Category Archives: Love

Transitus of St. Francis of Assisi

Today is October 3rd and that is the vigil of the Feast Day of St. Francis of Assisi. For Franciscans worldwide, tonight is the “Transitus,”or the ritual observance of his death.

I won’t go into details as to what transpires during the ritual, as I am not a Franciscan and thus have never participated. However, I will blog briefly on the event as it is significant for this blog in some ways.

I read up on the Transitus and various Franciscan sites and blogs variously describe the ritual observance as important as it connects Franciscans with each other – those living today and those who have gone before. That this great community is united by the observance of the death of their Order’s Founder is a wonderful lesson. It is something that can be incorporated in our lives.

“Memento Mori.” “Be mindful of your death.” In memorializing the anniversaries of when our loved ones died, we remember them as they were if their death was lingering due to age or infirmity; but we can also remember them as they had been when still vital and younger. If they died suddenly, it can be a way to “manipulate time,” they were suddenly taken from us but in or memorial observance we can “be there” in some spiritual fashion. If they died too young, well, perhaps it can be a manner in which they are brought forward in life along with us.

Our beloved dead are not forgotten, they are still with us, although in a ritualistic spiritual way. Their death is no longer some event isolated in thr past that might fade a somewhat in memory over the years. Oh, we still remember when Mom or Uncle Jimmy died, but over the years the date slowly becomes just another day in November or July.

Ritual is important. It helps organize life and mark time. “Ritual” is also the hidden word in spiRITUALity, something lost, I think, in those who eschew religion in favor of only spirituality.

As I write this, the feeling is growing within me to actually think about doing this somehow for some of my beloved dead. One way is on the Anniversary of a death is to say the “Office of the Dead” from the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours. Here is an online source: Office of the Dead.

Perhaps I’ll think of some thing to do in addition. Maybe whoever reads this can offer suggestions in the comments.

(I may reblog this in an edited form on SoberCatholic.com.)

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Mother’s Day and Polkas

I noticed on my Facebook that there are a few people who are who are experiencing their first Mother’s Day without their Mom. Prayers ascending for them…

On my first Mother’s Day without mine, I did an odd thing. When I was growing up, Mom played polka music every Sunday before Mass. I lived in central New York State, and there were a number of ethnic radio programs from the various Syracuse, Utica and Rome stations. With a relatively large Polish-American populatiion, there were a few hours of polka programming each Sunday.

Mom used to wake me up to that way. Like clockwork, every Sunday at 8:30AM I’d be contentedly sleeping in my bed, and then WHAMMO!!!!, flung a few feet in the air to the riotous sounds of “In Heaven There is No Beer, That’s Why We Drink it Here,”  “Roll Out the Barrel,”  “I Don’t Want Her You Can Have Her, She’s too Fat for Me,” and various other classic polka tuneskis.

Needless to say I grew to dislike polka music. Until 2006, my first Mother’s Day without Mom. I felt compelled to hunt down a radio station that played polka music. As I now live in the Buffalo, New York area, with a larger Polish-American population than central New York has, it wasn’t hard.

And so on that Mother’s Day, I listened to polka music for the first time in over a quarter century. And…

…I liked it! It was nostalgic for me and also therapuetic. The healing process that I needed after her death in November 2005 was really helped along.

Polka music is routinely derided and dismissed by people. But, screw ’em. It is toe-tappin’ “happy music.” A great cure for depression. So, it all sounds the same. So does rap and  pop.

I think I’ll go to the living room, turn on the stereo, and blast a local polka station. My wife is still sleeping, so it might wake her up! I’m sure she’ll appreciate the old family tradition. 😉

Later…

 

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Emergency prayer request (UPDATED)

The mother-in-law of a friend of mine on Google+ may face imminent discharge from a hospital because “she has already cost the insurance company too much money.” She has been diagnosed with a pancreatic tumor. She was due to receive surgery for it when the insurance company called and stopped all further payment due to the costs. The surgery cannot be approved. My friend issued an urgent prayer request on Google+, which has been picked up by others and posted to other social networks. The prayer request is here:

“We need prayers here! It’s been like an episode of House trying to figure out what’s wrong with my mother-in-law.

They figured out it is a pancreatic tumor and are ready to remove it and insurance called in a 100% full stop to payments saying she’s cost them too much to approve surgery now, too. We have 4.5 hours before the hospital discharges her.”

The 4.5 hours is up at about 3:00 ET (USA) or 1900 GMT/UTC.

This is grossly unconscionable to place money above the life of a person. This is a basic decency. No matter what the cost, or whatever the survival rate is, to put money before a life is pure evil.

This quantification of a human life, that after a certain point “you are just too much of a burden,” or “too much of a cost” is reprehensible and not at all defensible from any valid moral standpoint.

It is a symptom of the sickness of society, that a life has a dollar value (or Euro, Pound Sterling, whatever) and after a point, just pull the plug.

Western civilization is in a decay. It needs to be revived and the only way to do that is to get out there and evangelize. Speak the Gospel Truth, live it as best one can, and confront the forces of evil and darkness when they present their ugly agenda.

One of Christianity’s best teachings is that we are made in the image and likeness of God and that we have an inherent dignity for that reason. Plus, we are adopted children of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. No other religion claims anything like that. Judaism may be close inasmuch they are our elder family in the Faith, and they are the Chosen People of God. But, Judaism is not a faith that seeks to convert others. We Christians can go out and bring people into the fullness of Divine Truth, and in doing so heal humanity of the sickness that is going on that allows my friend’s mother-in-law to possibly die without the surgery that can enable her to live. All because she “costs too much.”

 

An update from my friend: “Last night I contacted their state assemblyman and I wrote the Dept. of Insurance. The surgeon has pulled major, major strings behind the scenes with the hospital as well. The phone started ringing at 8:05 this morning. The insurance company is now caving on almost everything, but it isn’t definite yet.

They approved her ICU stay.
They approved all her tests and procedures.
The surgeons are confidant that they’ll have the surgery approved, but it isn’t yet. The surgeons are saying they’re doing the surgery no matter what.
They are denying her hospital stay on the regular floor saying she did not need to be in-patient in between ICU and surgery. This is 4 days in the hospital they’re refusing to pay for.

Everyone knows if she’d left she’d not be able to get the surgery covered so that isn’t an option, and this is definite improvement as the most expensive stuff is covered, but the outstanding approval for surgery in the morning and then the insurance nightmare that will be waiting post-surgery are the big issues right now, which is such a huge relief compared to last night! Please keep up the prayers today!”

 

UPDATE FROM TODAY: “My mother-in-law is now recuperating from surgery! They removed her tumor and everything was as perfect as possible! We haven’t heard anything from insurance or the business office.

Please pray in gratitude for the surgery. For her swift, full, and uneventful recovery. For God’s blessings on her surgeon, Michael. For our children who are missing home. And for the financial situation to be worked out to provide for all involved as they need. Thank you prayer warriors for storming heaven!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!! She’s not coming to as we would hope. Over 24hrs later and she’s still pretty out of it. We were also told today that no headway has been made on the insurance.

The nurses and docs continue to be fantastic. My husband is flying home today in a lightning storm. I’m enjoying while I can that vegetarianism is taken for granted here so choices are clearly labeled and abundant. Small pleasures. 🙂 “

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

CATHERINE OF GENOA AND THE EXPERIENCE OF PURGATORY

In Pope Benedict XVI’s General Audience today, the Holy Father reflected of St. Catherine of Genoa and her experience of Purgatory. The following is an excerpt from his address, I italicized a particularly relevant point:

VIS news – Holy See Press Office: CATHERINE OF GENOA AND THE EXPERIENCE OF PURGATORY: “…Benedict XVI then went on to refer to the works of the saint, recalling how, ‘in her mystical experiences, Catherine never received specific revelations on Purgatory or on the souls being purified there’. She did not see Purgatory ‘as a place of transit in the depths of the earth: it is not an exterior fire, but an interior fire’. She did not use the hereafter as a basis ‘to recount the torments of purgatory and then show the way to purification and conversion; rather, she began from the interior experience of man on his journey towards eternity’. Thus, for Catherine, ‘the soul is aware of God’s immense love and perfect justice; as a consequence, it suffers for not having responded to that love perfectly, and it is precisely the love of God Himself which purifies the soul from the ravages of sin’…

(Via VIS news – Holy See Press Office.)

Sin separates us from God, the pain of that separation is acutely evident to the soul after death. The soul’s desire for God and for perfect union with Him, combined with God’s love, is a purification, in which the stain of sins are purged from the soul.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Departures from our lives

Yesterday (June 26th) was the fourth anniversary of my mother-in-law’s death. I never knew her as I met my wife in 2007, but through my wife she has had some impact on me. I would have loved her greatly.

The nature of this blog indicates that I think of death quite a lot. It has impacted me in a number of ways in my adulthood, and has formed me into the person that I am now. Almost as much as sobriety has.

We have people in our lives. And then they are gone. Whether they are taken from us by death, or merely drift away by relocation or choices, people are with us until they are no more.

I think that each departure is a subtly traumatic event in our lives. Each departure leaves a hole or a tear in our lives that may never be healed. Sometimes we are not aware that they should be healed, as in when somebody moves away or just drifts off. But these people were a part of the fabric of our lives, and were woven into the tapestry of our life. They go away, that tapestry is torn.

I think we all too casually feel we should just “move on” when someone goes away. I learned of this when my Mom died in 2005 and I went through grief counseling. My old AA sponsor suggested it, and I never knew such a thing existed for “ordinary” deaths. I thought it was just for extraordinary deaths like school shootings, natural disasters, terror attacks and major accidents like train wrecks and airliner crashes. But no, one can also attend when it’s only when your Mom dies.

Perhaps we take for granted the people in our lives. Maybe we don’t feel that they will “go away” or somehow it won’t hurt. We rarely think of such traumatic change. Too painful.

I yearn for Heaven. Not in any suicidal way, but just so I can be reunited with the people I’ve loved and lost, and people I’ve never met but would be important to me anyway. And also because there would never be any parting. No one dies and no one moves away. We will be together forever.

There is in the 12 Step movements something called “Step 9”, which is the step where you make amends to people in your life that you’ve hurt because of your addiction. It’s an attempt to reconcile and to clear the air. Perhaps there won’t be a reconciliation, but at least the attempt was made. There is the possibility that people previously gone will be back.

Don’t underestimate the joy that may bring. There is too much loss in today’s world.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Mother's Day

My Mom died just over 2 1/2 years ago (November7, 2005). It’s been one heckuva ride since, from desires for death (suicidal or just praying for God to take me) through economic and financial instability to relocating to a new area for a cute lady and a new job, to marrying that cute lady and finding a better job.

Through it all has been my Faith. It has been the one constant and has kept me together.

I’d like to think that my Mom is among those watching over me. (Dad and a sister, too.)

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

My Parent's Wedding Anniversary

My parent’s were married on April 15th. The year 1937 to be exact. They were married 58 years when my father passed away in 1995.

I do believe that they are in heaven and have interceded for me on a number of occasions. No proof, just a feeling.

I also believe that relationships do not die with death. This is also Catholic teaching, rooted in Sacred Scripture. We are members of the “Communion of Saints”, that “great cloud of witnesses” that St. Paul wrote about.

Relationships are transformed by death into something else. Perhaps a different type of love that we can only dimly feel, but nurtures us anyway in some fashion that we don’t entirely understand. Jesus taught us this when He died on the Cross. He died, yet remains with us.

Blogger’s note: Although this has a post date of April 15, 2008, it was actually written on June 27, 2008. I don’t recall why I didn’t post on the real date.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"

Love and Heaven

I went to daily Mass today with my fiancee. We were “accosted” afterwards by these three elderly sisters (siblings, not religious women).

They were very enthusiastic about the Faith and were very happy to learn that we were getting married on the vigil of Divine Mercy Sunday (March 29th, for info on Divine Mercy, see the links in my main blog, URL in the sidebar of this one). The joy these women expressed and their genuine interest in other people and total disregard for “propriety” in greeting strangers struck me in a brief moment as a glimpse into Heaven.

In Heaven we are our true selves. No hiding behind or trumpeting differences. No making allowances for faults and failings. No barriers such as class or race or ethnicity. In Heaven we are all there and free to mingle and meet whomever else is saved, with no Earthly distinctions as a barrier.

In Heaven, the only virtue remaining is Love. No need for Faith as we are with He who is unknowable fully by our senses (as in the line from the hymn by St. Thomas Aquinas, “what our senses fail to fathom let us grasp with Faith’s assent.”). No need for Hope as we have achieved our salvation, which is the point of Hope. Love is all that remains.

These women Rose and I met today were comfortable with their joy and their love.

They evoked Hope.

Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)

"The Recovery Rosary: Reflections for Alcoholics and Addicts"

and "The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"