Monday, August 28, 2017

Catastrophe in South Texas-Turns "Hellish" in Texas

The catastrophic flooding and destruction in South Texas from Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath is heartbreaking.  The images of people being rescued from their flooded homes or on top of cars are horrific.  People leaving their flooded homes with one or two bags or nothing, running for their lives from a freak, horrific hurricane, that swirls on and on. Worse than that, some people have sadly died. It's like a never ending nightmare for the people of Houston. When you hear expert meteorologists saying the words 'unprecedented, unusual, the worst its ever been, historic', it should be a wake-up call. Hell is suppose to be filled with fire and demons, but in this case, a "hellish" event is filled with water, falling from the sky in record-breaking amounts. Meteorologists, shaking their heads in disbelief, is not a good sign.

Many years ago I read that climate scientists believe that because of global warming, some parts of the world will experience drought while others will have increased rain. Oh and then there are the storms. They predict more frequent, more intense storms and hurricanes from the warming of the oceans or in this case, the Gulf of Mexico.
I feel compassion for the people of Texas, no one should have to go through what they are going through.
Sometimes a thought enters my head that upsets me. (I do think too much!) What if we are screwing up the earth's atmosphere so much that there is no turning back? I think it's called the tipping point and climate scientists have brought up the idea.  At some point we could destroy the earth's ecological balance to the point of no return. And what if, at that point even God doesn't intervene. What if it just unfolds, just like this hellish nightmare is unfolding in Texas, because God's beautiful creation wasn't cared for, appreciated or respected by human beings.
Christians are suppose to be people of hope. But August wasn't a good month for me, or for others. I can't wait for it to be over.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

My "Summer of Hell"

Well unfortunately, it turned out to be the "Summer of Hell," for me. Of course that term was coined to express mass transit delays for NYC transit, because of train and station repairs and I thought when I first heard it, that's very negative. Well, I didn't think it would affect me personally, since I don't commute daily.  And for the first half of my summer, all was well. And then out of nowhere, bad news came. Everyone is OK but I don't like dealing with a crisis but there it was. My son was suppose to get married in two weeks but the wedding was postponed, just like that. One day all was well, plans were going great, the Church was set, the priest was wonderful who would preside, the reception and everything seemed splendid, until it wasn't. Just like that a crisis. The "Summer of Hell" unfolded.
Well, this is why I pray, why I belong to a prayer group and have friends and family members who pray for me and my family. Because out of nowhere, problems can surface, in a moment. Just when everything seems fine, it's not.
I can't imagine life without prayer. I wouldn't survive it. There is just too much uncertainty in life.
So I pray for my son, for the nice girl he was going to marry and pray that everything unfolds from here according to God's plan. It's in God's hands now.
But I would have preferred a nicer, calmer summer. I didn't want all this drama. Of course people have it worse and I hate to even complain.  My relationship with God is always the anchor in my life. Thank God for that! My prayer life is always there to save me, for whatever unexpected things happen.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Warning from the "Benedict Option" Unfolding in Real Time

In my last blog post I asked if Rod Dreher's book, "The Benedict Option," was too dire. I still don't know the answer to that but a question that haunts me is, "Do young people feel they need God or religious services or Mass?" I would hope they do. I certainly do, but young people have grown up in a different world and that world is changing quickly and drastically. Young people certainly need their smartphones, they can't live without them. I think of the strange cases I've read in the news.  A young woman who was recently electrocuted in the bathtub while charging her phone, while using an electrical cord. Sadly she died. Or teenagers who have thrown fits if their parents take away their phones even for a short time. Other young people have jumped into rivers trying to retrieve their phones. It's a crazy world. And no one can predict where it's all going.

Rod Dreher predicts that unless something changes, our churches will suffer greatly in the future. Yesterday in the New York Times was an article entitled, "Eighteen Shuttered Catholic Churches May Soon Be Up For Sale," by Luis Ferre-Sadurni. It tells of the deconsecration of churches in the Archdiocese of New York, churches that were closed in 2015. "Fifteen of the churches were closed in 2015, when the archdiocese consolidated more than 140 parishes and closed nearly 40 churches. Ten of the 18 deconsecrated churches are in Manhattan, three are in Westchester, two are in Duchess County, two in the Bronx and one is in Sullivan County." Some of the churches might be sold to make way for luxury apartment houses or hotels, as has been done in the past. Manhattan real estate especially, is very valuable. It is estimated that the property that St. Elizabeth of Hungary (UES of Manhattan) sits on is worth more than $25 million.
The revenues from sale of church property would go to the parish that owned it. It's still sad for parishioners who become very attached to their churches and many try to fight the closing.
But as dedicated, long time parishioners die, the reality is young people are not taking their place. If you go to Manhattan on a Sunday morning, you will see lines of young people waiting to have brunch,  some may have gone to Church beforehand but not enough.