Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Validation

Thanks Mark Shea, for posting this on your blog. That was a well spent 15 minutes! Enjoy this funny and positively charming video...... and remember.... "You... are.... great!" "Peace begins with a smile." - Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice Cats and Expensive People

I was in a conversation the other day that came straight out of the movies; one of those really bad movies though. A friend shared a meeting he'd had with someone who was preparing to marry a fellow Ivy Leaguer. His bride-to-be had asked her parents for a huge sum of money to supply for the wedding, to the tune of over $60,000! When asked why so much moolah, a complaint over not being able to have her cat at the wedding surfaced. So in the absence of the precious feline, she was having a $6000 ice sculptured cat commissioned. Yup. Six grand for an iced kitty.... An ice cat that will melt majestically onto the floor during the Chicken Dance (if they even do the Chicken Dance at such opulent weddings). So, what'd ya think about that? What would you say to a groom who's about to marry such an expensive bride? I would say "run." Here's a rather long but solid refelction about "expensive people" from the wife, mother, and mystic, Caryll Houselander: "The expensive people are those who, because they are not simple, make complicated demands — people to whom we cannot respond spontaneously and simply, without anxiety. They need not be abnormal to exact these complicated responses; it is enough that they should be untruthful, or touchy, or hypersensitive, or that they have an exaggerated idea of their own importance, or that they have a pose — one which may have become second nature, but is not what they really are. With all such people we are bound to experience a little hitch in our response. If we are not sure that what they say is true, we are embarrassed. In time, our relationship with them becomes unreal. If we have to consider every word or act in their company in case it hurts their feelings or offends their dignity, or to act up to them in order to support their pose, we become strained by their society. They are costing us dearly in psychological energy. The individual who is simple, who accepts himself as he is, makes only a minimum demand on others in their relations with him. His simplicity not only endows his own personality with unique beauty; it is also an act of real love. This is an example of the truth that whatever sanctifies our own soul at the same time benefits everyone who comes into our life. To accept oneself as one is; to accept life as it is: these are the two basic elements of childhood's simplicity and humility. But it is one thing to say this and another to do it. What is involved? First of all, it involves the abandoning of all unreality in ourselves. But even granted that we have the courage to face ourselves and to root out every trace of pretense, how shall we then tolerate the emptiness, the insignificance, that we built up our elaborate pretense to cover? The answer is simple. If we are afraid to know ourselves for what we are, it is because we have not the least idea of what trial is. It is because we have not the least idea of the miracle of life-giving love that we are. "

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hole Hearted

OK, raise your hand if there was ever a time in your life when you thought to yourself "If I could just have/meet/become/get _________ then I would be totally happy." Now raise your hand if you subsequently got/met/became that ___________ and thought to yourself "But wait.... If I could just have/meet/become _________ then I would really be totally happy." The rock band Extreme once sang: "There's a hole in my heart that can only be filled by you, and this hole in my heart can't be filled with the things I do…" I remember hearing this song and running out to grab it when it first debuted in 1991 as a "single" - a little cassette tape with just the one song on it. Old school, I know. Right off the bat my spiritual sense was tingling, like Spiderman. "Oooo, why yes, I have one of those holes in my heart too," I thought to myself. "Seems like everything I think will fill it just fails to satisfy. I always want more!" Life's ambition occupies my time Priorities confuse the mind Happiness one step behind This inner peace I've yet to find Wow.... Is this not the soundtrack of our lives? Are we not all starving for inner peace? Look at the self-help sections in bookstores. I just did a google search for "self help" and it gave me 95,300,000 websites to visit. Seriously, who's got that kind of time? Thanks be to God I've come to realize a simple truth that will save me all of that searching: Self-help is useless. I can't help myself. I'm helpless. I can't "pick myself up by my own bootstraps." That's physically impossible. This hole in my heart.... this longing for More, this sehnsucht that sometimes seems to pull my heart out of me in a crazy mixture of joy and pain can only be filled, quenched, and completed by the Maker of my heart. If I'm not blind why can't I see That a circle can't fit Where a square should be I think most of us have come to realize this second truth; that nothing can fill our hearts... that is, no-thing can fill our hearts. That our hearts are made for relationship, for other persons, and ultimately the Persons of the Holy Trinity, the Three Who are Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. How long it takes for many of us to come to this discovery... for us to make this journey out of self, to empty ourselves so that God might fill us? Sometimes a lifetime. But all along we should keep up the journey. Keep singing the songs of our generation, but with a heart that stops at nothing to find the truth that really fills us. We've got to scratch below the vinyl so to speak, until we come to the core, to the very heartbeat of Music itself, to the Sanctuary where all Song is born. There, finally, we'll find true harmony. Here are the lyrics from another melody: I will rise then and go about the city; in the streets and crossings I will seek Him whom my heart loves. I sought him but I did not find him. The watchmen came upon me as they made their rounds of the city: Have you seen him whom my heart loves? I had hardly left them when I found him whom my heart loves. I took hold of him and would not let him go... - Song of Songs 3:2-4 ___________________________________________________ This is a post from the new blog "Twisted Mystics" Listen to our radio spot on the first Tuesday of each month at 7:10am here!

Friday, January 23, 2009

PopeTube

Wow. The Vatican has teamed up with YouTube, offering news coverage of the main activities of Pope Benedict XVI and other Vatican events. It's got daily updates, with video images produced by Centro Televisio Vaticano (CTV), texts by Vatican Radio (RV) and CTV. This video-news presents the Catholic Church's position on key issues in the world today. There is also a section of links that give access to the official texts of cited documents. Check out the Vatican's YouTube page here.

What is FOCA?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

From a Warm House I Looked

From a warm house I looked through windows to the street and saw Orion rising with shimmering, fiery feet But blurred, he stilted, stammered Behind a dirty pane Through cloth and curtain moving Old, musty, stale and stained From a warm and smoke-filled house I walked and left half-hearted conversation Mumbled, grumbled, garnered and I rose in exultation Away from hoards of syllables, reused and recycled
Exchanging hot air for cold I took the path once traveled By the mystic hearts of old
Orion dancing clearer now
over empty fields of white
pregnant as a seed with possibility my own feet took their flight
And into the dark with eyes now seeing
I moved over cold and wintery scenes
Not with mind but heart now steering
I left that house behind
.... and finding nothing discovered Everything.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Touched by Grace

The following words were spoken by my beautiful sister-in-law Linda, on Saturday, in the church where we celebrated Grace's Mass of Resurrection. I asked Linda to write them out for me because they so clearly speak the truth we believe; that LIFE is good, always and everywhere, and that it is always a gift that should be received with love, regardless of the manner in which we were born or the path nature took in the womb, causing handicaps or disabilities. Where there's life, there's hope. Life is good, Life teaches us, Life is of God. 
LINDA'S WORDS...
"Many of you know the song Amazing Grace. One verse states “How precious is Grace that appeared the hour I first believed.” I’m 40 yrs old and have had times in my life when my faith went up and down. “How precious is Grace Elizabeth Donaghy that appeared the hour I first believed.” I believe she was God’s love. I believe she was a reassurance that this world is only temporary. I believe her frail strong body was a Tabernacle. In her profound moments/hours, she knew family. She changed the world. She changed all of us. I know she changed me. For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son… Grace was made in the image of this Son. She was a reflection of the Alpha and the Omega-the beginning and the end. After her long journey began many years ago just like in the story of Horton Hears A Who (through the love of her mom and dad, Rebecca and Bill), Grace was finally able to “YELP.” She was able to make her little voice heard. Her little voice said; “ I AM” 
I am a Daughter. I am a Sister. I am a Granddaughter. I am a Niece. I am a Goddaughter. I am a Cousin. I am Loved. I am Purity. I am a child of God. I am a Miracle. I am Life. I Exist. I Breath. I Feel. I Love. George Bailey was given a great gift. He was able to see how the world would have been as if he had never lived. This is a gift I wish we all could have. Words cannot express what the world would be like without each of us. We are all connected. Our fingerprints are intertwined. As Father Kevin stated "Our understanding is not like His. His ways are not our ways. His time is not our time." God always has a plan. God knows Grace lives on in each of us. Grace has had a Wonderful Life."

Monday, January 05, 2009

Our Amazing Grace

I've shared about our story of adoption, both with our baby boy (so new and so beloved to us), and of our little ones over the last few years, 12 of whom went to God before ever seeing the light of day. I'm so happy to say that, for a short while, Little 13 saw that light. Baby Grace Elizabeth came to us early on Sunday, the feast of the Epiphany and of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (we think Gracie planned it that way). We waited, praying, while the c-section proceeded. Someone sneezed and we all whispered "God bless you." And the doctor said "That was Grace." What a way to come into the world! Blessed in her very first seconds. She cried and squeezed our fingers, she turned her fragile head towards the light more than once. I baptized her with water from a tiny cup and we prayed, not knowing how long she would live in her condition. Then she fought for 10 hours before going back to God. She gave up her spirit just after the Angelus bells at 6pm. For how this day unfolded in the plan of Our Father, we could not have asked for more. We had the tremendous blessing of family, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins around her, hugging and kissing her all day. Photographs and videos were taken, our pastor came and blessed her, and a dear friend from Maryland came too; he and his wife having lost their own precious daughter at birth, and truly knowing our pain. We sang "Amazing Grace," we prayed together, and Gracie met her big brother too. We wept, wishing she could stay, but at the end of the day we had a sense that she was going. Family left the room after saying their goodbyes, (over 20 people who had shared time with Grace), and then in our dimly lit room, Rebecca, S., Grace and I huddled up. We kissed her and sang hymns, and prayed some more. S. rested peacefully beside his sister for an hour, allowing his parents the grace to cherish every breath Grace took. For an hour, a holy hour, we kept vigil. And then she went home, and now she is whole. We are so thankful for all of the prayers of people near and far. Messages have come literally from all over. What does this mean? That life is precious, that one little life so fragile and so fair as Grace's can have such an impact on our hearts. Grace Elizabeth lived just 10 hours but filled our hearts with enough memories for a lifetime. Every little move she made was magic. We have truly felt "carried" this week by so much love and support. So now, from the hospital, we're just resting, reflecting, and praying. God has been with us at the foot of this Cross; on it in fact with Grace, we believe. We prayed for one miracle and got so much more.... "grace upon grace." Grace Elizabeth Donaghy Born - January 4, 2009, 8:04am Died - January 4, 2009, 6:08pm Baptized, Beloved, and Beautiful. We will NEVER forget you, our little saint. Rest now in your Father's arms. Love you forever, Mommy, Daddy, and your big brother S. "Every human life is sacred, because every human person is sacred."

- Pope John Paul II ________________________ Read all the posts on Grace's Story Listen to Rebecca's Song for Grace Embryo Adoption Amazing Grace

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Who is God's Mommy?

When we were young and questions rolled from our lips in long, curling arabesques about the earth and sky and our own origins, we may have once asked about one of the greatest mysteries - the mystery of God's origin. "Who is God's mommy?" the child whispers. And an answer may have come quite confidently; "God doesn't have a mommy. He always was..." For most of us, that response may have... a) perplexed us, b) sparked another question, or c) opened a wide road that seemingly had no end, and even now we may still be walking it. The answer, of course, is true..... and false. The infinite God certainly had no beginning. That would merely point to One greater than He, and that One would be God. We discover through philosophy (our reaching up), and through Revelation (His pouring down) that God is pure Spirit, the fullness of all Being, and source of all that has being. He is not bound in time and space, nor is He made in it. He makes it, lets it be. But in His love, the Author of all things chose to step into His own story, into time and space, and became one of us! On January 1st, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God. To some, this title of Mary is an enigma. How can the immortal God have a mortal mother? Did God have a beginning? Again, the answer is no, and yes. God loves paradoxes. St. Paul says in the second reading for this great Solemnity that when the fullness of time had come, "God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." (Gal 4:4-7) To some, it's scandalous to think that the Transcendent One should come into our world of flesh and bone and blood at all. But the Incarnation of Jesus, the Word of God becoming flesh, has shown us a great wonder, and cured us of a great wound: the wonder is that everything is holy now, for He has graced the world of air and water and earth with His presence; the wound was in our thinking that the two were ever really separate. So God is born of an earthly woman, and cared for by an earthly father. Why? His actions, as always, are teachers. God seeks to reawaken us to the beauty of the family. The family has from the beginning been part of His plan to make us whole, to show us Who He is, to give us a place to grow and to know and to love Him through others. St. Paul continues, "God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” This is the scandalous love of God, that we use such an intimate Aramaic phrase (literally daddy) to address Him! Even more, we honor the humble virgin Mary as His own Mother, and through adoption, as ours! Mary's motherhood of Jesus, Who is One with the Father, is a mystery that can only be known and lived in the heart. The paradox seems like a contradiction to the mind, but in the heart paradoxes fit. As the readings for this feast continue, we hear from Luke, who is believed to have taken much of his infancy narrative right from the lips of Mary herself. We find her taking with her gentle hands this great paradox of being the Mother of God and placing it in the sanctuary of her soul. Luke writes "And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." And so should we. We need to return as well to a deeper appreciation of the family. Mother, Father, Son, Daughter. These are the titles of all of us. Each of us bears one of these names. These titles point with fingers of flesh and bone straight up and into the Transcendent Mystery of God Who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God, as Pope John Paul II has said, in His deepest identity is not a solitude, but a family! Our first steps on this road of self-discovery begin in the home; in that little pool of life that is our family. It's a communion of souls, always three (like a micro Trinity) or more, but it's sometimes splintered into fragments because of sin or circumstance, or both. In its pure form, it might resemble an upside down triangle; a man and a woman whose love rises up from a single point of contact, and forms a new plane of existence, and supports that new line with their lines outstretched in a selfless gift of love. Imagine a world of families like the Family that is God? “As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.” - Pope John Paul II Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, pray for us and form us into true sons and daughters of God! May our families reflect the inner life of the Trinity, and glow with the warmth of your home at Nazareth.
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This post is featured on a new online journal called The Publican of Philadelphia. You can visit it here now!