Monthly Archives: August 2016

Close to home

Attended Mass today at St Ann’s, also known as Communion of Saints.  It is the first time I have been inside the Church even though it is a short distance from my home.  I was steered away from the Church by a former conservative friend, warning against their liberal policies, their wandering away from the traditions of Catholicism.  Expanding and enveloping, I was touched to be deeply moved by a Sorrowful Mother and Sacred Heart of Jesus devotional room set off the Cedar Road entrance.   My heart melted, photos a must.  During Mass with an impressionable young priest, a charming young man, awkward and unorthodox a bit, I found myself enamored with him, admiring his bravery in donning the collar.  He is deeply in my prayers. I am going to cut this short. Just finished a lengthy impromptu conversation with my neighbor, Carter’s neighbor.  I intended to say more, embracing the idea of moving away from religious pursuits that cross over to fanaticism, unable to broaden personal horizons, stagnating in attempts to be superior in faith.  The porch sitting has been nice, the neighbor entertaining—exploring ideas of salsa dancing which the significant other and I will do this Saturday at Nazca.  The friendly personable neighbor accentuates the idea of making an offer to Carter regarding the sale of his home.  The photos of St Ann’s speak for themselves.

Mary Mary and Jesus


Accepting furthering challenges

…since God has designed matrimony as a Sacrament, those who are joined together possess unique, personal qualities that each should share and help transform to supernatural levels in each other. That invisible Presence that binds them together must become visible by their love for each other, their family life, their growth in holiness, their concern for the needs of others, their faithfulness and their perseverance in daily good. –Mother Angelica ‘The Living Sacrament—Matrimony’

The soul which arrives at the degrees described very often finds itself with a body tired and worn, whence it happens that if God invites her to new considerations and higher degrees she is in perplexity: she would greatly like to go further, but the labor terrifies her; and if the Beloved calls her again, she rises to go to prayer, but still with a resistance of the sensible part which deprives her of pleasure, and causes that she can scarcely think that God is with her; and as happens to those are extremely tired, she falls asleep while watching:

I sleep, and my heart watcheth:

Then turning herself towards her Beloved Who is knocking at her heart:

The voice of my beloved knocking.

And excites her to open to Him, and to recommence her prayer:

Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled:

And with the fourth degree of prayer meditate a little on My passion. Thou will find that I have my head full of that heavenly dew of my blood, and my hair steeped in blood from the nocturnal pricking of the thorns:

For my head is full of dew, and my locks of the drops of the night.

The soul would willingly obeyed, but her lassitude makes are desire repose; which makes her say:

I have put off by garment, how shall I put in on? I have washed my feet, how shall I defiled them?

–St Francis de Sales ‘The Mystical Explanation of the Canticle of Canticles’

Artist Marc Chagall--Musee Marc Chagall

Artist Marc Chagall–Musee Marc Chagall


Prayer: grandeur of listening in silence

Here we come to the lovely prayer of wonder: the still, wordless gaze of Adoration, which is proper to the lover.  You are not talking, not busy, not worried or agitated; you’re not ask anything: you are quiet, you are just being with, and there is love and wonder in your heart.  This prayer is indeed a beginning of beatitude; for the heart is filled and content simply to be—and its being is all Adoration.  You find some hint of this utterly serene but utterly humble sense of infinity in some of the greatest music, in some of Bach….or Beethoven of the last quartets, or again in Johann Wolfgang vonn Goethe’s  Gannymede.  You find it in the music of the Mass, when the Alleluia traces its pattern of sound on the last vowel, saying nothing yet saying everything.  You find it expressed in words of the Apostle Thomas, abashed at his unbelief: My Lord and My God.  –Father Gerald Vann ‘Divine Pity’

Father Gerald Vann

Father Gerald Vann


Weekly formation

The first day of new employment, feeling at peace, content with circumstances and professional environment. The pursuit of harmony throughout my life becomes a focused activity. The head of our department, maintenance, impresses mightily, a kind man outstanding in his field. I am easily obedient to humble brilliance. With respect and dignity to routine, an essential to the spiritual life as I live it, a schedule is naturally, and spiritually, falling into place. Mondays will be remiss of Adoration, at this time at least, with Mass celebration occurring in Little Italy at Holy Rosary.  The Queen of Heaven statue serving as the centerpiece of the sanctuary is worth the price of admission alone. Tuesday should prove delightfully devoted to Our Lady with Adoration and Mass at the East Cleveland (Euclid) shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. Wednesday will reside close to home with Adoration and Mass celebrated at St Ann (Communion of Saints). I was made aware of the weekly evening conductance, including confession, by a woman passing out novena prayers for the Miraculous Medal at Holy Rosary. Thursdays presents Adoration at the Slovenian church of St Mary of Collinwood, a quaint Church tucked into the inner-city neighborhood of my employment. I would like to comment on the neighborhood, stating a challenge and fascination. The neighborhood is recognized as severely crime and drug infested, a blight upon even those abiding. Sunday, the significant other and I were driving through the neighborhood exploring. She is centered in her work less than a tenth of a mile away at Hospice Headquarters, able to share lunch together.  While touring the Eastside, we encountered a gang of thirty or so black males marauding through the streets on motocross motorcycles and ATV vehicles. Conducting sheer anarchy, the men loudly paraded their unlicensed and street illegal vehicles upon St Claire Ave, a main thruway. Several of the riders were isolating themselves, burning rubber and riding wheelies. It was something I truly never thought I would behold. Not sure what I thought, experiencing outrage and intrigue. Abiding in nonjudgement and tranquility, I tried to simply observe, thinking of St Francis’s benevolence when beholding the leper.  This is the neighborhood the company I have committed to is intent upon creating jobs within. Collinwood, Ohio it was once recognized as. The gentleman, Dan T Moore, founding the company is quite interesting, establishing a captivating industrial center at the former airport of Curtiss Wright, one of the original aviation pioneers, one of the Wright Brothers. Anyway I digress, back to my weekly dedication to the contemplative life, the outlining of a schedule. St Mary of Collinwood Adoration is conducted from two to six Thursdays, allowing immediate attendance after punching out from work. Mass will hopefully follow at St Aloysius, another east side gem I knew nothing about. I stopped by today as showed them hosting daily Adoration, however the priest informed the information was incorrect. I hope the Mass time listing is also not an error. The week day work week will end profoundly with Adoration and prayers shared with the Benedictines at St Andrew’s Abbey. It has been months, much has happened. I am still determining Mass possibilities. God is good and all giving.

Our Lady Queen of Heaven

Ave Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Maria, gratia plena
Ave, ave dominus
Dominus tecum
Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus
Et benedictus fructus ventris
Ventris tui, Jesus
Ave Maria!

Ave Maria Mater dei
Ora pro nobis pecatoribus
Ora, ora pro nobis
Ora ora pro nobis pecatoribus
Nunc et in hora mortis
In hora mortis, nostrae
In hora mortis mortis nostrae
In hora mortis, nostrae
Ave Maria!

Queen of Heaven statue at Holy Rosary.

Queen of Heaven statue at Holy Rosary


Sunday brunch and healing

An interesting post St Paul Shrine Mass brunch in Tremont at the Treehouse today.  A friend organized the gathering, pulling together a wonderful assortment of people.  The significant other accompanied.  It seemed relevant the attending was all highly educated.  The Cuban poet—a political science professor, her husband a medical doctor currently teaching and conducting research associated with the Cleveland Clinic, a high-school teacher who went onto to complete a doctorate in I am not sure what area of study, a Franciscan Friar who will attain a PHD in Information Systems—a unique friar working with the Federal Government and CIA in combating human trafficking and terrorism, and a Taiwanese man working on a doctorate in music—the singer of operatic Latin during Mass.  It all coalesces nicely with the idea of moving away from the lunatic fringe element of faith worshipers, residing and befriending those able to interact on a healthy social level.  In fact, I perceive myself growing, refining an abrasive personality that can be confronting.  The significant other is a tremendous socializer, instantly befriended by this bunch of fascinating people.  I sat in silence for a majority of the brunch, charmed by the polite and informative nature of conversation.  Everyone waited their turn to speak, granting the speaker full attention, listening central to interacting.  I credit the Cuban poet for much of the mature social interaction as she conducts a group as if she is holding class, inquiring, guiding others into speaking about themselves.  She insistent upon a lack of dominating conversation, eliminating side conversation in order to focus the group singularly upon a subject.  Credibility is maintained by unwarranted comments being investigated, and narcissistic self-serving comments being dismissed.  A mature endeavor is established.  The significant other mentioned a return to school for myself, yet I feel I am too old.  I must admit a severe disappointment in my last employment position, while experiencing incredible invigoration, spiritually and intellectually, by the theatrical weekend in Chillicothe.  Last night, we attended another performance of Macbeth, discovering the performance while exploring the internet.  I was researching and reading about an Ohio Shakespeare troupe when I realized they were performing Macbeth just to the south in Akron this very weekend, an outside performance at the Stan Hywet gardens.  I wanted to see another rendition as the Chillicothe performance disturbed, convinced they missed something essential.  The over-emphasis on the role of the three witches, young actresses delighting in the supernatural extravaganza of portraying evil did not set right.  The witches appeared throughout the play, always present and dancing about in a frenzy.  It was not true to Shakespeare.  The witches were malformed woman, denizens of misery trapped in a deplorable state, humans convicted to evil due to evil deeds—misfortunate consequences rendered.  They were not alluring, ubiquitous, and all powerful as the young actresses presented them.  The witches could only prophesize, tempt, and present possibilities.  Human nature and free-will determined significance.  Shakespeare intended them to appear only three times—not to be dancing about characters as they mused, or seen separate from the action, controlling and influencing.  Human choices determined fate.  Anyway, I felt the more professional, more accurately arraigned performance by the Ohio Shakespeare troupe proved my insight correct.   In defense of the Chillicothe troupe, their Shakespeare was an addendum to their superb performance of Tecumseh, a side-project for serious acting young adults to explore possibilities.  Busy day today, finish with a reading from Mass, the concluding of St Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews.

So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.


Words of ripened honey

Over the last several months, associated with the significant other, a Holy Hour imprints finely upon where I stand firmly at this time. Conducted early Saturday morning, post 6:30 AM Mass at St Dominic in Shaker Heights, a silent maturity and sophistication in the endeavor soothes, creating comfortable space for reflective contemplative communal prayer. The Holy Hour is organized, constructed with a fluid format, calling forth readers in opening, closing and upon the quarter hours. I will post several readings. God’s revealing advances a distancing from a lunatic fringe element to the pursuit of faith, hope, and charity. Lovingly in regard, proper in discernment, in silence, the aspect of individuals devoting their lives to the pursuit of Catholicism, while leading lives out of balance—singular, devoid of the inability to maintain mature intimate relationships, bizarre in behavior and circumstance, strange in appearance, weird in encounter, no longer abides truthfully. It becomes strikingly apparent that many consumed within brokenness, some suffering severe psychological dispositions, must be passed beyond, attachment no longer a possibility. Within love, caring, and respect, God places the distance. I am complimented to be seated amidst the St Dominic Holy Hour. Others come calling from the past. Barb from Arise is sending out emails for an Arise rejuvenation to start up in the fall. She is requesting I become more actively involved, starting tomorrow by standing at the sign-up booth at St Clare after 8:00 AM Mass. I am moved and honored, recognizing all distance is not proper. Father Estabrook resides and I have not spoken to him for some time, still possessing a book he lent. God is good and all giving.

St Dominic Holy Hour reflections on the feast day of St Bernard of Clairvaux, the saint with the melliferous tongue.

Mary’s deep faith is clearly expressed in her ability to trust in her Divine Son, even when it seems He is indifferent to the situation. She models the kind of faith we need in our own lives, especially we when we wonder how God is present in the difficulties we face. Like Mary, we are called to go beyond a belief simply in the physical presence of Jesus in the Eucharist; we are invited to believe in Jesus’ loving presence in each of us, and the church, and our world, in our life situations right now.

When Jesus pours himself out for the love of us met each Eucharistic Celebration, he asks us, do this in remembrance of Me. Jesus invites us to receive the gift of life He shares with us; He also invites us, in turn, to share that same life with others. And this is perhaps the deepest act of faith: to discover how we are called to be the loving presence of Jesus for others.

To give fully of ourselves means self-forgetfulness and self-sacrifice, but only out of love. We can take some time now to reflect on how Jesus might be asking us to participate more fully in the life-giving mystery of His suffering, death, and resurrection.

Lord, I am an earthenware vessel
In which you have placed a treasure.
Help me to reveal your extraordinary power.
When I feel afflicted, free me from constraints.
When I am perplexed, lead me beyond despair.
When I feel persecuted, do not forsake me.
When I am struck down, renew Your life in me.
As I carry within myself the death of Jesus,
May the life of Jesus, too, be revealed in me.
Help me to realize that death at work in me
Means life to those for whom I offer myself.
Do not let me lose heart, but grant me abundant grace,
So that my thanksgiving may overflow to the glory of God.
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ,
Your son, who lives and reigns with You,
And the Holy Spirit.
One God.


Generativity vs Stagnation

As adults in the stage of generativity seek to pass on life to the next generation, they may find themselves asking, “What do I really have to pass on?” As they try to answer this question, they may discover in themselves not generativity but what Erickson describes as its alternative: stagnation. Stagnation is the feeling of having forfeited my contribution to life in my age, a contribution that would have been handed down to future generations. A crisis of meaning may occur as adults like the heartbroken Gandhi discover stagnation in their lives and begin to think, “I had these dreams and they never got fulfilled. I’m not doing the things I really wanted to do. I am just on a treadmill, keeping in motion but not receiving life or giving it. I haven’t put my stamp on anything. Time and energy are running out. I have to take a different direction or my life will continue hollow and empty.” This search for a deeper and more meaningful way of living often involves a confrontation with inner darkness….  –‘Healing the Eight Stages of Life’