Fear of Change

When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?” Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region. – Matthew 8: 28-34

After such a display of power toward good, why would the townspeople ask Jesus to leave? For one thing, only God can forgive sins and drive demons out. All others who are empowered by ordination to do so, must do so in God’s name. For only through His power can the conduit, man, forgive sins. But, here, Jesus appealed not to God, but simply fulfilled the demons request to be sent into the herd of swine in saying, “Go.” This frightened the people because they understood the power of evil that possessed these men who terrorized their community, but were astounded by Jesus’ power over that evil. By this event it was prudent to assume that things would not and could not remain the same. What gave Him this authority? And what might He expect from them should they welcome Him? Nothing was expected, but hoped. The hope that all who saw what He has accomplished and heard His word would turn from sin and do the will of God the Father. For that is why He came into the world; to free men from sin, thereby securing for all who would believe in the Son, their  inheritance of life everlasting. But for many then, as is true today, to give up our ways is too much to ask; even for such a divine promise. For those in this category, the Holy Trinity is no longer composed of three persons; The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but, rather of one person; Me, Myself and I.

 “And the pig, because it parts the hoof but does not chew the cud, is unclean for you. Their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch.” –  Deuteronomy: 14:8

Under the Old Testament Law, even touching the meat of swine made one ritually unclean.

The demons asked Jesus to send them into the swine and to no other, for they knew well the law, and were innately compelled to ask for the only host that befit their nature. The swine when infected by the demons immediately ran down the steep hill and drowned. We who covet possessions can become possessed by them. And as in the event above we alone cannot release ourselves from their grip as the two possessed souls could not. But, with Jesus, they were immediately saved. Evil cannot become a part of us unless we give our permission. As is evident in any vampire film made; that evil cannot enter one’s home unless invited. So, too, the evil of sin cannot enter our soul unless we let it in.

Pigs like to roll in mud for a number of reasons: to keep cool, as they lack the ability to cool down by sweating. This act helps protect their pale skin from sunburn, and to keep flies and other biting insects from bothering them. In this way they find comfort. As well, those who asked Jesus to leave their town, had become comfortable in their way of life. We can, even, become comfortable in sin, as the swine in the story are comfortable in mud. The act of forgiveness, like a cleansing, can be an uncomfortable and trying thing. As bad as one’s condition may be, one knows what one is or what one has; and thereby find comfort in familiarity. That comfort is threatened and familiarity shaken when events require dreaded change. And although you are aware that change is necessary for a greater good, it can still be frightening, because change always is. The comfortable fit of old clothing often deters one from purchasing the new. Yet, bad habits, like well-worn underwear, eventually need a change.

However, our saving grace is the saving grace of God through His word. And that Word was a promise kept in Christ Jesus, His Son. The fearful townspeople refused Jesus’ invitation to be freed from sin, but rather chose to remain, for the moment, comforted in their fears. Let us accept that invitation to change without fear. For Jesus is the only true and lasting way out from under dominating sin, as the two demonics found.

As the demon possessed herd of swine were driven over the cliff, so too, will our personal demons drive us into the abyss, if  we are left tethered to them by turning Christ away.

 

Posted in Catholic, Christian, common sense, Faith, freedom, Hope, love, Religion, supernatural | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Liberty

An updated re-blog of a previous post. A Happy 4th of July to all who call themselves Americans. And a Happy Canada Day to our friends north of the border.

CROSSROADS-Right Choices

“The man of the true religious tradition understands two things: liberty and obedience. The first means knowing what you really want. The second means knowing what you really trust.” – G.K. Chesterton

“Liberty correctly understood is the right to choose between good things in order to develop the highest reaches of our personality. But for Liberalism, liberty was not something moral, but rather something physical. It means to do, to think, or to say whatever one pleases without any regard for society, tradition, objective standards or authority. This, as can readily be seen. is not liberty but license. If liberty meant absence of all constraint, as Liberalism said it did, then the policeman who refuses to permit me to drive through a red light is interfering with my liberty, which of course is sheer nonsense.” – Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen 

Neither Conservatism nor Liberalism defines liberty. If liberty’s aim is not…

View original post 282 more words

Posted in Religion | 2 Comments

The Light of the World

My cousin recently brought to my attention an experience she had while attending weekly morning Mass. She and some regular attendees were blessed when time, circumstance and the things of nature divinely enhance the mundane.  What follows in the “click on” attachment is an eye-witness account following the Mass celebrating the feast day of Saint Anthony, including pictures, of that experience documented by one of the faithful attendees:

Image on the Tabernacle at St. Leo Church in Stamford, CT.pdf

LEAD KINDLY LIGHT

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom,
Lead thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home,–
Lead thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene,–one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that thou
Shouldst lead me on:
I loved to choose and see my path, but now
Lead thou me on!
I loved the garish days, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long thy power hath blessed me, sure it still
Will lead me on;
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till
The night is gone;
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.John Henry Newman

For the those who need no sign to validate their faith, this event is a grace of gratitude for steadfastness. For those who need to see to believe, this event gives pause to their doubt. The photographic evidence here rightly points out that Christ is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist as proclaimed in His own words: “I Am the Light of the world.”

Posted in Catholic, Christian, common sense, Faith, Hope, inspirational, love, Religion, supernatural | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Humbling Honor

Patty Sullo Macari, Alan Malizia & Justine Metz’84 ( Not pictured: assistant coach Craig Pucci)

Al Malizia FCIAC HALL of Fame Class of 2017…

 
Al Malizia, former Stamford High School Math Teacher, author,  and 1967 SCHS graduate,  is a 2017 inductee into the FCIAC Hall of Fame. Malizia began his 22-year tenure as the head coach of the girls varsity volleyball team in 1979, during which time he also coached freshman and JV boys’ basketball, varsity girls’ and boys’ tennis, and was an assistant coach for boys’ golf. In 22 seasons, 17 of them were winning seasons. Malizia led his teams to 16 consecutive FCIAC playoff appearances and 17 consecutive CIAC playoff appearances, amassing an overall record of 274 wins and 154 losses. His Crusader Teams were Class S State champions four times, which includes his perfect 1985 season.  Malizia has received many awards for his coaching, including being named CIAC Coach of the Year in 1988, receiving the Stamford Old Timers Athletics Association’s “Mickey Lione, Jr” Award in 2004, and being inducted into the Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2007.   We are so happy and proud that ” Mr. Maliz” has received this well-deserved honor.
Just an FYI for my “CROSSROADS” followers.
The two lovely ladies bordering me above are Patty Macari (assistant coach) and Justine Metz( a former star player for me and Georgetown U. Hall of Famer)
To all student athletes: “There is one important thing that you take from a season that can’t be hung on a wall or placed on a mantle. That one important thing is character. And with it one can be a champion of life.” – an excerpt from my acceptance speech.
Posted in Catholic, charity, common sense, Faith, Hope, independence, inspirational, love, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

PENTECOST – Convincing Illumination

A Blessed Pentecost to all. May the spirit of Christ lead us to live in His ways.

CROSSROADS-Right Choices

d068cbfeaf8c40be2c7c223643e6f883“A man is not really convinced of a philosophic theory when he finds something proves it. He is only really convinced when he finds that everything proves it.” – G.K. Chesterton

A  Jewish scholar who became a Christian and who knew the Old Testament very well and all of the traditions of the Jews, said that at the time of Christ the rabbis had gathered together 456 prophesies concerning the messiah, the Christ, the conqueror of evil who was to be born and to enter into a new covenant with mankind. Suppose the chances of any one prophesy being fulfilled by accident, say the place where he would be born, was one in a hundred. Then, if two prophesies were fulfilled, the chances would be one in a thousand. If three prophesies were to coincide in Christ, that would be one in ten thousand. If  four, one in a hundred…

View original post 709 more words

Posted in Religion | Leave a comment

The Holy Breath

” And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.” -Acts 2:2

As Pentecost approaches, Catholics and Christians around the world will celebrate the coming of the Paraclete to the Apostles as promised by the risen Christ. In our celebration we are reminded that we too, as the Apostles, are comforted and aided by that presence in our Church and in our lives.

Following is a discourse on the Holy Spirit by the renowned clergyman, radio and T.V. personality Venerable Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen:

“The Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father. Love is not in one alone; love is not in the other. The love that we have for one another is not just in me and not just in you. Love is always a bond between two or among several. That is why even lovers will speak of our love, something outside themselves. So love is not in the Father, love is not in the Son, love is the mysterious bond uniting both. Because we are here dealing with the infinite, that divine love is so deep, so profound that it cannot express itself by canticles, words or embraces. It can express itself only by that which signifies the fullness and exhaustion of all giving, namely a sigh. Something that’s too deep for words. That is why the bond of love between Father and Son is called the Holy Breath, the Holy Spirit. As the three angles of a triangle do not make three triangles, but one, so there are three persons or three relationships in God, but only one God.”

 

Posted in Catholic, Christian, Faith, Hope, inspirational, love, Religion, Religious | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Reality Of The Holy Eucharist

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. – Luke 22:19-22

 A consecrated Host turns blood-red during adoration in RAFAELA, Argentina – An Argentine diocese is investigating a possible Holy Week eucharistic miracle. The diocese of Rafaela, in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina reports that on April 11, a group of young people from a drug rehabilitation home in San Miguel was praying in adoration when one of them noticed the glass of the monstrance containing the Host steaming up. What followed was the flow of “a bright red substance, while the faithful sang and prayed,” as described by Juan Ternengo, coordinator for San Miguel.

 By the consecration the “transubstantiation” of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651). – Catechism of the Catholic Church 1413

 Transubstantiation is defined as the conversion of one substance into another. In many Christian churches, the doctrine holding that the bread and wine of the Eucharist are transformed into the body and blood of Jesus, although their appearances remain the same.

Do we truly understand the Holy Eucharist? And in receiving it do we inwardly and outwardly display that understanding or lack there of through a visible reverence or irreverence? Those parishioners who attend a Christmas Mass or Easter Vigil behave and dress as though they are in the presence of Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity, in the Holy Eucharist. Yet, at any celebration of Mass other than those two major feast days we often find an attire and attitude change reflecting the more casual. But, is not the same consecration taking place? Is not the same transubstantiation and presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist evident?  If the answer to these two questions is yes, we then must understand that, no matter what the occasion, Christ is fully present in the Eucharist and impels a stable and sincere reverence from each of us. No one should approach Him without a contrite awareness of the state of one’s soul. And in that awareness regularly partake of the sacrament of penance through confession. If when before Him we find our hearts at unrest-in that they are not yet fully with Him-then we can be confident that we have understanding and reverence. As such we will be beneficiaries of His divine mercy.

Saint Thomas Aquinas tells us; “Material food first changes into the one who eats it, and then, as a consequence, restores to him lost strength and increases his vitality. Spiritual food, on the other hand, changes the person who eats it into itself. Thus the effect proper to this Sacrament is the conversion of a man into Christ, so that he may no longer live, but Christ lives in him; consequently, it has the double effect of restoring the spiritual strength he had lost by his sins and defects, and of increasing the strength of his virtues.”

 “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. – John 6:56

This possible Holy Week miracle, now being investigated, is Christ’s way of instilling in all, who understand or do not, that the Eucharist is the reality of what He intended. He makes himself available to all. But those encumbered by wealth and position hear less clearly His voice. He was born among the poor not the rich and he died between two thieves not those who thought themselves righteous. That is why there is a Fatima, a Medjugorge and now a San Miguel. To those who did not believe in Him, He said, “Then believe the works I do, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” The blind see, the lame walk, the possessed are set free and the dead rise. Should He who stilled the winds and calmed the seas not have such dominion over the lesser elements of His Father’s creation, such as the species of bread and wine? And with that dominion not transform those elements into anything He wishes; namely His Sacred Body and Blood.

To too many of us Jesus may say: You receive my body and blood, yet you live as though you do not.

How culpable are we? Is it that we truly do not believe that Jesus is present in the Holy Eucharist, or that we simply have lost our innocence?

Our Lady of Sorrows- on the left as seen by me in 1960.

In my autobiography “The Little Red Chair,” I describe an event that took place early in my life. In 1960 a local Greek Orthodox Church had been granted permission, for a period of time, to show an icon that miraculously was crying. The icon of the Blessed Mother of Jesus, known as “Our Lady of Sorrows,” was owned by a couple who lived in Long Island, New York, where the first evidence of crying was reported. The dates of exhibition for residents were posted in our local newspaper. I attended with my mom, dad and a few other relatives. The small church was filled to capacity with a line of the curious awaiting their turn outside. After a brief service all were allowed an opportunity to venerate the picture. I, a polio victim since age four, now ten years old, could not climb the step to where the icon was displayed. So the attendant tilted the picture toward me. I inspected the icon, then kissed it as an act of veneration. As we left to return home I overheard those with me mention that they had not noticed anything unusual about the picture. Some visitors in the nights that followed reported seeing wetness on the icon and for some the icon began crying as they were in attendance. I had not mentioned my experience for years after. No one asked and nothing impelled me to offer. But many years later, for some reason, my mom had recalled the event. She then asked me if I had seen anything that evening. I told her that I remembered seeing red glistening drops of blood as though painted on the cheek of the Blessed Mother’s picture. An innocent child, that I was then, would likely have seen normal tears. For those are the only tears that a child would understand. Why then did I see tears of blood?

Some fifty-three years later that event would arise from the past once more. I was then writing my second book. A book of poems and reflections titled “A View From The Quiet Corner.” In writing a poem about the Blessed Mother I was filled with a desire to once again see the icon. Wondering if what I witnessed then I would witness again? A friend agreed to accompany me on a short pilgrimage to a Church in Long Island where the icon had been housed since the time I viewed it as a boy. But, before the trip I visited the small church where I had first encountered the icon. I was fortunate to still find the priest who was there that  night. I queried regarding the icon, revisiting the original event so many years ago and asked about its present condition and circumstance. Then I asked two questions. Questions that haunt only the doubter. I asked: if in all the time since this miracle first took place did the artist include in the icon tears of blood for effect, and had anyone who witnessed something unusual about the picture seen tears of blood? His reply to both questions was no. I then revealed to him my experience in 1960.

As my friend and I entered the Long Island church we were overwhelmed by the byzantine tapestry art and architecture that surrounded us. We then found an office worker who directed us to where the icon was enshrined. I was in a wheelchair and could not get very close to the icon which was encased in glass upon a pedestal anchored to the floor behind the altar. So a kind person from maintenance cast a light on the icon to disperse the shadow. As best I could see from my vantage point were some staining on the icon as though from water. And this was confirmed by my friend who stood directly before it and examined it closely. I asked him if there was any indication of spots along the cheek, red or not? His reply was, “Sorry Al, no.” As we drove home, thoughts of the picture from many years ago were still clear, as were the blood-red tears that glistened on the Blessed Mother’s cheek. And it was then that I knew that I had truly been blessed. Not solely for my witness, but also because I have had a rich and successful life in so many ways; including the wonderful parents I was given to by God and the family and friends that he had surrounded me with throughout my life. As irony or fate would have it, in front of the church I now attend, in a town I now live in, that I had never heard of before, is a statue of our Blessed Mother kneeling. At the base of that statue is lettered: “Our Lady of Sorrows”; identically named as the icon that I saw so many years ago.

I looked upon Her face as an innocent child and witnessed the essence of God in whom all things are possible. I then looked upon Her face as a knowledgeable man, blemished by life’s inconsistencies, and saw none but the commonplace forged by an indifferent world.

I believe, as so many may, that as we grow old in this world we can’t help but be affected by it in deep and profound ways.  In gaining knowledge that turns not into wisdom but folly, we then lose our innocence. I saw red tears as a child because I expected to see something. I trusted in authority because of trust-worthy parents. So why then should I not trust in the authority, of the God of my parents, that could make such a thing happen? And if so, then why would anyone who calls themselves Christian not trust “the word of God”: “This is my body. This is my blood.”

 

 

 

 

Posted in Catholic, Christian, common sense, Faith, Hope, inspirational, justice, love, Religion, Religious, spiritual | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment