Saturday, February 28, 2009

Saturday "How we are loved " Ska

A wonderfully well done home-made vid of one of my favorite tunes with lyrics of that unconditional love that the Father has for each one of us, because He truly sees the "flowers in these weeds" (O:

"In a field of yellow flowers,
underneath the sun,
bluest eyes that spark with lightning,
boy with shoes undone.

He is young,
so full of hope,
reveling in tiny dreams,
filling up his arms with flowers,
right for giving any queen.

Running to her beaming bright,
while cradling his prize.
A flickering of yellow light,
within his mother's eyes.

She holds them to her heart,
keeping them where they'll be safe,
clasped within her very marrow,
dandelions in a vase.

She sees love, where
anyone else would see weeds.
All hope is found.
Here is everything he needs.

Fathomless your endless mercy,
weight I could not lift.
Where do I fit in this puzzle,
what good are these gifts?
Not a martyr or a saint,
scarcely can I struggle through.
All that I have ever wanted
was to give my best to you.

Lord, search my heart,
create in me something clean.
you see flowers in these weeds.

Gently lifting hands to heaven,
softened by the sweetest hush,
a Father sings over his children,
loving them so very much.

More than words could warrant,
deeper than the darkest blue,
more than sacrifice could merit,
Lord, I give my heart to you".

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Bad Shepherd?

A tad early for mass this morning (early is not usually a D'art trait), I surveyed the art and architecture of the particular
church I was knelt in (our lil' shabby chic parish is made up of a trinity of antique churches).I found myself gazing upon the stained glass image of Christ the Good Shepherd, holding the rescued baby lamb.

With my daily mixture of the Holy Spirit and Starbucks (sadly, if you know me, it's usually more of the latter), I started to percolate (yes, a coffee pun) an idea on what exactly a Good shepherd would, and would not, be. I also thought how this title for our Lord completely reinforces the idea of one holy catholic and apostolic church.

Would a good shepherd leave a divisive mixture of ninety nine sheep, all trying to go there own way, in search of another "individualistic" lamb?, or would he only do so if he knew that they were indeed "one" flock, encircling, and protecting each other?

Even if they were one flock, me thinks he would still need to leave a few priestly sheepdogs, or even Babe the good pig, to keep watch over them in his absence, entrusting only them with the "keys" to the gate.

How many times would this good shepherd allow a an unruly bit of wool to knock down his fences before he allowed that particular mutton chop to go out on it's own lest it endanger the others with it's "my way" heresy of pride (me thinks all heresy starts with "well, I think . . .").

If we truly wish to be evangelical in our lives, we first have to unite under one flock, so that the Good Shepherd can with all confidence, leave us 99 to search for our lost brothers and sisters.

"I" must die daily to serve the "I am", and the "we" He died for, and who He still goes after. There are few greater ways to say you belong to God, than to humbly lay down your pride, to also say you belong to the one church He gave up His life for.

"A shepherd only tends to one flock"

Leaving Ninety Nine

"It's dark and lonely and the path is unclear
Can't move my feet because I'm frozen with fear
then you say, my child, my child
i am always here, i'm at your side

I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you
(For you alone) I'd leave ninety-nine
Leave them all behind
To find you"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Aslan is on the move

"return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God."

Cure for the Brave New World

"tell me something true
'cause i'm only free
when i look at you

and you look so good it hurts
and love, i come undone

but i don’t want medication
just give me liberation
even if it cuts my legs right out from underneath
don’t give me medication
i want the real sensation
even when living feels just like death to me

don't paint my face
i need to see the scars
so i don't forget
the back of my tutor's arm

'cause i just can't keep it straight
which kills and which one saves


‘cause the truth is i need you just like the air i breathe
just like a freight train needs the tracks beneath
so i’d rather suffer my whole life and be this rich man’s wife
if loving you means suffering"


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Be Cool Now

Take a vow of poverty now,
because after President Obama
and the congress
bankrupt the country,
it'll just be trendy (O:

The Conceit of a Mass'keteer

I received this list of Lenten suggestions from the good folks at Catholicity (they are a wonderful resource, along with Lighthouse, for free Catholic audio cds), and I couldn't help but add a couple myself.

1. Pray the Rosary every day (here are some for my fellow drivin' folk).
2. Receive Communion at Mass every day.
3. Go to Confession every Friday.
4. Pray the Family Rosary every day or once a week (or get a group of friends).
5. Pray in silence 20 minutes a day.
6. Make a Eucharistic visit every day.
7. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet (at 3:00 PM, the Hour of Mercy) every day.
8. Fast on bread and water one to three times per week.
9. Read a spiritual book.
10. Give a painfully large donation to charity (it's all God's money anyway).
11. Give a donation to charity instead of buying something for you.
12. Pray "Jesus, I love you!" in the first waking seconds of the day.
13. Listen to Catholic CDs or radio.
14. Do something major to improve your marriage (single people, get thee a spouse).
15. Volunteer anywhere: at your kid's school, homeless shelter
16. Visit a home for the elderly
17. Give up something you absolutely love, crave, or spend time on, or that annoys the people you love.
18) Spend a minute every day looking at a crucifix.
19) Stations of the Cross (most parishes do stations on Friday evenings during Lent).
20) Every day, tell someone that they are God's son or daughter ( 'cause you know you are, right?).
20) Love more, love often . . . just love!

The Beginning and the End

"It is impossible that God should ever be the end,
if He is not the beginning.
We lift our eyes on high,
but lean upon the sand;
and the earth will dissolve,
and we shall fall
while looking at the heavens".

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Catholic Retort #57b

Non-Catholic Christian

"All your statues and symbols are idolatrous"

Catholic Christian:
"Is that a rhinestone
on your
Camera phone?"

Monday, February 23, 2009

How I come to the Cross

Hello, I swear I won't be too long
Hello, I promise I'll be real strong
Wait up, I just wanna tell you
Hold up, why are you still here?

I've been dirtier than you wanna know
I've left earlier than you'll ever know

Why do, you wanna be all listenin' to me
Why do, you spread your arms and tell me I'm free
Why do, you wanna be in my life
In my life

I've been dirtier than you wanna know
I've left earlier than you'll ever know

Jesus, Jesus
There's something about your name
Master, Saviour, Jesus

Church of Self

Me thinks the old adage "a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client", could also be "a person who has themselves for a church, has a fool for a pope"

Don't worry, I am not gonna talk about the temple of Tom Cruise, but about that empty "altar-ego" too many of us make to worship our god . . . the great "I". Of course I am going to rant about the "me and Jesus" fallacy that so many have fallen for in regards to worship.

"I don't need a church, I can worship Jesus myself"

"Jesus comes to me, I don't need a building"

"The Bible teaches me all I need"

The funny thing is that I have never met anyone who spoke these words who actually spent time with Jesus (no, listening to CCM radio or watching TBN, doesn't count), or that even read the Bible that often. In all of this, there really isn't the desire to find out what exactly Jesus would want, but the twisted mentality that as long as I call myself a Christian it's all good.

How long does the average long distance relationship last? Would you believe someone who says they loved you, even had t-shirts made with your name on it, even wore a symbol of you around their neck, but didn't ever want to visit you?

All of what I am saying , is not to be judgmental or condemning, but comes from my own time in the wilderness of self before I found the Church. Oh how wonderful it is to be in His house filled with the voices of His children. Oh how thankful I am to be able to start each day greeting my brothers and sisters with the sign of "peace" . . . followed by the true Peace entering my body as I receive the Eucharist.

Anyhow, love takes effort, and one only has to look at a crucifix to see the effort Christ made to show you His love, and give us the church.

Hope to see ya at mass (O:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Somewhere Between Canaan and Egypt

This is my lil' pre-Lent warm up hip-hoppin' skadelic tune, which is a bit amusing in that I am forgoing the listening of music during that approaching time. A song that should easily have been on the radio except for the whole "overtly singing about God" thing, and a song about how we all go through "The Wilderness", and how most of our friends are still there.

As the ashes are placed on our foreheads this Wednesday, we are invited to participate in the sacrifice of Christ, to draw us closer to the One who hung on a cross rather than watch any of us suffer the fate we so well deserve. When picking your Lenten fast, I hope that it is something that will truly cause a little initial pain and emptyness in your life, as it will also lead to the joy of being nearer to the Lover of your soul. A sacrifice that in the end will lead to growth of character, love of God, and a greater appreciation of our brothers and sisters who wish they had whatever you are giving up.


"God do you really understand what it’s like to be a man
Have You ever felt the weight of
loving all the things you Hate
Have You struggled . . .have you worried
How can You sympathize?

I have spoken much too soon put my hand over my mouth
I can’t contend with You
Your ways are so much higher
And we pass through the fire that
Christ endured before us
When You were in the wilderness".

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Something Beautiful

"I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well"

Lest you forget
You are Wonderfully made
You are loved
You are Something Beautiful!

"It's a voice that whispers my name
It's a kiss without any shame
Something beautiful
Like a song that stirs in my head
Singing love will take us where
Something's beautiful

It's the child on her wedding day
It's the daddy that gives her away
Something beautiful
When we laugh so hard we cry
all the love between you and I"

Friday, February 20, 2009

Clearing a Path

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..."
Matthew 5:43,44

Being Irish, me thinks that getting a little hotheaded is natural, but in reality it is just another thing that I've trained for since childhood. Granted, it is rare for anyone to see this part of my nature anymore as I have grown a bit, and thankfully as I usually am driving alone (driving the DC Beltway might even tempt Mother Teresa to flip someone the bird).

Anger that is hidden and which stems from resentment or unforgiveness, is a much worse destroyer of our heart and spirit (and the heart and spirit of others), than the occasional honking of the horn. It is like rocks scattered all over our path of life, some put there by others, yet most put there by ourselves. We keep tripping daily over some of the same stones, or walk around the others that we think are too big to handle. Oprah has countless pop pyschologists on her show promising the best GPS system to avoid these obstacles.

Christ on the other hand, asks us to keep walking straight, to clear the path of all these things that are not of Him. Some of these are lighter to lift than we think (especially if we draw our strength not from our self), and some are but big clumps of dust that blow away as soon as we touch them. Others are so big and well placed, that it might take days, weeks, or even years to move, but in the moving of all of these we find we are toning that one important muscle, the one that allows, with ease, to offer up our right cheek after the left has been slapped.

This is the muscle that allows us to be beaten to a pulp, to be ridiculed and spit on, and to be naked to a nailed to a cross; yet all the time saying "they know not what they do".

God's love in our heart is , me thinks, the great bulldozer to help us clear the straight path we have been asked to walk. . . . and praying for certain Irish hot-headed drivers is a good thing too (O:

"cause you cannot choose your friends
but you choose your enemies
and what if they were one
one and the same
could you find a way
to love them both the same
to give them your name"
Love is Not Against the Law - Derek Webb

Learn Obedience, Value Everyone

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Shocked, and Slightly Embarrassed

Working on my bathroom at my new Bawlmer abode, I came across a few items that were once needed in the days when there was hair )o; . . . so I thought this instructional video rather fitting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Restoring the Soul

"The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul" Most laws condemn the soul and pronounce sentence. The result of the law of my God is perfect. It condemns but forgives. It restores--more than abundantly--what it takes away.
Jim Elliot (1927-1956)

Taking Forever

As I was preparing to come out of retirement to DJ my niece's "Sweet 16", and programming my ipod with a mixture of secular and Christian music that High Skoolers would like (and which wouldn't garner me any dirty looks from the 'rents), I came across this tune from some old buds (yes, before Hollywood found them, the boys from Buffalo had slept on my floor).

The Goo Goo Dolls went from having moderate college airplay to Top 40 kings, all because of this Westerbergian single they had written for the "Wings of Desire" remake "City of Angels". Having only recently become a Christian at the time the movie was released, I chose to pass on seeing the film due to it's rather unbiblical premise of an Angel choosing mortality to eternity (A-humans get both, B-Angels, being outside of time, have already made their eternal choice). The song also troubled me a bit, although at the time I hadn't thought to figure out why, and I was just happy to see a hard working band of nice guys finally make it.

Listening again to the opening line "I'd give up forever to touch you", thoughts of JPII's Theology of the Body and Dawn Eden's Thill of the Chaste sprang to mind. I thought of how too easily we often take off our own wings for some bit of earthly, and very temporary, pleasure. How in wanting, even needing, another person to, as the song says "know who I am" we go for what appears to be the easy intimacy of nakedness, forgetting the shame that will follow.

Because it is a
mortal sin, we are in fact "giving up forever", although only the forever of living in God's presence, because we are eternal beings who are at this very moment, and with each action, deciding which direction we go when we give up these bodies. The other thing about this act is that it takes two, which means you are not only throwing away your own "forever", but helping to take away anothers (often the person who you are saying you "love").

True love would never wish to send their beloved to that fiery place, yet sadly that is what we are helping to do, every time we "make love" outside of the sacrament of marriage.

I must admit, the song does kinda rock, and with that same bittersweet tone we too often feel when we choose to stray from the narrow path.

A side note, Johnny also wrote these lyrics for another movie, showing me that he is still a searcher, and someone who I should still have on my prayer list.

"And I found something that was always there,
Sometimes it's got to hurt before you feel,
But now I'm strong and I won't kneel,
Except to thank Who's watching over me"

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Motha' Michael?

Can't decide if I look like a Sister of Mercy or a gay terrorist, but either way I was showing my niece my appreciation for the wonderful hat and scarf she made as my Christmas present.

Sea of Faces

Thought this kinda went with my earlier post, to help understand the cost and blessing of "our daily bread".

"And In Your eyes I can see
And in Your arms I will be
I am not just a man, vastly lost in this world
Lost in a Sea of Faces
Your body's the bread, Your blood is the wine
Because you traded Your life for mine

If only my one heart
Was all you'd gain from all it cost
Well I know you would have still been a man
With a reason
To willingly offer your life"

Why many among you are weak and sick?

"The Lord said to Moses and Aaron,
"If someone has on his skin a scab or pustule or blotch
which appears to be the sore of leprosy,
he shall be brought to Aaron, the priest,
or to one of the priests among his descendants.
If the man is leprous and unclean,
the priest shall declare him unclean
by reason of the sore on his head.
"The one who bears the sore of leprosy
shall keep his garments rent and his head bare,
and shall muffle his beard;
he shall cry out, 'Unclean, unclean!'
As long as the sore is on him he shall declare himself unclean,
since he is in fact unclean.
He shall dwell apart, making his abode outside the camp."

I am not entirely sure why this Old Testament verse from Sunday's reading seemed to draw me to ponder a connection with St Paul's warning about examining yourself before receiving the Eucharist (1 Cor 11), other than his words have been formulating a deeper thought in my head as of late.

Being a convert, it was the truth of the real presence of our Lord in the Eucharist that lead me to the Church, and why I attend daily mass. This important truth is often ignored by cradle Catholics, who will sometimes go up to receive even though they haven't been to confession in years, or at the very least, they don't understand who they are receiving . . .and who they are "drinking judgment upon".

I once watched in a hospital as a friend's brother, who practically hates the church and denies it's truth, received our Lord from a priest who was visiting those who couldn't make it to mass. This man was there, as were we, to visit his chronically ill mother, so I am sure his action was out of love and respect for her.

Later I pondered his action, and all the times he and his siblings, and all of our less thoughtful or less knowledgeable siblings, did receive when they shouldn't have. The picture of his devout mother lying in the hospital bed seemed to point me to the verse "That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep", and wondered if the son's disrespectful action could be a reason for his mother's illness, or if he, and all of us, would truly understand our actions than maybe there would be less illness. Could St. Paul's words mean a possible collective judgment or curse? It is biblical to consider this (although I should break out my catechism).

I also wondered why the parents never instructed my friend to not receive, considering the ramifications, and I than thought do I ever, do we ever, ask our friends before entering mass, if they are in a proper state of grace? Should we?

We who know should, with love and encouragement, instruct, if we truly love as we say we do, regardless of how our friends may respond. Could this be one way to alleviate suffering in the world? Don't know, but it may just help our friends know that we love them. Anyhow, just a thought.

"Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep"

Monday, February 16, 2009

If he only believed what he says . . .

.“There is no God who condones taking the life
of an innocent human being. ”

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Quote, Sunday Suit

While I do try to attend Mass daily, and always dress appropriate, it is on Sundays where I generally break out a jacket and tie. The first reason is, of course, that it is one small way to show my love and respect for our Lord and for His church.

(and if my looking dapper might catch the eye of a nice, preferably single, Catholic woman, so be it :O)
Another reason, especially as I walk several blocks to mass, is that the very fact that I am wearing a tie as I pass others in sweats (or even PJs?) says quite loudly that I am going to church. This may not say much to those who dislike or even hate religion, but to those raised in the church, or who consider themselves to be "Christian", it may be just the little nudge they need to get'em coming back on a regular basis.

."Going to church doesn't make you a Christian
but not going to church
doesn't make you a Christian for long"

Who Strengthens me?

Valentine Hangover

Realizing that maybe a few folks, either male and female, could have made a mistake or two last night, and are feeling the emptiness and shame that comes from "looking for love in all the wrong places", me thinks this tune might help again to remind them of not only Who loves them, but Who alone will restore them.

You are God's beloved son
You are His cherished daughter
You ARE loved!

Feel free to dance, God is watching (O:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

If it ain't You

"Some people want it all
But I don't want nothing at all
If it ain't you baby
If I ain't got you baby"

This absolutely beautiful acoustic version of this absolutely beautiful tune has become kind of a tri-fold litmus test for the real "L" word in my silly little life. If I first both feel and know (spirit and truth) that the words of this tune align with my heart and mind for the person who makes me do the googly eyes, than it may be love . . . or well mannered lust (that's where discernment and prayer comes in). Secondly of course is that the person who has to endure my sappiness, also pictures moi when hearing this tune.

Lastly, I know that if I am not daily singing the words "if I ain't got You" to the One who made me, loves me, died for me; than how can I possibly sing that to a chickee. If I am not daily renewing myself in the fountain of His perfect love, I shouldn't be splashing around in the imperfect world of dating and courtship.

So this evening my date will be my stepmom, who is missing her love terribly (
as I miss my dad too). Also, as I love to give flowers, me thinks I will give our Lady a bouquet of white roses today as I continue to ask her to continue to lead me to her Son.

Simple Truth

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future,
nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord".
Romans 8:38-39

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentines Prep #244b

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy"

How did Christ love the church? yep, He didn't bring us chocolates and roses, didn't max out his credit card on jewelry, He didn't even send us a card . . . nope, He just layed down His own desires, His own comforts . . .His own life, so that we would know how to truly love, and truly know that we are loved.

If anyone hasn't mentioned it today, let me be the first to remind you that the God of the universe is completely and totally, madly, passionately in love with you!

heck, He even loves me (O:

True Love Song

Part of the little routine I have when I find myself falling "in love" (well stage II "in love", as I kinda fall in love daily . . .maybe I'm French?),

is that I start to continually ask St. Joseph to pray for me to be a true man in the relationship (a man cares for the other's soul, a boy only wants the other's body),

I than watch "the Passion of the Christ" as a very visual reminder of what real love is and how I am suppose to love.

Lastly, I send a mix cd (or an MP3 in an e-mail) to the object of my affection with this song as the opener, to remind her of Who loves her more, and Who she should love before me (romance is such an easy idol).

Love Song - Third Day

I've heard it said that a man would climb a mountain
Just to be with the one he loves
How many times has he broken that promise
It has never been done.
I've never climbed the highest mountain
But I walked the hill of Calvary

Just to be with you, I'd do anything
There's no price I would not pay
Just to be with you, I'd give anything
I would give my life away.

I've heard it said that a man would swim the ocean
Just to be with the one he loves
How may times has he broken that promise
It can never be done
I've never swam the deepest ocean
But I walked upon the raging sea

I know that you don't understand
the fullness of My love
How I died upon the cross for your sins
And I know that you don't realize
how much that I gave you
But I promise, I would do it all again.

Just to be with you, I've done everything
There's no price I did not pay
Just to be with you, I gave everything
Yes, I gave my life away.


D'art needs a Tissue

Why yes, I am a sap, why do you ask? (O:


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Monks for Muppets

Baltimore Blessed

"Instead, whoever wants to become great among you
must be your servant,
and whoever wants to be first
must be slave of all."
Mark 10:43-44

Visiting our lovely Basilica of the Assumption last Saturday, I found a little prayer card for the Beatification of Mother Mary Lange. I admit that I actually only noticed it because the good Mother seemed to share my habit (yes, I love puns) of wearing a crucifix and a Miraculous Medal on a single leather cord around her neck (yep, I even check out the fashion sense of saints), and also her face reminded me of the image I had of a saintly South Chicago cousin of a friend.

I noticed books and other items devoted to this woman of faith and service, and primarily bought the prayer card so that I would remember to research (ie. Google) her a bit later.

Quick summary from Wikipedia:

Servant of God (1784-1882) Mother Mary Elizabeth Lange, was the foundress of the Oblate Sisters of Providence and St. Frances Academy, a high school in Baltimore, Maryland. Elizabeth was born in the 1780s, a native of the Caribbean, her country of birth is not documented but oral tradition says she was born in Haiti and moved with her family to Santiago de Cuba.

On July 2, 1829 the Oblate Sisters of Providence were founded by Mother Mary Lange, OSP, and Rev. James Nicholas Joubert, SS as the first congregation of women religious of African descent. Mother Lange died on February 3, 1882.

This was the beginning of a legacy that has thrived over the past 177 years in 25 cities in the United States, Cuba, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and most recently Africa.

In 2005 three schools (St. Dominic School, Shrine of The Little Flower and St. Anthony of Padua) combined themselves into Mother Mary Lange Catholic School, thus becoming the first school named after her in America. 2008 marked the 180th anniversary of her founding of St. Frances Academy.

I hope this peaks yer interest enough to spend a little time learning about this rather amazing woman of God, and that maybe you'll even ask yourself "who am I serving", as it seems there is still a lot of work to be done ,and we who call ourselves Christian, should be about the doing.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Life Talk

The Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in north Baltimore is hosting pro-life speaker Paul Schenck for a talk entitled "How New Democrats & New Republicans will Reverse Roe v. Wade and End Abortions" on Friday, February 20th at 7:30 pm in the Parish Center. Hope ta see ya there, and yes, this is what I call a fun friday (O:

As I ponder starting a SoBo (South Bawlmer) ecumenical group, it's good to also remember to make/keep it bi-partisan as well, 'cause the enemy loves to use politics to plant seeds of hate and distrust in our stoney hearts.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tuesday Silliness . . . or not (O:

A totally infectious power-popping tune, by a notso Christian band, about having that special person to hold through the tough times. Last week it was made loud and clear how alone a person can feel during a time of sadness, unless they remember that they are never truly alone, and time in Adoration is the best hug I know of . . .so heres to the "You" we all share, Who truly put the smile on our faces.

"The world would be a lonely place
Without the One that puts a smile on your face
So hold me 'til the sun burns out
I won't be lonely when I'm down

'Cause I've got You to make me feel stronger
When the days are rough and an hour feels much longer

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bonhoeffer - D'art - Bullseye

"The first service that one owes to others in the
fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God
begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love
for the brethren is learning to listen to them... Listening
can be a greater service than speaking... One who cannot
listen long and patiently will presently be talking beside the
point and be never really speaking to others. Anyone who
thinks his time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will
eventually have no time for God and his brother, but only for
himself and for his own follies...
We should listen with the ears of God
that we may speak the Word of God."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The Blessing of Life and Death

Our Father's special blessing to me today did not go unnoticed, as at Mass this morning I watched with joy as little Jonah Paul was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Watching God's life cycle start up again was so wonderfully healing to my heart and soul, and reminds me again how much he loves this so unlovable sinner, and renews again my hope in His promises for me, my family, and you faithful readers . . . . o.k., and even those silly folks who don't read my blog (O:

"God made you special
and He loves you very much!"

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Eulogy : Seeing I Love You

For some odd reason, I was picked as the one to speak at my dad's funeral, to stand in the same spot where less than two years before I had read 1 Cor 13 for my father's wedding. Both my sister and my step sister had also written things to say, but asked if I would read for them, as God had given me a wonderful grace this week of, at least publicly, keeping it together for my family (although, feel free to hug me if ya see me, 'cause boy do I need it!).

While I do generally have to do a lot of speaking, it is more face to face, as I gave up carrying around a podium years ago (back problems, don'tcha know), so when I spoke it was not as loud as some of my hearing deprived elders would have liked (if my dad was able, he woulda yelled "speak up", as I had heard him done to quite a few pastors in my time). So my aunt asked me to write it up for her, and I thought I'd post it here as well.

"Hello Friends,
I greet you as "friends" because that is exactly how my dad greeted everyone. He may not have said those words, preferring possibly the "heh, hon" of most Bawlmer raised folks, but he did treat everyone he met as "friend", regardless of the fact he would also, as most of his generation did, aknowledge the person's ethnic background (O:

Myself, being a kid who grew up in the 70s, and who watched way too much television (no
Facebook yet), I was taught through that silly lil' box that fathers always say "I Love you". So as I grew up, I whined with so many of my contemporaries that "my dad never said I Love You", helping to make pop psychologists and Oprah rich beyond measure.

As I got older, and was given the gift of faith in my Heavenly Father, I started to see all the times my father did indeed say those words, now that God had given my "eyes to hear".

The first time, and every time after, that my dad tanned my chubby tush for crossing the street or spanked me dizzy the time I was five and tried to drive his car, he was saying "I Love You"

When every boy my sister brought home was treated to a reenactment of the Spanish Inquisition, dad was telling her "I Love You"

When, after my mom deserted us, he still invited both sides of the family for our annual 4th of July cookout, regardless of how painful it was to him, he was saying "I Love You"

When my brother's path had lead him into a little trouble, and my pop kinda forced him into the Navy, he was painfully saying "I Love You"

In the years he was left to raise four kids, one with special needs, but never ever said a bad thing about the woman who left him, he was saying to us "I Love You"

When he tried repeatedly to talk me out of pursuing art as a career, so I would have a stable job, and the time I caught him bragging to a woman about "his son" at one of my openings, he was saying loudly "I Love You"

When we saw him visit his twin sister in her nursing home, every single Sunday for years, on his only day off
and when we watched him dutifully and daily care for my sister Colleen, who not only has Downs but is also diabetic, he was not only saying "I love you", but also teaching us to live it.

Thank you dad, we hope we can speak "I Love You" as loudly as you did!"

I than read the below quotes from C.S. Lewis and Andrew Peterson, as well as what my sisters had asked me to read.

Please continue your prayers for my dad, Richard, and for our family, especially my stepmom Dottie,
thanks and God bless,
Rich's son

Friday, February 6, 2009

Chapter One

July 3 , 1934 - Febuary 3, 2009

"now at last they were beginning
Chapter One of the Great Story
which no one on earth has read:
which goes on for ever:
in which every chapter
is better than the one before".
The Last Battle - C.S. Lewis

"And in the end,
the end is Oceans and oceans
Of love and love again
We'll see how the tears that have fallen
Were caught in the palms
Of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
And we'll look back on these tears as old tales
Because, After the Last tear falls there is Love"
After the Last Tear Falls - Andrew Peterson

Valentines Prep #11b

Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot wash it away.
If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
Song of Solomon 8:7

This is not only a "how to" love, but a how we ARE loved

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mind over Matter

In honor of my beloved niece, who will soon be showcasing, yet again, one of her many talents, in the musical "Seussical", I give you a little gem from Theodor Geisel; "

"Be who you are
and say what you feel,
because those who mind
don't matter
and those who matter
don't mind".

"endurance to do the will of God"

"Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened,
you endured a great contest of suffering.
At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction;
at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated.
You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison
and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property,
knowing that you had a better and lasting possession.
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence;
it will have great recompense.
You need endurance to do the will of God
and receive what he has promised.
For, after just a brief moment,
he who is to come shall come;
he shall not delay.
But my just one shall live by faith,
and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.
We are not among those who draw back and perish,
but among those who have faith and will possess life".
Hebrews 10:32-39

Perseverance in Christ does not mean we will achieve, or even see a glimpse of, our goal on earth, nor even be praised for our endurance against the glimmer and promises of the gods of this world. If we want to see our progress we only have to look at our own scars made by the hands of those who say "I Love you", or listen to the whispers of the "friends" who mock our faith behind our back, and watch how quickly we are discarded and left naked and alone, in the name of self preservation . . . because, isn't that exactly how our Lord was treated . . .and too often, how we ourselves treat our Lord?

Yes, these are words much easier to type than they are to live, but I trust that if you all pray for me, and I you, while all the time looking towards the Son, we will find that endurance does not only lead to success, but is success in itself.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Homeward Bound

For everyone who is missing someone,
and living in Hope for that day when they will see them again
Dad, I can't wait to sing with you on that end of days

"Cause I'm still here, so far away from home"

"You're in a better place, I've heard a thousand times
And at least a thousand times I've rejoiced for you
But the reason why I'm broken, the reason why I cry
Is how long must I wait to be with you

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

Help me Lord cause I don't understand your ways
The reason why I wonder if I'll ever know
But, even if you showed me, the hurt would be the same
Cause I'm still here so far away from home

I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
I've never been more homesick than now

In Christ, there are no goodbyes
And in Christ, there is no end
So I'll hold onto Jesus with all that I have
To see you again
To see you again

And I close my eyes and I see your face
If home's where my heart is then I'm out of place
Lord, won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow
Won't you give me strength to make it through somehow

I've never been more homesick than now "

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


My Father left us this morning, please keep him and my family in your prayers,

Rousing a Deaf World

One of my recent favorite Christian CDs isn't - or I should say isn't typically listed as - CCM, ex-Torie Steve Bertrand's first (of hopefully many) solo album "Pain is a Megaphone".

"I'm tired of my skin, I'm trying to let You in
The pain is a megaphone, the pain is a megaphone
I'm falling down again, I am fighting with my twin
The pain is a megaphone, the pain is a megaphone"

While the title comes from a C.S. Lewis quote, the lyrics to the above song could as easily be heard as a 3 1/2 minute powerpop version of Saint Augustine's Confessions.

"Take away my heart, I don't want it anymore
Teach me where to start, because I want to be restored"

Granted, this beautifully constructed disc mixes songs of seeking God with songs of lost love, which actually reinforces the title even more. How often a broken heart, when in total contrition begs for mending, and with God's grace is actually made "more" loving than before the hurt.

"Everytime I fall in love, it falls back on me
Evertime I rise above, I'm pulled under the sea"

All of Bertrand's previous projects, from either the Tories or Avion, had a similar mixture of songs of romantic love with tunes written by someone who knows that there is a greater Love still. Avion's "Loved" speaks from a man knowing that he needs to accept the great Love, before anything else, and the Tories " Flying Solo" does much the same.

The solo album does go on to dig a tad deeper than the more power-popish tunes from his efforts in a band setting, and boy o boy does I sure hope he keeps digging, as me thinks Steve has touched on quite a rich lyrical gold vein (O:

The video below is from his time with Avion, and thought it summed up both lyrical concepts, as I am also one of those romantic fools who thinks things are much more "Beautiful" when there is a hand to hold . . .and thankfully, there is always a Hand to hold (O:

Monday, February 2, 2009

Fashionable Christians

Today my necklace, containing a silver James Avery cross and my Miraculous medal, fell off while doing a little house cleaning (heh, it happens . . .albeit rarely). The naked feeling of not having those items touching my person had me a bit panicked until I found them.

Granted, that feeling was mainly due to the fact that for about three years they have also never left my body, but also because they are to me, shiny little testimonies of my love and faith and trust in both our Lord and our Lady.

"... we should have no fear that in wearing a holy medal we may be relying on some sort of good luck charm. I wear a Miraculous Medal to remind me of why I exist because I know how easy it is to get tricked into thinking that life can be lived comfortably without God. But I know I would be hopelessly lost without His Mother holding my hand and redirecting me back to Him." Stephen Sparrow

It made me sad to think of folks who also own such things, and only put them on if they happen to go with what they are wearing, if they want to impress the 'rents, if it's Sunday, or if they just want to look/feel "religious" that day (or take them off so others won't know). Than I was saddened even more when I realized that it is probably the same way they "use" their faith.

I wondered how often that was true of me.

I do admit, that there have been days I did not feel "worthy" to wear them, but the grace of God usually reminds me that I am NEVER worthy, which makes His love for me that much more special, and more permanent and true. Praise God!

Elvis and the Rosary?

A little video intro to The Rosary for my non-Catholic brethren (and "only on holidays" cradle Catholics), with Elvis Presley singing "The Miracle of the Rosary" towards the end. I only found this tune recently, and find it as surreal as it is beautiful.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ain't nothin' like the Real Thing, baby

"You could ask her if she ever would choose
to have Cheeze Whiz

when she can have actual cheese.
She might get some kind of clue from that."

responds Sister Mary Martha on her blog, responding to a letter asking for advice on how to explain to a family member why Catholics don't (or shouldn't) do the trendy "church hop" popularized by our protestant brethren.

No Greater Love

Watch this well done video, and learn a little of the Ecuadorian Martyrs and towards the end hear the song of one who truly knows the forgiveness of Christ. Watch also either of the two movies dealing with this story; Beyond the Gates of Splendor or The End of the Spear.

Thinking about this, I again am so grateful that I was first an Evangelical before coming to fullness of faith as a Roman Catholic. So many Catholics have never heard of Corrie ten Boom or Jim Elliot, just as so many evangelicals don't know of Saints Maximilian Kolbe or Gianna Beretta Molla. I guess us converts are given two hands for a reason, as we hold on to both sides of the Christian world, and pull with all God's might for reunion.