Be Not Envious Of That Which Is Not Ours

Just when so many of us who are so preoccupied with our own trials feel isolated there then comes along a story of one who makes us feel that what we shoulder each day is not so bad at all.

There is a story of a person who was so dissatisfied with the cross he had to bear in life that he prayed that he could change it for another. So one night in a dream Christ came to him and showed him a room filled with an endless variety of crosses. Christ then said to him if he was not happy with his present cross to choose one of those. So he entered the room and placed his cross in the room as he entered. After a long while of trying different crosses he chose one. He then excitedly brought the chosen cross to Christ and said: “This is it!” Christ replied: “Very well, but that is the cross you came in with.

We are who we are with all of our baggage, of our choosing or not. All the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. Christ in solidarity with us chose not to come down from the cross on Calvary. For to come down would be human, to hang there is divine. He would not let us suffer alone, thereby, giving meaning to suffering. Suffering like struggling paves the way for a greater good. No greater good is there than that which comes from an act of love. And no greater love is there than to give up one’s life for a friend. The Creator gave up His for His creatures.

There are 4 things in this world that are striven for by man and woman. They are wealth, pleasure, power and honor. None of those are on the cross that Christ embraced. Wealth? He possessed but the clothes he wore. Pleasure? He was scourged and crucified. Power? He was pinned to the cross. Honor? He was humiliated, spite upon and ridiculed. So what then are we left with there upon that cross with those most sought after things missing? We are left with, a happy man.

That which we don’t possess can not possess us. In this freedom is joy.

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Fourth Of July-Tradition

AT A TIME MOST NEEDED. Democracy is not so well rooted that time and again it must be fought for to preserve it.

A HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY TO ALL!!

CROSSROADS-Right Choices

 “Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to that arrogant oligarchy who merely happen to be walking around.” – G.K. Chesterton

As a child, the 4th of July was the most anticipated day of summer vacation. My parents, aunts and uncles would put great effort into planning the day. The reason for such preparation, was that our family was large. Any of our gatherings, would resemble that of the family reunions of today. However, our gatherings then, were a frequent occurrence; rather than, that of a reunion, which may take years to bring to fruition.

All would arrive early in the morning, with food, beverages and kids in tow. The grills would be fired up, so the Independence Day celebration could begin with a late afternoon lunch; burgers, dogs, pasta(note: we were Italian), and an assortment of cakes, cookies and ice cream-all reflecting the theme of the…

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Paine vs Alinsky: Two Faces of Revolution

“THESE are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated” – Thomas Paine

CROSSROADS-Right Choices

The Battle of Trenton was a small but pivotal battle during the American Revolutionary War which took place on the morning of December 26, 1776, in Trenton, New Jersey. After General George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River north of Trenton the previous night, Washington led the main body of the Continental Army  against Hessian Mercenaries garrisoned at Trenton. After a brief battle, almost two-thirds of the Hessian force was captured, with negligible losses to the Americans. The battle significantly boosted the Continental Army’s flagging morale, and inspired re-enlistments.

The Continental Army had previously suffered several defeats in New York and had been forced to retreat through New Jersey to Pennsylvania. Morale in the army was low; to end the year on a positive note, George Washington—Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army—devised a plan to cross the Delaware River on the night of December 25–26 and surround the German Hessians garrison.

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A Father’s Day Tribute

“But the Common Man does not in the least want to found a sect. He is much more likely, for instance, to want to found a family.” – G.K. Chesterton

Anthony Malizia, was born on September 14, 1911 in Settefrati, Italy. Settefrati, is located in the mountains of the Province of Frosinone; in the Italian region Lazio, about 120km east of Rome and about 40km east of Frozinone.

My father emigrated, from Italy, to the United States, as a young man – entering the country, by way of Ellis Island, N.Y. He was sponsored by a cousin, and fulfilled his dream by becoming  a U.S. citizen. His name is one of so many, who shared that common dream, that is forever engraved, on “The American Immigrant Wall Of Honor,” at Ellis Island in New York Harbor.

In 1940, he would marry my mother, Antoinette, who was, herself, a resident of New York City. They would move to, and live in, Connecticut, raising three boys; I being the youngest.

Prior to marriage, my father was a Civilian Conservation Corps laborer. He worked on projects located in Idaho and Texas. He wanted to enlist, to serve in World War II, but was discouraged in doing so, because my mother was pregnant with their first child. He was disappointed, knowing that his childhood friend and cousin was going and he could not.

For most of his working years, my dad worked the night shift, as a pressman, for Conde’ Nast – a magazine publishing company, which was located close to our home. So close, that he was able to walk to work. I can remember seeing him leave at about 5PM each day; with his lunch bag tucked under his arm. When he returned from work, at about 2AM, we would, of course, be asleep. He would grab a snack, that my mom had left for him from dinner, then would look in on his boys before he went to bed. He had a habit of gently picking our heads off our pillows and turning the pillow over. Then he would lower our heads onto the fresh underside. We never asked why he did that. But, on a cold winter night, it got your attention.

I was a young avid TV viewer, and had a used TV set in my bedroom. The reason being, I wasn’t able to use stairs as readily, or as often, as my brothers; to watch the main family TV, in the living room. The convenience of having a TV in one’s bedroom was that, whenever one chose, it could be tuned on. My dad was suspicious that I might be staying up too late watching TV. Before he returned from work, I would turn off the set and feign sleep. But, he wasn’t easily deceived. With one eye open, I’d see him slip into my room, and put his hand on the set, to check if it was still warm. So he accomplished his goal of getting me to sleep earlier, without saying a word. Because, I’d now turn it off much earlier to be certain that the old “Philco” would be cool to his touch. It is a wise boy, who can avoid being disciplined. A clever guy; my dad.

The Conde’ Nast, where my father worked, would close in the years ahead; leaving him unemployed. He was troubled by the loss of income. So he would work landscape jobs with my uncle, while interviewing for a new job with local companies. After returning from one interview, he told me that the person interviewing him, seemed as though he was just going through the motions; not leaving my father with a good feeling. When the interview was over, as  my father was leaving, he told the gentleman conducting the interview: “I know, as soon as I leave, you are going to through my application in the trash basket.” One of the very duties he was applying for. The next day as my dad was working a landscaping job, the phone rang. When I answered it, the person calling, informed me that dad was hired, and gave me the pay rate and when he was  to begin. When dad returned, I gave him the news. His was so happy and relieved that he began to dance. I can only liken what I witnessed, to the scene in the movie; “The Treasure Of Sierra Madre,” when John Huston danced for joy, after he and his associates discovered gold. As regards his interview, my dad was not one to mince words. He called things as he saw them , and in this instance, it seemed the right call. And that job, at that time; was like striking gold.

Summer’s were great fun. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we were never in want. My favorite summer events were the outdoor movie and Playland; an amusement park in Rye, New York. When we attended Playland, dad would carry me onto most of the rides. The effects of polio made it difficult for me to get onto the rides without aid. We’d usually have a group following us. Because, sooner or later, other patrons would catch on to the fact, that the ride attendees were giving us a longer ride; seeing  how difficult it was for me to access.

Drive-in movies, for those who recall them, would start at dusk, and often would offer double features. Each Wednesday was “Buck Night.” That’s when you could load up the family car, with the whole family, all for $1.00. My mom and dad would switch to the back seat, leaving the front for me and my brother. Their motive was easily understood, when by the second feature, we would have to increase the speaker volume, to overcome the sound of snoring. Of course, on the return home, I’d be the one who had fallen asleep, and my dad would carry me to bed, with my head slumped on his shoulder, and brace covered legs, dangling in front of him.

While living in our neighborhood, I would watch my friends having a catch with their dads. I asked my dad if he’d catch with me. Now, if I missed the ball, he was doing double duty; as he would have to chase down the ball, that I couldn’t retrieve. Also, my dad’s native game was bocce not baseball. So he would deliver his throw, not like a pitch to home plate, but rather, like throwing the pallino ball, to begin the bocce game. This is just one example, of many, proving that he would do all he could(if he thought it beneficial to our growth), to help me, or my brothers, achieve the things we thought important; no matter how foreign it was to him.

I believe all kids see their fathers as heroes. On one occasion, it became clear to me. We were picnicking at Candlewood Lake, in Ct. While we were having lunch by the lake, some other visitors headed into the water, to scuba dive; laden with goggles, flippers, wet suits and oxygen tanks. It was a sunny, but rather raw day. Within minutes, the calm had changed to panic. One of the divers, was thrashing about, and screaming for help. He was hanging on to his fellow diver, who in a frenzy, was pulling him under. Two observers dove in and were able to gather both to shore. However, all were having trouble, freeing the panicked diver  from his gear. My dad rushed over and was able to free the diver from his tank and wet suit. He then, wrapped blankets around the man, now uncontrollably shaking from the cold and fear. Dad then helped him out to a car, that was waiting to take him to a nearby hospital. As I watched my dad walk by, with the fortunate, yet exhausted diver, a feeling came over me; I was proud. Dad would later credit his ability to quickly extricate the diver from his equipment, to the daily experience gained in helping me put on and remove my leg braces.

When dad passed away from cancer, on January 16, 1969, the outpouring of love was overwhelming. So many were in attendance at his wake and funeral mass, that it was standing room only. My father never walked on the moon(although, due to his fun-loving nature, I’m sure, in his youth, he howled at it, at one time or another), nor was he a CEO for a Fortune 500 company. Yet, as a husband, family member, friend and father, he possessed that rare quality, compelled by his love, that one did not witness enough of then, nor does one today; You could count on him.

Of all the men that God could have given, as a father, to me and my brothers-He gave us him. My dad was equal in interest, discipline and love. He was a complete dad to each of us. He understood our individual attributes, gifts and dreams. He encouraged and supported us each, in the pursuit of goals, that reflected our innate unique purposes.

For being a man who understood the importance of his station within the family unit – and by sacrificing for that which he saw as his primary responsibility and purpose – he has well-earned the title: “Father.”

Happy Father’s Day, Dad; Be at peace.

love,

Alan

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What Is The Matter?

The line on this gentleman’s sign: “WE ALL MATTER” is the path by which understanding, order and peace can be achieved. It alienates no one. The systemic problem being put forth is not with any particular ism, and there are many, but rather with the failure to maintain “equal application of the law.” In an example: Two men are arrested for stealing bread from a baker. Each is guilty of theft. Brought before a Judge it is revealed that motivation in each case was different. One man stole because of an animus toward the baker and the other because he had no means to feed his children. The first is expected to be held accountable and the second given a pass, right? No, for justice to be done both must be held accountable because each committed a crime. Judgement and mercy are both necessary in justice. For justice to be done each must receive a sentence but mercy determines the severity of that sentence. Any observer can agree and accept a sentence that fits the crime and the motivation for that crime.

A double standard in the application of the law is what makes people upset and at times to take to the streets in protest. When common sense is so offended that it becomes obvious that the application of the law has lost its fairness and lady justice has removed her mask in playing favorites then original undistorted protocol must be restored in practice. Judge not a people by any inherent characteristic other than that they are human beings and American citizens due their constitutional rights in obeying or disobeying the law. Anyone in authority be they enforcement, judiciary, legislator or political leader who does not stick to the letter of the law without bias has broken their oath of office to which they have sworn and should be held accountable to the highest extent, for as servants to the public, they are most responsible for a stable society.

In a just society status or position carries no favor, rich or poor who violates a law have the law equally applied. When society veers from that, then frustration builds to anger and anger builds to emotionally induced retaliation. And as we have recently seen the innocent sadly are retaliation’s victim. To dismantle law enforcement will be a nightmare beyond what we now witness. The vast majority honor their oath to “serve and protect.” The officer who caused the death of Mr. Lloyd honored neither and brought to all men and women in law enforcement the repercussion of the sin he committed upon Mr. Lloyd and the sorrow now being endured by his family and friends.

For order to be renewed and trust be restored to law enforcement a nationwide universal protocol of how policemen and policewomen police should be implemented devoid of any political biases with the wellbeing of the citizen first, last and always the goal. The relationship between the public and their police department can be reliable and of goodwill despite the political affiliation of the communities’ mayors or governors. This nationwide protocol must usurp any tendency for political interference that would potentially jeopardize that goodwill relationship which ensures secure and harmonious neighborhoods through “equal application of the law.”

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Psalm 91: A Refuge In Tumultuous Times

The Midrash states that Psalm 91 was composed by Moses on the day he completed the building of the Tabernacle in the desert. The verses describe Moses’ own experience entering the Tabernacle and being enveloped by the Divine cloud. Midrash Tehillim and Zohar teach that Moses composed this psalm while ascending into the cloud hovering over Mount Sinai, at which time he recited these words as protection from the angels of destruction. In Jewish thought, Psalm 91 conveys the themes of God’s protection and rescue from danger. Modern-day Christians see the psalm as a source of comfort and protection, even in times of suffering. – Wikipedia

Artist Ben Keller stands in front of his latest mural, inspired and based on Michelangelo’s painting of the hands of God and Adam in the Sistine Chapel, on the building next to Cafemantic Tuesday, May 19, 2020, in Willimantic. Keller, who wanted to express a concept that would resonate with the times, wrote on his Facebook page describing the mural: “This mural is for the present. While we need to keep distance from each other, we can’t help but naturally crave touch or physical interaction. Humanity was not designed to be distanced. One encouraging message to keep in mind, referencing Michelangelo’s original work – God is never too far away for us to cling to. Perhaps this is our Genesis of a new era. The story is yet to be told.” © Kassi Jackson/The Hartford Courant/Hartford Courant/TNS Willimantic.

Below is the artist and his creation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the time of Ben’s painting the tragic death of George Lloyd had yet taken place. Though we find ourselves engulfed in tumultuous times the One ray of hope that keeps a society from falling into despair is the knowledge of and faith in God who is never further from us than the desire for His love, protection and deliverance.

Assurance of God’s Protection
91
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,
2
will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.”
3
For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence;
4
he will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand;
but it will not come near you.
8
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9
Because you have made the Lord your refuge,[a]
the Most High your habitation,
10
no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.
11
For he will give his angels charge of you
to guard you in all your ways.
12
On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13
You will tread on the lion and the adder,
the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot.
14
Because he cleaves to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will rescue him and honor him.
16
With long life I will satisfy him,
and show him my salvation.

Although thousands of years separate Moses and Ben, each finds himself a servant of God providing a channel for Divine Assurance.

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Honoring Mom In A Song

I had difficulty coming up with the words that would best do justice to this Mother’s Day post. I searched my mind but found none worthy. Yet the words not found in thought were found in the heart.

After a nine month stay at a convalescent hospital, recovering from paralysis due to Polio, my mom would sing me to sleep each night. The fears of a disabled five-year old then, and the challenges ahead not yet conceived, were tempered by the security and confidence instilled by Mom’s comforting protective loving voice. The trials of each day melted away with every lyric of the song which she chose as a lullaby that bound us to each other as she lie beside me until I gave way to peaceful sleep. I offer that song here in tribute to my mom’s memory.

“Goodnight Sweetheart”– (performed by Rudy Vallee, 1941)

Goodnight sweetheart
‘Til we meet tomorrow.
Goodnight, sweetheart
Sleep will banish sorrow.
Tears and parting
May make you forlorn.
But with the dawn
A new day is born.
So I’ll say goodnight sweetheart
Though I’m not beside you.
Goodnight sweetheart
Still my love will guide you.
Dreams enfold you
In each one I’ll hold you.
Goodnight sweetheart
Goodnight.

To my mom, who has since passed from this world, I offer a “Goodnight Sweetheart.” Throughout my life I have found comfort, security, encouragement and love within her affectionate arms. I ask now that she has found perfect peace and joy, of which she is so richly deserves, in God’s loving eternal embrace.

How blessed is the person whose choice of a mother would be that of God’s.

To all moms who inspire the best in us; A Blessed and Happy Mother’s Day.

 

 

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BEWARE: “THE NEW NORMAL”

BEWARE THE TERM “THE NEW NORMAL”.

When free peoples are called upon to sacrifice their liberties for the common good at a time of conflict, whether by nature or man, then prudence is essential. For the longer these people are separated from their liberties the less likely they will be rejoined to them. Freedom is lost when left unguarded.

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature.” – John Webbe

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The Strife Is Over!

 

                                                        HE IS RISEN!

 

The strife is o’er, the battle done, the victory of life is won; the song of triumph has begun. Alleluia! The powers of death have done their worst, but Christ their legions hath dispersed: let shouts of holy joy outburst. Alleluia, ALLELUIA! ALLELUIA!!

This Easter we are awaken to a reality that we all hang by a tender thread. All that we take for granted has been compromised by an unwanted, merciless invader who cares not about the destruction it leaves in its wake. What Easter teaches is that the most challenging things of life can be overcome if we but pause from solely looking for answers around us and, instead, begin to look for answers from above.

Though we may be compelled to be at a distance from each other at this time, we are now and will always be one and united in Christ. 

A BLESSED EASTER TO ALL.

 

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The Final Act

                                                             

                                                          “IT IS FINISHED.”

 

 

The Christ-less cross stands alone. Its purpose served as both apex of suffering and of love. The Son of Man’s mission has culminated in the event of Calvary to satisfy the scriptures as testament to God’s Word. However, the Son of God has yet to take the stage in the final act.

                                                      SO NOW…WE WAIT.

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