, understand it, accept it, and give ourselves not only fully to Him, but to this Body of Christ, the Church, to which we are to be made one to be properly disposed.  If not, communion (common union) does not really exist and what we act out is not in accord with the reality.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


It doesn’t matter if you are on the stage or in the sanctuary, or subject in a painting, it matters where your eyes are focused.  In a painting it matters because your eyes direct the viewer.  For an easy example, think of every painting you’ve ever seen of the manger at Christmas.  Look at anybody’s eyes and their stare will lead you back to the baby Jesus.  Often even the ox and ass (rarely the sheep) are staring, mysteriously mesmerized by Him as if he had snacks hidden in his swaddling clothes.  Their stare constantly draws your eyes back to Him also.

There is a painting in my dentist’s office (shown below) that shows about 5 people looking off into the distance at something out of the range of the painting.  The viewer is left wondering, “What are they looking at?  Of what am I being left out?  Who are these people?  What is the NAME of this painting so that it may give me a clue?  Are they waiting for fireworks?  Is it the sunset?  Are there buffalo out on the range?  

As it turns out this painting is called, “People Out in the Sun” by Edward Hopper (1960) and these awkward looking people are actually manikins placed within the field of a nuclear bomb test to see how it would effect humans.  Suddenly this is a very interesting if not disturbing painting.

But I digress.

If you are on stage (and you are a good actor that doesn’t want to steal focus), your eyes are GLUED to what is going happening on stage so that if an audience member looks at you, their eyes are directed back to the action (unless the action is particularly bad and you are particularly interesting looking.)  If you are looking elsewhere, people will look to see at what you are looking.  If an altar server is looking into the sacristy and smiling instead of paying attention to the consecration, people who inadvertently look at the server will start to wonder what he is looking at instead of being present at the Mass.

If you are a community leader and someone else is speaking before a crowd, you look at the person speaking and are not gossiping with your neighbor.  Because of who you are, people will take their cue from you.  (Not important to him, maybe it shouldn’t be so important to me.)

So it is with life.  Our eyes must be firmly set on Jesus and eternal life.  When we focus too much on the things of the world, especially if we are leaders, bosses, parents, elders, popular figures, then we tempt others to forget about keeping their attention on that which is true, eternal, and most important and are distracted by trying to find out what is so fascinating about things that will pass.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "Prayer works but don't be and idiot.  Don't jump off of a building and pray for a soft landing."  Thanks to C.P.


Dawn Eden, who was largely responsible for the beginning of this blog, is in the news again.  It is brought to our attention by Mary who says, "Dawn Eden just made a return visit to Catholic Answers Live radio to introduce her new book on suffering, called Remembering God’s Mercy:  Redeem the Past and Free Yourself from Painful Memories,  drawn from  the wisdom of St. Ignatius and People Francis.  She begins the interview talking about how she’s the first one to get an S.T.D from the University of St. Mary of the Lake (seminary).    Then she goes on to talk about her conversion which began with G.K. Chesterton.  Next she speaks beautifully of how we can encounter God through our woundedness."

You can read her bio for the talk HERE.

You can read the publisher's page for her new book HERE.

And a bonus article on her: "Woman Blazes Path to Train Catholic Priests."  Read HERE.

Take a look at this picture.  A person here for an appointment noticed this yesterday.  It is a painting that I bought in Canada years ago (very small.)  There is a prism in my window and it shot this rainbow onto the canvas.  I looked cooler about 30 seconds before this picture was taken, but I had to run upstairs to get my camera - well - phone - and by then it changed dramatically.  But you get the idea.

This is a picture of a dove.  I have the impression she is planning on nesting in the flower box right outside the window of my sitting room.  She certainly has no fear of me whatsoever and she is spending a lot of time sitting there.

This 10 minute video is an excellent introduction to Philosophy.  It is what you must study before you go into any major seminary.  I do not yet know about the rest of the videos but this first one is awesome.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


I had an evening away recently with Fr. Bline, one of my classmates from seminary.  We talked about a lot of things as we approach 18 years of priesthood.  One of the things we talked about is how much we have changed.  An example of this is the picture below.
I will explain.  Earlier this week I was expecting a phone call from our Bishop.  Failing to make a connection I asked his secretary to give him my cellphone number so that he could reach me and I would not have to be tied to my desk.  So I waited and waited and waited and . . . nothing.

I decided to go out and do something and as soon as I stepped outside my phone pinged.  There was a phone message.
Yes, the bishop called and my phone did not register it for 5 hours!  I was a little panicked.

10 years ago, failure of a phone like that would have made me angry.  Now I am surprisingly not so upset by it.

Friday, May 13, 2016


Paragraph 79, subparagraph h of the GIRM

Not everything that crept into the Mass rubrics were removed at the Second Vatican Council.  We did not “go back” to some pristine state.  In fact, some things were added and some things were (not bad) accretions that were left in.  For example, the Memorial Acclamation was a part of the ancient Eastern liturgies but not in the West.  It was added during the revision of the Missal. 

And an example of something that was added and not removed is the elevation of the Sacred Species immediately after each is consecrated.  Granted, it was added centuries ago, not as recently as the pre-Vatican II addition of St. Joseph’s name to the Roman Canon, but it was added none-the-less.  It was during a time when few people went to Communion.  At least they would get to SEE Jesus even if they were not going to be able to receive Him.  (This led to the unfortunate practice of people running between churches trying to catch a glimpse of Jesus.)

As fantastic as this moment is, and it is pretty fantastic isn’t it?  I mean, Jesus Himself is present among us!  Right?  It is not the most important moment of the Mass.  That is why we don’t stop here.  After this momentary worship of Jesus (prolonged during Eucharistic Adoration) we move along - we have someplace more important to be in the Mass.

The pinnacle of the Mass is the doxology at the end of the Eucharistic prayer.  Here, Jesus is lifted up, that moment 2000 years we now witness, as He offers Himself to the Father.  Here, we are one with each other and as a body, the bride, we are one with the bridegroom Jesus, Who is recognized as one with the Father.  Here is the center of our unity.  And like a coach leading his team the priest cries out, “Through Him (Jesus), with Him, in Him, O God Almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is Yours for ever and ever!”  

Have you taken the time to think about how marvelous a statement this is?  It acknowledges that Jesus is here among us as the Eucharist, the source and symbol of our unity.  He it is that saves us at this very moment by bringing His saving action into the world at this time.  Through Him, through Whom everything that is was created.  He is our One True Priest Who offered Himself as a sacrifice on our behalf.  Everything that is destined for the Father goes through Him, the one, perfect mediator between the Father and Man.  With Him, because he also became man.  He stood with us and walks with us to show us the way.  And in Him, because we become one with Him.  We stand in His name.  In our covenantal bond we give ourselves over to Him and find life in Him.

“O God!”  It is not enough just to say “God.”  We have an ache in our heart at this wonderful promise of love, redemption, salvation and hope.  We moan, “Oh!” in exclamation that means everything from “Dear” to a continual feeling of surprise that He continues to love us so Who is Almighty, Who needs us not, but Who chooses us just the same like a good and perfect Father.

And Who does so in the Holy Spirit, the very power of God!  The love that radiates from the Father and Son that is so strong and so palpable, it became fruitful, becomes the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, and generates children for the Father through His sanctifying action in the world.

What an awesome God this is!  Why does He love us so?  He certainly has no need.  He freely chooses us and promises us everything.  All glory and honor is His, not just forever, but for ever and ever!

Why is it then that the very walls do not shake in terror when Catholics cry out, “Amen!  Amen!  Amen!?”  This should be a frightening, frantic noise.  Cars on the street should break as the drivers stop and wonder, “What was that?”  It should put the sound of the bells in the bell tower to shame.  It should cause people to ask, “What is this?”

Thursday, May 12, 2016


Why we keep certain people in our lives that drive us batty is a mystery.  Perhaps we think there is some advantage.  I don’t know.  Even if you don’t have a friend like this, one of your friends has a friend/co-worker/neighbor like this and you want to say, “I am tired of hearing you complain about this person all of the time!  Either do something about it or stop whining!”

Easier said than done at times.

In my life, this person is Miss Patience (Patty).  She knows I am writing about her.  I think she thinks it’s funny.  

She takes FOREVER to do anything.  I like things done zip, zip, zip.  My mantra for running the parish is, “We start on time and we end on time.”  Not Patty.  After we talk about where we finally want to go and I ask, “Are you ready?” and stand and grab my keys and am ready to walk out the door, she will say, “Just let me (insert just about anything here: iron this shirt, hang this picture up, wash my hair . . . )


She is a horrendous driver.  She ALWAYS picks the WRONG line at the grocery store checkout, at the toll road booth, in the confessional line.  I think she catches on to things but likes to play a game of, “I don’t get it,” just to see me loose my cool.  If I say, “Meet me at 3:00,” she’ll be there at 3:15 IF I’m lucky.  I swear, if I’m sitting around he house waiting for a repair man to show up and he’s late, I instinctively KNOW that she somehow has snagged his attention first - baked cookies or something and said, “I just have a quick question,” and then talked his ear off for an hour WHILE I AM SITTING IN MY HOUSE STEAMING.

Oh, oh, oh, and she KNOWS when I am in a rush and so says, “Can I just you an important question?  I will will be quick!  I will only take 2 minutes of your time.”  Have you ever noticed that when people feel they have to quantify how much of your time they will use, you can invariably multiply that by at least a factor of 10!?  (Get to the point, get to the point, get to the point. . . )

So, I talked to my spiritual director about Patty.  Of course he said she was probably far better for me than some of my other friends that I enjoy much more.  “She has much to teach you.  If you can learn to deal with her, you will be a far better friend to others when they need it, you will be far less stressed, and everybody will be much happier.”

And truly, mostly when my schedule is thrown off by her, everything still seems to work out.  There are times, however, that I just find it rude.  If I have to be somewhere at a certain time and I make it very clear, I will leave her behind and take off without her.  I deserve some curtesy too.  But I KNOW she is not going to change.  It is just the way she is.  If I am going to be happy and make the people around me happy, I am the one who has to change.  And if took me 50 years to get the way that I am now, it will take a lot of practice to get used to Patience. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


FINDING TRUTH WHEREVER IT MAY BE FOUND:  "The problem with science is that so much of it simply isn't."  from William A. Wilson's article, "Scientific Regress" in "First Things"

QUOTE II:  "When cultural trends attempt to render science a sort of religious-less clericalism, scientist are apt to forget that they are made of the same crooked timber as the rest of humanity and will necessarily imperil the work that they do.  The greatest friends of the Cult of Science are the worst enemies of science's actual practice."  same source


Ellen sent THIS ARTICLE in about conversion through art.  Thank you.

Fr. Bline sent THIS ARTICLE in about the above painting called "Dog and Priest."  The part of the head of the priest that you can see looks like Fr. Pfeiffer to me.  I think it is a sign.

Here is an eight and half video on Bill Nye the Science Guy and philosophy.

Sunday, May 8, 2016


Once a priest said to me, "You are only as busy as you allow yourself to be."  There is some truth to this - not entirely - but a lot.  It is particularly difficult for enthusiastic, newly ordained priests who have not yet learned to say no.  Fortunately they can get by on very little sleep.  I like to think that I can manage my own calendar but the jury is still out.

Before I told him that I was going to go in to the seminary my Dad said to me, "You don't need a wife, you will need a secretary."  Well, perhaps he was correct.  There are so many good things that I would like to be a part of and they all seem to happen on the same week and often at the same time and scheduling them can be tricky especially since I am an amateur at it.

I know, I left out a word.

And I KNOW that you too are extremely busy too.  Fortunately this is my blog so I get to moan.  Even more fortunately I have a ready remedy. 

Friday, May 6, 2016


Imagine a grand old church like St. Peter in Rome.  Over the altar is the grand round dome while  below the floor plan is square and angular.  This is not just the work of interesting architecture.  It all means something.  Circles that have no beginning or end represent things eternal, represent heaven, represent God.  Things that are squarish represent earthly things, man made things, man.  That these two shapes come together right were the altar sits is making a point.  When we celebrate the Mass, heaven and earth are colliding like that which powers the Starship Enterprise with matter and anti-matter coming together.  (Other versions would be a square nave and an apse for example.)

Particularly for Catholics, this is essential theology.  When we celebrate The Mass, we don’t celebrate one at St. Sebastian at 9:00AM, one at St. Vincent at 11:00, and one at St. Bernard at noon though it appears to us that we do.  There is only One Mass being celebrate around the world and throughout time.  

That is also why when we speak about the Body of Christ, we include the entire Church; militant, penitent, and triumphant.  The Body cannot be cut in twain even by death.  The bride is united and alive in the Bridegroom with Whom she is One causing the whole body to be alive as one, death not being like a severed hand left on the ground - or conversely, that those who have not been born into the next life yet not being a branch on the vine.  So we are always somehow mysteriously connected in Christ.

One of the glorious things about St. Sebastian Parish is that the walls are lined with depiction of saints.  I often think as we are heading into the heart of the Eucharistic prayer of the saints (official and otherwise) showing up and joining those in the pew to offer oblation to our Father.  There may be only a few hundred at Mass, but it is standing room only once everyone shows up from angels to toddlers.  A Catholic church is like one of those mysterious buildings that are much larger on the inside than they are on the outside.

Understanding that things like time and space work differently in the next life, it is easy to imagine the whole of God’s children coming together in concert for the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.  And it makes even more sense that we may all pray for each other; we on earth praying for each other and for the Church Penitent, the Church penitent praying for themselves and for the Church militant, and those in heaven praying for all of us to come to perfections as the Bride of Lamb with them in our heavenly inheritance.  

This all leads us to today’s subparagraph g of paragraph 79 of the GIRM.  Another important aspect of the Mass is the intercessions, and by it, I believe we are not just talking about the general intercessions, but all of the intercessions that take place during the Mass.  They are sprinkled all over the place like pepper from a grinder on your salad at a nice restaurant.  “For all your children scattered throughout the world,” and “For our departed brothers and sisters,” just to name a couple “by which expression is given to the fact that the Eucharistic prayer is celebrated in communion with the whole Church, of both heaven and of earth, and that the oblation is made for her and for all her members, living and dead, who are called to participate in the redemption and salvation purchased by the Body and Blood of Christ.”

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Sometimes it is a good thing to cut some friends loose.  If they are causing you mental or physical harm, walk away.  If they are keeping you from your potential, it may be time after thought and prayer, to leave them behind.  

But some friends are good at some times and should be left behind at others.  Lady Boredom is, at times, one of the people you really want in your life.  But she has her problems.  She over indulges and if you join her and become an enabler, she can begin to have a negative effect your life too.  So at times, when she is well, have her around.  She is wise beyond her years and has much, much to offer.  But when she is on one of her binges, leave her alone.  She doesn’t really want help.  And as you and I both know, if someone doesn’t want help, you can’t help them.  Let her go through her binge but let her know that when she is ready to be a friend again, you will be there.

It is said that most evil in the world comes about because a person cannot sit in a chair for five minutes and just breath.  It is Okay to be idle from time to time.  The ability to be idle makes those times when you must be idle (the doctor will be with you in a minute) bearable and without leading to you getting into trouble.  (I wonder what the doctor keeps in this drawer?)

Sometimes, in concert with her cousin, Lady Loneliness, she provides the strength that comes from introspection, meditation, contemplation.  She helps temper anger, self centeredness, and anxiety.  Oh, I will admit it can be difficult to be in her company.  Sometimes I find I must take deep breaths (that come across as heavy sighs) and at times it is difficult for me to forgive her for those times she is not so kind.  This leads to avoiding her.  But when she is her sane, beautiful self, I come away surprisingly refreshed - or at least not as irritated as I could be.

When she is off her meds however . . . there is nobody that I want to be away from more.  When all that she wants to do is binge watch “Breaking Bad” and eat chips, or sleep all day, or look for some mischief in which to engage, she is just awful.  Even then though, sometimes, there is something to learn.  When I am bored and willing to entertain her more destructive side, that means I am not using my potential.  There is unused capabilities at work and I need to do something constructive about it.  I may not have realized it if not for her.

She also likes to point out things that nobody else is paying attention to.  Everybody is looking at the shiny bobble she is looking at the dripping pipe behind the toilet.  “Yeah, yeah, whatever.  Look at this shiny bobble.”  If we hung more with her, we would have caught a problem before it became a more pressing concern than any shiny bobble could be.

So don’t be afraid of her.  She is a worthwhile friend.  Just be careful.  Everybody has their problems.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


So should you pray in particular or in general?

I am often praying for my parish and then I wonder, why am I only praying for this parish?  Don’t I want all of the parishes around me to be well?  If they are doing better, then we will all do better right?  (Or should I just trust that their pastors are praying for them?)  

But on the one hand, I was made responsible for this particular group of people.  It is my duty to look after them, pray for them, and make sure I do all I can to make their parish strong, vibrant, and healthy.

I know, I know . . .  had to do a LOT of driving to do yesterday and had a lot of time to think.  And this may sound silly - and I’m not worried - I was just wondering.  

So take the case of seminarians.  Do I pray for MY seminarian and the seminarians who are associated with me and the parish?  Why not pray for all of the seminarians at our seminary?  At least tangentially they will all have an effect in my life.  But what about the rest of the nation that is hurting for priests - or the world for that matter?  HA!

BUT THEN . . . what about the personal needs of the seminarians I know?  That kind of gets lost in the soup of prayer for everybody.

So it was that a turn to the Mass was made.  There are times for particular prayers and time for general prayers.  “Let us pray” is not a signal for the Missal to come over.  It is the time that the Church, those anointed priests at their baptism, to offer particular prayers.  

“For Jimmy John and his bookworm infection.”

And then there are the general intercessions for the Church at large.

“For Austria and all nations suffering with bookworm infections.”

It is important to remember the particular and the personal:

“For Debbie’s soul”

And equally so for the general and shared humanity:

“and the souls of all the faithful departed.”