Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Hello.  Blessings to you all.  Believe it or not what you are seeing here is the Holy Rosary.  It is a photo album outline of the life of Our Lord and Savior Jesus-Christ.
It is a Graphic resume of the gospels.  It puts life, death and resurrection before our very eyes.  It is the reminder of the 150 Psalms that form the core of the official daily prayer of the Church.  The Rosary is the spiritual spine of the Church.  The Rosary is the poor person's Bible.  The Rosary is also the refuge of the sinner.  The Rosary is perhaps the only truly universal prayer that links Catholics to Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Church.  The Rosary is Prayer, Bible and Catechism.

The Rosary is not a mantra.  You all know that Jesus forbade us to pray like the pagans, multiplying words because the multiplication of the words would have an effect on the divinity. (Mt. 6; 7 - 8) The Rosary is a meditation on the life of Christ as following His miraculous conception and birth through Mary.  The Rosary is an experience in the respect of life.  It is also a reminder that we are going to need divine help to be born well, to live well and to die well.  
There used to be a wide spread devotion to the "Good Death."  It came from the last petition in the Hail Mary," ...pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death."  This devotion has fallen into desuetude over time, but every time we pray the Rosary at a wake, we pray for ourselves as much as we pray for the soul of the deceased.
When we pray the Rosary, we are following the directions of Jesus: "Do this is memory of me."  Whenever we do something in memory of anybody, the action brings that person into our presence.  In the case of the Rosary, the person brought into our presence is Jesus Himself.  How could it be otherwise as we are reflecting on the mysteries of His life to begin with.  Over and above that, what are we to do about the faith that we put into His saying that, "where two or more of you will be gathered in my name, I will be there among you.   (Mt. 18; 20)  In the case if the Rosary, it is Mary who is presenting Him to us.  She does this well.  Just ask the host from the wedding at Cana.  It is therefore comforting to know that Jesus, Mary and Joseph are dynamically present during the praying of the Rosary at a Catholic wake.
That's why I want a wake.  No one will cry at my wake.  If they don't cry at the wake they won't have any reason to cry at my funeral.  

Monday, July 23, 2012


We all have an opinion about "hard work."  Not all of hard work is good work.  Yesterday,I was translating a three page presentation of an executive level person who is presently seeking work.  The reason why he is unemployed at this time is because he resigned from a very lucrative positive for moral reasons.  I was doing this translation after setting down my reflections about "hard work."  So, naturally I related this person's situation to at least one that I suffered during my days as an active Human Resources Director.  I was somewhat more fortunate than he in that when I told my superiors that I would no longer sign anything in the name of the company, they just shrugged and kept me on the payroll anyway.  Just goes to show how ethical they were!
So it is true.  There is hard work, lucrative work and good work.  My definition of "good work" is conditioned by the definition of work that is proposed by the Catholic Church.  It is work that is performed for the benefit of the employer, the employee and the community at large.  In the concept of the Catholic Church, the employer has to care for the welfare of the employee;  the employee has to care for the welfare of the employer;  Together, employer and employee have to promote and sustain the common good of the community at large.  That is good work.  I propose here to give you two examples of what I am talking about.  One from a non-Catholic country and one from a "Catholic" country.
At the end of WW II, the Japanese people had to rebuild their country.  Needless to say there was a lot of opportunity for work. Hard work it was, for the most part.  Everybody helped.  Those who helped were not sent home.  Those companies who were able to set up again and move forward, hired people and did not send them home in downturns.  Everyone was expected to support the community at large, employers included.  It was a time when mutual support was institutionalized.  Japan not only survived, it flourished and continues to do so.  The discipline of interactive assistance is the hallmark of the Japanese people.  Don't take my word for it, just look at the last disaster that struck them less than two years ago.  You don't see them crying "Uncle" do you? 
That is good work.
1961 - I was in Italy as a student.  I was there for four years.  Everywhere I looked there was a street sweeper.  Sometimes two of them to a block.  Construction sites were common  during this season of the reconstruction of Italy after WW II.  They were never active for six or seven days per week.  No way.  It's not that the Italians are lazy.  Nope.  What they were doing is helping one another to nurse the resources so that they would help a slightly inflated labor force to benefit by the work for a little longer until the next contract.  I was never able to see what was happening outside the city, in the far-flung country side, but I am told that even today, the same attitude prevails in the country.  If you get terminated in Italy, you know that you did something REALLY bad.
That is good work.
I believe in that kind of work.  Maybe is it just me.  Maybe it is because of the house I was brought up in.  EFR Dion was one tough dude when it came to mutual support in the work place.  He was deeply resentful of people who were there just for the money.  He used to say that he was there for them and he expected them to be there for him.  He was there for the company and the employees should be there for the company too.  In my mind "good work" is work where the common good reigns.  In an atmosphere of fraternity, even "hard work" is good work.  
I have worked at many places in my life.  There are only two where I could define the work as good.  At neither one did I get paid king's ransom wages.  I left each one of them due to circumstances beyond my control.  [No, I wasn't fired]...I did get fired in my life, but never from "Good Work."

I know that this reflection is a little deep.  I also know that those of you who have been nurtured by the organized labor philosophy that all employers are the enemy of the employees won't believe it.  To that I say, to each his own.  I have always worked for the good of my employer.  I'm 75 and I am still working for the good of my employer.  
My retirement benefit is my God-given health, my brain and my hands.  
Knowing that, you are now definitely not going to be tempted to cry at my funeral.

Friday, July 20, 2012


This is not child's play
Communion of Saints -- Reach out
Today we were reminded of the meaning of the Communion of Saints.  Even the president of the United States tried in his own strained way to bring it into the sober remarks he made early in the morning to a crowd expecting to hear a campaign speech.  He mentioned that the families of the victims out the shooting in the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado will not have the opportunity to hug them tightly tonight.  We, on the other hand will be able to put an extra little ooomph into our hugs of one another today.  He also said, and I paraphrase, that in these hugs to one another today we should somehow be aware that the victims and survivors of the monstrously immoral act in Colorado need us to be by them and need us to be ready to help them as a nation.

No, it's not the Communion of Saints, but for a secular leader in a secular nation, that's all we get.  Now it is up to us to take the "Nation" concept and run with it.  We have the spiritual tradition to support us in our conviction that all of us are one "Nation, under God..,"  We are told that from the first pages of the Bible when God is forming His nation through the miraculous birth of Isaac.  We are told that when we consider the miraculous escape of God's people from Egypt. We are told that when we see Jesus reaching out to everyone, Greeks, Syrophoenicians, Romans, Gadarenes, Samaritans, Tax collectors and centurions, Pharisees and Sadducees and yes, even lepers and adulteresses.

God knows His creatures.  God knows us all.  He knows the Good Guys and the Bad Guys.  Yes, He does know them and bringing them into the fold is a constant work in progress.  If it is good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us.  He did not promise us an easy life.  He told us that to follow Him is to suffer the way He did.  Just as He suffered at the hands [and the mouths and minds] of His very own people, as well as from the strangers, so do we.  We reach out when we turn the spiritual energy of Divine Love toward the victims rather than the energy of vengeance.  In a case like the one that confronts us this weekend, it is not difficult to find victims.  This act was so monstrous and so calamitous that there are many victims of it across the world, even here among us.  Yes, even we are, to some degree, victims of this ambush by Lucifer and his gang.

Listen closely to the readings at Mass this Sunday.  The Communion of Saints is the key spiritual concept.  Let us soak it in.  Once we understand that, then we will understand the spirituality of the author of this blog, "No Crying at My Funeral."  Let's not forget to Love, not to resent.   Love through the hurt so that we can take on a share of the hurt of the afflicted families.  Love will bring us life and life to the suffering families.  Vengeance and resentment will only suck God's life out of our being.  It would be a sad state of affairs to thus weaken the vigor of the Communion of Saints.

Paul Dion, STL, Theology Editor
Lay Associate Community, La Salette Missionaries

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Wisdom 1; 13 - 15

13 For God did not make Death,
he takes no pleasure in destroying the living.
14 To exist -- for this he created all things;
the creatures of the world have health
in them, in them is no fatal poison, and
Hades has no power over the world:
15 for uprightness is immortal.

Psalm 30; 1 - 3

 1. I praise you to the heights, Yahweh,
for you have raised me up, you have not
let my foes make merry over me.
2 Yahweh, my God, I cried to you for help
and you healed me.  3 Yahweh, you have 
lifted me out of Sheol, from among those 
who sink into oblivion you have given me life.


2 Corinthians 8; 15
15 as scripture says: No one who had collected 
more had too much, no one who collected 
less had too little.  [Exodus; 16 - 18]

Mark 5; 21 - 43
21 When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered round him and he stayed by the lake.
22 Then the president of the synagogue came up, named Jairus, and seeing him, fell at his feet
23 and begged him earnestly, saying, 'My little daughter is desperately sick. Do come and lay your hands on her that she may be saved and may live.'
24 Jesus went with him and a large crowd followed him; they were pressing all round him.
25 Now there was a woman who had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years;
26 after long and painful treatment under various doctors, she had spent all she had without being any the better for it; in fact, she was getting worse.
27 She had heard about Jesus, and she came up through the crowd and touched his cloak from behind, thinking,
28 'If I can just touch his clothes, I shall be saved.'
29 And at once the source of the bleeding dried up, and she felt in herself that she was cured of her complaint.
30 And at once aware of the power that had gone out from him, Jesus turned round in the crowd and said, 'Who touched my clothes?'
31 His disciples said to him, 'You see how the crowd is pressing round you; how can you ask, "Who touched me?" '
32 But he continued to look all round to see who had done it.
33 Then the woman came forward, frightened and trembling because she knew what had happened to her, and she fell at his feet and told him the whole truth.
34 'My daughter,' he said, 'your faith has restored you to health; go in peace and be free of your complaint.'
35 While he was still speaking some people arrived from the house of the president of the synagogue to say, 'Your daughter is dead; why put the Master to any further trouble?'
36 But Jesus overheard what they said and he said to the president of the synagogue, 'Do not be afraid; only have faith.'
37 And he allowed no one to go with him except Peter and James and John the brother of James.
38 So they came to the house of the president of the synagogue, and Jesus noticed all the commotion, with people weeping and wailing unrestrainedly.
39 He went in and said to them, 'Why all this commotion and crying? The child is not dead, but asleep.'
40 But they ridiculed him. So he turned them all out and, taking with him the child's father and mother and his own companions, he went into the place where the child lay.
41 And taking the child by the hand he said to her, 'Talitha kum!' which means, 'Little girl, I tell you to get up.'
42 The little girl got up at once and began to walk about, for she was twelve years old. At once they were overcome with astonishment,
43 and he gave them strict orders not to let anyone know about it, and told them to give her something to eat.

The homily this morning [July 1, 2012] at St.Christopher Church in Moreno Valley, California, based on the meaning of these excerpts from Sacred Scripture was a very powerful, if subtle tour-de-force.  It was a cry for life as is seldom heard in our often pastel-shaded exposees of the call to discipleship.  After the Mass I was moved to take a poll and asked around what people thought of the wonderful anti-abortion "sermon" that they had just heard.  Sadly, of the five or six to whom I posed the question, only two got the point.  Maybe it is because the preacher never once mentioned the politically charged phrase "Pro-Life."
The preacher, Reverend Father Joven Junio, M.S. [He goes by Fr. Jo-Jo] was very explicit in his opening statement that the meaningful thread of the Bible teaching of the universal community of the Catholic Church for this Sunday is the respect for life.  Life, the great gift from God.  Life, physical, mental, moral, spiritual, earthly, heavenly, human, angelic, LIFE!
From the first line taken from the book of Wisdom [Revered and appreciated by Orthodox and Catholics] to the last line presented from the Gospel of Mark, the teaching is about sharing the gift of life.  Paul in 2 Corinthians reminds us that there is plenty of this gift to go around.  We don't have to hoard it.  We are called to share it.  
Fr. Jo-Jo made the point that it is not ours to give nor to take, it is ours to share, to nurture, to nurse, to cultivate.  In the Psalm David reminds us that is it God the giver, the Gifter of life, the only One. It is  for us, His creatures to enjoy it so that in the enjoyment of it we will have a foretaste of the Heavenly Life that He has prepared for us.  We are called to support one another in this spiritual pursuit.  We are called to share what we have for the mutual benefit of all.  This is our call as creatures, and especially, of course, as Catholic Creatures.  
It is clear from the two stories taken from the Gospel of Mark that our call to imitate Jesus in our lives is also a call to heal and bring all our God - given personal physical, mental, emotional and spiritual forces to the sustaining of life.  
Sharing our moral and spiritual strength is also life nurturing and is something that we are called to do also.  Imagine the plight of the woman suffering from hemorrhaging for 12 years?  Imagine the mental anguish of having to consider yourself ritually impure for all the time?  Imagine bankrupting yourself in an effort to overcome the opprobrium of your condition?  Imagine the courage it must have taken for her to actually break the religious code and show herself in public?  No wonder she had to choose a day when there was a crowd.  She needed all the anonymity that she could get.  Notice that, unlike so many others about whom we hear, she was unaccompanied?  Mark lets us have an insight into the divinity of Jesus when he tells us that Jesus knew that someone had touched him.  He, the Purest of the pure, had been touched by ritual impurity.  He, by His question let the woman know that He knew who she was and why she was there.  It reminds us of God's question to Adam, "Where are you?"  That's why she had to surrender.  He had already shown His love for her.  She had been cleansed.  Only He and she, knew that He knew.  Not only her health had been reborn, her reputation had been preserved.  She knew that she had been made new when He called her, "Daughter."

Much to his credit, Father Jo-Jo also made the point that it is not only the poor or the downtrodden or the struggling who need a part of our lives.  The life of the well-placed, well-to-do creatures of this world must also be respected.  Jairus, the President of the Capharnaum Synagogue inserted himself into the fray to get some time before Jesus.  This public official swallowed his pride and in front of the "commoners" of the time pleaded for the life of his 12 year old daughter.  We will perhaps never know if this was a test of the universal truth and honesty of the mission of Jesus.  Jesus did not, not this time, not ever, back away from helping the poor or the well-to-do.  He answered the faith-filled call of Jairus positively by returning his beloved daughter to life, thereby supporting the faith of the Synagogue official and bolstering the faith the the onlookers.
In the name of honesty and fairness, I did not consult Fr.Jo-Jo before doing this to him.  I will send him a cover email in the spirit of the axiom, "It's easier to beg pardon that to ask permission."  Furthermore,
much that is here is a paraphrase, not a quotation.  I assure you all, this is true to what was said and how it was said.
This is the best anti-abortion church teaching that I have ever heard.