Monday, May 23, 2011

A Thief and a Gift

My Dad is losing more and more of his memories. He can't participate in 'remember when's' anymore. He can't tell me stories of why I was given the name I have or stories of me as a child or trips we went on. He forgets my name and the names of my nieces and nephews. We're losing my Dad, piece by piece. His forgetfulness shakes his confidence. He often denigrates himself and says he's stupid or a dummy. That is hard to hear. He's not and never has been stupid. Forgetting can be a good thing: he's forgotten the bad times, the stressful times. This is the first year that he did not remark on the anniversary of my Mom's death.

I have the opportunity to get to know my Dad in a whole new way. I get to learn a little bit more of his likes and dislikes. I am seeing how he makes light of his suffering and offers it up. I am seeing where I get the goofy, weird side of my personality. I enjoy every single minute that I have with my Dad. That is a tremendous gift.

Dealing with dementia is hard. It will get harder. This is not a fair or easy disease. Please pray for a happy, peaceful death for my Dad.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for those with dementia and strengthen those who take care of them. Amen.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Red Bike

My mother was the buyer of gifts in our house. I can only remember one time when my Dad bought me a gift by himself. He bought me a red bike when I was in second grade or so. It was the Cadillac of bikes. It was a glorious, shiny metallic sparkly red. It had all sorts of bells and whistles: a bell, a back rest and so on. It was truly a thing of beauty. There was a problem though; it was too heavy. We kept our bikes in the basement so I had to carry the bike up and down the steep stairs. My spindly little arms couldn't do it. I tried. How I tried. Unfortunately, the bike had to go back. I ended up getting a Fred Flintstone, plain jane bike, one that I could carry up and down those stairs.

I related this memory to my Dad the other day. It is one of my favorites because first of all, my Dad picked out the red bike and secondly, he picked out the very best bike he could fine. My dad wondered if that memory made me feel sad or if it bothered me to ride that other bike. Not in the least! The knowledge of how much my Dad loves me carried over onto the other bike and I rode it as proudly as if it had been the Cadillac bike.

Somehow, this memory has made me think of the baby I miscarried. God gave me a baby because He loves me. Unfortunately, I was unable to carry her. The sorrow is gone but I still have the joy and the knowledge of God's love for me and I have a baby cradled in the arms of Our Lady. A little saint of my very own. God is good.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


As any marketing executive or parent can tell you, words have an impact- should have an impact. Some words can cause instant joy or instant revulsion. Think of the following list of words:

Child abuse

Each should invoke a shudder; a flinch, a sense of revulsion or horror. That is important, especially in society today. When words are used in a false way or in an inappropriate way for shock value, they lessen the true impact of the word; they change the actual meaning of the word itself.

Lately, I have noticed a trend to use the word 'rape' or 'raped' when meaning haven been taken advantage of; or of having been tricked out or deprived of something. This is an appalling misuse of this word. It does a tremendous disservice to those who have suffered such a brutal, horrible crime. It negates the severity and the shock of such a crime.

Fetus is another word that has been turned by the evil empire, Planned Parenthood, into a scientific and therefore cold and technical word. Never mind that fetus means little one. Although, nothing PP says can be believed since they claim to want abortions to be 'safe, legal and rare'. Thus far, they've only made one of those true: legal.

It is important to think about the words we use and how we use them. I was always chided in school to be careful of too much hyperbole. I'm irish. I like to tell a good story and might exaggerate just a wee bit. But, it can get out of hand. I need to myself watch what I say and say only what I mean.

Be aware of what others say and what they truly mean. As Jesus admonished, let our 'yes' mean 'yes' and our 'no' mean 'no'.

O Mary, conceived without sin, grant us the grace to follow your Son and lead us always to Him.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Defender of the Eucharist

He didn't wear a cape. He didn't draw a crowd or look for applause. He had on a green sweater but a sword and shield would not have looked out of place in his hand. He is a hero and a defender of the Eucharist.

It was easy to tell that the couple sitting just a few rows from me at Sunday evening Mass at the Cathedral weren't Catholic. The woman didn't participate at all, in fact, she seemed in a daze. The man tried to follow along, but there was just something a little off. Something that just felt wrong. I thought briefly about the New Year's day car bomb outside a Christian church in Egypt and that we might become martyrs. When it came time for communion, they stayed back in the pew. There was some discussion between them, the man obviously trying to convince the woman to take the Eucharist. She remained in the pew. He went to receive. He took the Eucharist - the body of Christ - in his hand but didn't consume it. He clenched it in his hand after looking at it for a few seconds. He returned to his seat briefly. He motioned to the woman that they should leave; he was still clenching the Eucharist in his hand. They quickly got up and headed for the door. I was stuck at the opposite end of my pew with the communion line to my immediate left. I could never make it to them before they reached the street.

Just as I was despairing of my inability to do anything I saw him. The man in the green sweater quietly but quickly went after the pair. He retrieved the Eucharist. He is a hero in the truest sense of the word.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Persecution of Christians

21 Christians exiting a Coptic Christian Church in Egypt today were killed shortly after midnight by a car bomb. Terrorist groups had threatened to attack Christians repeatedly in this area. Today, they succeeded.

This is one of many, many recent attacks on Christians and Catholics all over the globe. Attacks on Catholics and Christians have been reported in India, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, the Philippines this past year, just to name a few.

Please pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters and for those who persecute them.

O Mary, conceived without sin, please protect and strengthen our brothers and sister who suffer for their faith in your Son. Convert those who oppose your Son and turn their hearts to His. Amen!