"Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset." Saint Francis De Sales

Friday, December 20, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 126)

1. The Temptations released their number one single on December 21, 1964, “My Girl.” I was a senior in high school.

2. This is a picture of our Advent Wreath.

3. I was part of the setup crew for our nativity scene at church. We have multiple crews, each working on a specific part of the project.

4. Peter O’Toole reached his final journey last Saturday at age 81. My favorite movies were “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Lion in Winter” and “Becket.” NPR had an excellent article on him. 

5. Just in case you missed Steve Givens blog last week. He wrote a beautiful Christmas reading, “The Journey Begins.”

“The journey begins, not at Nazareth as Joseph and Mary prepare for their trip to the City of David, but at a time much earlier.

It begins with darkness…and God…and the Word.

It begins at creation, when God called forth light, life and those made in His own image.

It begins with a man and a woman, banished from the garden and crying out for a new source of life and salvation.

It begins with a son, standing over the slain body of his brother and listening to the sound of blood crying out from the ground.

It begins with a great flood and the promise of a rainbow.

It begins on a mountain top, with a father’s hand ready to sacrifice his son.

It begins with a child, drawn like water from the river by a Pharaoh’s daughter.

It begins with a bush, burning but not consumed, on a small parcel of holy ground.

It beings with plagues and the deaths of first-born children, with years of wandering in the desert, with manna from heaven and water flowing from rocks, with towers of flame and parted seas, with covenants and commandments and temples and sacred meals.

It begins with songs of praise, psalms of thanksgiving, and words of wisdom for those wise enough to listen.

It begins with the words of prophets, warning of coming destruction and telling of the coming of a Messiah.

It begins with a voice in the wilderness crying, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.”

It begins with the stirrings of life inside a chosen woman.

It begins on the road to Bethlehem…”

6. “Don’t be afraid to go to the Sacrament of Confession, where you will meet Jesus who forgives you.”        Pope Francis

Tuesday evening was “Reconciliation Service” at our church. Father John led a short service of readings and reflection. We had eight priests in attendance for personal confession. I removed the dust of sins and polished my heart.

7. Merry Christmas from Dee and I. 

Read other "Takes" at Conversion Diary.

Friday, December 13, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 125)

1. Sunday’s Gospel, MT 3:1-12, is not the type of message that one would send out at Christmas. Imagine receiving a Christmas card from John the Baptist that said, “Repent you viper, do not presume to say to yourselves that you have Abraham as your father.” Merry Christmas. It's not very Merry, but sometimes we need be roused. We believe we are righteous because we attend church and give alms. We don’t recognize our sins. Our eyes are closed to what we should be seeing. We need to open them, we need to be reminded. Advent along with the words of John the Baptist gives us this opportunity. Don't let it pass you by.

2. “Confessing our sins may be difficult for us, but it brings us peace. We are sinners, and we need God’s forgiveness.”   Pope Francis

Father John suggests that we should not look at reconciliation as a burden. Image a table that sits in a room that you don’t go into often. When you do enter and look at the table you see that it has collected dust. So you polish the table and it becomes clean and shines once again. Our sins are like the dust. It gathers, slowly at first but then it builds and needs to be removed. We should think of reconciliation as a polishing of our hearts, shining for God.

3. Dee and I attended “Advent Lessons and Carols” Sunday night. It was an evening of readings, music, and prayer. One of my favorite music pieces was “Let the Bright Seraphim,” by G.F. Handel. Our music director Patricia was on the piano, Steven on trumpet and Patricia sang soprano. It was beautiful. I became immersed in the song as the instruments and voice blended together. 

“Let the bright seraphim in burning row
Their loud, uplifted angel trumpets blow
Let the cherubic host in tuneful choirs
Touch their immortal harps with golden wires.”  

Of the readings, I enjoyed “To Believe,” written by one of our young parish members, J.P. Clifford.

“To believe, is to jump and hope to live,
To believe, is to trust in your soul.
To believe, is to soar in the wind and fall,
If you fall off a cliff hope to see another day,
To believe is to fly.

To believe, is to will to win
Or jump, and hope to be caught.
To believe, is not to be afraid but accept what happens,
To believe, is to glide.

If you get scared and start thinking about death,
Then you are not believing in God.
When you believe in god you believe in yourself,
To believe, is to soar.”

4. On December 12, 1970 Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were number one on the “Billboard Hot 100.” The song was "Tears Of A Clown"
Read more about it at Wikipedia.

5. “Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous.”      Phil

1. Where there's a will, I want to be in it..
2. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
3. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
4. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
5. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
6. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
7. I didn't say it was your fault; I said I was blaming you.
8. I used to be indecisive, but now I'm not so sure.
9. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
10. I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

6. Pope Francis, “Time” Person of the Year. Not a surprise to me. From “USA Today” was the following paragraph that sums up the reason for the selection from “Time.”

"As Pope, he was suddenly the sovereign of Vatican City and head of an institution so ­sprawling—with about enough followers to populate China—so steeped in order, so snarled by bureaucracy, so vast in its charity, so weighted by its scandals, so polarizing to those who study its teachings, so mysterious to those who don't, that the gap between him and the daily miseries of the world's poor might finally have seemed unbridgeable," Time says. "Until the 266th Supreme Pontiff walked off in those clunky shoes to pay his hotel bill."

7. “Adoration is the first attitude of man acknowledging that he is a creature before his Creator. It exalts the greatness of the Lord who made us and the almighty power of the Savior who sets us free from evil. Adoration is homage of the spirit to the "King of Glory," respectful silence in the presence of the "ever greater" God. Adoration of the thrice-holy and sovereign God of love blends with humility and gives assurance to our supplications.” 
We started Adoration at our Church on December 6 and will have it every Friday. The Rite performed by Father John was moving. It provided alone time with God and reflection on my journey with Him.

Read other "Takes" at Conversion Diary.

Friday, December 6, 2013

My Slow Takes (Vol. 124)

1. The Irish Lads lost to the Cardinal 27-20. They end the season with an 8-4 record. 

2. The toughest tongue twister has been created by some MIT researchers. 
“Pad kid poured curd pulled cod.” 
Read the article here at FOX News. No, I can’t say it ten times, It’s tough enough trying to say it once.

3. I finished picking up the leaves in our yard this week. Everything looks much better. This should be the end of leaves for this season.

4. The television rendition of "Sound of Music" was excellent. Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer were terrific. I also enjoyed actress Laura Benanti and Audra McDonald in their rolls. The children were wonderful and the music beautiful. A lot of talent and well directed. It is a wonderful family play.

From the St. Nicholas Center
6. Please pray for the soul of Nelson Mandela, for all his family, friends and the people of South Africa. 
7.  December 7, 1941. “A date which will live in infamy.” There are still veterans from that day. Please remember them and their lost comrades. 

Read other "Takes" at Conversion Diary.