A Favorite quote
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
You, Me and Tiger Woods
The three of us have three things in common.
(1) When you and I count our blessings, we also are billionaires. Valuating your inventory can start with $.50 for each of the cells in your body, $1 for each of the million cones and rods in each eye, $5 for each muscle, $35 for each bone, $50,000 for each limb, etc., etc., etc. And then you can start putting a price on each beloved family member and friend.
(2) You, Tiger and I are unique. There is not another person on the planet that is exactly like each of us. And, of utmost important, we are considered equally very special by God.
(3) As with Tiger, wherever we go, we are in the spotlight. At all times, we are being observed. By what we do and say, we are required to play well our roles as Joyful Catholics. If we don’t, the reputation of the Church is in jeopardy.
And what are your thoughts? email@example.com
My child, you must strive diligently to be inwardly free, to have mastery over yourselves everywhere, in every external act and occupation, that all things be subject to you and not you to them, that you be the master and director of your actions.
Father Thomas A. Kempis, 1471
I like this, when I think of the Muslims in Switzerland — and elsewhere.- Political and religious figures must speak out forcefully against discrimination intolerance—which they do not often do enough. And this is a two-way street: leaders in the Muslim world must reach out to the West, just as much as they expect the West to understand Islam.
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president of Indonesia
(Church in crisis)
* The Wilmington diocese has become the seventh diocese to declare bankruptcy.
* A study shows that since 1960, the number of those in religious life has decreased 63%, and today 75% of these men and 90% of the women are over 60 years of age.
Ah, those hard-nosed Catholics
The aged Massachusetts deacon, Jack Sullivan, who is enjoying notoriety for having received a healing after praying to Cardinal Newman, first said he and his wife were most impressed about their private meeting with Cherie Blair. Later, when he found she was not 100% pro-life, he changed his tune and denounced her.
He reminds me of the Hindu in Calcutta who for two years enjoyed French fries at the local McDonald’s food chain. Then when he learned they used a bit of cow lard in the cooking, he went home and puked up for three days.
Let me have your thoughts about Deacon Sullivan’s act. firstname.lastname@example.org
Haiku time (Send me yours: email@example.com)
Since no one has submitted one this week, try this ditty:
Woman looking for a Catholic Church
The bus driver, who was tied up in traffic congestion,
Answered her with this frank suggestion:
Lady, dear lady in pancake hat,
Who don’t know there the hell you’re at,
In your frank and confusing state of condurkle
You’d better get off at Dupont Circle.
* “Hidden Prayer in Yemen” by David Pinault in the December 7 issue of America. firstname.lastname@example.org
- “The 400th Anniversary of a Spiritual Classic:
St. Francis de Sales’s Introduction to the Devout Life” by Joseph F. Chorpenning. OFS in the winter 2009 issue of Spiritual Life.
* www.zenit.com (daily news from the Vatican)
(The first to send the right answers to email@example.com will receive a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics)
1. Before Paul encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, what was his name?
2. Who was the only saint canonized by Christ?
3. How old was Michelangelo when he carved La Pieta?
* I goofed when I quoted Jeff Ziegler from Ellenboro, NC, a writer with The Catholic World Report, with a saying actually made by Pope Benedict. To compensate, in a future blog I’ll credit the Pope with one of Jeff’s sayings.)
* A note from Bishop Nickless in Sioux City, thanking me for my praise of his “Pastoral Letter on the Future of the Church.”
* I was the quiz winner of a copy of your Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics. I enjoyed it so much that I passed it on to my parish priest. Especially, I liked “Iggy’s Sure Thing.” That’s what I call folksy theology!
* You are right about Muskovy ducks being dangerous. I know because I used to raise them, and with their razor-sharp feet they can tear the hell out of a log.
Elmer Kincaid, El Paso, TX
Let me hear from you via firstname.lastname@example.org)
In the Christmas story, if instead of three Wise Men, there had been three Jewish women:
1. They would have arrived in time to help Mary deliver the baby, because they would have asked directions.
2. They would have driven out the animals and cleaned up the stable.
3. Instead of gold, frankincense and myrrh, they would have brought practical gifts of prepared food, blankets and diapers.
4. Upon leaving, their conversation would have been:
“Did you notice that sandals Mary was wearing?”
“Their donkey has seen better days.”
“The baby doesn’t look like Joseph.”
My favorite priest
(Submit your favorite priest to email@example.com)
As there is no current recommendation (shame on you!), I submit a very special layperson: George Thatcher in Gulfport, MS. With an impressive past career in banking and civic service, since 1997 George has confirmed his sense of awareness and awe by writing a daily newspaper column (3,744 in all) about his walks on the beach. Each article is a gem with the flavor of Henry Thoreau’s acknowledgment of the wonders of nature. He serves as a wake-up call of all of us to appreciate the world around us.
As a prominent member of the Episcopal Church, George converted to Catholicism at age eighty and is a daily communicant.
Here is one of his writings:
There are important lessons to be learned from the behavior of trees. Along the beach road most limbs are now leafless — leaves, nuts and flowers blown off by tempestuous winds. Immediately after the hurricane the trees look as if it were mid-winter. Now green sprouts appear — a second springtime! Think of the trees, too, during the hurricane — how they bend with each gust, complying mostly but not breaking. Two lessons for us: Be resilient, bend with the wind, and then after the storm begin a new life.
Special Intentions List
As you pray with a broad brush, please include these loved ones, who have been submitted by our readers. You, too, are invited to send me names of your special persons who are in need of prayer. My address is firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be on the list for 60 days. At the end of that time, if prayers are still needed, you merely have to renew the name.
Juanita Caldwell, David Abbey, Amie Ellis, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Gerry Paradiso, Nick DeCarlo, Tom Medved, Bob Haines, Eileen Grotsky,
Rebecca Matthews, Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis,
Violeta Zepeda, Rev. Joseph Healy, John Aylor, Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo, Sharon McPike, Joe Berger, Tom Ryan, Joseph Normile, Jim Quimby.