Sunday, July 27, 2014

The World Unraveling?-_The Sad Summer of 2014-


It's hard not to get discouraged......there is so much negative news. Perhaps some of the only news that's hopeful is the news coming out of the Vatican, where photographs of Pope Francis sitting in a cafeteria eating casually with Vatican workers is uplifting for Catholics everywhere.  Those photos show a Pope who is trying (successfully) to be down-to-earth, Christ-like in his love for ordinary people, and with the people in their everyday lives. It was so good to see the photo of him doing just that on front page of the New York Times. Thank God for Pope Francis!
The other news coming from the Holy Land, from Africa, from the Ukraine and other parts of the world is disturbing. Record droughts in parts of the southwestern United States and elsewhere in the world, rising global temperatures, Ebola outbreaks, plane crashes, wars, violence against women, violence against animals in the wild (out of ignorance), persecution of Christians, ......Almost sounds like the beginning of the end times.
But, of course, no one knows the day or hour when Christ will return in glory but the world is not in a good place right now.
Pope Francis is begging for peace, for an end to destructive wars that destroy homes and maim children and adults. It's absurd that at this time in human history, peace is so elusive for humankind. How difficult is it to solve the problems that keep people hating each other? Where are the solutions? God must be crying.
Pope Francis is begging for peace, "I beg you with all my heart...everything is lost with war."
I know..... "Hope is not an option for a Christian, it is essential to our faith," but sometimes the current news is just so disturbing. But Pope Francis is a light for our times.
NJA

Scary News
Ebola kills senior Doctor in Liberia-So sad such a selfless human being.........

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sad Summer News of War and Missile Attack on Malaysian Flight 17

I feel for others, that's called compassion and I have  great compassion for people who suffer because of war, displacement from war and other tragedies. I read and watch too much news as I like to be informed, but most news is disturbing. The news is sad right now because of what's happening in the Middle East between the Israeli's and the Palestinians. How is it that a lasting peace in the Holy Land is so elusive and difficult for those involved? It's tragic. It all started this time,  with the murder of three young Israelis in a heartbreaking story and now it just keeps escalating. Murder brings death, a breaking of the commandments of God and chaos comes forth from that. That's why God warns us to keep the commandments because when a commandment is broken, chaos breaks out.
Then last Thursday the awful news about the civilian airliner, Malaysia Flight 17, shot down by a missile apparently shot by separatists, fighting a civil war in Ukraine. How is it that they had such a destructive weapon that could bring down an airliner filled with innocent people and so many children? Why were planes allowed to fly in that airspace anyway, when several other transport planes had been shot down in that area days before? And even if those who shot that missile thought it was another type of plane, which I'm sure they did,  its still no excuse to shoot a powerful, destructive weapon without knowing for sure what type of airliner it would hit. It's inexcusable, its stupid and it's caused much pain to families of those who lost loved ones. And those poor souls, who were on that plane,  whose lives were cut short, who deserved better, unfortunately, no amount of investigation can bring them back. Christians believe in Heaven, a place of eternal peace and rest, where there is no war or pain but many of those on Flight 17 were too young, and had too much to live for. It's not fair what happened to them.

Praying for those who suffer from war or the effects of war seems like its not enough but its all people of faith can do. Humankind just wants to keep repeating the mistakes of the past. Too many choose to ignore God's commandments and those actions just keep bringing chaos into the world.
NJA

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Drought Is Serious-Wake-Up Californians!

When I read about the extreme drought covering most of California, which is most likely caused by climate change, I wonder how the people of California are coping with the problem. When I read  on Thursday, an editorial in the New York Times titled "Saving Water in California," I'm amazed that people aren't taking the situation more seriously.
I've been to the West Coast a couple of times and I marveled at it's beauty but I sensed when I visited that there was definitely a more laid back attitude then what I've been exposed to on the East Coast, where I've lived all my life. There's nothing wrong with being more relaxed,  but you would think that when a serious situation arises Californians would act wisely and prudently.  But that's not what the statistics show.
This is what the editorial stated, "California is in the third year of its worst drought in decades. But you wouldn't know it by looking at how much water the state's residents and businesses are  using. According to a recent survey, Californians cut the amount of water they used in the first five months of the year by just 5 percent, far short of the 20 percent reduction Gov. Jerry Brown called for in January. In some parts of the state, like the San Diego area, water use actually increased in 2013...."
What are these people thinking? In one article I read, a women was quoted as saying she was more afraid of earthquakes then water running out. (I would be concerned with both!)
Sounds like the deadly sin of pride to me. Lots of pride can be a dangerous thing. It clouds good judgment which is why it can prove to be deadly.
Tampa, Florida has the largest desalination plant and sounds to me like California needs one too. (Sooner than later.)
We all need to be more humble, do our part when a crisis arises and think of the common good.
But that deadly sin of pride can get in the way....Thinking like, "We can take care of anything, even droughts"........hope so.
NJA

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Art, Religion and Favorites from the Met

I love my Catholic faith, I also love art. So yesterday I went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to view their incredible collection of Greek and Roman artifacts in their classical collection. I also wanted to see the Mary Cassatt oil paintings they have, as I recently heard a lecture about her work and her friendship with Edgar Degas. It was fascinating.  I also paid a visit to my favorite place in the museum, the Carroll and Milton Petrie European Sculpture Court.
The following painting of Joan of Arc is truly beautiful by Jules Bastien-Lepage

And there are so many religious works at the museum 
And then there is this great sculpture, one among many
The New American Wing has the work of
so many great American artists like this American landscape. One can never be bored in NYC.....a truly stimulating place to live or live nearby.
NJA

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Bishop Frank Caggiano's Retreat for "Rosary for Life"

I attended a retreat day given by Bishop Frank Caggiano (Bishop of Bridgeport) for "Rosary for Life" on Saturday at Good Shepherd Parish in Marine Park, Brooklyn. Bishop Frank was born and raised just a few miles from Good Shepherd Parish,  he is a native Brooklynite.  It was a good day for Brooklyn. At the other end of Brooklyn 13 men were ordained to the priesthood in the newly consecrated Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph, which is located in the Prospect Heights neighborhood.  During Mass, at the retreat,  which was celebrated by Bishop Frank, we prayed for the newly ordained. Good things were happening all over Brooklyn on June 28th, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary!
 The Rosary for Life retreat was organized by Wyn Powers and when I read about it in The Tablet, I called to register. I know that Bishop Frank is an excellent speaker and I was eager to hear his talks.
There were about 100 participants and we were not disappointed. A highlight of the day was when Bishop Frank shared with us a special gift he was given that day, by a very generous lady, Gail Frohlinger. It was a magnificent needlepoint of his Coat of Arms. It was all done by hand with beads and she said that she said a prayer for him with each bead that was put on the work. Quite amazing! I regretted afterwards not taking a picture of him holding it, which others did.
Bishop Frank talked about "The Joy of the Gospel," and how true joy comes from knowing Jesus. Faith of course is a divine gift but it is our response that is so important. He quoted from a Scripture and we discussed its importance-Revelation 3:20. " Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door then I will enter his house and dine with him and he with me." Bishop said that he thought that verse was the key to the door of faith. We also spoke about the problems in the modern world which interfer with faith, such as secularism, busyness, technology and other distractions. One man shared that he was discouraged by it all. But in responding most of us said, the Bishop included,  that we have to have hope for the future. I raised my hand and shared one of my favorite quotes on faith, "Hope is not an option for a Christian but it is essential to our faith."
It was a spirit-filled day, all over Brooklyn, one filled with hope and God's abundant blessings. NJA

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chen Guangbiao-Philantropist Trying To Do Good

Chen Guangbiao, a very rich Chinese philanthropist, who some call eccentric, treated 200 homeless people to a fancy lunch today in a Central Park restaurant in  New York City.  A man of humble beginnings Chen amassed his wealth through hard work and perseverance (and a recycling business) and he's trying to give back.
Whatever his motives are, I think he's doing a good thing. Apparently there will be more luncheons in the future.
Craig Mayes, the executive director of the shelter where the participants live (the NYC Rescue Mission), said, "Our thought was if someone wants to treat them to an amazing event-something they would never experience on their own, maybe even a kernel of hope that life could be different again, we're in for that reason."
I think Chen has brought attention to the homeless people, who desperately need hope and change. I applaud his action and I think it will get people thinking and acting. There are certainly a lot of very rich people in NYC (in the entire tri-state area) and they can do more (though most are very charitable, they could do more).
Yesterday I participated in a reading program for young, disadvantaged children and I saw firsthand how important a hands-on approach to helping others is. It's easy to write a check to a charity, but not as easy to put the effort into actually doing something and putting in the time,  that makes a difference in someones life.
It's Christ's mandate to help the least of our brothers and sisters and the more we do that, the more we act like Christ and we help to bring forth the Reign of God.
NJA

"Whatever you do for one of the least of my brothers, you did it for me"  spoken by Jesus (Mt. 25:40)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Some Of My Favorite Art Work

I love visiting museums and living in New York makes it easy to view world class art at anytime. My favorite museum is the Met, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. But every museum has it's own character and gems. I have some art on my phone which I photographed, none of which actually came from the Met, this time, but I'll share some of my favorite ones from places near and far.  Some come from Churches/Seminary in the NY area as well as the Museum of Modern Art, the Nassau County Museum of Art and some from a visit to Miami, Florida, like the first two below which are from the Perez Art Museum in Miami. God is creative, God has a creative spirit, and when human beings tap into that, beauty can abound. (One photo is not from a museum or church, can you guess?)
So here they are: