Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Today the Church celebrates a Saint of Light in the midst of winter's darkest days: St. Lucy. Her name comes from the Latin lux which means light. One of the first women venerated in the Church since the 4th century, Lucy was a Christian young woman. The story goes that her mother had a debilitating illness. Both Lucy and her mother went to the tomb of the martyr St. Agatha also from Sicily. While there, Lucy had a dream in which St. Agatha came to tell her that her mother would be cured. Lucy, however, would witness to Christ by dying a martyr. A persecution of Christians broke out. A young man who had hoped to marry Lucy turned on her and denounced her as a Christian. Attempts to put her to death failed, until finally an executioner plunged a sword into her heart. Her name is remembered each time that the Roman Canon, or First Eucharistic Prayer, is used at Mass.
Sunday, November 26, 2017
Friday, November 03, 2017
In the center of one of the myriad New England towns lies a granite memorial to deceased war veterans. In large letters it reminds us: "Lest we forget" the sacrifices of those who have gone before us. A compilation of our Founder's homilies on Purgatory uses this same phrase for it's title: "Lest We Forget." November is dedicated in a special way to the memory of all the souls who have died in the grace of God. We Catholics believe that in order to see God face-to-face we need to be free from any attachment to sin. When our eyes are sore, it is painful to open our them to the sunlight. Spiritual writers tell us that the "pain" of Purgatory is the longing to be fully in the presence of our Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Church teaches that we can help the Holy Souls by prayers, Masses, sacrifices and good deeds. This short prayer directed to Our Divine Lord is a sort of theme song for this Month of the Holy Souls: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "The Church gives the name Purgatory to [the] final purification of the elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned." (CCC, no. 1031) As I grow older the list of relatives and friends already passed into eternity is growing. When I was on vacation, I enjoyed meeting up with about a dozen women, all of us high school classmates. One of the ladies, Bonnie, came despite having to use an oxygen tank for her lungs. Bonnie also suffered from cancer. The friend who hosted our celebration texted me that Bonnie died in mid October. All of our group have been affected by Bonnie's death. Our faith assures us that after death the friends and family we know appreciate every prayer we offer for them. Although they cannot help themselves, they can intercede for us.
Maybe it's climate change or just a warming trend. Whatever the cause our usual brilliant Fall colors have delayed their annual colorful appearance. Yet, there are some trees that are a golden yellow which glow whenever the sun penetrates them. Since we live on a hill, as we drive down towards the more dense areas of Boston, there is one stand-alone tree which is totally red or burgundy. Often as we approach a bend in our many parkways, I feel that "wow!" expression welling up and onto my lips. One of the Sisters with a good eye for color keeps me alert when she points out certain extra colorful trees: "Look at that!" she cries. Then "Look, on the left, wow, what a bea-u-ti-ful tree!" Fall can offer its own art style of ever changing amber, red and gold curtains of foiliage. Soon enough the "leaf curtain" will blow away and low and behold, I spy a building I never realized was hiding behind a stand of trees. I even saw a reservoir not far from us which I only noticed last summer.
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Today one of our Sisters shared a few anecdotes of what people have revealed to her about their spiritual lives. One story impressed me, so I'd like to share it with you. A woman told Sister that she began to visit a Blessed Sacrament Chapel for adoration on a daily basis.
Friday, October 13, 2017
Catholics around the world celebrate today the 100th anniversary of Mary's apparition to three shepherd children at Fatima in Portugal. "The Miracle of the Sun" served to validate the truth of Mary's appearance and of her message. That day began with thousands of people, some believers, others sceptics, who gathered in the Cova da Iria in Portugal on October 13, 1917. All the people who gathered were soaked with a driving rain. As the children and others prayed the rosary, the sun seemed to fall from the sky spinning toward the earth. As the sun sped tpward the people it dried their clothing and the ground which held them. Soon the heavens returned to their steady normal light.
Thursday, September 07, 2017
As I write, the winds of September are howling in the Caribbean and menacing most of Florida. Hurricane Irma is dallying at the southernmost tip of Florida. Dire predictions of destruction, loss of electricity and flooding threaten not only Florida but Georgia, and the two Carolina's. In the early 1990's I was assigned to Charleston, South Carolina. That charming city endured some of the worst of the 1989 Hurricane Hugo. A year later, in 1990 I took part in my sister's wedding near Charleston. I remember the sights of boarded up homes and ripped palmetto trees at the upper end of what is now fashionable King Street. My brother-in-law grew up in Charleston. Our nephew Ben and his family live in a beautiful new Charleston subdivision. My sister lives a few miles east of Columbia, SC. She and her husband are preparing for the onslaught of Irma and the two storms trailing behind her. Though they live more than 100 miles from the Carolina Coast, they are preparing for whatever may come in the wake of these September storms. Hurricane Matthew downed 15 large trees on their land in 2016. Thanks to satellites and learned meteorologists we know how to prepare for these storms that usher in the school year. Storms bring out the worst and the best in human nature. My niece told me how she witnessed a near brawl in a grocery store as a man and a woman fought over packed water bottles. Neither of the two heeded the store manager's pleas to leave enough water for the long line of folks waiting patiently. I suspect that both parties still had clean running water in their homes. They could have used their own containers to store potable water. Others manifest the best in our human nature by going out of their way to assist others. Our Sisters from Miami are staying with a family in Orlando. My sister is welcoming her teacher friend, and possibly our nephew and his wife and one year old son. The storm triggers many works of mercy. To give shelter to the homeless is one of the seven corporal works of mercy. From New England I look at the TV satellite images and hear the near constant warnings repeatedly broadcast, it is easy to feel very much afraid.
Monday, July 10, 2017
July is well upon us as well as its beautiful weather. Last Saturday, July 1, we at our Boston convent had the joy of welcoming three new professed Sisters into our ranks. The day before the three novices received the blessed habit of the Daughters of St. Paul at the morning Mass.