Monday, December 29, 2014

God-Getting in Touch With the Greatest Mystery of All

I love Fr. Lauder's column's in The Tablet, the Diocese of Brooklyn's weekly newspaper. I've been reading his columns for years. I often save articles I like and so I recently came across an article I saved entitled, "In God's Hands: The Mystery of Divine Providence." This morning I started to reread it and it starts like this...."Catholicism is a religion of mysteries. I think immediately of mysteries such as the Blessed Trinity, the Incarnation, the Resurrection and the Eucharist. I believe that one of the great mysteries that the Catholic Church proclaims and celebrates is the mystery of Divine Providence."
I believe from studying the writings of mystical saints for most of my adult life, divine mysteries as the mystics tell us, can only be pierced through love and then only dimly. But through love as many of the mystical saints have written and spoken of, bits and pieces of the greatest mystery of all-the existence of God-can be known through love and revealed truth.
So for me the greatest mystery of all in life has been the knowledge that God exists, that God loves each one of us as if there is no other, and that we can be in relationship with God through love and prayer. As a baptized Catholic, and as someone who has studied the Catholic religion for my entire life (as a child through C.C.D. classes and later as an adult through my own persistence and propelled by my deep faith), I am very grateful that God exists, that God "calls me by name," and that I am in relationship with God and a child of the Most Holy One.  Anyone who denies that misses out on so much in life, in my opinion.
So for the New Year may you connect more with God, who is the greatest of all mysteries and may your prayer life bring you closer and closer to the good, merciful and generous God, who is always close to my heart and I hope to yours.
Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Healing Needed in New York City-Police Officers Make the Ultimate Sacrifice

So much sadness in the city, so close to Christmas. Christmas ruined for the families, friends and colleagues of the slain police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.  And the new year too.
So much evil and violence in the days before Christmas on a Brooklyn street.  I can't imagine the pain and suffering those families are living through, a living nightmare.
The shooter who was obviously mentally ill, is yet another case of someone with mental illness "slipping through the cracks." Why does this keep happening? There must be a better way to identify, treat and follow-up with mentally ill people. They disappear into society until the unthinkable happens.
There is no excuse for this anymore with modern technology. You cannot have mentally ill, violent people on the streets, they have to be treated and helped for their own good and for the good of others.
My prayers go out to the police officers who were killed, their families and to all police officers who protect communities.
This madness has to stop. Yes, police reform and better training is needed. But protesters should not be allowed to chant, threats to police, as they protest. That's wrong and it incites violence.  Also there has to be more consistent help for the mentally ill so as to prevent these kinds of atrocities from happening.
May the souls of those two police officers rest in eternal peace. God be near their distraught families.

Cardinal Dolan's words spoken at the end of Mass on Sunday at St. Patrick's Cathedral, addressed to the congregation and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who was in attendence with Mayor de Blasio.
"Would you tell your officers that God's people gathered at St. Patrick's Cathedral this morning, thundered with prayer with and for them. We love them very much, we mourn with them, we need them, we respect them and we're proud of them and we thank them."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Archdiocese of New York Parish Closings Upset Many Good Catholics

The most sobering thing I read in the recent New York Times article regarding parish closings and mergers in the Archdiocese of New York ("Archdiocese Appears Likely to Shutter More Churches,")  was the statistic that less than 15% of Catholics in the Archdiocese attend Mass on an average Sunday.
"The parish reorganization is being driven by a shortage of priests, financial troubles and declining weekly church attendance....."
What a shame that more Catholics are staying home, or replacing morning Mass (or Saturday evening Mass) with something else. I've been in Manhattan on a Sunday morning and restaurants have lines of people waiting to have breakfast or brunch. Obviously they're not all Catholic. But it seems from the statistics that young Catholics for the most part in trendy neighborhoods of Manhattan have replaced Mass with socializing with friends over a meal or going to the gym. And those are good things of course, if they didn't replace attendance at Mass. In the life of a Catholic, their should be room for both.
It's very disturbing, that the Eucharistic celebration with all its graces and blessings is not important to so many of the baptized.
The Diocese of Brooklyn just started an aggressive media campaign to encourage more Catholics to attend Mass. And that's good. But more is needed.
The world has changed rapidly, more rapidly than any time in history, because of the internet and social media and the Church while remaining true to her teachings has to think "outside the box," and come up with new and innovating programs to encourage the young (and families) to come to Church.
Closing so many parishes at once, sends the wrong signal. Closing parishes that are financially secure and vital is not a good idea, in my opinion. The article states that St. Thomas More Church on the Upper East Side is "vibrant and strong" and filled with young families. Why would that Church be in danger of closing or merging? I don't understand that, so I can imagine the confusion and anger of the parishioners of that parish.
Exploring and finding solutions to the crisis of low Church attendance should be a priority of every diocese, that has that problem.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lacking God-Stephen Hawking-"The Theory of Everything"

I recently went to see the movie, "The Theory of Everything," which has a remarkable cast, especially Eddie Redmayne (32) who plays Stephen Hawking in the movie. Eddie Redmayne should receive an Oscar for his performance, it's that good.
I enjoyed the movie. Redmayne manages to portray the brilliant physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, even though he has to "twist himself" by acting like the professor who suffers in real life from ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).
Stephen Hawking who was only given two years to live, when first diagnosed has managed to become a prolific author and speaker, (aided by technology) yet he doesn't believe in God. Sad for him, because I'm sure in his debilitated state it would give him comfort as belief in God does.
His first wife Jane, who is portrayed as a loving and dedicated wife and mother in the movie, is a believer (Christian) and it puts strain on their marriage because of his atheistic views, as well as his condition.
I saw a quote from her in an article in which she said, "I spent a lot of time in the marriage trying to convince Stephen that he wasn't God." That struck me. There is no question that Stephen Hawking is brilliant, but sadly he's close minded when it comes to belief in a Creator. How someone can study the Universe and cosmology and not realize there has to be a Creator who set it all in motion and keeps it in existence baffles me. There is so much order, diversity, and mathematical exactness in the Universe, can someone as brilliant as Stephen Hawking really believe it's all a coincidence, an accident.
Too much pride, seems to me that's the problem. Pride, one of the deadly sins, its effects can be seen everywhere.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Protesters on the Streets of Manhattan and Near and On Brooklyn Bridge-No Advent Peace

In this beautiful, holy season of Advent when peace should be all around, and there should be the sound of Christmas music and joy, instead on the streets of Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn in NYC, there is confusion, protests, division, misunderstanding and a lack of communication. So sad.
When people feel like there is injustice, when people feel frustrated and angry, then problems begin to surface and literally spill out into the streets.
There has to be change. People have to see each other as children of God, made in the image and likeness of God, people have to respect each other and honor human dignity and the sanctity of human life.
I don't like to see chaos spreading and upsetting the peace of the great city of New York. It doesn't become this great city.
Hopefully some good will come out of the protests in NYC and around the country. (And they will end soon.) In every encounter, every individual has to be dealt with, with respect. Every human being deserves that.
I hope confusion, anger and protests will be replaced with understanding, positive and constructive actions and Christmas joy and peace will return to the streets of NYC. The peace of the Savior. The teachings of the Savior, lived out and applied. Compassion for the marginalized. Please Lord Jesus Come and bring us your peace.