Friday, May 31, 2013

+ Kathleen Scarrow

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord!

Her legacy was love.

It was charity.

At the wake at Wasik Funeral Home in Warren, MI., a crowd shared how Kathy touched their lives personally.

"She always was right there with the person she was talking with."

"I knew she was a counselor who cared."

"Amid problems, she was happy, smiling."

"She knew how to have fun."

"She shook the tambourines with confidence at this shop to attract shoppers."

"Kathy loved us."

At the lunch after the burial, people continued to share Kathy's legacy.

No U-hauls, I thought, as each spoke.  Nothing goes with us as we pass over.

Nothing.  Only one's soul.

Nope, just the charity we're called to be by the Creator.

I better get with the program, no?

Eternal rest grant unto Kathy, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her.  May she rest in peace.
And, may we strive to emulate her virtues, strengths and more.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Guess Who Is Coming to Dinner?

Sunday's Scriptures: Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

Genesis 14:18-20         Psalm 110      I Corinthians 11:23-26        Luke 9:11-17

Guess who is coming to dinner?

Have you ever?

How about someone like Melchizedek who welcomes Abram with traditional eastern hospitality: food and drink.

Bonds are built.

Meals are like that, you know.

God and Abram are blessed by Melchizedek. And, in turn, God blesses with abundant life, favor, and power to give life.  Participants, reciprocate blessing God, giving thanks and praise for these gifts.

Eucharist, from the Greek, means thanksgiving, after all.

And, it's communal in the common "work" of the people. Liturgy means the "work" of the worshippers.

This gathering is about the elements of bread and wine becoming the Body of Christ that we Catholics believe. The Body of Christ is all of us also.

"Make of your hands a throne to receive who you are, the Body of Christ," reminded Saint Augustine, telling the faithful.

Take, eat, drink, be the Body of Christ today in a world that needs you dear graduates, that welcomes your calm and conflict-resolving ways.

Come, eat and drink.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Reading, Arithmetic, and. . .

It's coming soon to Big Jack's Grille in Roseville, MI.

Family education.

With dad, mom, and the kids, of course altogether in one room.

Facilitators will enable parents to read to their children from early on in childhood, and beyond.
Imagine dad placing the three-year-old on his lap and reading for a few minutes.

Watch the baby's eyes light up!  Not to mention his or her ears.

Stand by.

It's set for the first Monday and Wednesday of June at 6:30 pm for an hour.

Come one. 

Come all.

But, be sure to bring the family household to read.  All or some will do.

Sandra Bell and I will assist you to help you learn to teach your child to read.

And, when school bell's ring for you Monday and Wednesday, bring a favorite child's book you like, OK?

School bells ringing, children and parents singing. . .

Saturday, May 25, 2013



Mass Celebration of the  Blessed Trinity, including the Maker this Memorial Day Weekend, the One Who Bought us Back, and the Holy Ghost!  +  Father, Son and Holy Ghost!

What are the three parts of an egg?

(A shell, yoke and albumin, no?)  Three parts making up a whole (WHOLE) like the Trinity sprinkled through the Sacred Scriptures).

Or think of a three-leaf clover!

Or....any other examples?

Delight and play are highlighted in today's Proverbs, chapter 8.  In Proverbs, we hear:

"Oh you simple, understand wisdom; and fool, be you of an understanding heart."

Often I hear people I counsel say things like:

"He's a pig!"  (Referring to alcohol attachment disorder that Saints Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross refer to as a diagnosis long before  Sigmund Freud).

No delight let alone intimacy in that statement. Not a kindly statement, is it?

Yet, the bible character, Wisdom/Sophia takes delight in God and God in Sophia, and in you  and me, despite sin and expectations that write people off.

We are saved by faith, Paul reminds us in Romans. We are.  Faith is like that, no?

Even our afflictions, sickness, and sufferings, shut-in seniors, lonely teens or single young adults, and more, build character, endurance and evergreen hope, for sure.

God says so.  Believe the Creator.

How true, no?

While a disease of lethargy seems to enfold this culture today amid the delight and intimacy in the bible, we can stand together in solidarity and strength.

Bishop Fulton Sheen said that all religious people can come together and pray on our knees, beyond one religion.  We can.

You also.

Yes, the feminine wisdom, Sophia is the internally harmonic song of God that alone gives meaning and purpose, fullness of life! Proverb's instructions are for us.  You and me!

The fragile vine of John 16 is not ready to bear such heavy fruit.  Saint John attempts to link Jesus' disciples with creation of self and others before the foundations of the earth and world were made.

How awesome is that?

That God is so intimate with you and me, and loves us with an understanding heart so tenderly

Play, delight in the Lord this Memorial Day.
And, pledge to commit anew at this table of the Word and Sacrament, the Eucharist!

Intimacy and delight humming in the harmony of God, Detroit and this region with beloved disciples as the Trappist Thomas Merton reminds.

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!


Friday, May 24, 2013

Each Soldier is Every Soldier

Memorial Day.

Mindful of one soldier in London.

I am mindful of all of them.

The murdered father in London represents all soldiers.

Memories of my brother, Lukas, killed in Vietnam, emerge also, among others we recall.

He is a soldier who represents every soldier.

All are related.

Like one circle, all defenders come together to protect.

It is fitting that such a day fill our hearts and minds with memory of dedicated men and women who secure this Nation.

Although the wound never seems to heal, the void gets smaller and less overwhelming in my mind.

At 23, his life unfolded.  Yet, his country called. And, he responded as every other soldier does.

May we mark this Memorial Day with the resolve to uphold all of life everywhere.

Rest in peace.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Where two or three are gathered

Repeatedly, the suggestion that "where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am," by Jesus, finds me nodding in agreement.

Relationships form and develop at that level.

From there, other possibilities emerge.

Small groups of people praying, discussing a book, growing out of destructive ways, and more, best build relationships.

The foundation begins in homes, of course.  In that small group that moves outward.

Catholic social thought is often identified with the common good throughout its history.  This sweeping idea, however, must be matched by groups of two or three who take up the task of building a better society.

Jim Wallis and other Protestants use the term.  That is evidence enough of the intellectual advance of Catholic social teaching across Christian confessions.  In fact, Pope John Paul II defined the common good as the "good of all and of each individual, because we are really responsible for all."

Such thinking is a formula for flourishing communities.

Christianity is a clarion call to a relationship that changes all other relationships.  It begins, however, at the basic level of two or three individuals who are committed to meet.

For large groups to be fruitful in the faith, small cells must prevail originally.

Monday, May 20, 2013

On the Rise Bakery

Sponsored by the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, On the Rise Bakery at 6110 McClellan at Gratiot in Detroit, each purchase of its baked goods helps with their housing, training, counseling services, education and self-help programs.

The ROPE program, reaching our potential everyday, is a residential baker's training program providing skills in a safe and supportive environment.

And, the participants are on the rise in their personal lives and in the neighborhood they serve.

They believe and embrace five core values, including sobriety, humility, spirituality, brother and sisterhood and generosity.

Like companions on the journey, they learn to bake and work with volunteers side by side.

For more information, call (313) 922 8510.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Fire of God's Love this Pentecost

Fulton J. Sheen once noted that although we are God's chosen people, so often we behave more like frozen people.

Frozen in our prayer life, in the way we relate with one another, in the way we celebrate our faith.

We seem unhappy to be in God's house.

We are always in a hurry to get it over and done with as quickly as possible.

Today is a day to ask the Holy Spirit to rekindle in us the spirit of new life and enthusiasm, the fire of God's love.

This is the climax of our Easter celebration, Pentecost, meaning "fifty days" after the Passover -- the feast day  in which Jewish people marked the giving of the law on Mount Sinai.  Here the tribes of Israel entered into covenant with God and with one another and became the people of God. 

"There is a way that seems right to a people, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12).

The tale of the Tower of Babel in Genesis was an attempt to build a bridge to heaven.

But, God came and confused the languages of the people.  Misunderstanding ensued.

Pentecost is a reversal of Babel.  God builds a bridge to humans by sending the Holy Spirit - a divine initiative.

Babel was a requiem of confusion while Pentecost is a chorus of mutual understanding and grace.

At Pentecost people of different ethnic backgrounds  (Persians, Asians, Romans, Libyans, Arabs) came together unable to communicate, but after the miracle of Pentecost, they affirmed:

"Are not all of these who are speaking Galileans?  How is it that we hear them, each of us in our own language?"  (Acts 2:7-8)

LOVE is this eternal language.

Let us begin again.

And, we will rediscover fire for the second time.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Picking A Pope

Plenty of ink tells how Pope Francis was selected to lead the Catholic Church.

The Argentine's four-minute speech in Italian to the General Congregation on March 7 won the cardinals over. 

The inner life needed to steer to issues of poverty and injustice. 

Authenticity mattered, and, Cardinal Bergoglio's proved that.

Before that, others stacked the deck to fill the role of Pope.

Conversations and dinners in small groups convinced the cardinals to elect Francis.

An outsider would work best to deal with the elephant in the living room amid a fortress mentality called for by other contenders who wanted to hunker down.

Francis wanted to reach out to the people of God.

And, he is.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Meaningful Living

Without meaning, or, a purpose for living each day, life seems futile.

While suicides are up along with diabetes, and an epidemic of obesity, let alone violence everywhere these days, I know people who fill their lives with a reason to live for daily.

That makes all the difference in the world.

It does.

A visit to the jail, to Detroit's Gratiot and McClellan's delicious On the Rise Bakery managed by the Capuchins, a chat with someone in the hospital, or, homebound, I find that that I come away from these experiences more blessed.

Purpose is fulfilling.

It makes one feel appreciated and satisfied along the way.

Whether thirty or fifty-four, or more, a reason to live for can fuel's anyone's life through a travail of tears, turns and twists, and, unexpected, even, life-threatening news.

Purpose with a prayer each day puts me in place to know who I am.  That is, that I am a creature who can do something to make a difference.

I try each day.

It's a deciding factor between happiness and despair.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day, the Church, and Leaders

An ounce of mother is worth more than a pound of clergy, a Spanish saying goes.

How true.

Mothers are like that.

They are.

Parishioners were all enthused about their own mother this Mother's Day celebrating with the Ascension of Jesus into heaven.

Jesus' disciples were feeling abandoned when he left them to fulfill his ministry now. 

When one's mom passes, parishioners feel that loss also.

Grieving is like that.

It's a normal and natural process by which one get through the tunnel, as it were, of a significant loss.

Much like the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel.  I can't wait to see light at the end of that stretch in the dark.

Loss is like that.

One does get through it, however.

But, it does take time.

After Mass, a parishioners told me that she felt "abandoned" at the leaving of her pastor weeks ago.

Human emotions emerged for many this Mother's Day.

Caregivers tend to give and give.

Glimpses of the great love of God for us shines in small ways in moms, in Mary, the Mother of God, who Catholics revere, and in pastors who lead Catholic parishes in trying times.

Pastors are expected to lead large sprawling parishes, schools, and more with dwindling clergy.
There has to be another way to prevent "burn out" and the like for the selfless leaders who do have limited energy. 

Imagination could see the Church through these trying times and personnel shortages.

And, clergy could feel more support also.

I hope bishops will step up to the plate and ask the Vatican to imagine other ways of assisting clergy who are overworked these days.  Enough is enough for any idealistic clergyman.

Parishioners want to help, but, their lead has to come from bishops who approach the Vatican with this epidemic.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spring and a Garden

The bright sun and beaming light everywhere delights me no end.

A warm, cool breeze of air matches well.  I like what I feel.

Fresh air of spring.

Spring has come.

And, so has a garden of onions, beets, peas and squash, let alone the marigolds and geraniums already in full bloom.


There's something about color that appeals to the senses.

Color adds much to the environment.

And, to one's spirit.

Awaiting summer becomes even more imaginable.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Meaningful Living Daily

The rise in the suicide rate in this country is alarming to me.

In 2010 there were over 38,000 suicides.

Way up on the national norm.

What gives?

What accounts for the hike?

Are more head traumas from returning soldiers the reason?  With brain injuries up from explosive devices, soldiers continue to be victims of the consequences of embattled nations.

It seems that meaning, and, one's search for it, is key to wellness.

The thirst  for Meaning, for God, pervades one's life.  Otherwise, others thirsts get in the way in the lust of money, power or sex.

That's why the search requires companions on the road, so to speak, and, mentors, parents, spiritual directors, significant role models.

The Trappist monk, Thomas Merton's No Man Is An Island was popular while I was in high school.

Communion intertwines each of us with one another.  When classmates, among others, said they didn't need anyone, I wondered.  Such statements stem from hurt or injustice and anger about relationships.

Merton notes:

"Therefore the meaning of my life is not to be looked for merely in the sum of my own achievements.  It is seen only in the complete integration of my achievements and failures wit the achievements and failures of my own generation, and society, and time.  It's seen, above all in my integration in the Mystery of Christ.  That was what the poet John Donne realized during a serious illness when he heard the death knell tolling for another.  "The Church is Catholic, Universal," he said, "so all her actions, all that she does belongs to all...Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon occasion rings?  But who can remove it from that bell which is passing of piece of himself out of this world?"

Suicide is very much like cancer's growing within someone.  Often, however, few, if anyone knows of suicidal ideations in those we live or work with daily.

Helpful comments from Merton about meaningfulness, include:

"It is useless to try to make peace with ourselves by being pleased wit everything we have done.  In order to settle down in the quiet of our own being we must learn to be detached from the results of our own activity.  We must withdraw ourselves, to some extent, from effects that are beyond our control and be content with the good will and the work that are the quiet expression of our inner life.  We must be content to live without watching ourselves live, to work without expecting an immediate reward, to love without an instantaneous satisfaction, and to exist without any special recognition."

"We have to learn to commune with ourselves before we can communicate with other men and with God.  A man who is not at peace with self necessarily projects his interior fighting into the society of those he lives with, and spreads a contagion of conflict all around him."

Thursday, May 2, 2013

National Day of Prayer

At the Roseville, MI., City Council Chambers this noon, clergy among others will pray.

For the American media, I will pray:

That  truth, your Truth, O God prevail in the letters of our alphabet, in the words, paragraphs and sentences crafted by writers, journalists, broadcasters, computer users.

That youngsters be led, supervised and steered on computers.  Help them, O God, to go down paths of fruitfulness beyond predatory destruction, and more.

Assist parents in placing computers in public places at home to make children accountable.

Steer television broadcasters, and more, to enlighten a dark world with lasting life and love beyond the passing fads, styles and fashioners that come and go.

Guide all forms of media, O God, in your way, truth and life.

Bring us to a place of light, only your Light.

On this National Day of Prayer, O God, help us to be on your side always for the common good, and, for communicating only for the common good of all.


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Career Change, Conversion, Morphing and Mending

Paths change.  Like jobs, choices of faith persuasions. 


Hearts do also.

People are like that.

Unless they're satisfied, they move, search and seek something, Someone else.

Take, for example, the Trappist Father Thomas Merton born in France.  His parents, he notes, did not like the Protestant cenacles in France.  Hid dad died a good Anglican, Merton notes.

Tom Merton protested the liberal teaching he received at Oakham School in an Anglican school in England.  It had no substance, and "I proudly assumed that this was the case with all religions, and obstinately set my face against all churches."

Until 1938 Merton "gradually passed from being anti-clerical and became a complete unbeliever," by his own admission in his, "A Life in Letters."

Merton confesses that his path was disastrous:  "My only concern was with earthly thing: thinking myself passionately devoted to justice and liberty I began to take an interest in atheistic communism, and, for a while, I held the doctrines of radicalism, concerning religious institutions: namely that they were purely the result of social and historical forces and, however well-meaning their adherents, they were nothing more than social groups, which the rich made us of to oppress the poor!"

Amid his confusion, he studied Jacques Maritain, and, began to go to Mass at Corpus Christi Church in New York and was baptized Nov. 16, 1938.

Eventually, Merton chose a life of quiet solitude as a Trappist monk in Gethsemane, Kentucky, a favorite place of mine for retreat and reflection.