So, going back to an old blog type; If we were sharing a cup of coffee, I would tell how hard it has been to keep up with the blogging! I can give a bunch of excuses; my laptop went on the fritz; it took awhile to get my new IPad up and running. And I could finally admit that I really having a bad dry spell.
But over a cup of coffee, I would share that on this weekend, here on Cape Cod, I am feeling at least a little inspiration. The Franciscan in me has been more aware of the beauty of God’s creation that surrounds me.
O praise and bless my Lord, thank him and serve humbly and grandly,
Excerpts from The Canticle of the Creatures by Saint Francis of Assisi!
The coffee cup is empty, and time to get ready for the next. May the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all!
Welcome! Here is a cup of coffee, hot off the Keurig. Today, I want to share experiences from last weekend. Last Saturday, the second Saturday of the month, my Secular Franciscan fraternity holds its monthly meeting. It is held at Saint Anthony’s Shrine, located in downtown Boston, MA. I have been trying to attend this meeting more regularly; so, I was up early in the morning, grabbing a commuter train. I transferred to the subway, and got off at Downtown Crossing, Boston.
I came early into the city; so I would be able to walk around the area before the meeting. It had been a while since I had made such a walk about. The biggest change in the neighborhood, is the Millennium Tower. Built in the space where the famous Filene’s Department Store once stood, it is a very, very tall high-rise building. It houses department stores, offices, and condominium apartments. I have not been around the entire building, so I was amazed at the changes I saw! One thing that really stood out for me; was the number of coffee shops that are in neighborhood now! I am not talking about an increase in the number of Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks; but places like Caffe Nero. One can imagine the amount of caffeine flowing through the veins of the residents and office workers!
One stop that I had to make was the Bromfield Pen Shop, which is located, where else? On Bromfield Street! It has the largest collection writing instruments, including fountain pens, I have ever seen. And the most expensive collection of pens I have ever seen! I like looking over their pens, and the notebooks and journals they sell also. Sadly, I have only been able to purchase a Pelikano Junior, a very sturdy plastic fountain pen. I purchased a new box of ink cartridges for it, and with a wistful look behind me, left the shop.
I continued to walk up Bromfield St., towards Tremont St., which forms one border of the Boston Common. My intention was to visit the Episcopal St. Paul Cathedral. The church was established in 1819, as an Episcopalian parish. In 1912, St. Paul’s was designated as the Cathedral Church of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts. When I worked in the Downtown, I would visit St. Paul’s on a regular basis; I found the quiet interior to be conducive to meditation. Back then, it still had, what I would call, cubicle seating. The pews arranged and separated by stalls. I had heard that the cathedral church was going to be renovated, and I wanted to see the result. When I entered the main church, I was stunned! Gone were the pews, the memorial plaques on the walls, the altar rail. It was wide open space, with stackable, plain chairs arranged for some service. The interior was flooded with natural light, streaming from the skylights above. And in the center, was a labyrinth. Music flooded the church, as an organist was playing at the organ in the chancel of the Cathedral. I still had a very peaceful experience during my time there.
I left the Cathedral and made my way to the Shrine, to attend the 12:00 Noon Mass, with the rest of the fraternity. I had forgotten that this Mass was going to be a special one, because we were celebrating a Profession. A young man, Bobby Hillis, was going to profess his intention to live the Gospel life, in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, by following the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order. For about a year and half, he has been in formation, learning what it means to be a Franciscan; in his personal life; his life in the Church; his life in the world. After the homily, before the Franciscan priest, who was our celebrant, and our fraternity Minister, and the whole Fraternity, he declared:
I, Bobby Hillis, by the grace of God, renew my baptismal promises and consecrate myself to the service of his Kingdom. Therefore, in my secular state I promise to live all the days of my life the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Secular Franciscan Order by observing its rule of life. May the grace of the Holy Spirit, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and our holy father St. Francis, and the fraternal bonds of community always be my help, so that I may reach the goal of perfect Christian love.
[Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order, pp. 23 & 24.]
After the Profession Mass, we all gathered in the Shrine’s auditorium for a celebratory luncheon. For anytime a new member is professed, it “is a cause of great joy and hope for all the members of the community and for the whole Church.” (Ritual, p. 24)
So that was my trip into downtown Boston; now the coffee cups have to go into the dishwasher rack. Hope to see you again next week.
Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you my sadness over the natural disasters that have afflicted this part of our world. Three hurricanes tearing apart the Caribbean, Mexico, Texas and Florida. Mexico then was hit by an earthquake, that caused further destruction and death.
It is sad that it takes disasters like this to bring this country together for a common cause of bringing relief to fellow citizens in desperate need. Yet, it is also heartwarming to see that concern for others, and the efforts being made to get aid to the suffering. My prayers go out for those who have died; for the mourning loved ones left behind; and for those who survived and are trying to rebuild their lives.
Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you that this posting being on a new computer I have been able to acquire a new computer. Both the desktop that I have had for almost a decade, and a used laptop I inherited, can no longer accept the anti-virus and system updates. So when I have been able to post, it has been with my IPhone; and I have learned that I do not have the thumbs for typing, that younger folks have. So we came into a little extra money, that enabled me to get this little Dell laptop. So now I have no excuse not to be a more frequent blogger.
As I fill up the cups with more joe, I would share with you that yesterday, Saturday, I attended another monthly meeting of my Secular Franciscan fraternity, located at St. Anthony Shrine, in Boston. I may have written that it is becoming important for me to get back to my Franciscan roots; and one way is to being a part of the fraternity again. This particular meeting was important, since we were having our chapter of elections. Every three years, the professed members gather to elect a minister and council, who will help guide us on our Franciscan journey. It can be a long process, but it does draws us all closer as a fraternity. My prayers go out for those who were elected, that the Holy Spirit will give them wisdom, an increase in patience and charity, for the next three years.
Well, the cups are empty, and I started this post way too late. So, I promise to be more timely, and more frequent. And I will definitely see you next week over a cup of coffee. Peace and all good!
Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you how upset I have been over the events in Charlottesville, VA. I had hope that we had outgrown the white supremacist movement; and the racism and hatred it generates. But, that appears not to be happening. We know we must confront it, but we need to realize we cannot use the same tactics. We, as a nation, are better than the racists in our midst.
Over a cup of coffee, I would share that earlier last week, my wife and I were still on Cape Cod, MA, with members of her family. While there, we paid a visit to Provincetown, located on the northern tip of the Cape. Let us say, it is one of most unique communities in the Commonwealth, maybe in the country. When you walk through the town streets, you are in the midst of a diverse crowds of people. It can be a very interesting time.
Over a cup of coffee, I would share that I have increased the number of books I have read. Trying to spend more time with a book in my hands, rather than an IPhone.
Yesterday, I attended a meeting of my Secular Franciscan fraternity. It has been awhile, but I needed to get back in touch with my Franciscan spiritual roots. The Secular Franciscan Order is a lay branch of the Franciscan Movement. It was good to see old friends again.
Well, the cups are in the dishwasher rack. I will see you again next week.
Here is a cup of coffee, fresh from the Keurig. This weekend my wife, Peg, and I are at her parent’s home on Cape Cod. The trip down was a little wet; but it dried up when we crossed the Cape Cod Canal over the Bourne Bridge. The weather today was cool and sunny.
August is the month my wife’s siblings and their families gather for a get together. It is a time to re-establish contacts with each other.
For me, it is also time for a bit of retreat; to catch up on my reading and to enjoy the peace and quiet of the Cape.
Over a cup of coffee, I would share that I am currently reading a book by Krista Tippett, host of the public radio program, “On Being,” entitled “Speaking of Faith;” which was the original name of the program. In the book, she shares how she came to rediscover the importance of spirituality in human life, and in her life especially. She shares some of the insights she has received through her interviews with people of all walks of life and faiths. I hope to share insights I have received in future postings.
Over a cup of coffee, I would share that I intend to read more books during the rest of this year. I have entered a reading challenge on my Goodreads site for 2017. I have aimed low, intending to read 8 books between now and the end of the year. Hopefully, I will have exceeded that goal when New Year’s Eve 2018 comes around.
Over a cup of coffee, I would share that I am still looking for a new deacon assignment. It feels different participating in the Mass as a member of the congregation, and not at the altar. And actually, that is not a bad thing. Hopefully, by the end of next month, there will be a change in the situation.
Well, the cup is empty and in the dishwasher rack. Until the next time; blessings and all good.
The water is heated in the Keruig, and coffee is pouring into the cup.
The unpacking is pretty much done, all the cardboard boxes broken down and tossed away. My books are on the shelves, the ones that survived the culling. Lately, I have come to the realization that I have not read as many books as I used to. Now, a lot of my reading is done with this darn smartphone. I am determined to change that, catch up on the unread books, revisit the read ones. And hopefully, I will recapture the joy of holding a printed work in my hands.
I am still working at getting a new deacon assignment here in the South Shore. There are some leads, we will just have to let the process workout.
Over a cup of coffee, I would first apologize to you, then say: “THE N.E. PATRIOTS ARE GOING TO SUPER BOWL!!!” There; sorry, but I had to get that out of my system!
Now, over a cup of coffee, I would share with you my concerns over the Presidential Inauguration that took place last Friday in Washington D.C. Never in my life, have I been more worried about the person whom the nation has elected to guide it for the next four years; and there have been some past Presidents, that while I may have fiercely disagreed with them, I respected them.
Of equal concern to me has been the type of nation that this election has revealed. Public television recently showed a program, entitled “The Divided State of America.” We seem to be a country that is more separated, that is more angry, and refuses to speak to another, in a respectful manner. Even in the American Catholic Church, there is little agreement; a survey of Catholics who voted showed that a majority of white Catholics voted for Trump; a majority of Latino Catholics voted for Clinton. It is interesting that in today’s Sunday reading from St. Paul’s First Letter to Corinthians had this statement:
For it has been reported to me about you, my brothers and sisters, by Chloe’s people, that there are rivalries among you. I mean that each of you is saying, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ.’ Is Christ divided?
Could we change the wording, and have “each of you is saying, ‘I am for Trump,’ or ‘I am for Clinton.’ Is Christ divided?” We, as a community of believers, need to realize, need to experience that around the altar of the Lord, we are one with Christ; we are all united in the Body of Christ. This is something we all need to work for.
Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you that the Catholic Church, and many of the Christian churches are in the middle of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Acknowledging that we are a divided worldwide community of believers; many people are working to find a path to unity. We realize that we need prayer, because apart from Christ, not drawing on the power of His grace, we can achieve little. Before I carry my empty cup to the sink, I leave you with a prayer that was distributed in 2008:
O God, source of perfect unity, pour out your grace upon your Church at prayer. Heal the divisions and mistrust past years have wrought among your children. We pray without ceasing for conversion of heart and a deeper faithfulness to the gospel. We pray for a closer relationship with Christ Jesus who prayed ‘that all may be one.’ Fill us with the desire to unite ourselves to his prayer of unity. May we live as one, as you are one, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Over a cup of coffee, I would share that I am typing this on my IPhone. We just had the our carpet washed, and I am nervous about having the laptop power cord laying on it. I am still trying to get my thumbs trained.
Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you my reactions to this post election period. Again, I have been through many post presidential elections periods; never have I been through one like we currently are. I am still trying to be open and giving this coming administration a chance; but the actions of the President-elect is not making it easy. And now the other side is engaging in the very actions they accused the Trump campaign of trying to do; delegitimize the election.
Over a cup of coffee, I want to share something a fellow deacon, who is a theologian and author, Deacon William Ditewig. On his blog billditewig.wordpress.com. He suggests we take the following actions:
- We must be active agents of peace and reconciliation.
- We must move beyond categories of ‘winners’ and ‘losers.’
- We can offer opportunities for listening and dialogue with the view towards reconciliation.
- How might we all become even more involved in the local political scene…We all have a responsibility to do something and not just complain about things.
Finally, he suggests, and I concur, that no matter if we are Democrats or Republicans; liberals or conservatives; we come together, when we gather around the Eucharistic Table. We need to remember that in Christ, we are all brothers and sisters, we are all one.
Well, the cup’s empty, see you soon over a cup of coffee.
Good day! I usually meet you all on the weekend over a cup of coffee. However, if we were having a cup right now; I would tell you that yesterday, I jammed the tips of my fingers in a closing door. My pastor had to rush off to a wake service, after Sunday Mass. I volunteered to check our main doors, to make sure they were locked up tight. One set of doors did not seem right, so I pushed them open a bit. Still do not remember exactly what happened, but suddenly my left hand fingers were caught in the doors. There is no serious damage, a little bruising under one nail, and the fingertips are still a little sore. So it has been a little painful typing yesterday. Right now, I am using my thumbs on my mobile phone. Not quite sure this is an improvement.
Over a cup of coffee, I would tell that we had our first snow of the year! It was only a dusting, but I still had to brush our car off.
Over a cup of coffee, I would share with you my growing anxiety about this presidential transition. I have through a dozen presidential elections; and I do not remember it ever being like this. I have in the past reserved judgment until a new administration was up in running. But this transition, the opinions of people that they are bringing into government, quite frankly, scare me.
As I write this, I am watching a beautiful sunrise. I remember a quote from the writings of English mystic, Julian of Norwich: “All will be well, all will be well.” See you soon over a cup of coffee.