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DART Mission, Successful Planetary Defense Test; What's Next

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"News services dialed their headlines back a bit Tuesday. But Monday's planetary defense test was a big deal, no matter how much of a nudge it gave Dimorphos...." More at A Catholic Citizen in America . The NASA DART mission was a success, hitting asteroid Dimorphos in our first Planetary Defense Test. Next: studying the results, developing new tech.

Dry Days of Winter?

(Read about Michigan's Proposal 3 at the end of this blog.  The more I learn, the more shocked I am.) Now on to my blog . . .  I was reminded recently that when my husband's grandparents left to spend the winter in Arizona, we were put in charge of grandma's geraniums.  Every year before they left, she would set them out on a table in the kitchen where they stoutly remained until the return of spring the next year. We did okay taking care of them, but there were certainly times they got pretty dry.  Still, they endured. My point is that we can all go through dry spells.  For us, we may feel unmotivated, holding our own until our own spiritual spring arrives.  During those days, we must remember that there is someone (God) always watching over us, ready to step in whenever things get too bleak. In fact, in our dry spells, there is much to be learned. For one thing, they sure make us appreciate days of light and nourishment.  But besides, that, dry spells can teach us a lot a

Unknown saints who 'fan into flame the gift of God'. Sunday Reflections, 27th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

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  Farmer in a Field Vincent van Gogh [ Web Gallery of Art ] Luke 17:7 (Gospel) Readings   (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Readings   (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Gospel   Luke 17:5-10 ( English Standard Version Anglicised: India) The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”   And the Lord said,  “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea’, and it would obey you. “Will any one of you who has a servant [  ploughing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’?   Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterwards you will eat and drink’?   Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?   So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are un

Please share - webinar on Proposal 3

There is an important webinar tonight that explains in greater detail, with experts, the effects of Proposal 3. We are encouraging everyone to register and watch as much of it as you can. If possible, gather some people together. Absentee voting is beginning at this time, so it is essential that we get the word out. Please be informed! Here is what we have received from the Diocese of Lansing about it: Proposal 3 Equipping for Life Statewide Webinar The statewide webinar will take place [tonight] September 29th from 7-8:30 pm. It is strongly suggested that parishes host a "watch party" to ensure as many people as possible are able to view this very important instructional opportunity. Many have read the ballot language and don't see the dangers we're pointing out. This webinar will explain the dangerous way this ballot was written and how subtle changes in language will have devastating effects. Lawyers, doctors, and campaign experts will be presenting and answering

Following Jesus

(Today, I have a great video at the end of my blog by Bishop Robert Barron.  If you are among those who question legislating morality, you will definitely find his video, Our Catholic President and the Most Pressing Moral Issue of Our Time very interesting!) Now on to my blog . . . Imagine you are in a group of people following Jesus, and he turns to you as says, "Follow me."  What will your response be? In the Gospel of Luke ( Chapter 9:57 ) we read about "The Would-be Followers of Jesus."  They responded to him by saying, basically, "Wait a minute, Jesus.  Hold on.  I've got some things I need to do first." Scripture tells us one of them wanted to first bury his father.  The other wanted to say goodbye to his family.  These things all seem natural to us.  Burying the dead was, indeed, a significant act in that culture. But Jesus tells them, "Let the dead bury their dead."  What does he mean by that?  He's talking about the sp

On Suffering

(Heads up: I will be including additional factual information ( not propaganda ) about Michigan's Proposal 3 at the end of this blog. You may be surprised it is not simply a yes or no to abortion.  Please read.) Now on to my blog . . .  Have you ever gone through a life experience--maybe sickness or the death of a loved one--and found yourself crying out to God.  Maybe you were pleading for help or simply feeling the depths of despair? As I was reflecting on Jesus in the Garden before he was arrested, the wording of the narrative was more powerful than I remember.  It goes like this ( Luke 22: 44 ): "He was in such agony and he prayed so fervently that his sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground."  "Such agony." "Prayed fervently." We can relate to that at times, can't we? Of course, we're not facing the cross like Jesus did, but in our humanity, we have certainly felt the deep emotional or physical pain of suffering Wh

Is God talking to me?

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Lazarus and he rich man

Lazarus and the rich man  In the Gospel this Sunday Jesus, speaking to the Pharisees,  gives us the story of Lazarus and the rich man.  What would these Pharisees be thinking listening to this story? Was it hard for them to take? After all it dispels an  idea prevalent at the time that  material prosperity in this life was a reward for being  morally upright and that adversity was a punishment. And it makes it very clear that the soul survives after death and therefore there  is retribution in the next life, that we have to answer to God for all our acts in this life. The rich man didn't do anything bad to poor Lazarus. His sin was one of omission. He ignored him. Or did he , rather, not "see" him.  What is Jesus telling us?  Maybe we need to ask ourselves some questions. Am I ignoring those that are around me who are in need? Even if I am not well off, do I consider the dignity of every person I come into contact with and help them in some way? Am I quick to help the poo

My Church in Sauk Centre, Minnesota: Vandalized

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Our Lady of the Angels (OLA) in Sauk Centre, Minnesota: northwest entrance. (September 20, 2022) "First, the good news. As far as I know, nobody got hurt during last weekend's incident. "That much I could tell from what wasn't in a metro area station's news item...." One statue tipped, urine on the carpet, a damaged cross. The Saturday morning trashing spree showed lack of respect for the folks in this parish. More at A Catholic Citizen in America .

The Battle of our Interior Life

(Heads up: I will be including factual information ( not propaganda ) about Michigan's Proposal 3 at the end of this blog. You may be surprised it is not simply a yes or no to abortion.  Please read.) Now on to my blog . . . I was at the grocery store the other day and heard an employee talking.  He was quite noticeably overweight.  If you looked at him, you might be judgmental.  The very short conversation I happened to overhear was about how he had been working on losing weight, and his approach to doing so. It reminded me that we are all on a journey, which might not be obvious to others.  Some of us may actually be in our own personal, interior challenge, hidden from our conversations or by our actions. St. Ignatius of Loyola was the king of the interior life.  As I mentioned, I have been following a retreat on his "Spiritual Exercises" which I have found to be very insightful.  For those advancing in self-awareness in the spiritual life, he moves deeper as he teache

'Those who are worthless in human eyes are precious in the Lord's.' Sunday Reflections, 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

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  Dives and Lazarus Leandro Bassano [ Web Gallery of Art ] Readings   (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Readings   (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Gospel   Luke 16:19-31 ( English Standard Version Anglicised: India) Jesus said to the Pharisees:  “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.   And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,   who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores.   The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's side. The rich man also died and was buried,   and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.   And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in a

Louella 'Lala' Vicente and the late Queen Elizabeth II

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Lala , with Jordan I first wrote this post in October 2008 and used it again in 2011 under the title  Lala and Queen Elizabeth II . I have re-posted it a number of times, with variations, because Lala's story is one that should be told over and over again.  This year I am re-posting what I posted last year and also four years ago, with a couple of updates on ages. It is also the first time I have referred to Queen Elizabeth as 'the late Queen Elizabeth'. On the 27th  Lala will be celebrating another birthday. No doubt, the occasion will be marked at  Punla, Ang Arko, where Lala lives, the only  L'Arche community  in the Philippines, in Cainta, Rizal, part of the metropolitan sprawl of Manila.  The Pope's Universal Prayer Intention for September 2014 was:   That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life . The truth is that persons with mental or learning disabilities can teach the rest of us about the dignity of life, as the p

Confidence in God

Being a lifelong Catholic, I cannot tell you how much I have learned from other Christians about how to pray, in addition to the prayer habits I have grown up within the Catholic Church.  For my brothers and sisters in Christ, I am so very grateful. Among the most important ways I have learned to pray, is naming the need.  I have a friend whose daughter has been posting specific prayer requests for her family, in detail.  This not only helps me be able to pray for them specifically, but has also inspired my own prayer life. Of course, praying in detail must come with the humility to know that I am not telling God what to do. I must understand that every prayer is not going to be answered according to MY way of thinking, or necessarily in a way I can actually see.   Having confidence God is near and listening, I must also accept that he knows what is best.  Perhaps waiting will be good for me.  Maybe I need a little pruning.  Or--and this is a big one --most likely what I

Queen Elizabeth II of England: Historical Perspective

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(From British Ministry of Information, via Chicago History Museum and Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.) (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, in the Auxiliary Territorial Service. (April 1945)) My news feed has been full of the usual stuff: war and rumors of war, looming doom on the economic and climate fronts, and assorted political perturbations. But ever since September 8, there's been at least one item involving Elizabeth II of England each day. Like this sampling from Monday's news:... I'll be looking at the British Empire, how assorted Englishmen saw themselves and their country, and — briefly, for me — Elizabeth II's seven-decade reign. More at A Catholic Citizen in America . From 19th century England to 21st century Hong Kong, remembering Elizabeth II of England and her world. Attitudes, wars, and a changing world.

Where did my Rosary go?

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Recently we heard the Parable of the Lost Coin ( Luke 15:8 ) where the woman searches her house for the one lost coin.  Wouldn't you know it?  I found myself in that very position just after hearing it. I went to grab my rosary out of my little red rosary case and it was gone!  The case was there, but the rosary vanished.  I could have cried.  The punch I felt in my stomach was sickening. I have had that rosary since I made my First Holy Communion when I was a child.  The case has been repaired over the years where the stitching came loose, and it is pretty rough, but I have no intention of ever replacing it.  The case aside, it was the missing rosary that really grieved me. Knowing, without a doubt, that the missing rosary was the work of one of our little grandchildren, and knowing how they think, I set about moving chair and couch cushions in my search.  I really felt like the woman looking for the lost coin, desperate in my search for something so precious to me.

Have You No Faith?

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  We can be worried  and afraid of all manner of things.  We might have a  physical illness and get anxious that it will be terminal, or, at least stop us doing what we normally do. We might have money issues and are concerned about how we'll pay our bills. One of our children might be ill or in trouble and we don't know how we can help. We might have a tough talk to give. And though it is for the Lord, we stay awake at night going over and over what we're going to say.  We will all have our own scenarios.  A lady wanted to run a prayer group to help ladies that she knew grow in their relationship with The Lord. Her spiritual director thought it was a great idea and so she prepared for it as best she could. Before the first meeting she got very anxious and her family life suffered. She lead the prayer group and all was well. At the second one, she changes somethings and tried to listen to the Holy Spirit, and although it went better ( in her judgement), it was far from what

'One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.' Sunday Reflections, 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

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  Girl with a Pearl Earring Vermeer [Web Gallery of Art] Readings   (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Readings   (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Gospel   Luke 16:1-13 [Shorter form 16:10-13]( English Standard Version Anglicised: India) Jesus said to the disciples,  [ “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions.   And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’   And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.   I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’   So, summoning his master's debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you

Struggling with your faults?

Do you struggle with your faults and weaknesses?  Like St. Paul ( Romans 7:15 ), are you stymied that you keep doing exactly what you do not want to do? Are you miserable in your job?  Do you walk around frustrated because life isn't quite what you expected? Maybe this will help. I've been following our Bishop's recommendation and setting aside time for an online retreat called Taking Back the Crown by St. Mary's Catholic Center.  One of the days focuses on the spiritual movements of consolation and desolation. Briefly, consolation is a movement of the heart that leads you closer to God, while desolation leads you away, into anger, agitation and so forth.  One of the first things we should do when we are struggling is to acknowledge what we are experiencing and feeling, and express it to God, asking for a particular grace according to our desire. Let me give you an example. Let's say you are a grumbler.  Acknowledge it and express your desire to God to help yo

‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.' Sunday Reflections, 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

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   Return of the Prodigal Son Rembrandt [ Web Gallery of Art ] Readings  (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Readings   (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)   Gospel   Luke 15:1-32 [Shorter form 15:1-10]( English Standard Version Anglicised: India) . Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear Jesus.   And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.” So he told them this parable:   “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?   And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.   And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbours, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’   Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven o