Archive for the ‘Catholic Lite’ Category

When I lived in Southern California I attended Mass in my community. It was always led by Fr. Fred.

Loved his sermons. I would, more often than not, leave with a message that would cause me to reflect for the week.

Fred would also write a little blurb in the weekly bulletin.

I just moved to India and was unpacking some things in our new home. A purple piece of paper fluttered in the drawer. It was one of Fr. Fred’s reflections that I had cut out of the church bulletin about seven years ago.

It is as relevant today as it was then. Nature wreaking havoc (always) and the “blamers” coming out of the woodwork (always) to tag these disasters as God’s dissatisfaction with us.

“God is punishing us because…..!”

“God is punishing them because…..!

Ummm, no.

blame

It sort of struck me as interesting that I should find this-with the U.S. coming off the heels of Harvey and Irma and some folks wanting to place the blame on the sins of the people.

What Fred’s saying is that natural disasters are just that. We sometimes happen to be in the path because of where we live. It’s not a judgement or punishment. It is what it is.

Many folks are faced with personal disasters that have nothing to do with Mother Nature’s force and it’s hard to understand. It might be illness, an accident, death of a loved one, job loss, etc.

We are not being punished although it can feel like we are. It might not be anyone’s fault but still we are rendered feeling helpless. I suppose the only choice, in these instances, is how we try and move forward.

Other times we can get trapped in our very own disasters which are caused by the choices we make. Not anyone else.

This is when we need to be looking within and not blaming outside sources. And really ask ourselves if we are owning our choices.

We are not being punished.

It’s all about choices.

 

 

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When you grow up with an Irish background-even if you weren’t reared in Ireland- you grow up with a bunch of phrases your non Irish friends would never hear or would probably never even understand. We don’t even understand them so how could they?

My Nana laughingly called the little boys and/or the male dogs in my house, “McGuffin.” As in, “How’s McGuffin?” Or “McGuffin was over today.” Or “McGuffin barked all night.” You always knew who or what she was talking about and responded accordingly without missing a beat.

I had a boyfriend, S., and he liked my grandmother. All of my friends did. We went to an Irish festival one weekend and he bought something for her. She loved it. It was a coffee mug with the name “Mc Govern” on it. Nana’s mom was Maggie Mc Govern.

I asked him, “How did you know that??? That it was a family name?”

He said, “Well, I bought it for her because she’s always calling everyone McGovern.”

I laughed out loud. All this time he thought she was saying McGovern when she was actually saying McGuffin.

So you sort of had to grow up with it to really get it.

“Mother Machree!!!” was another one spewed out on a regular basis. My mom said it when she was exasperated. I suppose it’s better than swearing. Machree means “of my heart.” When I was young I just thought there once was some old lady who went by the name.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” frequented our home. The exclamation not the trio. Most everyone I knew in my neighborhood was Catholic but they weren’t Irish. Never, ever heard any of my friend’s parents utter this. Just mine.

I remember when I first started working at AT&T and sitting in the break room minding my own business. I heard this gal, Tracy, exclaim, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph!” Probably over spilled coffee. My head instantly popped up and I thought, “I don’t know you but I know you.” It’s like when little kids notice other little kids in a crowd. You just know.

This one I never really understood when I was little. Just accepted it like all the others. They’d say, “Oh, sitting there like Lipton’s Orphan.” What?? I understood it to mean a woeful being and I was correct. But what?? Where on earth did that phrase originate? Adult research shows the origin of the phrase stemmed from a Lipton Tea marketing campaign. An Irishman, a pig, etc.

Sorry for your trouble. A phrase used for bereavement. Trouble means to agitate spiritually or mentally.  Not just as we commonly think of it when referring to that pesky neighborhood kid. But a bit more than that. One will never be more agitated spiritually or mentally than when a death occurs. So the phrase is not wordy but totally appropriate. And very Irish.

As an American kid I (and my friends) used the word “terrific” for everything. The weekend was terrific! You look terrific! The concert was terrific! My grandmother used the word in its original form. As in terrifying. She would tell me about a terrible storm the night before (she was deathly afraid of storms and would stand on the cellar stairs until it passed) and say, “It was absolutely terrific!” I have to think that was an Irish thing as I never heard anyone else’s parents or grandparents using it in that context.

Plenty more phrases and sayings were thrown around the house. Those were just a few that popped into my mind.

The truth is that I’d give anything to hear a few of those sayings. From the mouths of those who used to say them.

But still very thankful I had the opportunity to hear them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Went to church yesterday. Possibly my first time attending a Sunday service that was not Catholic. Stepped outside the box! No, I’m not going all new-agey but I was happy to give it a try. There are worse places to spend an hour, no?

It was a very pleasant experience. The young guy (curate) talked about giving. About how we give and who we help.

He said, “It’s easy to help folks that look like us.”

Referenced a study (that got a few chuckles during his telling of the story) about Manchester United Football fans.

An actor was set up to stumble and fall. Crying in pain and clutching his ankle. When he was wearing his Manchester United jersey a whopping 92% of the fans go to assist him.

When he was wearing a plain white t-shirt only 30% of the fans went to help the fellow.

When he was wearing the rival team’s shirt (Liverpool) only 30% of the fans aided the man.

I looked up the study (fact checker that I am) to read about it. There’s more on the study here. Quite interesting since it demonstrates that a few minor changes can alter our perceptions and strengthen bonds with other people.

Causes one to really reflect on who we help.

Just those folks that look like us?

Acknowledging that this might be true would be the first step in changing our mindset and a great reminder that we are all on the same team.

I wish you, my teammates, all a wonderful week!

 

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Well, it looks like the new president of the Philippines will be Duterte.

Of course, the U.S. will be cautious. There are concerns about his foreign policy.

I am concerned that he was actually elected in the first place.

Because my first thought was,”If he could be elected then is there also the possibility that Trump could be the next U.S. president?

Duterte is appealing to the people who want and need to see change.

Playing on people’s fears and taking the tough guy stance.

He has promised to dump the corpses of 100,000 gangsters into the Bay. Some talk of vigilante killings.

People seemed to really like this type of talk. Dirty Harry is his nickname.

Nothing like referencing an old American vigilante film to get people’s juices flowing.

He has also called the Pope the son of a whore.

This current Pope. The one most people like!

I sort of chuckled when I read an article saying he was going to the Vatican to apologize.

I thought, “Well, he (Pope) is probably the only person in the world that would forgive him for talking ’bout someone’s Mama.”

Because I certainly wouldn’t.

But the reason I am really concerned about him is that he says anything he wants and the response seems to fuel him. The crazies keep him going and his crazy lets them.

Just like Mr. Trump.

In 1989, Jacqueline Hamill, a thirty-six year old Australian missionary, was working in a Filipino jail.

Ms. Hamill was taken hostage (along with fifteen others) then brutally gang raped by the prisoners. And murdered.

Horrific.

Duterte’s remarks on his campaign trail about this could make anyone shiver.

According to Filthy, I mean, Dirty, his comments were said out of anger and not meant as a joke.

Although if you listen to it on “youtube” the audience’s response was filled with laughs, chuckles and whoo-hees. And he didn’t look angry.

This is what he recounted about the hostage situation when he was the mayor. 

All the women were raped so during the first assault, because they retreated, the bodies they used as a cover, one of them was the corpse of the Australian woman lay minister. Tsk, this is a problem. When the bodies were brought out, they were wrapped. I looked at her face, son of a bitch, she looks like a beautiful American actress. Son of a bitch, what a waste. What came to mind was, they raped her, they lined up. I was angry because she was raped, that’s one thing. But she was so beautiful, the mayor should have been first. What a waste.

This is their new president. He should have been first.

Here  he is not willing to apologize.

What???????????????????

Then there was this guy back in 2013 vying for a Supreme Court position in Indonesia.

You do not get to joke about rape and victims liking it. NEVER! About a woman being violated in the worst possible, disgusting manner. This is unacceptable.

Maybe makes Donald Trump pale in comparison. 

But. Still.

Mr. Trump has said his fair share of nasty things against women.

Just google “Trump” along with “Sexist Comments” and you’ll get a mother lode of information.

Here’s one link.

Here’s another.

One more….

And the worst. “If I weren’t happily married and she wasn’t my daughter…”

There is absolutely no place for a man like this in the role of a U.S. president.

Sorry.

Not really.

Any woman, daughter, mother, niece, aunt, sister or grandmother will tell you that.

You do not have the right to govern a country filled with women.

And in case you’ve forgotten?

Women do have the right to vote and there is not a sane woman out there that would vote for you.

Because we are not just a sorry piece of A$$ or a sorry piece of S%&T.

No matter what you think.

Sorry.

Not really.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ve been known to shout out, “God is good!” on occasion. I suppose a throwback to my teaching religious education to middle and high schoolers.

It might be when I am in the midst of a perfect day, riding a bike with no hands on the wheel and just soaking up the beauty of it all.

People I am with, well trained, might reply back, “All the time!”

What I should be proclaiming is, “God is good to us!”

Not saying I’m not a believer. And I’m not saying God isn’t good.

I’m just wondering about all those who suffer.

Every single day. The abused kids. The ailing. The people in war torn regions. The hungry.

Not worried about offending God. If He’s all that then He can handle my wondering.

 

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Many generous people in our community drop off donated items at my home. Don’t even always know who is doing the dropping. Could be clothes, household decor, toys or linens.

They do this because it helps them clear out their homes. And they also want to help others in the process.

My friends and I will send the donations to the refugee center. Or we will sell the items at our frequent garage sales with the proceeds supporting the refugee center and its programs.

It’s not always junk. Just things people no longer need or want.

Sometimes I receive things and I’m not even sure what they are.

There was the time my friend and I put aside a “camera lens” to see if her friend’s son would be interested in buying it. He was a photography buff.

We handled the lens more than once. I said to her, “It just seems so light.”

She agreed.

I think it was my daughter who finally set us straight. It wasn’t a lens but a coffee cup designed to look like a camera lens. LOL. You can google images.

I’ve had a few chuckles sifting through the boxes over the years. Like the time my friend, Lone, sent over some bags. She was donating a beach towel of mine!

My other friend received bags from two different families and found two shirts of her son’s and one of hers.

We’ve gotten valuable gold jewelry donated by mistake.

The sorting of it all can be overwhelming at times but it’s needed. Definitely needed.

One time I found a hand-written note. The donations were from a friend who was helping out a lady clear out her late husband’s belongings. I can’t remember if it was an expression of gratitude or what but I was glad I could return the note.

Or the photograph of my Australian friend and her daughter, who was a toddler at the time, taken when they lived in India.

Yesterday, a friend dropped off a bunch of bags in preparation for her move back to the U.S.

I sent her a text thanking her.

I also had to add, “And thanks for your son’s wallet loaded with Malaysian money as well as U.S. bills!”

You never know what you will discover.

This is where I veer off topic a bit.

I would later find out that while I came across this wallet my daughter had lost hers at school.

Called me from school to let me know. Was upset. The wallet had been our Christmas gift to her. So that bothered her but it was more about the contents. Which included her grandfather’s funeral card, a note from her Dad and photos of her loved ones.

We are pretty sure it’s been located so that’s good news. Waiting for confirmation.

But isn’t it strange that I found a wallet and my daughter lost hers at the very same time?

Weird.

Back to topic.

If you are donating items don’t forget to check those pockets. The pages. The bags. The everything.

Off topic.

If you do lose something-even if you aren’t Catholic-a prayer to St. Anthony won’t kill you.

When my daughter called to tell me about the wallet I said, “Say the prayer.”

She replied, “I will.”

I asked, “Do you know it? Say it out loud to me now.”

She said, “St. Anthony, St. Anthony, please come down. Something has been lost and must be found.”

I then let her off the hook. The telephone that is.

Hope you all find everything you are looking for this week!

JBM

 

 

 

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I was sitting here this evening while my middle school friend/neighbor Jayda was showing me her school presentation about animals. It was sort of horrifying. Rhinos and elephants with their tusks torn away-leaving gaping, bloody holes.

Okay, so much for happy hour in the hood.

My stomach was upset as a result.

But one thing struck me. One of the poachers stated that they were hungry. That was the driving force. I get that.

But….

Okay, this is the craziest thing you have ever heard.

Should any person in this world be hungry? There is enough food. We all know that.

To those of you reading this. Probably never felt hunger. Real hunger.

It’s Good Friday and my hunger is nothing compared to not knowing when the next meal will present itself.

I had this wacky thought. In total honesty, I have had this thought in the past.

What if we all reached out to our neighbor?

Really.

If every person reached out to their neighbor what could we accomplish?

Maybe we could avert disaster? Hunger? Assist a child in despair? An adult in despair?

Truly think about it.

If we all reached out to our nearest neighbor wouldn’t we eventually , as a human chain, make our way around the world?

We could ensure that no one goes hungry. That no one is abused. That folks are educated.

Who are your neighbors? Do you know them? Are you willing to reach out to them? So that they can reach out to others?

Wouldn’t that be the coolest thing ever?

 

 

 

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