Strangers in a Strange Land Are We

charles-chaput

Hat tip to reader and commenter,  Christene, for bringing to our attention a newly released book by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput: Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World. My copy came this week and, as I have begun reading and contemplating, echoes of voices in our community have rung in my heart.

JT Brannigan’s questions linger as I am reading: “Who will be signs of hope to the frightened society?  Who will proclaim that Mary intercedes and Jesus is with us?  Who will proclaim that God wants our salvation?”

Phillip Frank’s words reecho as well: “I liken this new course for us as the way Jesus thwarted the 5000 after He fed them with the 5 loaves and 2 fish. They, in their hysteria over this miracle, wanted to make Him king. He quickly quieted them with His command for them to “eat His body and drink His blood” and, because of this mystery, they quickly abandoned Him as it was “too hard” to follow. Jesus then turned to his disciples (future sherpas) and asked if they too would leave Him. They, of course, did not. So we, who are still here, have chosen the discipleship (Sherpaship?) of TDL. We have chosen not to abandon TNRS and to trudge on IN the world but not OF the world!”

SteveBC’s words, too, resonate: “A person’s outward circumstances matter little. Which world one actually lives in is determined by what is in one’s heart. A person surrounded by the old world who holds the positives of the new world in one’s heart lives in the new world. Someone who believes that one is living in the new world but whose heart is filled with the negatives of the old world lives in the old world despite that belief. My comments about the old and new worlds and to which world a person is attached are asking people to let go of the dark thoughts and feelings you have been suffering from. If you are constantly on edge and angry about what is going on with the Old World, not only are you in it but you are also of it, for those feelings are what make up the “heart” of that Old World. There is something better for you. Focus on love and God instead of anger, grief, and darkness. Why do you grieve when the New World is a change of heart away from you, and when that change of heart is yours to Choose?”

As we continue to move forward, focusing on the actions and attitudes we embrace in our daily lives, living as so many sherpas scattered throughout the world, I think this new release from Archbishop Chaput has great value for its potential to develop, nurture, challenge and inspire us on our way. Perhaps the following excerpts from the book can help you decide if you wish to purchase and read it.

“More than fifty years after Vatican II, the world is a bloody and fractured place. Some of those fractures reach deeply into the Church herself. But this isn’t news. It’s always been so. Scripture is a record of the same story told again and again, in different ways but always with the same theme, for more than three thousand years. God loves man. Man betrays God. Then God calls man back to his friendship. Sometimes that call involves some very painful suffering, and for good reason. God respects our freedom. But he will not interfere with our choices or their consequences, no matter how unpleasant. As a result, the struggle in the human heart between good and evil—a struggle that seems burned into our chromosomes—projects itself onto the world, to ennoble or deform it. The beauty and the barbarism we inflict on one another leave their mark on creation. But still God loves us, and his love endures forever.”

“TIME PASSES. TIMES CHANGE. Watersheds happen. I sat down to write this book for everyday Catholics and others who love Jesus Christ and his Church more than they love their own opinions; people who know that something’s gone wrong with their country, but don’t understand why, or what to do about it. That expression—“everyday Catholics”—needs some unpacking. In twenty-eight years as a bishop, what I’ve seen is this: Most of the adult Catholics I know have families and demanding jobs. They’re often harried and fatigued and distracted. But they’re nobody’s fools. Most of us ordinary believers were born with plenty of intelligence, and today more than ever, we need to use it. If our mass-media culture works to make people shallow, gullible, angry, and dumb much of the time, it’s because we let it. Since you’re reading this book, you’re probably different. You probably like to think, and want to think, as a grown-up real person, in a mature Catholic spirit of faith. And you might suspect (wisely) that too many people aren’t thinking at all. Adults deserve adult food for thought, and in these pages I’ll try to honor that.”

“But religion only works its influence on democracy if people really believe what it teaches. Nobody believes in God just because it’s socially useful. To put it in Catholic terms, Christianity is worthless as a leaven in society unless people actually believe in Jesus Christ, follow the Gospel, love the Church, and act like real disciples. If they don’t, then religion is just another form of self-medication. And unfortunately, that’s how many of us live out our Baptism.”

“Thus, believers don’t have the luxury of despair. And the idea that we can retire to the safety of some modern version of a cave in the hills isn’t practical. Our task as Christians is to be healthy cells in society. We need to work as long as we can, in whatever way we can, to nourish the good in our country and to encourage the seeds of a renewal that can enliven our young people.”

God bless Archbishop Chaput and his words which inspire us to live the joy of the Gospel even in the midst of difficult days. He is a true sign of hope!

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90 Responses to Strangers in a Strange Land Are We

  1. Another Karen says:

    Beckita, where do you find the time? Thanks for continuing to garner all of the resources from and profound wisdom of many members of our community of TRNSers under these entries you submit to keep us up to date. I don’t know how you do all that you do, but I do appreciate the effort you (and you too, Steve BC) put forth here…..well done!

    Liked by 12 people

  2. Julie of WI says:

    I want to live in the New World! Thank you Beckita for forwarding this information and carrying on your evangelization. This adult wants to read an adult book that will challenge me to change my thinking. I, like I believe most Christians, go along without even thinking there is another way and that it is the responsibility of the Church to make us feel better. This will be part of my Lenten practice to change how I think (which will change my tender heart) and then be a better sign of hope for others. Thank you SteveBC for your insight…beautiful!! My brain and heart already feel relieved. This is really really good!!

    Liked by 15 people

  3. Katey Utterback says:

    Dear Beckita ~ Thank-you for this. Had seen this book, but had not taken the time to check it out. Now I will order it. So, *Thank-you*. Everyone here continues to inspire me and to be in my daily prayers & I thank you for your prayers for me. My “stepping out” project(Map Your Neighborhood) has me feeling nervous, but I will continue. If I’m rejected I refuse to despair. ~ Another poster had mentioned the St. Paul Center’s weekly Lenten video “The Sacraments and the Bible.” I watched the first 2 episodes also and can highly recommend this series. Let me encourage you all to check this out. I believe it’s based on Scott Hahn’s book, *Swear to God*.~ Thanks be to God for you all & GOD BLESS YOU, katey in OR

    On Sat, Mar 4, 2017 at 7:01 AM, The Next Right Step wrote:

    > Beckita posted: ” Hat tip to reader and commenter, Christene, for > bringing to our attention a newly released book by Archbishop Charles J. > Chaput: Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a > Post-Christian World. My copy came this week and, as I have b” >

    Liked by 6 people

  4. flora potter says:

    God uses whom He chooses and the devil uses whom he chooses and we use our free will to choose whom we choose.
    Scripture has a long list of names of people who did or did not follow the will of God.
    The Lord Jesus Christ absolutely followed the will of God. He being God could not be unfaithful to Himself. We, His creation made in His image and likeness, are less than faithful to Him. We have a tendency to kill the messenger. But bless the Lord, he keeps sending messengers! Archbishop Chaput, Kiko Arguello, Charlie Johnston, Mother Angelica, Bishop Sheen, John Paul II, John XXIII, Frances Cabrini, Mother Teresa…
    and the stewards that assist them. Thank you Beckita.

    Liked by 12 people

  5. zeniazenia says:

    Thanks for the excerpt, Beckita. It resonates and I want to read Bishop Chaput now. Thank you SteveBC too for your comments. Your spirit is so good and we can enjoy it here more and more lately.😊 Happy Lent to you both.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. moreen67 says:

    I’ve been reading this book on the train to and from work on my kindle and he is so spot on. Timely book God knows.

    Liked by 7 people

  7. sodakrancher says:

    Thank you again Beckita and Steve for continuing this site and providing such information as this to inspire and help motivate others . Bishop Chaputs comment : “But religion only works its influence on democracy if people really believe what it teaches.”
    Our founding fathers spoke of and practiced what they preached about how important they believed it was that for our government to prosper and succeed that Gods helping hand should be sought and without it Government was doomed to fail . Oh for the days of such humility and common sense again .
    Thank you again for all you do here

    Liked by 8 people

    • Beckita says:

      God bless you, sodacrcker. So grateful we’re in this together and a special Amen to: “Oh for the days of such humility and common sense again.” By God’s Grace with our best efforts may it be!

      Liked by 5 people

      • sodakrancher says:

        lol at sodacracker btw . I know from all the reading ive done hear that you have a sense of humor Beckita so I thought you might appreciate my saying this : I think I oughta change my name to that . It explains why I always get the feeling I’m in hot water you suppose?

        Liked by 4 people

        • Beckita says:

          Ha, sodakrancher! I’m giggling this morning as I now realize I inadvertently morphed your moniker. Your treatment of my error is just the best. No hot water for you, though, just strains of laughter and appreciation for your presence. PS I not only transformed your name, I misspelled it. It seems Doug is sleeping on the job so I’ll step right up and give myself a double bing. With that, I pray: May all the souls of the faithful departed through the Mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

          Liked by 6 people

    • SteveBC says:

      Sodakrancher, Charlie bequeathed this website and our community to Beckita, and she is doing a wonderful work in continuing to develop what we have. I’m honored and pleased to be able to have a hand in helping her to do that, and I take my lead from her efforts to map out our path forward.

      I find myself so heartened that so many members of Charlie’s community continue to be here in Beckita’s community, still active and helpful.

      Liked by 12 people

  8. Linda says:

    Very good Stevebc. I am really getting what you said here about the old n new world.. B4 Lent, I was deeply troubled About a family problem… During first few days of Lent I made a decision to let it go, and just concentrate on MY failings and shortcomings and not others.. WHAT A DIFFERENCE… the anger n hatred that had been building vanished, and the peace that ensued is WONDERFUL… I pray I never go back…I like the new era of peace so much better.. BTW everyone check out, if you’d Iike, Dr Mark Mirravilles video on how he thinks new convoy to Medjugoria is a very good sign for Medjugoria. I think Holy Father Francis is much wiser than many Catholics realize😇

    Liked by 11 people

  9. Bill says:

    My thank you to all who contribute. Wisdom is shared and expanded on by all and is greatly needed by me. I’m ordering the book too. There is so much to learn and grow on.

    Liked by 7 people

  10. It is astounding how many reasons I can come up with to just “check out” and leave the work to someone else. His Excellency is so right; we must be the healthy cells within society. Thank you for posting, Beckita. It is the encouragement I needed today. The Holy Spirit is so good to us.

    Liked by 9 people

  11. zeniazenia says:

    Good evening TNRS, So I spent yet another Sunday at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy. I can’t seem to stay away. Since my parish rearranged the Mass schedules in town Last month, it is almost more convenient. I love praying with the community of Marian Helpers.
    Now during Lent, St. Faustina’s Way of the Cross was added to the devotions, as well as veneration of a relic of the True Cross. This is a beautiful Way of the Cross prayer with many quotes from the ‘Divine Mercy in my soul’ diary. Each quote from the diary is cited with paragraph number for cross reference. I should have stoppped in the gift shop on my way out to buy my own copy but luckily I did find it online. I will be meditation on some of these hand picked words from Jesus to St. Faustinà. 😊 http://www.thedivinemercy.org/stations/woc_faustina.php –such an extension of the Divine Mercy Message. –ZJ

    Liked by 12 people

    • Beckita says:

      Thanks so much for this link, ZJ.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Tarja says:

        I promised to tell a bit about our Orthodox Lent. Here it is, perhaps not in the right thread?

        My thoughts about Orthodox Lent

        There has been written so much wise words about Orthodox Lent that I can only refer to those wonderful books, for example Alexander Schmemann’s Great Lent. I just know our Finnish style of Lent and it differs a lot from those really “Eastern” habits of Great Lent. Unfortunately we Orthodox in Finland have always lived under some kind of pressure from the outside society and Lutheran Church. We have reduced our special religious features to a minimum. Of course there has been in our society some kind of a “fashion craze” about Orthodoxy, but now it’s nearly over. Much has been written in magazines about fasting food and other outward habits, but we Orthodox Christians are not really understood in depth. Very few outsiders understand our spiritual life.

        To me fasting from food has been difficult and nowadays I have to take into account health factors, so I use milk products. But I and my husband try to eat vegetarian food and forget desserts, sweets and cakes …. Seven weeks is quite a long time and of course we are tempted by more delicious food. We have some feasts when fasting is lighter but Sundays are officially fasting days, too. At first these changes in eating habits are a bit difficult but I think it gets easier when weeks go by. Perhaps sugar addiction is reduced…I hardly miss meat – it’s not a big deal for me.

        Lent’s spiritual journey begins the last Sunday before Great Lent – the day on which, at Vespers, Lent is liturgically announced and inaugurated – and it is called Forgiveness Sunday. Then everybody – in church services with hugs and kisses and at home, too – try to ask and give forgiveness. Next four days we have special Lent services that include the Canon of Repentance by bishop and hymnographer Saint Andrew of Crete (650-740). The Great Canon of Repentance is the longest canon ever composed (250 strophes). It is written primarily in the first person, and goes chronologically through the entire Old and New Testaments drawing examples (both negative and positive) which it correlates to the need of the sinful soul for repentance and a humble return to God. It is divided into four parts which are chanted at Great Compline on the first four nights of Great Lent (one part per night); later, it is chanted in its entirety at Matins on Thursday of the fifth week of Great Lent.

        This canon is very useful to listen and then ponder about how deeply sinful we human beings really are – there is so much hidden in our hearts – ugly, dirty… The first week is hardest but then small joys begin to grow from abstinence and silence – later there will come more difficult moments, and if someone really fasts in old fashioned way, even fatigue.

        Helping the underprivileged is a very important part of our Lent: we can give away that money which we don’t use for our own entertainment and treats. The general rule is to care less about themselves and to help others. Of course you have these same elements.

        So how the Orthodox and Catholic fasting differ? In a Christian’s inner life not much, I think. Maybe we have some more ancient elements in our Lent services or stricter orders when fasting from food, but all Christians know: Isaiah 58 tells us what true fasting includes. We have to fast from anger, from selfishness, from gossiping, from envy and so on. For me fasting from food is really not collecting rare, expensive ingredients for Lent dishes or baking – it is simple life and silence, prayer and an honest effort to be less, and less… And wait for Easter Joy.

        In Christ, Tarja

        Liked by 7 people

        • Beckita says:

          Thank you so much for this, Tarja. You write: “Unfortunately we Orthodox in Finland have always lived under some kind of pressure from the outside society and Lutheran Church.” I observed this difficulty more than forty years ago while traveling through Denmark as we searched for a Sunday Catholic Mass.

          Forgiveness Sunday sounds heavenly.

          Even while we are already brothers and sisters in Christ as Orthodox and Catholic Christians, I look forward to the days when we are one flock under one shepherd. God bless you, Tarja.

          Liked by 7 people

        • jlynnbyrd says:

          Tarja, I love that! Thank you for sharing. ❤

          Liked by 3 people

        • Doug says:

          Very nice Tarja!!!

          Liked by 4 people

        • SteveBC says:

          Thank you, Tarja! 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        • zeniazenia says:

          Good morning Tarja,
          These are lovely and meaningful traditions which prepare us for Easter joy. I suspect you are walking on a beautiful path with your community.
          We Catholics too, always have the conflicting knowledge that all merit is achieved by Jesus and His holy Mother. So even in our Sacrament of Reconciliation, a penance might be given to ‘pray one Hail Mary’ 😊 while we wonder if we shouldn’t do more considering our offenses against the perfect Love of God. We are taught in the midst of this holy situation, that we should simply accept our nothingness (though God thinks we are beautiful when we are humble) obediently do the penance that we are given and keep our pride far outside of the Sacrament. God does not pay us for our good works but we are capable of receiving His Grace when we love Him and neighbor.
          I do very much believe in prayer, fasting and almsgiving as a response to luxury and wealth– the proper use of the abundance of God’s gifts. I know it is a way to pray with the efforts of both my body and spirit. It reminds me He is the gift. I can appreciate that you remind us all that the prerequisite to true fasting is forgiveness, concern for our neighbors and family members– and Mercy — knowledge of, applying, teaching, accepting, contemplating and being immersed in God’s Mercy.
          I see the beauty for Catholics, that we are not allowed to fast during the joyous Christmas and Easter seasons, on Sundays and perhaps other solemnities as well. This again, takes our pride out of the equation and reminds us all that we depend on Christ’s Precious Blood alone for our salvation– and His Ressurection is our true joy.
          Preparing simple food, lacking in the elaborate ingredients that you describe, is a good example too, of the virtue of temperance that we might carry forward in our ordinary, day to day prayer life after Easter and beyond. Love–ZJ

          Liked by 5 people

  12. Kris says:

    Hey everyone, I too am glad that the site is now focused on being a sign of hope for all , of course, along with acknowledging God and taking the next right step. I wish I could explain how come I feel such peace and joy and hope for tomorrow. I see the battle raging. I see a ‘soft coup’ on the horizon in our United States if something is not done to stop it. I see all these things. Yet in my heart I see God moving over these pieces of chaos. I stated to some friends this past week that I feel it is all a leveling . The things that people have been able to hide behind are melting away in this leveling chaos. The choices one is making today is either for God or Against God. And we can no longer hide behind something and keep our true selves hidden. Its as if a rain is washing away all the dirt and we are seeing what is in others, and my own, heart. I consider Jesus words about separating the sheep from the goats and I do think this is what is happening now. Those that will chose the world are doing so and those who will stand with Christ are doing that. I think this is why I feel peace. Christ is looking to see who will be in his army. It is a process of signing up and waiting for the orders. This is why peace reigns.

    Liked by 12 people

    • Beckita says:

      Amen, Kris. Amen.

      Liked by 4 people

    • moreen67 says:

      Wow this just hit home today in Bible study just hours ago we are in the Book of Joshua chapter 7 reading about Achan from the tribe of Judah who was trying to hide his sin from his people and God and of course nothing can be hidden from God. One of the attendees brought up when Jesus spoke about separating the sheeps from the goats, etc. Man I really think God lead me to TNRS and my bible study at my parish because what I learn in bible study seems to echo this blog and in a very timely matter and I thank God for this site and the bible study because I’m connected to some really lovely people and I’m very grateful for it. As one of the peeps at bible study ends her e-mails so will I……May God bless you in unexpected ways! Mo

      Liked by 4 people

      • Doug says:

        Arrive. Very O’grateful you are here dear O’Mo.

        Liked by 4 people

        • moreen67 says:

          You are killing me Doug – I have no idea what may come from you on Saint Patrick’s Day. Have a blessed day!

          Liked by 3 people

          • Doug says:

            Well, I have never cut down a fairy tree and if I’m lucky, my good friend, Mr. Dolan, will share some Irish whiskey with me. So I have high hopes for St. Patrick’s day. You know God is Irish because the prayers are always “bless us O’Lord”. See! His name is O’Lord. Just shows you how Irish God is. 😎

            Liked by 5 people

          • moreen67 says:

            Doug – I couldn’t reply to your reply so I’m replying to mine (confused – don’t be). I’m very happy to see that you spelled whiskey correctly (the Irish way instead of whisky – the Scottish way – although through DNA I found out I may be Scottish too). This made me proud of you. I’m actually taking off of work on Friday – because Philadelphia is crazy on St. Patty’s Day and it’s a Friday. Supposedly, my maternal Granny was born on that day so she told everyone but I don’t think the birth records were that great in the 1880’s. She was from a place called Killymard Parish in County Donegal (and I want to go there someday). She came to the States by herself on a ship to the Cassidy’s in Philadelphia – interestingly enough the same year my paternal Grandfather came from Poland by himself and landed in Camden w/the Dombrowski’s (Dabrowski’s) across the river. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it. Mr. Dolan sounds like a nice guy to be sharing his whiskey!

            Liked by 3 people

          • Doug says:

            Actually, I brought the whiskey back from Ireland and gave it to Mr. Dolan as a gift 🙂 I’d love if he shared it with me. I was born in Philadelphia. I lived in Germantown on Pulaski Ave for 5 years. I still have vivid memories from there. I’m Scotch and English in my background.

            Liked by 2 people

          • moreen67 says:

            I was born in Camden Doug so don’t mess with me – ha just kidding. I actually live in the same town I grew up Pennsauken, NJ – someday I’ll live in an area of either my state or world where it’s not a concrete jungle. I love nature. Mo

            Liked by 3 people

    • theresa323 says:

      Kris shall we say seperating the sheep from the Goats.

      Liked by 4 people

    • mdasteel says:

      Kris, I agree. And look at the Catholics surrounding Trump – Conway and Bannon. It seems a miracle to me.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I select a book each lent to read in order to deepen my prayer. I’ve read many Joseph Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI. So much so, I think of him as a good friend. As a Grandpa. Someone so familiar, loving and genuine…I remember when Jesus of Nazareth Holy Week come out. I had it preordered, drove clear across town, and was lucky enough to have it in my hand that Ash Wednesday night.
    Ask yourself if your book is deepening your prayer. This is how I choose now…
    I wish not to be negative, but I feel safe with our group…
    I will not read this book you’re all excited about…. The Archbishop talks out of both sides of his mouth. He frustrates me. There. I said my peace.
    Want to know the treasure I have found to read? Want to know where the Holiest of Spirits has led me? I am truly blessed to rest in the Heart so Sacred, as I pray (read) Behold The Pieced One. My friend, Joseph Ratzinger wrote it. And sometimes I think, just for me…
    Now, some advice reading Ratzinger. There’s a lot I don’t understand…I read through it… Then something touches my heart. I’m a crazy person in love! I pray. I thank The Lord, I question Our Lord, or maybe we cry together…
    Beautiful book. Just got started… Thought I should share…

    Liked by 5 people

    • Beckita says:

      Such a beautiful witness you give to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and his profound and edifying writing. I, too, have been drawn to his works which inspire. I’m sure each of us has been led to particular Catholic writers as they uplift our hearts to seek deeper union with Christ while fostering greater understanding and appreciation of our faith.

      I’m most uncomfortable with the generalized smear against Archbishop Chaput. It’s not a befitting style for this site to simply drop a remark which attacks the reputation of a prelate who has and continues to bring great light and inspiration to Catholics as we strive to live our faith in the public square. What purpose does smearing serve? Does it edify and uplift us as a community?

      Liked by 9 people

      • Phillip Frank says:

        Beckita, it goes back to “judge rightous judgement’ that Charlie and YD mentioned in a previous post. Those who are “judging” and using smear tactics to defame and not edify show a lack of humility, charity and knowledge of real truth but use a “fake news” spin out of moral dificiency.

        Liked by 6 people

      • domerblog says:

        Thank you, Beckita, for defending Cardinal Chaput. I see him as “All in” and it is so important that we defend those who are so eloquently defending the faith as Cardinal Chaput is. As a community, we must show our unity and charity if we are to be light and hope to the world.

        Liked by 7 people

  14. Doug says:

    Theology is very important, but our faith is not a theology, but our faith is a real, living encounter with Jesus Christ. “I am the way, the truth and the life” Jesus said. “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry. Woever believes in me me shall never go thirsty”. Thank you Beckita.

    Liked by 13 people

    • Excellent point, Doug. Too many Catholics/Christians focused on knowledge at the expense of relationship. When I’m out and amongst them with my wife (as I’m sure is the case with you and Lambzie), those who can ‘see’ don’t need my words to know that she is my beloved spouse. That’s not to say that neither of us pursues Knowledge, but I find that knowledge can often degenerate into a game of trivial pursuit, contentiousness, splitting hairs… etc., to the point that some who consider themselves defenders of the Faith are quite often having the opposite effect.

      Less talking about the Faith, more living It!

      I spend a lot of time in the wilderness, grinning silently as I go… but what a lively conversation! When I get back around other folks, I just try to keep that conversation going. Jesus is a Person (obviously not exclusive to me), and He wants us to encounter Him in other people.

      Mother shows us the Way. Rescue follows.

      Liked by 6 people

      • Linda says:

        MichaelPatrick I was just thinking of you the other day..lol.. Praying all is going good for you and your family…. God bless you . We got a lot of snow yesterday… First snow of winter…hahaha. So cool❄️🏂☃⛄️⛷🎿

        Liked by 4 people

        • I take those as nudges to pray. Certainly the battle has been raging from three days before the first leg of the Cross and flag pilgrimage. The kids got hit first with various assaults. Attacks from without. Then, an ill-timed stomach virus nearly derailed my youngest from going. Nonetheless, I prayed for her through the night and following day until we took a later flight to catch up with the family. Mission accomplished acquiring a flag at Pearl Harbor. A school of fish even swam up through the still oily depths to where I was standing by myself on the Memorial. It was poignant. Later, my daughter and I rode horses into the Kualoa Ranch wilderness and we saw a Hawaiian Cardinal with his red topper and gray and white cloak. Made me think of YD, who no doubt continues to remember us all in his prayers. Also, I took that as a prompt to pray for him. I ponder all these little graces in my heart. It’s the stuff that keeps you on your feet when you’re getting knocked around. God Bless.

          Liked by 6 people

          • Linda says:

            Hehehe.. Yes indeed. Nudging you to pray… Lol….my holy hour ends with yours beginning… Have a beautiful and fruitful Hour with Our Lord today MP.😇Let us storm heaven to save us all☺and that Our Besutiful Mother give out life-changing. graces. To all who are in need😊😀😁😂😃😄😅😆😇😉

            Liked by 3 people

          • zeniazenia says:

            I’d wager YD does more than pray for us. I think he has followed Charlie’s lead and reads the blog in the background, without commenting.
            Hi YD– you are in our daily prayers and thank you if you are praying for TNRS. 😊– ZJ

            Liked by 3 people

      • Doug says:

        Very edifying MP. Hmmm. I think that when you get to heaven, you will see all those critters you witnessed to out in the wilderness. I have read of a visionary, Eiline George, who has said you will be able to hear the critters there. They will joyfully bounce out from behind a bush or tree or something, look at you and blurt “I love you” and go on their merry way. My dear Lambzie and I do this to each other. Out of the blue, I/she will say “blurt! I love you!”

        On another note, Eiline George gave a talk at a St. Rita Triduem at our old parish of St. Rita. My Lambzie was pregnant with our son at the time and had progressive severe pain due to adhesions from a major surgery she had 2 years prior. We had great concern. A good friend felt this overwhelming urge to bring rose pedals from the last night of the Triduem to our home and rub them on her belly. That night, all the pain left. Our son was later born healthy. He is 24 now. As I write this, it is another good reminder how God is in control as my son is now my prodigal son. How I grieve. So I must trust even more.

        Anyway, about theology and relationship, I also speak this to myself on this as I still have much to learn.

        Isaiah: “and the lamb will lie down with the lion”

        God bless you!

        Liked by 5 people

        • I prepared all my kids to receive their sacraments and remember the lengths I went to with my middle son to discuss the parable of the Prodigal Son. Really, he seemed like he didn’t pay attention. Since I did all the teaching, we had to go into the Parish for a final Q/A and sign-off by the program coordinator. Among other things, she asked him if he knew anything about that parable. He did. In fact, he recited it to her just the way I recited it to him, with all my “slightly odd” verbal nuances, and with the same kind of animation. He might have even kicked it up a notch. She was floored.

          He’s older now, and I find myself bringing up that parable a lot lately. Yeah, I sigh a bit too and share some of your pain. But here’s the thing: you and I know that story for good reason too, and we know it by heart. I love that parable.

          Liked by 6 people

          • zeniazenia says:

            Good morning MP, I love it too.
            The Prodigal Son parable is the quintessential story about Our Father in Heaven. I might not contemplate all Jesus’ parables on a daily basis, but I do remember this one everyday and usually more than once a day.
            My favorite attribute of God in this story is His role as ‘protector ‘ of the desperately ‘repentant ‘ son– at the lowest point, on the son’s painful way back uphill to the family homestead.
            The father runs down from a far distance to meet the son, to give the ultimate protection between the son and the rowdy crowd consisting of townsfolk and family servants and associates. These people are prepared, and would be more than happy, to form a gauntlet and each take their shot at the returning son by means of that ugly and violent tradition.The crowd backs off and disperses because the father is there now, using his own body to physically protect the son. He puts himself in place of the cursed.
            Beautiful how Our Lord teaches us to compassionately ‘walk our talk’ with each other. Hmm, so necessary. The Church is never ‘either /or’. It is always ‘both / and’. I dare say that ‘walking it’ is the most fun too, or at least is the most rewarding piece of God’s plan. 😊 –ZJ

            Liked by 3 people

          • Doug says:

            Yes MP. That story gives me hope. I now know what it’s like to live it. Right now, it is a grieving process because I feel like my son is dead in a way. Now I know what the scripture truly means when the father said “my son was dead and now is alive”. I pray constantly to get through and hope to reach the alive part. I have no other place to go but to trust our Lord with everything I can muster. God is faith, just and merciful. He also does a much better job at persuasion than me.

            Sounds like a beautiful trip to Hawaii. I am very happy for you and it is a joy to see the love you have for your family.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Beckita says:

            Praying for you and Lambzie and your dear family, Doug.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Doug says:

            Thank you dear Beckita. You are an inspiration.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Beckita says:

            God bless you, Doug.

            Liked by 2 people

    • Snowy Owl says:

      Aaaaaaamen! 😎 and 🤠!! You two are the 💣!💥
      Boy, I sure have a lot of catching up to do in here! Missed many good comments!

      Liked by 3 people

  15. Linda says:

    Snowy Owl…its snowy in Ohio❄️⛄️🎿🏂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Snowy Owl says:

      Linda, we STILL have snow here too… okay… so, I love snow ❄☃ but come-on, it’s time for spring! 🌷🌼🌺

      Liked by 2 people

      • SteveBC says:

        Snowy, here on the Cape we had spring during the winter, and we are now having winter during our spring. I’m not sure just exactly when we will see warm weather. 😀

        Liked by 6 people

        • moreen67 says:

          Same here in Jersey Steve…..my daffodils went from looking happy a few weeks ago to last week they looked depressed (slumped over) now buried under snow ❄:-(

          Liked by 2 people

          • zeniazenia says:

            Steve and moreen, We have so much heavy, frozen, waterlogged snow here I don’t know whether to laugh or cry — and the forecast is for winter temps the next ten days. yikes! One benefit was 2.5 snow days off, which gave me a jumpstart on some pretend (windows remained closed) spring cleaning. 😦

            Liked by 3 people

          • SteveBC says:

            Oh, that’s too bad. We got rain and now freezing cold clear air. I hope our flora did not get too over-eager when times were warm recently.

            Liked by 3 people

          • zeniazenia says:

            Yes, hope not. We lost all peaches last year when that happened.

            Liked by 1 person

        • Mick says:

          We’ve had the exact same situation in Michigan, SteveBC. What gives? 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        • Snowy Owl says:

          SteveBC, we have the same issue going on… it is a strange year…and we even just had a tornado not far from here. I’m at lower end of Northern MN.. and it gets so cold here the land becomes like perma frosted..lol. In the spring the thawing causes the ground to lose all solidity and it’s like walking on the tundra in the spring- it can take over a month for the muddy LaBrea tar pits here to solidify! We even get mudcanoes – like mini volcanoes of mud that ooze up on our roads. Cars can sink in them and get stuck for days. The freeze thaw- freeze thaw is a nightmare this year! If I try to walk across the yard I will sink up over my ankles in mud until it solidifies. It’s odd because once it does solidify no amount of rain in the summer will turn it back into this… only the freezing does this.

          Liked by 2 people

          • zeniazenia says:

            Hi Snowy,
            Interesting, Vermont also has a ‘mud season’. My son and daughter in law will be moving (God answering prayers) and the time between ice and snow on the path up to the cabin, or mud on the road, will be the sweet spot and time to do the job. I was there yesterday and the road was already a bit messy, although engineered somehow. One takes mud into consideration when planning on travel, work or play. Many town roads are not paved so some would swallow a car. Either that or the treacherous wash out.
            Steve on the other hand, has that gorgeous sand. 😎 Back in the day I’d vote for the sand at ‘Head of the meadows’ but I haven’ been there recently and it may change over time. I know each of the six beaches on the National seashore has the feature of a unique type of sand. I like the ‘Goldilocks Sand’, not too fine and sticky and not too rough. Just right — let’s say for a picnic. I’m starting to daydream… but I need to make a call to get the blyejays that have successfully entered the ‘belfry’ . ugh
            What is your elevation Snowy?–z

            Liked by 2 people

          • Snowy Owl says:

            Zenia, I love sand too but here it dries everything to crispy-critters in the summer! MN gets really hot. So extreme. I think our elevation is just above 1000 ft? Not entirely sure on that one. I do know Lake Superior is low…one of the lowest points.. but that’s a little over an hour north of me. Oh a picnic-fun! I can’t wait to hear the birds singing again! Spring! 🌷🐦

            Liked by 1 person

          • Doug says:

            Sand is great for a 90 degree day, lying on a towel next to the ocean, soaking up the sun and pondering how beautiful God’s creation is. Sigh…….

            Liked by 3 people

  16. theresa323 says:

    Here in my part of Pennsylvania about an hours drive from Philadelphia and an hours drive from NYC. Since I live alone and have a rotator cuff problem, I wondered what to do about the 18 inches of snow. I usually shovel it myself, should have invested in a snow blower… I said, a prayer that someone would come to my aid.. Well my neighbors daughter was visiting with her fiance, and he was taking care of the driveway, and he so kindly did my driveway also.. I noticed he had a Notre Dame jacket on and Joe my neighbor said, he is a gradutate… It helped that I have a Shamrock hanging on my door.
    My maiden name McDonald, that side of my family came to Pa. during the Potato famine…to work in the Anthracite coal mines. My Mothers side Krajnak, slovak, they arrived here in the early part of the 20th century.. Both families involved in the Coal Industry… When Oil came in Coal went out… Coal is still the best source of heat.
    God is good, he does answer prayers.

    Happy St. Patrick’s day to all

    May the Irish hills caress you
    May her lakes and rivers bless you
    May the Blessings of St. Patrick behold you.

    Liked by 6 people

    • jlynnbyrd says:

      Happy St. Patrick’s Day Theresa and to all our TNRS family! ❤

      Liked by 4 people

    • Mick says:

      Happy St. Paddy’s Day to you, Theresa (and to all here, especially to our Irish friends across the pond… I’m looking right at you, Jaykay!), and God bless the Fighting Irish-man that shoveled your snow. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • moreen67 says:

      Theresa I’m Polish and Irish – wild my maternal granny (Cassidy) came from Ireland to Philly Cassidys already here by herself at 18 and my Polish paternal grandpa came by himself the same year to the Dombrowski s in Camden across the river.

      I’m so glad you had help with the snow removal!!! Happy St Patrick’s Day🍀. Maureen Dombrowski

      Liked by 1 person

    • zeniazenia says:

      Happy St. Patrick Day theresa. And St. Joseph Day on Sunday 19

      Liked by 2 people

  17. zeniazenia says:

    “Christ be with me, Christ within me,
    Christ behind me, Christ before me,
    Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
    Christ to comfort and restore me,
    Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
    Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
    Christ in hearts of all that love me,
    Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.” St. Patrick

    Liked by 2 people

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