Independence Day: America and Acting Like Love Matters

(From Balon Greyjoy, via Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.) (Prometheus sculpture for Rockefeller Center's lower plaza. (Paul Manship, 1934)) It's been 246 years since a bunch of disgruntled colonists decided that they'd had enough of transatlantic micromanagement. There's more behind the Declaration of Independence than that. But today I'm focused more on what's happening and what's ahead, than on where we've been. Although, given the way I see things, that involves looking back, too.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America . Patriots, pigeonholes and attitudes. The Apotheosis of Washington, loving America anyway. Alabaster cities and Hair. Working toward a patriot dream.

History, Viewpoints, Narratives and Ancient Rome

(From Giovanni Paolo Panini, via Staatsgalerie, Stutgard/Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission.) (Giovanni Paolo Panini's "Ancient Rome" — an 18th century view. (1754-1757)) "...Naiad airs have brought me home To the glory that was Greece, And the grandeur that was Rome...." (" To Helen ," Edgar Allen Poe (1845) via Wikipedia) I've split this week's post into three sections: History 101 and Humanity's Continuing Story About History: Definitions, Documents, and Narratives Will the Real Ancient Rome Please Stand Up? More at A Catholic Citizen in America . Impressions of ancient Rome: morals, Cicero, Sallust and Gibbon. An almost-forgotten King, a president and a thought experiment. Historical narratives.

Uh, sure, I knit

Into every life a little levity should walk, and I feel like we can use some right now, so here goes . . . While I was at work one day, my husband was watching our five year old granddaughter.  Out of the blue, she asked my husband: "Does Grandma knit?" "Yes," he kindly said. "Can she knit me a kangaroo costume for Halloween?" I love the simplicity of children.  Nothing is out of reach.  If it can be imagined, someone should be able to do it. Knitted kangaroo costume?  No problem.  I'll get right on it.  Forget the fact that, in reality, the extent of my knitting comes in the form of uniquely shaped, little square dishcloths! Unfortunately, as adults, sometimes our life experiences get in the way of fulfilling our dreams.  We imagine that the thing we always wanted to learn or try must be out of our reach.  We can create lists of reasons why that is the case.  Naturally, we may have actual limitations that get in the way, but I think many time

'That young Italian's joy has remained with me for 31 years now.' Sunday Reflections, 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

  Madonna and Child Francisco de Zurbarán [ Web Gallery of Art ] For thus says the  Lord : “Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river  and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;  and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,  and bounced upon her knees.  As one whom his mother comforts,  so I will comfort you;  you shall be comforted in Jerusalem  (Isaiah 66:12-13, First Reading) . Readings   (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Readings   (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Gospel   Luke 10:1-12, 17-20 [or 10:1-9] ( English Standard Version Anglicised: India)    After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.   And he said to them,  “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into h

Bono, Pope Benedict XVI and Spe Salvi

  Bono [ Wikipedia ;  photo ] Paul David Hewson, the U2 member better known as Bono,  spoke recently  with Lauren Laverne on  Desert Island Discs , a long-running radio programme on the BBC, about his half-brother and his at times difficult relationship with his father, Bob Hewson.  Sinéad Crowley, the Arts and Media correspondent of RTÉ, Ireland’s national broadcaster,  in her report  on this wrote:  Bono (62) also spoke to Laverne about how his relationship with his father came under tremendous strain following the death of his mother, although he now admits he was partly to blame, adding that after Bob's death in 2001, he apologised to him during a visit to a chapel in France. 'There was nobody there, I lit a candle and I got on my knees, and I just said, “look, I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you, you went through a lot and please forgive me”, and I felt free,’ Bono said . Pope Benedict XVI in 2006 [ Wikipedia ;  photo ] Continue at Bangor to Bobbio.

Don't be a Hater

Every day I pray for protection against discouragement.  I needed to rely on that prayer yesterday on my way home from work.  Earlier in the day I had read some disheartening comments from people I know and don't know on social media.  I had just left a meeting that, although encouraging, left me frustrated on a larger scale. Within the meeting, I had a chance to speak to a lawyer to get the facts about what the Constitution actually, specifically says about our right to privacy and abortion (they are not even mentioned in the Constitution).) I had a chance to ask for greater clarification about my observation that it was seductive language that got us into this abortion mess in the first place, oh so many years ago, i.e., (a woman's right ) and how the same tactic works today: abortion=healthcare .  Both enticing. Both effective in duping us. I learned about a sexy, term now being thrown out-- body autonomy .  When you take a minute to think about it, "body auto

Friends ...


Now What?

I have a few magazines on my dining room table that I recently promised my husband I would read through so we could get them off the table.  One of them was the AARP the Magazine.  In it I came across a rather long-titled article by Rich Cohen:  The What vs. the How, Closing the Deal and Other Lessons from the Game of Life . Turns out, it was an interesting article and I'm glad I took the time to read it.  The author wrote about the life lessons his dad taught him, and in the last paragraph he recalled this little nugget:  "Remember that all this passes and that how we have treated and forgiven one another is all that will remain." How fitting this little piece of wisdom is in our current circumstances surrounding overturning Roe vs. Wade.  I won't lie.  It was like music to my ears.  I could hardly believe that I have lived long enough to hear that beautiful proclamation. But there is much work to be done. Catholic Archbishops José H. Gomez of Los Angeles

Trace Signals From an Alien Civilization: Not So FAST?

(From STR/AFP/Getty Images, via NPR, used w/o permission.) (China's FAST radio telescope, another eye on the universe since 2016.) Scientists in China's Guizhou province have been receiving radio signals from interstellar space since 2016. Three of these signals may have been from folks who aren't human, but use radio waves the way we do. Then again, maybe they weren't.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America . Narrow-band signals from interstellar space. Tesla, pulsars, the Wow! signal and Tabby’s Star. Still looking for alien civilizations.

A Fact of Life

It's a fact of life:  good trees bear good fruit and rotten trees bear bad fruit.  If you want to know if a tree is good or bad, just look at its fruit. In the language of scripture, Jesus was warning his disciples, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves." (Matthew 7:15-20) Good things would not come from false prophets.  False prophets could deceive people.  They could dress up bad things and fool people into thinking they are good.  This happens all the time today.  It certainly isn't limited to the time of Christ. (Don't even get me started on the pro-abortion arguments which fool some people and are extremely deceptive and dangerous.) Can you name three things you thought were good but turned out to be deceptive?  I'll bet most of us can.  In fact, sometimes we can talk ourselves into thinking something is good as rationale for our behavior.  It can be a horrifying self-discovery. In si

What Scares You?

Some people are afraid of heights.  Others can't handle going up or down steps that have an open back.  I don't have either of those problems, but I do remember going down a very long stairway one time and after a lot of steps, I felt like I was going to freeze as I neared the bottom.  I think it's a visual thing.  After you have been looking down so long, it seems like your brain and your feet get out of sync. Anyway, I read in the Gospel of Matthew today about the narrow gate.  I've never heard of anyone being afraid of gates like they are stairs, but the gate in Matthew 7, verse 12, is something that does make me a little nervous. It goes like this: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” Boy does that make me shiver!  Today, we easily understand this as a de

My Husband's Special Father's Day Gift

I've decided to give my wonderful husband an amazing Father's Day gift this year, but more about that in a minute. I do want to put out there a Happy Father's Day!  It is wonderful that we have a day set aside to honor fathers, who play such an important role in the family.  Fathers help form their children.  They set examples of how to be faith-filled men.  The list goes on and on! But one thing that isn't typically mentioned that fathers do that is so important, is they teach their children how to treat their mom.  Children learn about respect from observing their father's treatment of the primary woman in their life. I know that not all father's do this, and that is really unfortunate, so I'll just move on.  I had a wonderful father, but he died of a heart attack when I was eight.  Fortunately, my three older brothers absolutely shined in his place as protector and defender of my mom and me.  Because of our situation, I always like to call to

Memories ... Memories ...


'Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with loud songs of joy.' Sunday Reflections, 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

  Farmer in a Field Vincent van Gogh [ Web Gallery of Art ] No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God  (Luke 9:62, today's Gospel). I am posting this early because I will be in Lourdes from 20 to 27 June and will not be doing any work on the computer. The post for 19 June, Corpus Christi Sunday, 19 June, is  here . Readings   (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Readings   (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Gospel   Luke 9:51-62 ( English Standard Version Anglicised: India)    When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.   And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him.   But the people did not receive him, because his face was set towards Jerusalem.   And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to

When the Flower Shrinks

I remember one year we bought a seed packet that contained multiple varieties of flowers.  When the super pretty ones died off, it was the wildflowers that took over.  They were much more hardy than some of the others and took over the garden. I was reading the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 6, verses 25+ about our dependence on God.  You know, the one where we are encouraged not to worry about what we will drink, eat or wear, because God's got this? "Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.  They do not work or spin."   So far so good, I'm thinking.  No need to work or spin.  Okay, I can try that! All kidding aside, I realize Jesus is not telling us not to work, but that our everyday things need not be the main focus of our concern: "Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them." The point is, God knows what we need and he provides it.  Sometimes, it might seem to us like he

Wagner, Servant of Faustus: What's He Doing in the Play?

I'd like to say that my 'Marlowe's Faustus' series follows some grand scheme, marching down a well-organized path toward a profound conclusion. But it doesn't, so I won't. I started re-reading Christopher Marlowe's "The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus," a little bit at a time, a year and a half ago. My idea was to polish and re-post a "Faustus" series I'd done back in 2012. That's not what happened.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America . This week: an Elizabethan era entertainment district, attitudes and values. Faustian fascination. And Wagner, who may be like Palaestrio, Jeeves and Haroud Hazi.

'O wondrous gift indeed! The poor and lowly may upon their Lord and Master feed.' Sunday Reflections, Corpus Christi Sunday, Year C

Pope Benedict elevating the Body of Christ [Wikipedia;   photo ] Corpus Christi, Year C The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Year C  In most countries, including the Vatican, this solemnity, formerly celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, is now celebrated on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday, this year replacing the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings   (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa) Readings   (New American Bible: Philippines, USA) Gospel  Luke 9:11b-17 ( English Standard Version Anglicised: India)    When the crowds learned it, they followed Jesus, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who needed healing.   Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.”   But he said to

Can't Somebody Fix This?

One of my favorite shows is Blue Bloods .  There's something about that show that draws me in.  Every once in awhile I'll pick up a line that really strikes me, like this one: "When you're looking at something big, don't go looking for something bigger." The idea is that if you have a problem, don't make it worse by imagining worse things.  In fact, here's another quote, this one by the infamous Frank Reagan: "Sometimes what you imagine is worse than what's actually there." I wish that were true all of the time, but in reality, sometimes what is actually there can be pretty bad. Take our news lately.  It is tough to imagine anything worse than what those families in Uvalde Texas (and similar families) have gone through.  It is just too much.  We feel their pain as our compassion rises and we are all connected on a human level.  But in the end, we just want it all to stop. Never again we shout to the heavens.  Can't somebody

Baptism - Why Wait?

I return to the subject of baptism quite often because it is so important.  So many young couples today just skip getting their children baptized, and they hold to the philosophy that "They can choose it for themselves when they get older."  Or, they just don't understand its importance.  Or they just don't make time for it. Frequently, unbaptized children grow into unbaptized adults and they raise their own unbaptized children, and the spiral away from the sacraments continues, as their children miss the sacraments that naturally follow baptism.  Before you know it, God slips from their life.  The message is clear--if church is important, my mom and dad would have had me baptized, and since they didn't, I guess it doesn't really matter. The "choosing it for themselves when they get older philosophy" just doesn't fly. Too often, when they get older, they just don't seek it. Maybe you were baptized as a child but for some reason,

Taking People, Pride and Dignity Seriously: June 2022

(From Luisa Madrid, La Guardia and Wagner Archives; used w/o permission.) (Queens Pride Parade; Queens, New York City (2018)) My news feed tells me it's Pride Month. Or LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Wikipedia's page implies that the correct term is LGBT pride.... ...Decades of experience, spanning McCarthyism's dying gasps and the efflorescence of political correctness, suggest that I'll offend someone: no matter what I say or how I say it. So I'll start by saying why I don't think my native language, English, is perfect.... More at A Catholic Citizen in America . June is Pride, LGBTQ+ Pride, or maybe LGBT Pride Month. I talk about pride, dignity, and good intentions. Plus respect, and how I fit a profile.

'In the human family, gathered by Christ, "the image and likeness" of the Most Holy Trinity has been restored.' Sunday Reflections, Trinity Sunday, Year C

  The Two Trinities   Murillo [ 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   John 16:12-15 ( English Standard Version Anglicised: India)    Jesus said to his disciples: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.   When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.   He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.   All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. ” Léachtaí i nGaeilge Holy Family and Trinity Jacob de Wit [ Web Gallery of Art ] During my kindergarten, primary and secondary school years, 1947 to 1961, my brother and I had breakfast and dinner