The Problem of Belonging: Being a Catholic in a Big Family

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We are a family of 13 and we are Catholic. I happen to be the tenth in line and drop in the bucket in Catholic community. As a younger sister, the rule is to listen to your elders. be respectful and … Continue reading

As Above, So Below

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This gallery contains 6 photos.

My feet carry me in different parts of the world to understand the divinity of Mother Earth.  I am grateful what Mother Earth provides beneath our feet. Along the way, we encounter a bridge and calm water that create a perfect … Continue reading

A Poem for a photo

Israel has so many places that is steep in history.  One of them is this Church on the hill.  I believe it’s Baha’i.  We stopped by to take pictures and to admire the beauty of this place.
Church on a hill

The church on the hill

I went up the hill to visit the old man who lives there.
“It’s been a long time,” he said, “Since I’ve seen you.”
“Yes,” I said, “I know. But I’d not forgot you.”
Then, in welcome, he sang to me.
But what I had remembered as a youthful voice
full of vigor and fit for forever was turned now into a croak,
a rasp, a sad affair of the heart.
When he dies, I thought, a little of me will die with him.
“These bones go deep,” he said with an effort
as he stood there proud yet, “How can you forgive yourself?”
I thought about that as I kissed him goodnight
and laid him down to rest, up there on that hill.
“In nomine Patris,” I said gently, “In nomine Patris.”

The poem is written by Book of Pain by John Etheridge.  John wrote a synopsis of this poem and it’s quite touching.  Thank you, John.

Break the cord and fly like a bird.

fly like a bird

When you feel as if you are in a deep darkness because of doubt, fear, illness, or depression, rather than try to desperately climb out perhaps it would be better to “walk in the dark.”  Often when we try too hard we only get more discouraged and if we go with the flow while we try, we slowly feel better.

We can be attached to our pursuit of happiness and health to the point of forgetting we are human.  We can expect ourselves, our doctors, therapists, spiritual directors, and priests to completely heal us, as if they were god.  Pursuing health and happiness are good but need to be kept in balance.  If we pine for them too much, we ignore the fact that only God can fully heal us and bring us lasting happiness.  

When you feel overwhelmed by life’s difficulties St. John of the Cross advises:

“If a man wishes to be sure of the road he treads on, he must close his eyes and walk in the dark.”

“In tribulation immediately draw near to God with confidence, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction.”

“The soul that is attached to anything however much good there may be in it will not arrive at the liberty of divine union.  For whether it be a strong wire rope or a slender and delicate thread that holds the bird, it matters not, if it really holds it fast; for until the cord be broken the bird cannot fly.”

 

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Let the little children come to me

Thousands of Catholic families from around the world gathered at the Vatican over the weekend to celebrate the Year of Faith with Pope Francis.A small group of children was invited to sit on the pope’s platform to listen to speakers from across the world speak about their faith and families.

Pope Francis and boy

Pope Francis was visibly amused when one child stayed on the stage instead of returning to his seat on the steps.

Let the children come to me and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Luke 18:16

See more photos here.
 
Source:  NCR Staff

A Story of “Faith” Umbrella

The spring rains did not come and the summer heat was worse than it had ever been.  All the fields in the area were parched, dusty, and brown. Our livelihood, our way of life, was wilting away. Most mornings we would search the sky for any sign of relief, for a hint of rain on the horizon. Days turned into arid weeks and soon became months.  Everywhere faithful people prayed.

The ministers, priest and rabbi of our local churches announced that there would be a special service to pray for rain on the following Saturday. They asked that everyone bring an object of their faith. So come Saturday morning we all gathered in the town square. People came with anxious faces and hopeful hearts. Looking around you could see the Bibles, Book of Prayers, crosses, crucifixes, pictures of Jesus – and you could tell the Catholic because of their rosaries.

And so we prayed.  We prayed a mighty prayer of praises for God, praises for His divine protection, and  petitions for rain. We sang, prayed some more, and heard the minister proclaim our faith in Jesus. And then we prayed some more. Just as the hour of prayer was concluding, and as if by some divine cue, a soft rain began to fall. Cheers swept the crowd as they held their treasured objects high in gratitude and praise.  The Pentecostals were shouting out their Hallelujahs with arms raised in ecstasy. The Catholics even got excited and were waving their rosaries, whipping them around in a frenzy.

But one symbol of faith seemed to overshadow all the others; one person had brought an umbrella.

Faith Umbrella

Special birthday pilgrimage to receive blessings on my 50th birthday in Vatican, Rome, Italy.

Source:   Friarmusings

Where do you belong?

Where do you belong? 
 
The organizer of a church seminar asked me this question.  It was very important for her that I answer the question correctly.  What she means by that was which Church am I registered?
 
For one thing, in my mind, the World is my Church.  I am  not registered to any Catholic Churches; therefore, I belong to all. 
 
That didn’t fly very well with her.
 
Oh, no.  You must register to a church because when you die, you need a church for your Christian burial service.
 
How do I reply to that?  Facetiously.
 
For one thing, when I am dead, what do I know where I will be.  The second thing, it is really up to my family who will decide which church they will have a funeral mass.
 
Silence and end of conversation in a car filled with other people.
 
In terms of what activities I join or minister, I can say the same thing.  I go where the spirit moves me.
 
Let me tell you a story.
 
After church, I have nothing better to do but wandered around the church basement.  In the basement, the toilet facility is huge, library and the kitchen.
 
Pssst….  I heard someone called me.  A voice coming from the kitchen.
 
What are you doing?  She asked.
Nothing.  I responded.
Want to help us? She asked.
Sure.  I responded with no hesitation.
 
This is what I call answering to the Spirit.  No hesitation.
 
I was assigned to prepare a fruit platter.
 
While we were busy working away in the kitchen, we told stories to one another, plenty of jokes to go around and so much laughter.  On top of that, we can sample the  food.
 
In the middle of having fun, a fellow parishioner saw me and he was surprised to see me helping out.
 
He is a very active man in Knights of Columbus and he said: “Sis, will you come and help us in food preparation during the Knights events?”
 
Sure, as long as I become an honorary Knight.  I want to wear the cape, hat and raise the sword.  I answered jokingly.
 
He turned around and left.
 
Men, they have no sense of humour.
 
The number one ministry I support is Talitha Koum Society mainly because I was there when it all started from the beginning.  Most of my donations go to the house to help women live a better life.
 
Back to any activities, in my mind, work is very pleasant when I do service filled by the Spirit.  And I do it for my God.
 
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Did you enjoy your last hour?

There is this one Jesuit priest that I followed for an annual retreat.  The places he offered the retreat was as close as Portland and as far as Ireland.  It’s not so much about him why I followed his retreat; it was the teaching of a Jesuit, the humour and the awareness of living the faith.  It was very realistic. 
My dearly departed friend, Jancis, was the one who introduced me to Awareness.  She’s not even Catholic.  Somehow, I discovered that there is a priest who actually runs the program on Awareness. 
Jim Dolan.  He studied under the tutelage of the writer Anthony de Mello, Awareness. 
Awareness by Anthony deMello

Awareness by Anthony de Mello

In short,  I went to attend his week-long retreat and became hooked.  From then on, I joined the annual spiritual discernment.  Much to my surprise, the retreat was mostly for Nuns, Brothers and Priests.  I was the only one “out-of-order”.  I belong as far as I am concerned even though I am not part of the religious institution whether they like it or not. 
I encouraged my friend and the “YaYa Sisterhood” to attend his retreat in Ireland.  It was victory for me when I can persuade a person let alone my sisters!  Jancis and I went one year; YaYa Sisterhood went. all four of them, on another  year.  As much as I love my sisters, I beat a different drum from them.  Needless to say, I did not join their travels. 
The favourite meditation that I treasure the most is “did I enjoy my last hour?”  
This statement is actually an examination of conscience at the end of the day before I go to sleep.  It is a discernment of moral values and ethics.  Anybody can do it.  Try it.  If you do not believe in God, then leave God behind.  Just think about it, mediate on the question. 
Did you enjoy your last hour?
 

We are Easter People

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This year will be extra special in celebrating Easter.  Not only that we are celebrating the real sense of Jesus’ resurrection; we, my family that is, will be celebrating our Mother’s 13th year of her death anniversary.  And it falls on Easter!

Being a Catholic, we are Easter People.  We celebrate death filled with hope that we will be resurrected and finally be where we are supposed to be; with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit; and with all the Saints and choirs of Angels.

Sister #5 asked me to write something about Mother.  As much as I want to, Sister #2 mentioned that she wants to write about her journey and Mother.  With that thought in mind, I declined because I don’t want to steal my sister’s thunder.

Instead, I compiled some pictures and memorabilia that I can find for the family to look at.  This is a good place for safekeeping for now because my notes are all over the place and I tend to throw or give away pictures.  Maybe, just maybe, I will gradually write something about this.

My readers, I wish you ALL a Blessed Easter and here are some of the ways of the Easter People.  If you are not a Catholic, replace the last item according to your belief system.

  •        Cling to the people who love you
  •        Remember who you are
  •        Don’t wait for the other shoe to drop
  •        Bring joy to the world
  •        Breathe in the Holy Spirit

 

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The Joke Is Oink Me (37)

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Temptation was all over me.  I don’t understand at all.  Meatless Wednesday and Friday should have gone like a cinch.  But I was craving for bacon.  What an interesting two days of observing abstinence.  I hardly eat meat but somehow … Continue reading

Funny Valentine

How time flies! Jim and I have been married now for 32 years. We are blessed with six wonderful children. 
Looking back, it baffles me how we got together against all the odds. He’s Protestant. I’m Catholic. He’s quiet, reserved and shy, and I am loud, cheerful and always laughing. He came to Canada from New Zealand in 1970, and I arrived from the Philippines in 1976. In 1978, our paths crossed in a disco club. I was there with my friends and sister. Jim was “window shopping” with his friends. 
He tells people that he “picked” me, but I tell them that I was the one that seduced him with my dancing. I like teasing him and bossing him, and he doesn’t mind being told what to do. I suppose our differences are what attracted us to each other! We got married four years after meeting. His siblings came for the wedding and were surprised when they met me. I wasn’t the submissive “Oriental” girl they had in mind! I laughed so hard. And I’m still laughing. –   Evelyn Logan 

Evelyn is a year older than me. 
The fact of the matter I met Jim first at the disco place.  There were four of us girls who just want to have fun, I was the youngest. Four men came in our circle.  The girls choose who they want to be that evening, and I was left with the left-over; ended up with Jim since nobody chose him.  Later that evening, Evelyn came telling me she likes Jim.  Translate that in a sibling way, I want what you have.  I said sure.  So, I told Jim, “Hey, my sister likes you.”  Jim was insulted as if I was brushing him off.  
Anyway, to make a long story short; they got married.  I was the bridesmaid, Godmother to their first-born and then some. 
Her second son posted this on CBC News.  And here I am, sharing the best love story for today.

 

Fasting or Feasting (40)

For Catholics, today is Ash Wednesday, first day of Lent.  It is a period of reflection living Lent.  It is a time of prayer.  It’s about dying to our self, all that negative attitude and thoughts. 
In one of my retreats, Lent was defined as:
L – Lets
E – Eliminate
N – Negative
T – Thoughts 
Having said that, I learned to use soft words, less on exclamation point to make a point, bite my tongue.  For those who are familiar with cognitive behaviour, this is what they teaches in the course.  It all makes sense to me. 
This period is not all about me; it’s all about God whoever you conceive him to be, from Abba to Zen.  They said God lives in us.  Can you see the reflection of God in another person?  Or let’s not even mention God.  Can you see the goodness of a person? 
You see, I believe that we are all inherently good. 
Since you told me in my post Tell me and I will tell you mine, I will tell you the title of this list: Fasting and Feasting.  I choose Feasting.  Instead of giving up, I will give in and listen to the prompting of God. 
I will leave you with something to think about, a poem: 
“I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. “   Etienne de Grellet  (1773-1855); Quaker missionary
 
 Something to read:
We can make a difference right now
A Genie in a bottle or 12 steps program
Kindness of a stranger