Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Blessings-2014

Happy Blessed Easter! May the good Lord Jesus, our Heavenly Father and the powerful Holy Spirit bless us all on Easter Sunday and during the Easter Season.  Now I'm tired from cooking and preparing for Easter dinner with the family, but it will be such a happy day, so much to celebrate: the Risen Lord, a family celebration, the Easter egg hunt, chocolate bunnies, the much awaited Spring, the magnificent flowers, so many blessings to come. A feast for the senses and I can't wait.
It's been a long winter, too long. But I've started to plant pansies and soon I will plant herbs and what can be better for my Italian sauce than fresh basil plucked from my backyard. Simple pleasures........
It's time to rejoice in all that is good for the mind, body and soul. Sunshine is good and a simple walk in the sunshine can lift your mood and help to brighten your day. I often walk and say the rosary, that works for me, walking and praying and looking around.
And so as Spring unfolds and all the beauty that comes with it, we can rejoice in the beauty of creation, the diversity of the natural world, the awareness of knowing our Savior, in having the ability to pray, to serve, to give and to have been called and having the awareness to respond to it.
Praise God! Alleluia!
A blessed Easter Season!

Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life.  (S.D. Gordon)

He is not here; He is risen!  (Luke 24:6)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pope Francis on Palm Sunday-"Where Is My Heart?"

According to news reports, a tired looking Pope Francis addressed a crowd of over 100,000 people who were packed into St. Peter's Square for Palm Sunday Mass. The Pope challenged the crowd to look into their hearts to see how they are honestly living their lives.
He also challenged the large crowd (as well as himself) to ask themselves: "Who am I? Who am I before my Lord? Who am I before the Jesus who enters Jerusalem amid celebration? Am I able to express my joy and praise him? Or do I keep a distance? Who am I before the Jesus who suffers?"
I think that's a great question to ponder during Holy Week.  Who am I before the Jesus who suffers?
This morning at Mass I refused to be the crowd and play that part and respond, "Crucify Him." I just can't bring myself to identify with the crowd and call for Jesus' crucifixion. I can't say those words.
I could never identify with Judas, Pilate, the soldiers, the misguided religious leaders or the confused apostles.
But I can identify with the women. The women who suffered along with Jesus, who loved him, who were loyal to him, who stood by the Cross in disbelief. And so when Pope Francis asks us to contemplate during this holiest of weeks, "Where is my heart?" I can have some peace in answering that question. Thankfully, gratefully my heart is where it should be-loving Jesus and being grateful for the knowledge I've been given, for the opportunities I've had to share my knowledge and deep faith but most importantly for always knowing my heart, very clearly.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Malaysian Flight 370 At the Bottom of the Ocean? Intentional Or Catastrophe?

It's hard for me to believe that so much of the oceans on our planet are unmapped. We know more about the planet Mars and our Moon, than we know about the oceans. Since our planet is mostly made of water , it's difficult to understand why there is so little mapping of the ocean floor, especially with modern technology. I gather after this horrific mystery is finally solved, more will be done and changes will be made to ocean mapping as well as aviation tracking systems.
There has been endless commentary and opinions on CNN regarding the mysterious disappearance and presumed crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.  I admit to watching a lot of the coverage, like others. I have even stayed up after midnight (though that's not unusual for me) to watch press conferences taking place in Australia at 12:00 noon.  CNN anchors, encourage viewers to "stay with us," as if it was 8:00 in the evening instead of 12:30 at night. At times I'm captivated by the mystery. Or perhaps I'm procrastinating (which I'm very good at), as I should be spending the time reviewing notes for a talk I have to give. Anyhow,  I find the commentary very interesting, especially when experts talk about theories, modern ocean technology and the probable cause. It's probably one of the greatest mysteries, certainly the greatest aviation mystery in my lifetime. I have always been intrigued by the Amelia Earhart mystery, which has never been solved.
I can't even imagine the suffering of the families since this has dragged on for over a month, with conflicting stories and false hopes. My heart goes out to them. And I pray for them.
In my opinion, after listening to the experts, I think that someone hijacked that plane, either a crew member or someone else. Someone was trying to make it disappear and if it wasn't for modern technology they would have succeeded.  According to the latest accounts and new information regarding the pings, that plane, sadly is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. It's hard to believe that no debris has been found, this is a very large airplane. So strange.
I see the devil's "hand" in this. Evil thoughts, nefarious actions, the killing of innocent people and children, who else can be behind this horrific mystery, but evil?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What If Jesus Showed Up?

I'm a little tired now after giving a Day of Reflection along with a leader from the Diocese of Brooklyn. I  presented to the English speaking laypeople and my friend was the presenter for the Spanish speaking laypeople, who are preparing to become lay leaders in the Church.
I'm still trying to process what happened today. We've given this very similar retreat day for many years to future lay ministers of the Church for the Diocese of Brooklyn. But today was different. I always tell people to be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit, to be receptive, at the beginning of the retreat day. We always start with a beautiful bi-lingual prayer service.  The retreat takes place in a diocesan building with a consecrated chapel, I guess the whole building is consecrated.   These are very good people who study hard and commit themselves to prayer and study for the Pastoral Institute program. They work hard for many years, the best of the best, they love the Church, they love God and they inspire us as much as we try to inspire them. And apparently they are very open and receptive to the movement of the Spirit in their lives.
I can't figure out why today was different but it was. It's always a very good experience for the participants and for the presenters.  But today,  a few of the participants said they had very strong feelings and  intuitions of Jesus.  After practicing the Holy Name of Jesus prayer or a guided meditation that we always do,  or while praying in the chapel, they had very vivid experiences of Jesus. I was truly amazed at what they shared.
It seems if you take them at their word and they were very serious and sincere, it appears to me that Jesus "showed up" today at the Day of Reflection.
I better go to sleep and finish processing this tomorrow, because I can't make sense of it right now. It was suppose to be an "ordinary" Day of Reflection" until it wasn't. I guess no day is really "ordinary" when you are a baptized Christian, and open to the Spirit.
NJA    (Just Quotes)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"What Else Can Be More Important Than Human Lives?"

Nan Jinyan, the sister in law of Yan Ling, who was a passenger of missing Malaysian flight 370, was quoted as saying, "What else can be more important than human lives?" The sanctity of human life. The family members of that flight have suffered so much and until they have closure, the suffering will continue. It is so sad and I, like others are praying for them. Family members are exhausted, disillusioned with all the misinformation and conflicting stories surrounding the mysterious disappearance of this plane and who can blame them. They are going through torment,  something no one should ever have to deal with.
Whatever is ultimately the cause of this catastrophic aviation event, I hope in the future airlines will learn from this........
When I board a plane, I want to be assured that if it's an international flight, everyone has a proper passport. No one should ever be allowed, anywhere in the world, to get on an airplane with a stolen passport, or stolen ID.  That's outrageous in this day and age.
When I board a plane, I want to be assured that there is no cargo on that plane which is highly flammable such as lithium ion batteries. (There is so far no conclusive evidence that this caused a problem on flight 370, but it could have).
It's such a terrible tragedy and the tragedy and the mystery continues. The world watches and waits, but for the family members, their emotional lives are in turmoil and I feel for them.
May God Bless Them and give them closure soon and may this never happen again, may airlines and transportation safety boards learn from this.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Feeling Compassion For Those Suffering Families of Missing Malaysian Flight

I, like about 3 billion other people in the world are following the mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Flight MH370. People are intrigued by what will turn out to be the most puzzling aviation story of all time. Sadly this incident is historic in aviation history, perhaps even surpassing the mystery of Amelia Earhart's disappearance in 1937 over the Pacific Ocean.   I keep thinking how many of these historic, unprecedented yet sad incidents I have lived through during the many decades I have been alive. I feel so sad and so much compassion for the families of those who are missing on that flight. They must be suffering so much and I think about them and what they are having to endure. Human beings aren't meant to suffer so much anguish. It's just unfair. I especially am saddened by the thought of the children and infants on that plane, and the people who love them.
How anyone can board an airplane, anywhere in the world, in this day and age, with stolen passports is beyond comprehension? Especially when a database exists to track this. That is neglectful.
If it is either a hijacking by someone on board the plane or the pilots who are responsible for this horrific act, which the latest evidence seems to be pointing to, then one can't even fathom such corruption of the human mind and evil intent to plan and carry out such a heinous act.
I always think that God must suffer too, because of the evil in the world and the pain that causes.
I wish God would destroy evil once and for all.
I pray for the people on board that plane that they did not suffer and I pray that the families of those missing will have closure and the plane will be found. I also pray that in the future every country in the world has better security for airplanes, so this atrocity never happens again.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Pope Francis-Humbling the Cardinals for Lent

According to Rocco Palmo at "Whispers in the Loggia" Pope Francis, (who is full of surprises) before reading his prepared homily on Ash Wednesday, thought he would humble the Cardinals present in keeping with the penitential nature of Lent. In his off-the-cuff remarks which were clearly aimed at the Cardinals he apparently said, "In our little everyday environment when I watch these power struggles for positions,  I think to myself, 'These people are trying to play God the creator'...........They still do not realize they are not God." Wow, that's almost unbelievable.
I'm not so sure that the Vatican or the Roman Curia can ever be a "little everyday environment" there is just too much politics going on, all the time. Has to be, so many powerful people: clergy, religious and laypeople, I can't even imagine how it all plays out. But that the Pope would say, "They still do not realize they are not God," is amazing to me, that he would challenge them like that, but I guess when you're a popular Pope, you can say and do anything you want.
What would Jesus say? If Jesus were to return sometime soon and invisibly walk around the Vatican and listen in on conversations and attend high level Curia meetings, what would his reaction be to what he observed? He would probably turn over some tables. If Pope Francis had the nerve to say that to the Cardinals, he must have good reason for making those candid, impromptu remarks.
"Humble yourself that I may exalt you," good advice for all of us as we begin the Lenten journey.