Sunday, January 31, 2016

Today....and Tomorrow

Today . . . you came into our big, beautiful world. Helpless, you nestled into my arms.
You need me to keep you safe; I am here.

Today . . . you walked three baby steps. Wobbling, you reached for me.
You knew I would catch your fall; I am here.

Today . . . you had your first bad dream. Shaking, I held you and said,
“It’s OK, you’re safe . . .I am here.”

Today . . . you started kindergarten. Smiling, you hopped on that big bus.
“See you after school,” you called to me . . .
“It’s hard to let go . . . “ I’ll be here.

Today . . .someone teased you at school.
Crying, you let me hold your hand. “That hurt my feeling so much,” you said. (Mine too)
“I know. I am here.”

Tomorrow . . . No magic kisses, no band-aids, no fairy dust will do the trick.

Tomorrow . . . .The world is becoming yours, little by little now.

Tomorrow....... you won’t want me “right there” beside you . . .
As you find your way.

Tomorrow . . .May you find the world a good place; may you remember what you’ve learned;
May you know that I am here . . .

I would take you under my wing in an instant . . .
But I know you need your own wings, to really fly.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Getting along....

Animals can teach us a lot about getting along with each other. And if we are patient with them, they can show us how much they can get along with us humans. The next question is how can we get along with each other. We can learn a lot from animals. These few photos show us something simple - be kind to each other, be tolerant, be respectful and be loving and appreciative of what you have and whom you have around you.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Why can’t we get along?

We can learn so much from animals. These photos show how lovable, kind and compassionate they can be towards each other, even with those of other species. 
Then why can’t we ? Tomorrow we'll see how they can also interact with us humans, as long as we are kind to them.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Sculpted and Frozen

It’s not bad right now, and some countries are complaining for lack of snow, while others complain of too much snow. Here in Oregon we had our share of snow and moisture between November and early January. The mountains are covered with deep snow, skiing is quite popular because of the abundance of snow, both for the downhill and cross-country skiing. Yet in Breckenridge Colorado, they have another spectacle, which brings thousands of people to an ice show held every year. 
Here are some sculpted figures made from ice and packed snow. It takes days and many hours of hard work to create these structures, and the creators hope that the temperatures stay below freezing for an extended period of time, at least long enough for people and visitors to admire these works of art.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Few more wisdom from the world of sports

Roger Bannister, breaking the 4 minute mile
The man who can drive himself further, once the efforts gets painful, is the man who will win.
            - Roger Bannister, Track Athlete

Champions aren’t made in gyms.
Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.
             - Muhammed Ali, Boxer

A Winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to
develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.
             - Larry Bird, Basketball Player /Coach

Losing a game is heartbreaking. Losing your sense of excellence or worth is a tragedy.
              - Joe Paterno, former Penn State Football Coach

Serenity is knowing that your worst shot is still pretty good.
               - Johnny Miller, Golfer

Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.
              - Lou Holtz, Football Coach

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

More Wisdom from the world of sports

Joe DiMaggio, Yankees baseball legend
A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example.
            - Joe DiMaggio, Baseball Player

To be a champ, you have to believe in yourself when nobody else will.
               - Sugar Ray Robinson, Boxer

Failure is good. It’s fertilizer. Everything I’ve learned about coaching, I’ve learned from making mistakes.
               - Rick Pitino, Basketball Coach

It’s better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret.
              - Jackie Joyner Kersee, Olympian

Winning is not everything, but making the effort is.
           - Vince Lombardi, Football Coach

The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain, no matter what happens.
             - Arnold Schwartzenegger, Bodybuilder

Tommy Lasorda, LA Dodgers baseball manager
The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in the person’s determination.
            -Tommy Lasorda, Baseball Manager

Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it.
              - Stan Smith, Tennis Player

I learned that the only way you are going to get anywhere in life is to work hard at it. Whether you’re a musician, a writer, an athlete or a businessman, there is no
getting around it. If you do, you’ll win – if you don’t, you won‘t.
               -Bruce Jenner, Olympian

Great effort springs naturally from a great attitude.
               - Pat Riley, Basketball Coach

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Conversion of Saint Paul

"Conversion of St. Paul" by Caravaggio
The conversion of Saint Paul was an important milestone in the history of Christianity. Paul was not one of the original 12 apostles, but is considered as the Apostle of the Gentiles, because after his conversion on the way to Damascus, Paul embarked on 4 missionary voyages, preaching, at times challenging the people to change their lives, admonitions that are recorded in many of his letters. These two paintings of Caravaggio show the scene of his conversion, with Saint Paul on the ground after he was overpowered with the light that eventually blinded him for a few weeks, until he was healed by Ananias. The chiaroscuro that Caravaggio uses in many of his paintings are prevalent here, even though the scene was supposed to have been highlighted with the light from heaven. Still the artist wanted to show the darkness in which St Paul was engulfed at that time, darkness caused by the lack of faith, his hatred of Christians, feelings that would soon change, thanks to this momentous conversion of this great Apostle.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Wisdom from the world of sport

Vince Lombardi - Green Bay Packers coach
Winners never quit, and quitters never win.                   - Vince Lombardi, Football Coach

I have always struggled to achieve excellence. One thing that cycling has taught me is that if you can achieve something without a struggle it’s not going to be satisfying.                     

         - Greg LeMond, Cyclist

Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points.         

       - Knute Rockne, Football Coach

My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.
        - Jim Valvano, Basketball Coach

If I were to say, “God, why me?” about the bad things, then I should have said, “God, why me?” about the good things that happened in my life.                     

      - Arthur Ashe, Tennis Player

A total commitment is paramount to reaching the ultimate in performance.                                       - Tom Flores, Football Coach

Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.                -Lou Holtz, Football Coach

You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.
       - Steve Garvey, Baseball Player

I want to be remembered as a ballplayer who gave all he had to give.       

         - Roberto Clemente, Baseball Player

One chance is all you need.            - Jesse Owens, Olympian

Success is not forever, and failure isn’t fatal.                   - Don Shula, Football Coach

You find that you have peace of mind and can enjoy yourself, get more sleep, and rest when you know that it was one hundred percent effort you gave – win or lose.                                           - Gordie Howe, Hockey Player

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Los Tres Amigos

Llamas in Richland, Oregon
Here are a few photos which match three animals together. All of them are of the same species, so you would expect that they are well behaved, especially if there are males and females matched up. Those that are dead and stuffed on a wall of course are the best behaved of all, as they hang up on a wall watching everyone pass by them, admiring them and wonder how old they are. Most importantly, these animals are friendly with each other, henceforth Los Tres Amigos, the Three Friends. 
Mounted deer heads
Clark quarter horses in Mt Vernon, Oregon
Quail in Richland, Oregon, 2 males and a female

Friday, January 22, 2016

Prayer for Life

On this anniversary when abortion was legalized in the USA, we pray for the preciousness of the gift of life in all its forms, from conception until natural death. We pray for every baby being born today, born yesterday and who will be born tomorrow. They thank their mothers for giving them a full term of pregnancy, that they be born healthy, and ready for their new adventure in life. Who knows how many of them will be successful as doctors, teachers, priests, lawyers, politicians, actors and actresses, inventors, sports people, and in so many other areas. We pray for the gift of life and nature, for all our pets and animals, those that fly and those that swim or roam around the earth.  We pray for those women who are pregnant now, and for those who are trying to conceive. And we pray for all those babies who were never given a chance to be born. May this unspeakable crime be eliminated once and for all from this planet, and may we always appreciate every human being born, in the true image of God, the Father. Amen.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

St Agnes

One of the early and young martyrs of the church is the beloved Saint Agnes. According to tradition, Saint Agnes was a member of the Roman nobility born around 291 AD and raised in a Christian family. She suffered martyrdom at the age of twelve or thirteen during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, on 21 January 304.
The Prefect Sempronius wished Agnes to marry his son, and on Agnes' refusal he condemned her to death. As Roman law did not permit the execution of virgins, Sempronius had a naked Agnes dragged through the streets to a brothel. Various versions of the legend give different methods of escape from this predicament. In one, as she prayed, her hair grew and covered her body. It was also said that all of the men who attempted to rape her were immediately struck blind.  When eventually she was led out to die she was tied to a stake, but the bundle of wood would not burn, or the flames parted away from her, whereupon the officer in charge of the troops drew his sword and beheaded her.
It is also said that the blood of Agnes poured to the stadium floor where other Christians soaked up the blood with cloths. A few days after Agnes' death, her foster-sister, Saint Emerentiana was found praying by her tomb; she claimed to be the daughter of Agnes' wet nurse, and was stoned to death after refusing to leave the place and reprimanding the pagans for killing her foster sister. Emerentiana was also later canonized. Agnes' name may have derived from the Latin 'agnus', meaning lamb, and she is always represented with a lamb near her. Then there is another beautiful tradition......

On this day, the feast of St Agnes, the Pope traditionally blesses two lambs raised by Trappist monks near Rome. The lambs are sheared and the wool is given to the cloistered Benedictine nuns at Rome’s Basilica of St. Cecilia. The nuns use the wool to make palliums, which are bands that the heads of archdioceses wear around their shoulders during liturgical functions. Every year on the June 29 feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Pope places the bands around the necks of archbishops who have taken office in the past year. Today, after blessing the animals, the pope also asked God to “bless the pastors who will receive the palliums made from the wool of these lambs.”

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Saint Sebastian

Nothing is known about St. Sebastian's youth other than the fact he may have come from southern France and he was educated in Milan. He joined the Roman Army in 283 AD, ostensibly to be of service to other Christians who were being persecuted by the Romans. St. Sebastian distinguished himself and for his excellent service, he was promoted to serve in the Praetorian Guard to protect Emperor Diocletian.

While serving as a Praetorian Guard, deacons Marcus and Marcellian, twin brothers, were imprisoned for refusing to make public sacrifices to the Roman gods. During their imprisonment, their parents visited them to implore them to renounce Christianity. However, St. Sebastian convinced both parents to convert to Christianity. St. Sebastian also converted several other prominent individuals, including the local prefect. This led to his discovery and he was reported as a Christian to Emperor Diocletian in 286. The Emperor, who was already infamous for ordering the deaths of hundreds of Christians, scolded Sebastian and ordered him to be killed by having him tied to a stake on a training field and used as target practice.

Archers riddled his body with arrows, his body was described as, "full of arrows as an urchin." Believed to be dead, the archers left his body for retrieval and burial. He was recovered by Irene of Rome, whose Christian husband was a servant to Diocletian and also martyred. Irene discovered that Sebastian was still living and she hid him and nursed him back to health. Once well, Sebastian went in search of Diocletian to surprise him. He managed to catch Diocletian by a stairwell and proceeded to criticize him loudly and publicly for his persecution of the Christians. Diocletian, surprised that Sebastian was still alive, was immediately taken aback, but recovered his composure. This time, he would not permit Sebastian to escape with his life. He ordered his former guard to be beaten to death with clubs, then thrown into the sewers. His body was recovered by a Christian woman, named Lucina, and she secretly buried him in the catacombs beneath Rome.

"Martyrdom of St Sebastian" by Girolamo Genga
Nearly 80 years after his death, around 367, his remains were moved to a basilica in Rome, built by Pope Damasus I. His body, or at least some relics from his body were reportedly removed and shared with a community of monks in France. His cranium was sent to a German monastery where it was placed in a special silver case in 934. The relic remains in its case today in a special reliquary in Ebersberg.

St. Sebastian was commonly invoked as a protector against the plague. According to historical records, he defended the city of Rome against the plague in 680. In artwork, St. Sebastian is depicted with arrows shot into his body, often tied to a post or a tree. His second execution is virtually never depicted. St. Sebastian is the patron saint of soldiers, athletes, and those who desire a saintly death.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Child’s Ten Commandments to Parents

1.  My hands are small; please don’t expect perfection whenever I make a bed, draw a picture, or throw a ball. My legs are short; please slow down so that I can keep up with you.

2.  My eyes have not seen the world as yours have; please let me explore safely; don’t restrict me unnecessarily.

3.  Housework will always be there. I’m only little for such a short time - please take time to explain things to me about this wonderful world, and do so willingly.

4.  My feelings are tender; please be sensitive to my needs; don’t nag me all day long. (You wouldn’t  want to be nagged for your inquisitiveness.) Treat me as you would like to be treated.

5.  I am a special gift from God; please treasure me as God intended you to do, holding me accountable for my actions, giving me guidelines to live by, and disciplining me in a loving manner.

6.  I need your encouragement, but not your praise, to grow. Please go easy on the criticism; remember, you can criticize the things I do without criticizing me.

7.  Please, give me the freedom to make decisions concerning myself. Permit me to fail, so that I can learn from my mistakes. Then someday I’ll be prepared to make the kind of decisions life requires of me.

8.  Please don’t do things over for me. Somehow that makes me feel that my efforts didn’t quite measure up to your expectations. I know it’s hard, but please don’t try to compare me with my brother or my sister.

9.  Please don’t be afraid to leave for a weekend together. Kids need vacations from parents, just as parents need vacations from kids. Besides, it’s a great way to show us kids that your marriage is very special.

10.  Please take me to Church for Mass on Sunday regularly, setting a good example for me to follow. I enjoy being in Church, learning about God and Jesus, as we all meet the rest of our parish family.

Children have never been known to obey their parents, but they never fail to imitate them...

Monday, January 18, 2016

Introducing Natalia Tsarkova

"The Last Supper" by Natalia Tsarkova (2002)
Recently I came across a painting reproduced in the "Magnificat" magazine and I was stunned by its originality. It was "The Last Supper" by Natalia Tsarkova. Born in Moscow, Russia, an Orthodox  Christian, Natalia studied art in her native country before moving to Italy, specializing in sacred art. She became known in the Vatican circles and painted 4 portraits of Pope St John Paul, and his successors. In 2002 she painted a unique painting of the Last Supper and in 2009, she even painted the formal portrait of the then-President of Malta George Abela. She also painted many other portraits of famous people. I share with you today some of her works. 
Natalia in front of two of her Popes paintings
If you want to see her at work, watch this YouTube video - even though it’s in Italian, you can at least see her at work and meeting various Popes. Just copy and paste this link:
Pope St John Paul II
A recent painting of Pope Francis

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Now you know why....

Paolo Veronese - Wedding at Cana (click to enlarge)
This Sunday in our liturgical readings we read the story of the first miracle of Jesus, changing the water into wine at the wedding at Cana in Galilee. This was an embarrassing situation for the bride and the groom that they ran out of wine, even though Jesus came to the rescue and saved the day for the unlucky-turned-lucky couple. Well, if you look at just one of the paintings of the wedding at Cana, you can see why they ran out of wine. Moreover the disciples of Jesus were present too, and sure enough, having Peter, James, John, Thomas, Philip and the rest of the crew must have been a big source of concern for Jesus, and no wonder he had to do something to save the day. Understand that it wasn't just the 12 apostles, but the disciples were also present, which could have been as many as 72! Now you know why they ran out of wine! Those disciples were probably heavy drinkers and they drained the supply of wine that was reserved for that happy day. An interesting quote comes from Richard Crashaw who wrote about this miracle: "The conscious water saw its God, and it blushed." Beautiful phrase that says it all.
The painting hanging in the Louvres - just to see how massive it is.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

How God speaks to us

A man whispered, "God, speak to me"  And a meadowlark sang. But, the man did not hear.

So the man yelled "God, speak to me" And, the thunder rolled across the sky.  
But, the man did not listen.

The man looked around and said, "God let me see you." And a star shined brightly.
But the man did not notice.

And, the man shouted, "God show me a miracle" And, a life was born.
But, the man did not know.

So, the man cried out in despair, "Touch me God, and let me know you are here."
Whereupon, God reached down and touched the man.
But, the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.
Don't miss out on a blessing because it isn't packaged the way that you expect.               

Friday, January 15, 2016

Harvard and Stanford

A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston and walked timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President's outer office.  The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard, and probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge.
'We'd like to see the president,' the man said softly.
'He'll be busy all day,' the secretary snapped.
'We'll wait,' the lady replied.
For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away.
They didn't, and the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.
'Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they'll leave,' she said to him!
He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, and he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.  The president, stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the couple.
The lady told him, 'We had a son who attended Harvard for one year.  He loved Harvard.  He was happy here.  But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed.  My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus.' The president wasn't touched.  He was shocked.
'Madam,' he said, gruffly, 'we can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died.  If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.'
'Oh, no,' the lady explained quickly.  'We don't want to erect a statue.  We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.'

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, 'A building!  Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs?  We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.'
For a moment the lady was silent.  The president was pleased.  Maybe he could get rid of them now.  The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, 'Is that all it cost to start a university?  Why don't we just start our own? ' Her husband nodded. The president's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.
Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford got up and walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the university that bears their name, Stanford University, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.
You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who they think can do nothing for them.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Say it even more often

Continuing from yesterday, here are some other expressions we should say and hear more often. 
"I didn't call collect."
"That was a great dinner, Mom.”                                                                     
"I'm glad I'm in this family."
"I'm glad I married you."                                                                                                 
"Let's celebrate!"
"You're welcome."                                                                              
"Thank You... I'm sorry....I love you !”
"Let's say grace together before we eat."    
"Can I help you clean up the kitchen ?"
"It's OK.  You can go ahead of me."                                                   
"I'll try to get back as soon as I can."
"Shouldn't we be more grateful to God.”                                             
"Let me revise my homework again."
"Let's shut the TV off, and pray the Rosary."                                                 
"I appreciate your kindness."
"I'll try to get back as soon as I can."  
"Thank you for calling me last night."
"Can I type that letter for you?"                                                
"Let me shovel some of the snow for you."
"Can I get you anything from the store."                                               
"Do you have any letters to mail ?"
"Go ahead, watch whatever program you wish."                         
“Do you want to watch any other game?"
"If you're drinking, then I'll drive tonight."       
"If you want, you can use our swimming pool."
"Let me help you clean up the basement."                                                  
"I'm very happy that I met you."
"That was a beautiful card you sent me."                                                    
"Thank you for understanding !" 
"It's Sunday.  Let's go to Church together."                                   
"Thanks for visiting me in the hospital."
"I'll change the diaper !"                                                                                     
"I'll feed the baby today."

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Say it more often

These are some expressions we should say more often in our daily conversations. Whether at home, in a car, at school or at work, while relaxing or even at Church, this world would be a much better place if we were to use these expressions more frequently. We just have to remind ourselves and say it more often!
"Thanks for working so hard for us, Dad.”                                
"Go ahead and eat it.  You look fine to me."
"Well, Mom, I talked to God about it."                                     
"Let's just stay home and enjoy each other."
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean what I said."                                     
"You're the best friend anyone could have."
"I'm not going out because I have to study."                       
"I'm not going; those guys are too wild for me."

"I'll do it, Mom.  You sit down."                                                                                
"I wrote to Grandma."
"Where did you learn to do that so well?"                                               
"I'll buy it out of my own money."
"This parish is great."                                                              
"I like your sermons.  They make me think."
"What a spectacular sunset ! Thank You God."                                                  
"I'll hold the door for you."
"Do you want some change for the phone."    
"You can have my seat if you want to."
"Let's see the movie of your choice tonight."                                  
"Wait, maybe she got stuck in traffic."
"Give them another chance."                                                                      
"Thank you for praying for me”
"Sure, I'll volunteer.”                                                                                                 
"I put gas in the car."
"Let's visit your mother."                                                             more tomorrow......

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

San Damiano Cross

The crucifix that spoke to St Francis in Assisi is truly a work of art, and is very descriptive. Here is an overview of the details that are easy to follow.
Jesus Christ is represented upright in full stature while the surrounding figures are smaller. The bright white of his body contrasts with the dark red and black around it and accentuates the prominence of Jesus. This representation contrasts with the regal Christ portrayed on the cross in earlier centuries and the suffering, dying, crucified Christ depicted generally throughout the Church since the beginning of the 14th century. Above the head of Christ is the inscription in Latin: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.

The next largest figures are five witnesses of the crucifixion. On the left side are the Virgin Mary and St. John the Evangelist. On the right side are Mary Magdalene, Mary, Mother of  James, and the centurion who in Matthew's Gospel account asks Christ to heal his servant, who is also depicted on the cross on the shoulder of the centurion (Matthew 8:5-13). Both Mary and Mary Magdalene have their hands placed on their cheeks to reflect extreme grief and anguish. The first four witnesses are saints and are therefore represented with halos. Their names are written beneath their pictures. Two smaller figures are located in the corners with the witnesses. On the lower left is Longinus the traditional name of the Roman soldier who pierced the side of Jesus with a lance. He is represented here as holding the lance and looking up at Jesus. The blood running down the right arm of Jesus begins at the elbow and drips straight down and will land on the upturned face of Longinus. In the lower right is Stephaton, the traditional name for the soldier who offered Jesus the sponge soaked in vinegar wine.

Peering over the left shoulder of the centurion is a small face. A close look reveals the tops of the heads of three others beside him. This represents the centurion's son who was healed by Jesus and the rest of his family to show that "he and his whole household believed" (John 4:45-54). Six angels are represented as marveling over the event of the crucifixion. They are positioned at both ends of the crossbar. Their hand gestures indicate they are discussing this wondrous event of the death and calling us to marvel with them.

At the foot of the cross there is a damaged picture of six figures, two of whom are represented with halos. In accordance with the traditions of the day, these six are the patrons of Umbria: St. Damian, St. Michael, St. Rufino, St. John the Baptist, St. Peter and St. Paul. On the top of the cross, one sees Jesus now fully clothed in his regal garments and carrying the cross as a triumphant scepter. He is climbing out of the tomb and into the heavenly courts. Ten angels are crowded around, five of whom have their hands extended in a welcoming gesture to Jesus, who himself has his hand raised in the form of a greeting. At the very top of the cross is the Hand of God with two fingers extended. This is to be understood as the blessing of God the Father on the sacrifice of his Son.

On the right side of the picture next to the left calf of Jesus, there is a small figure of a fowl. Some art historians have interpreted it to be a rooster, representing the sign of Jesus' denial by Peter, mentioned in all four Gospel accounts. Other commentators see it as a peacock, a frequent symbol of immortality in Early Christian art. Along the lower right side of the shaft, there is a small animal, possibly a cat.

Monday, January 11, 2016

ABCs of Commitment

I open my heart and my mind to be aware of the ABCs which will daily lift my spirits up.

Almighty Creator of the Universe, who created all that we have and cherish.
Beloved Father, God of compassion.
Create in me a clean heart this day, to love you more.
Deliver me from the limitations of my ego.
Exalt your presence in my mind, and keep me always focused on You.
Forgive all that I have done against You, myself and others.
Grant me peace, and grant peace to all the world.
Hold me steadfastly within the boundaries of your truth.
Inspire my heart to know You better, my ears to hear You, and my eyes to recognize You.
Justify me in the presence of all enemies.
Knead my heart with works of kindness and acts of humility.
Let no harm befall me or my loved ones.
May all I do or say glorify You, and never let any word of mine ever hurt You.
Nourish me with Your Wisdom and Knowledge.
Open my eyes to know your vision of truth.
Purge my heart of all things that are offensive to your law.
Quiet my soul in the midst of confusion and temptation.
Renew my commitment to You.
Save me from my secret fears.
Teach me to trust You at all times.
Use all You have given me to serve You.
Victory for Your cause is my desire.
Walk with me so that my strength will never be diminished.
Xamine my heart continually.
Your Love and Grace are my good fortune.
Zealously, I commit my life to serving you faithfully and dutifully.

Until today, you may not have been aware of the power of knowing the alphabet. Just for today, practice in making each letter of the alphabet come alive in your life.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Jesus' Baptism and our Baptism

'Baptism of Jesus' by Juan Fernando de Navarrete
As we celebrate Jesus’ Baptism today, may we look back at our own baptism and see how faithful we have been to the commitment our parents made for us. I ask 3 simple questions today for your consideration:
1. How proud are you of the decision your parents took when they introduced you to the Catholic faith by baptizing you?
2. Do you know the names of your godparents, the name of the priest who baptized you, the church in which you were baptized?
3. If you were chosen as a godparent for a child, do you keep in contact with that child, who may now be a teenager, an adult, a parent, and do you make sure they attend church regularly? Remember that this was one of the promises you made when you stood as a godparent on the baptism day.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Intriguing and Unusual

The evolution of New York
Occasionally I come across some of the most unusual photos, historic, unusual, intriguing and outright unbelievable. I share them with you today to enjoy. Please click to enlarge each photo, which were taken before the digital age.
Michelangelo's Grocery List
A Volkswagen Golf, completely dismantled
Countries which did not have Internet until 2013