NO CRYING AT MY FUNERAL

NO CRYING AT MY FUNERAL

Monday, September 7, 2020

CREATION - DAY SIX - HUMANS -- DAY 7 -- "zzzz"-- DAY 8 , WORK-- DAY 9-- Oh, Oh!

Hello to one and all.I want to take the liberty to reflect with you on the spiritual dimension of Labor Day.  It is one of our oldest federal legal holidays.  (1894)
I dare to bring you back to the very first pages of the Holy Bible where the roots of Jewish and Christian faith find a basic teaching about work and labor.
Genesis :  Chapter 1; verse 21, etc:  God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female He created them.  28 God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.  Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth.  29 God also said: See, I give you every seed-bearing plant on all the earth and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit on it to be your food;  30 and to all the wild animals, all the birds of the air, and all the living creatures that crawl on the earth, I give all the green plants for food. And so it happened. [6th day]
Chapter 2:

1   Thus the heavens and the earth and all their array were completed.  On the seventh day God completed the work he had been doing; he rested on the seventh day from all the work he had undertaken.  3 God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation.

Why am I proposing these thoughts to you this day?  Because it is Labor Day, the one day in each year when the people of the United States celebrate the efforts that hard working men and women make to keep the country happy, healthy, wealthy and wise.
To see a historical overview of this poster
click on the link below:

We believers in the Word of God as found in the Bible, here in the first pages of Genesis, rest our faith in the command of God to take dominion over all that He has given us.  It is no secret that this command entails work, lots of work.  It also means that the reward is not just for the direct "worker" but for the benefit of all of creation - Labor.  The flourishment of all creation for all creatures depends on the concerted effort of every descendant of Adam and Eve. 

The concept of "Labor" is a rather challenging one and would require more than the +/- 300 words here.  That aside, since the name of the holiday is "Labor" and not "Work" it falls upon us to reflect a bit on the meaning that is carried in the concept of "Labor."  
"Labor" is, in fact, a generic term.  Think of it this way: The final cost of any commodity or service is determined by the entirety of the human efforts it takes to bring it to tangible reality.  The distinct human efforts that go into the final product to give it its final value, are "Work."
In Genesis 3: 
     The LORD God made for the man and his wife garments of skin, with which he clothed them.

22 Then the LORD God said: See! The man has become like one of us, knowing good and  evil!  Now, what if he also reaches out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life, and eats of it and lives forever?  23 The LORD God therefore banished him from the  garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken.  24  He expelled the man, stationing the cherubim and the fiery revolving sword east of the garden of Eden,  to guard the way to the tree of life.

It is to be noted that it is the "work" of the human that is being targeted while the finished product that results from it is the sum of the "labor" that redounds to the human's benefit.

Our Labor Day then, is as much a time for faith-filled reflection as it is of human thanksgiving for the fruits of human efforts, personal as well as communitarian.
Therefore, I implore all of you to thank our Loving Creator for endowing us with the gifts that we use to make human life better thanks to the gift of creative understanding with which He endows us, not just here in North America but across the globe.

As you mull this over, don't forget that it's against Dion's first commandment,
"No Crying at my Funeral."



Saturday, August 8, 2020

VIRTUE RULES FROM THE CENTER

 

This discussion from three years back came to my mind the other night as I lay on my pillow wondering how long it would take before Morphea would take me to her bosom for the night.  You see a graphic view of my friend's position (left) as compared to mine (right).  It is clear, I think, that both concepts of virtuous living are valid and both lead to the ultimate prize, Eternal Happiness before the Face of God.
The reality of the striving for perfection has two distinct facets: one is visibly practiced in the "real world" of daily human interaction on "Main Street" and the other is a dedicated striving for the deepest possible personal relationship with God by leading a life of contemplation in a monastic cell, away from the demands of worldly life.  Both are valid and moral forms of human behavior and both lead to heaven.  Both can and do invite the rash judgment of onlookers that the practitioners of these lifestyles are "crazy."
Then there is the way to heaven that states that "virtue flourishes in the center."  This position is the one that comes from the ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle.  His position was christianized by the great Catholic theologian, Thomas Aquinas.  
At first blush this position can appear to be wishy-washy; neither here nor there.  Actually, upon closer examination it becomes clear that this behavior system is as difficult to achieve as the search for perfection of one position or another.  When we consider the demands of community life it is easy to find the difficulties encountered in every day interactions with fellow humans, all of whom have their behavior systems.  Every moment of every day we are required to make progress in our personal life as we help others to do the same in theirs.  It is in these encounters that we seek to carry the message of Christ to the world.  This message has to take on various tints and shades.  
This can be illustrated in the shades of life seen in the missionary activity of Peter and Paul.  Peter sought the center in his message to the Romans while Paul honed his message to fit the population of the Synagogue.  In the end, they both died for what they believed in.
Finally, I hope that we all have the courage to have absolute conviction of our life style while walking the Way of the Cross.  Martyrdom is not always quick, but it is always worth it.

Remember, no crying at my funeral.


Monday, July 27, 2020

WHO MOVED?

There are some events that present themselves and can't go without comment.  This is one of them.  It marks the fact that my brother, Denis, (Note the French orthography) has written a book and more than that, it is on the bookshelves.  It is a deeply spiritual invitation to one and all to assess the moment in the life of the reader and, following the assessment, resolve to follow the inspiration that resulted.
I present you with the introduction that is on the website

"When a person drops out of the protective hands of God and begins to feel distant from Him, that person might ask, "Who moved?" It certainly isn't God.

'One night, as the author thought about that, he was kept awake as the Holy Spirit kept showing him one scripture passage after another about individuals, even entire generations, who fell out of God's grace, repented, and eventually returned to His loving embrace. The author shares his own personal experience with the intent of inspiring others to depend on and trust in God's grace as this process repeats itself throughout a lifetime.

'Dion hopes this little book will fill you with hope and trust in the Lord's abundant grace. Even when deep in despair, he believes we can always turn to God, for He never moves away and never abandons us!"

May God bless us all.  
These are difficult times, times when it is not safe to mover away from God.  These are times when it is so much better to take off whatever mask we wear before God and show Him our soul just as He made it and maintains it.  It's true that he knows us anyway.  Let it be true that we don't think that we are fooling Him behind a mask.

No matter what, don't cry at this guy's funeral.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

MASS ON THE GRASS

This the Sunday when the Gospel is the story of the farmer who sows good seed and gets attacked by his enemy who comes along and sows fennel tares on top of the good stuff.  Today, God fought back.  We, in San Diego had Mass on the Grass.
One consoling part was that not a soul was carrying a bag of tares.
Next consoling part was that the two babies in attendance made their opinions known, but without an echo chamber, all anyone did was  to smile.
Next consoling part was that the "early morning cloud" phenomenon of San Diego was a comfort assuring element for the hour (9:00 - 10:00) and the post Mass fraternal exchange of peaceful support. 

Next consoling part was that the two young people who participated in the complete Eucharist for the first time have something to retell for the rest of their lives.

Finally, Belle and I want to assure you that these are trying times.
Remember that the 400 years in Egypt were trying times too.
Remember that the Roman occupation was a time of misery.
Remember that Leprosy was a mark of opprobrium for centuries.
Remember the times when Polio claimed lives
Remember that HIV/AIDS remains a mark of approbrium.
Remember the times when our country had "Bozos" in charge.
Remember the times when the USA was respected around the world.

Let me suggest that we all must stay close to God...How?
Patience is the answer:
The servants of the householder came to him and said,
‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
Where have the weeds come from?’
He answered, ‘An enemy has done this.’
His servants said to him,
‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’
He replied, ‘No, if you pull up the weeds
you might uproot the wheat along with them.
Let them grow together until harvest;
then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters,
“First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning;
but gather the wheat into my barn.”
Patience is the virtue that brings us to the point of solution.
Hey, maybe "Mass on the Grass" is the direction that will bring us to the harvest.

I forgot to implore you all not to cry at my funeral.  Given that, I must say that some of the feedback that I have from you shows me that there was no need for the reminder.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

MY FIRST CHRISTMASES


How many "first Christmases" have you had?  Count them and you'll be surprised how many of these occasions qualify as your first time.  I was thinking about it over this past week.  Don't ask me why.  After all, It's only July.  I don't have an explanation, just descriptions.  Even some of the dates may be erroneous, but they will all be in the ballpark - like 315' down the left field line in Fenway. See, I remember that.  Do you remember how high the wall is?  (If you don't remember, look it up😊)

1. First Christmas at Midnight Mass.- 1945.  Some of you will remember that it was only the French and the Polish communities who had permission to celebrate Mass at midnight for Christmas.  At the Immaculate Conception church children were not allowed at Midnight Mass because they would take seats way from adults. This was not a foolish policy.  There were only three churches in the entire city with Midnight Mass.  It required a paid ticket to be admitted. OK, tell me that my being there was not a big deal.  OK, I confess:  a) I had a connection; b) I had to stand in line to buy the tickets; c) My connection gave me my dollar needed to get the extra ticket; I was already 12 years old.
It was such a big deal because it was Midnight Mass I even got to wear regular cut trousers and a quasi adult shirt for the occasion.  It was such a big deal because I wasn't sent to bed at the regular bedtime and allowed to stay up all night.  All I had to do was to help prepare the post-Mass Christmas party that always took place at our house. 
I think that this is the occasion of my social puberty line because that same week my parents trusted me to go help my maternal grandmother and her coterie of elders to prepare the all-day New Years Day event at her apartment.  That too turned into a "tradition" in my life until the #2 first Christmas intruded on me.
2.First Christmas away from home. (1958)
3.First Christmas in a foreign country (Rome, Italy, 1961)
4.First Christmas in a foreign mission (San Mateo, Isabela, Philippines - (1967)
5.First Christmas with a wife and not much else (San Diego, CA - 1977)
6. First Christmas with a wife, a son at the breast, another in the womb and a secular job (1978)
7. First "Early Christmas" in Bethlehem (Yes, that Bethlehem!) (12/8/2009)