View from the choir
I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.
- Name: A Secular Franciscan
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Catholic (?) Worker: Obedience to Church Authority
Writer Michael Harrington tells the following story about Dorothy Day:
I arrived at the Worker shortly after Cardinal Spellman had sent (future Cardinal John) McIntyre down to read the riot act. What was apparently bugging Spellman was that the paper was called the Catholic Worker. What he was angling for, and didn't get, was for [Dorothy] to drop the word "Catholic." He believed [the name] was an attempt to indicate that this was a Catholic position, and he didn't want anybody else speaking for the church. This was the famous occasion when McIntyre said to her, "What would you do if the cardinal told you to shut down the Catholic Worker?"
She said, "If our dear, sweet cardinal, who is the vicar of Christ in New York City, told me to shut down the Catholic Worker, I would close it down immediately." She was dead serious. That's what drove me crazy. Dorothy really did go around referring to Spellman as "our dear, sweet cardinal" and "the vicar of Christ."
I also remember the story (recounted in William Miller's Dorothy Day) of her throwing out a group of Catholic Workers for living in a way that was at "variance with traditional morality, " and coming under attack for doing so. (page 484)
Miller writes on page 485, "The drink of gall that was being forced on her now in her old age in increasing amounts was the disposition of the young people around her at the Worker to single out the Church as one of the main anachronisms from past times that inhibited the free flow of their new universe toward its golden destiny. The Catholic Worker was, before it could make even one small tentative step into the world of affairs, Catholic. It was not a sign to be worn, turned this way and that to reflect whatever glancing beam of position or opinion that came from the roilings of time."
Day understood that the Worker was at its core Catholic, and that obedience to legitimate authority on moral and governance issues was part of being Catholic. If you could not live by that, then you can still do good work and still serve the social causes to which you are committed, but not under a sign proclaiming yourself "Catholic."
St. Joseph's House of Hospitality in Rochester, N.Y., one of the oldest Worker houses in the nation, abandoned that respect for authority a while back. That's one of the reasons I stopped supporting the house financially - even though one summer decades ago I had even been a "staff" member there. I send the money elsewhere (like Bethany House, a Rochester Catholic Worker House that assists women and children and remains true to the Church).
The work St. Joe's does to feed, clothe, and shelter the poor, to fight against unjust war and economic policies, to defend of the rights of various ethnic groups is all admirable and well within Catholic tradition. But they should not call themselves part of the Catholic Worker movement any more as long as they continue to support and promote individuals who are in defiance of Church authority.
I suspect if Day - whom I believe should some day be recognized officially as a saint (though she demurred at the mention of such a thing!) - were still alive she would have had a firm talk with the St. Joe's staff.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
A Contemporary Little Flower (from a saint)
The Archbishop told me that I should go see her. I replied, "Well, I haven't got any money," because in those days I didn't have two pennies to rub against one another. "Oh," he said, "I will pay your way." So he gave me some money and I took a train to New York.
I got to 16th Street where Dorothy Day was. I found a big apartment all filled with cots. On each cot, because it was evening, there was somebody sleeping, or lying around, for Dorothy was helping the poor women in those days. There was only one empty bed that she herself slept in. She said, "Catherine, you can sleep with me."
I was about to go to sleep when there was a knock on the door and a woman came in. I looked at her and it seemed to me that she had syphilis -- advanced syphilis at that.
She said to Dorothy, "Can I have a place to stay?" And Dorothy welcomed her warmly and said, "Oh, indeed, you can sleep with me." I got a little worried about it. We went into the bathroom and Dorothy said, "Catherine, you can sleep in the bathtub." I was ready to sleep in the bathtub, but, speaking as a nurse, I told Dorothy that this woman was a major health threat. If Dorothy had any open cuts or anything she might become infected herself.
It was then I certainly got my first lesson in charity. Dorothy, usually mild, gentle and kind, suddenly arose, and in a spirited voice said, "Catherine, you don't understand. This is Christ who has come to ask for a place to sleep. He will take care of me. I am sleeping with Christ and nothing can happen to me. You have to have faith!"
- from an account by Catherine de Hueck Doherty, founder of the Madonna House Lay Apostolate in 1947, now based in Combermere, Ontario, Canada.
From the Little Flowers of St. Francis
OF BROTHER BERNARD OF QUINTAVALLE, THE FIRST COMPANION OF ST FRANCIS
The first companion of St Francis was Brother Bernard of Assisi, who was converted in the following way: St Francis had not yet taken the religious habit, though he had renounced the world, and had so given himself to penance and mortification that many looked upon him as one out of his mind. He was scoffed at as a madman, was rejected and despised by his relations and by strangers, who threw stones and mud at him when he passed; yet he went on his way, accepting these insults as patiently as if he had been deaf and dumb. Then Bernard of Assisi, one of the richest and most learned nobles of the city, began to consider deeply the conduct of St Francis; how utterly he despised the world, how patiently he suffered injuries, and how his faith remained firm, though he had been for two years an object of contempt and rejected by all. He began to think and say within himself, "It is evident that this brother must have received great graces from God"; and so resolved to invite him to sup and to sleep in his house. St Francis having accepted the invitation, Bernard, who was resolved to contemplate the sanctity of his guest, ordered a bed to be prepared for him in his own room, where a lamp burned all night. Now St Francis, in order to conceal his sanctity, so soon as he entered the room, threw himself upon the bed, pretending to fall asleep. Bernard likewise soon after went to bed, and began to snore as if sleeping soundly. On this, St Francis, thinking that Bernard was really fast asleep, got up and began to pray. Raising his hands and eyes to heaven, he exclaimed with great devotion and fervour, "My God! my God!" at the same time weeping bitterly; and thus he remained on his knees all night, repeating with great love and fervour the words, "My God! my God!" and none others.
And this he did because, being enlightened by the Holy Spirit, he contemplated and admired the divine majesty of God, who deigned to take pity on the perishing world, and to save not only the soul of Francis, his poor little one, but those of many others also through his means. For, being enlightened by the Holy Ghost, he foresaw the great things which God would deign to accomplish through him and through his Order; and considering his insufficiency and unworthiness, he prayed and called upon the Lord, through his power and wisdom, to supply, help and accomplish that which of himself he could not do.
Then Bernard, seeing by the light of the lamp the devout actions of St Francis and the expression of his countenance, and devoutly considering the words he uttered, was touched by the Holy Spirit, and resolved to change his life. Next morning, therefore, he called St Francis, and thus addressed him: "Brother Francis, I am disposed in heart wholly to leave the world, and to obey thee in all things as thou shalt command me." At these words, St Francis rejoiced in spirit and said, "Bernard, a resolution such as thou speakest of is so difficult and so great an act, that we must take counsel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and pray to him that he may be pleased to show us what is his will, and may teach us to follow it. Let us then go together to the Bishop's palace, where we shall find a good priest who will say Mass for us. We will then remain in prayer till the third hour, imploring the Lord to point out to us the way he wishes us to select, and to this intent we will open the Missal three times." And when Bernard answered that he was well pleased with this proposal, they set out together, heard Mass, and after they had remained in prayer till the time fixed, the priest, at the request of St Francis, took up Missal, then, having made the sign of the holy cross, he opened it three times, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The first place which he lit upon was at the answer of Christ to the young man who asked of him the way to perfection: If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell all that thou hast and give to the poor, and come, follow me. The second time he opened at the words which the Saviour addressed to the Apostles when he sent them forth to preach the Word of Truth: Take nothing with you for your journey: neither staff, nor scrip, nor bread, nor money; wishing to teach them thereby to commit the care of their lives to him, and give all their thoughts to the preaching of the Holy Gospel. When the Missal was opened a third time they came upon these words: If any one will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Then St Francis, turning to Bernard, said: "This is the advice that the Lord has given us; go and do as thou hast heard; and blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ who has pointed out to thee the way of his angelic life." Upon this, Bernard went and sold all that he had. Now he was very rich, and with great joy he distributed his wealth to widows, to orphans, to prisoners, to monasteries, to hospitals, and to pilgrims, in all which St Francis assisted him with prudence and fidelity.
Now it happened that a man of the name of Silvester, seeing how St Francis gave so much money to the poor, being urged on by avarice, went to him and said: "Thou didst not pay me enough for the stones I sold thee to repair the church; now that thou hast money, pay me what thou owest." St Francis, much surprised at such a demand, but, according to the precepts of the Scriptures, not wishing to dispute with him, gave it to Silvester, saying that, if he wanted more, he would give it to him. Silvester, being satisfied, returned home; but in the evening of the same day he reflected on his avarice, and on the holiness and the fervour of St Francis. That night also he saw St Francis in a vision, and it seemed to him as if a golden cross came out of his mouth, which reached up to heaven and extended to the extreme east and west. After this vision he gave all he possessed to the poor, for the love of God, and made himself a Brother Minor. He became so holy, and was favoured with such special graces, that he spake with the Lord as a friend speaks with a friend, of which St Francis was often a witness, as we shall see further on. Bernard likewise received from God many graces - he was ravished in contemplation, and St Francis said he was worthy of all reverence, and that he had founded the Order, because he was the first who had abandoned the world, giving all he possessed to the poor of Christ, keeping back nothing for himself; and practising evangelical poverty, placing himself naked in the arms of the Crucified, whom may we all bless eternally. Amen.
Friday, July 29, 2011
I just like food. My waist is a dead giveaway of that fact.
I like good, solid, reasonably well-prepared food and drinks.
I like pasta, green salads, steamed vegetables, raw apples, bread, raisins, cheese, eggs, seafood, figs, potatoes in general, chili peppers, beans, oatmeal, pickled vegetables, rice, popcorn, etc.
But it has to be food with some taste and bark.
You see, I like food that fights back. I put chili powder on popcorn. I add hot peppers, onions, and garlic to macaroni and cheese. I put horseradish on cheese or veggie burger sandwiches. I dash hot sauce on potatoes (baked, french fries, home fries, etc.). I lace my rice with curry. I sprinkle Cajun mix on my eggs.
You may have noticed the lack of meat in what I've written so far. I am a vegetarian - though not a perfect one. I don't eat mammals or birds, but, in a nod to inconsistency, I do eat eggs and seafood. And if hard pressed, say on a desert island, I would eat animal flesh. My diet choice is based on ethical concerns and health, not on a deep-seated belief that it's wrong to eat a cow or a chicken. However, if the day should come when I have to eat meat, I would, in accord with Franciscan (and Native American) spirituality, thank Brother Pig or Sister Turkey for his or her gift.
As for what I do eat now, if the food lacks something ... Give me spices. Shake, sprinkle, dash, pour them on. Get my eyes watering. Set my tongue on fire.
I'll cool and cleanse my palate with water.
Or maybe leftover instant coffee.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Communion on the tongue while kneeling recommended
“It is to simply know that we are before God himself and that He came to us and that we are undeserving,” he said in an interview with CNA during his visit to Lima, Peru.
He points out that there is a lack of respect while receiving Communion. He acknowledges that there are other ways than kneeling to show respect - bowing or genuflecting, for example - but people too often fail to do even those.
On the tongue? Okay - but I think it can still be done reverently in the hand.
I don't think kneeling should be mandatory. There are many people who have a hard time kneeling - I see them at daily Mass. Even if they were told they could stand, if a rule about kneeling was put in place many would try to kneel, or would feel they are falling short. At daily Mass at least I do see respect: Many people do bow before receiving Communion. Some genuflect.
I agree, though, that people at Sunday Masses could and should show more respect. We need to hear more preached from the pulpit about this.
He was just responding to a question, so this is not an official ruling. Who knows what might be coming down the road, though.
Spanish cardinal recommends that Catholics receive Communion on the tongue :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)
America - Lonely People (RIP Dan Peek)
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Planned Parenthood Clinic Haiku
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Underage sex, dealing drugs - with government advice?
Two men pose as Russian drug dealers and find help from government officials in Ohio with concealing their alleged drug activities, underage sex, and abortions. Our tax dollars at work.
I love the advice given for the supposedly pregnant underage girls (in other words, victims of rape): Go to Planned Parenthood to get abortions, apparently with no worries about being asked questions or the rapes being reported.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
Chesterton on Catholicism
G. K. Chesterton: Convert to Catholicism
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Franciscan Art: St. Lawrence
NRL: The Truth About Planned Parenthood
Cut Planned Parenthood's tax-payer supported government funding. Now.
Pax et bonum
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Good Night, Knights!
A challenge to the Knights. I wonder how - or if - they will respond.
Pax et bonum
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Thoughts on The Sorrowful Mysteries
This morning as I said the Rosary I tried to meditate upon the Sorrowful Mysteries (truth be told, with more mind wandering than actual meditating, as is usual with me).
Summer Reading (3)
Monday, July 18, 2011
Not only is he a highly respected orthodox cleric, he's a Franciscan!
I wonder if when Bishop Clark submits his resignation next year we might get a Franciscan? That would be wonderful -and the maybe Franciscan priests could return to the diocese, perhaps even take over a parish or two.
Ah, one can only dream (and pray).
Pope will appoint Archbishop Chaput to lead Philadelphia archdiocese :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)
Pax et bonum
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
Cleaning out some spiritual dirt
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Vacation's Over (sort of)
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Recovering a list of poems
One of the things I did lose was a list of poems published, including where and when they were published.
Digging through the piles of magazines and notes I have, I've been able to recreate part of the list of poems published since I graduated from college.
I'll add more as I find them.
“The Widow’s Walk,” Democrat and Chronicle, 10/13/80
“Duke,” Logos, Winter 1982, and City Newspaper, 12/11/1986
“On Listening to Allen Ginsberg,” The Quill, May 1984
“summer funeral,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“my old cat sleeps,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“a late summer rain,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“thrushes gather grapes,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“a lone hawk circles,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“in the window seat,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“cat prints in the snow,” A Harvest of Haiku, 1995
“Una One, Una Two,” Hazmat Review (2004?)
“Demanding, driven, sure to vex,” Washington Post, June 11, 2004
“April morning –,” bottle rockets, Volume 7 Number 2, 2006
“leaving the vet’s,” bottle rockets, Volume 7 Number 2, 2006
“animal carcass,” bottle rockets, Volume 7 Number 2, 2006
“your coffee cup," bottle rockets, Volume 8 Number 1, 2006
“Creative Solution,” Weird Tales, August/September 2006
“August sun,” Haiku and Other Short Poems (Rochester Area Haiku Group), 2006
“foggy morning,” Haiku and Other Short Poems (Rochester Area Haiku Group), 2006
“in a magazine,” Haiku and Other Short Poems (Rochester Area Haiku Group), 2006
“a break in the clouds,” Haiku and Other Short Poems (Rochester Area Haiku Group), 2006
“When talking with Socrates,” Gilbert Magazine, January/February 2007
“Herman Melville,” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2007
“I don’t know if Rudyard Kipling,” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2007
“Jean Paul Sartre,” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2007
“Fidel Castro,” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2007
“TV’s Dr. House,” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2007
“St. Francis of Assisi,” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2007
“Condoleeza Rice,” Gilbert Magazine, June/July 2007
“In those woods, Robert Frost” Gilbert Magazine, April/May 2009.
“When Siddhartha Gautama,” Gilbert Magazine, July/August 2009
“Albert Einstein,” Gilbert Magazine, September 2009
“Lot's wife,” Gilbert Magazine, March/April 2011
“In his early life Thomas Merton,” Gilbert Magazine, March/April 2011
“Vladimir Kosma Zworykin,” Gilbert Magazine, March/April 2011
“e (cummings) e,” Gilbert Magazine, March/April 2011
“Anne Rice,” Gilbert Magazine, March/April 2011
“Prolific Stephen King,” Gilbert Magazine, March/April 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
Kill the boys: It was legal
I listened as this was read at Mass this morning. It struck me: This action was legal. It was ordered by the king. It was the law of the land.
Kill the boy babies.
I immediately thought of abortion.
It's legal. It's the law of the land.
In biblical Egypt, it was done after birth.
We haven't gotten to that point - yet.
Just because something is legal does not mean it's right or moral.
Dear Lord, forgive us for what our laws allow.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
At the Abbey of the Genesee
the chapel was mostly dark
except for one monk
engaged in some devotions
our Lord in the tabernacle
the rustling leaves
the singing birds
the chirping insects
chanted their own
to the Creator.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
Santa Would Boycott Pepsi
I have some ties to the big fella, and I can safely predict that due to his having been a bishop and his love for ALL children, he would join the pro-life boycott of Pepsi products.
Santa Claus is pro-life.
Pepsi allegedly is not.
Pro-life groups have called for a boycott of PepsiCo because it is in a partnership with Senomyx, a biotech company that uses aborted fetal cells in the research and development of artificial flavor enhancers.
Pro-life groups report that Pepsi is funding the research and development, and paying royalties to Senomyx, which uses HEK-293 (human embryonic kidney cells) to produce flavor enhancers for Pepsi beverages.
That's right: Pepsi is allegedly using dead babies to help flavor its drinks.
That puts the company on Santa's very naughty list.
I've already begun asking in restaurants what cola they serve, and if it's Pepsi, I stick with water.
And I know that "Santa" would too.
Friday, July 08, 2011
Arthritis? (A Mr. Potter Future?)
I'd enjoyed the acting of Lionel Barrymore in a number of movies - particularly one of my favorite films, It's a Wonderful Life.
Thursday, July 07, 2011
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
The violence continues.
Casey Anthony, Abortion, and the Culture of Death
I'm not "outraged" at the verdict - for as far as I can tell, the prosecution did not make a convincing case.
I do feel sad for her.
Here we have a woman who has lost a daughter. If she didn't do it, the loss will likely haunt her - as the loss of a child haunts so many parents who lost a child due to miscarriage. And if she did do it, then that will likely gnaw at it, as such a loss does women who have aborted their children.
Indeed, the verdict made me think of abortion.
Some of the arguments made by the prosecution for why Anthony may have done it sound a lot like arguments forwarded for getting an abortion. Caylee interfered with her mother's lifestyle. She was holding Casey back.
And there are some pro-choice extremists who have argue that killing a child even after birth is sometimes acceptable - up to a couple of years old (Caylee was only 2).
Abortion is just one manifestation of the Culture of Death. Abortion has helped to devalue life. It has helped to elevate the cult of self. It has helped to make other forms of killing thinkable.
We may get to the point where what Casey Anthony may have done will be somehow twisted into something that's legal, and just a private parenting decision.
I can imagine Planned Parenthood finding some way to profit from it.
I hope we never get to that point.
I pray that we never get to that point.
50 years ago, abortion on demand was illegal.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
This report is sad - for Father Corapi, for all those involved, and for all of his many fans. He and they need our prayers.
Monday, July 04, 2011
A thought for the Fourth of July
Sunday, July 03, 2011
Thaddeus McCotter for President?
Hey, if we can't have bass-playing Huckabee for President, why not guitar-playing McCotter? Congressman McCotter just announced he's running!
Saturday, July 02, 2011
The Face of Jesus
I've been dealing with my usual sins - the weaknesses that Satan uses to disturb my soul and to pry me away from the Lord.
One of those failings is being critical of others. I'm not talking about legitimately (and respectfully) pointing out errors for the purpose of helping others and advancing the Kingdom. I'm talking about all the pettiness and negativity to which I am prone.
Father had a suggestion: Think of these people I'm criticising as Jesus. See Jesus in them.
I thought of some of the people I'm inclined to criticize. Jesus?
Yes, He is indeed in each of these persons, and so when I mock, tear down, gossip about these others, I am doing it to Jesus.
Sorry Lord. Please, help me to be open to Your Saving Grace as I face these temptations. Help me to be aware that I am not alone.
Help me always to be aware that each person I meet is You.
Next Saturday: Profession. Alleluia!