Thursday, May 21, 2015
21, May 2015
Thursday at 8:38 AM, I role out of bed-wash my face, wash my teeth, shave and comb the unruly locks-slip on my uniform-Baby blue mock shirtsleeve tee, black linen pants, socks and black Jaxon casuals-grab a bottle of water and rosary-and slip into 9:00 AM mass at 8:59.
It is 55 degrees on the 21st of May in Dallas, Texas. During a wonderful couple of weeks of what I call Waco weather. As a kid back in the early 70's in Waco we would have extended periods of cloudy, you better carry your umbrella weather. All the Yanks who have moved here in the last 40 years and now loudly and bitterly complain anytime we have a day without Sunshine like they are entitled to such, have never believed me when I say this is the weather we had before our 40 year drought. But, here it is and how I love it.
On the 3 mile drive to the local parish church, I glory in the cold air with both front windows down, until I have to close the passenger window and then my own-lovely. What a thrill to hear the Consecration in Aramaic-the same words Jesus spoke when he was a child. The little Chapel was built for 30, and we crowd in and say our prayers, and line up to receive the Body of Christ. 41 minutes later I am on my way-what a great way to start the day.
Thursday's I make my way over to Main Street Lewisville and my weekly Winco run. What a great store. I get my weekly 5 bottles of V8 Lemon-aide for $1.48-bargin to be sure. Foster oil cans for a mere $2.23 a piece-Summer staple at the House of Vinzant-come on over and let us sit and sip by the pool. And all the other things I am convinced I can not find anywhere else at the price I pay here.
I pack the trunk, grab my iPad and then walk the parking lot-browsing the Second hand furniture stores till I get to the corner anchor store-Mama's Daughters Diner. I make my way to the counter. Whenever I eat out, I love to find a counter or a bar stool where I can enter act with the staff and watch the action-a nice way to be around folk but by yourself at the same time.
This is where the fun begins. I am Sweetie-she is Darling. To my left is Wendell-I have never met-and still have not-aWendell, who sits down after me and Darling immediately announces his order, he nods without a word. I stay here for a couple of hours. Now to my right who as he sits, Darling announces his order and he also nods without speaking a word. I believe in my couple hours as the folks at the counter come and go-I alone am the only one who actually consults the menu and makes a selection. The regulars are clearly known, and the conversation picks up from last visit which may have been just yesterday.
I have coffee-Caine-very good with half and half-three cups. The chicken fried chicken with creamed gravy, fried okra, stewed tomatoes and okra, and fresh out of the oven corn muffins. Followed by a piece of coconut cream pie and a fountain Dr. Pepper-the pie is so tall with meringue that you cannot fit a tall bite into your mouth-not good for me, but the best-giggles.
I have the pie and Dr. Pepper as a tip of the hat to Granddaddy Vinzant. Sitting at the counter on days like this always remind me of him. Granddaddy Vinzant lived out on the farm on what was known in the County as the Vinzant Place. A simple place with Grandmothers Moon Flowers and the black kettle out by the back porch where she made lye soup after every pig slaughter the first Blue Norther-a wrap around front porch off the ground high enough for a sandy play area for the Grands with our big yellow dump trucks and army men, a big collie dog, and across the drive Granddaddy's half acer garden. He worked that garden till he turned 85 and then he and Grandmother both moved to the city to be closer to the kids and he gave up driving. Every Saturday my Dad and me and sometimes an Uncle would pick up Granddaddy and take him to the Donut shop where he would have a donut, a cup of coffee with 6 sugars and a Dr. Pepper-giggles. He never weighed more than a 170 pounds and lived to 101- 3 months and 3 weeks-and on that last day he got up still living alone-widowed at 99-made his oatmeal from scratch and had it with a Dr Pepper, read the paper, and then sat down in his Barcalounger and fell asleep. So dammit-after months of dieting today I had pie and a Dr Pepper to toast the dear man. On days like today I am never far away from Granddaddy and all those who have gone before me. I finally take my leave-tip Darling extra good and get smiles from her as she sees my stack of ones and make my way to the back corner of the Second Hand Furniture Store, find a rocker just like my Granddaddy's old rocker and rock for 25 minutes in my wonderful memories of all those who have made me who I am and who I will ever be-world without end. I think I will buy the rocker today, and smile-No, it will be here next Thursday when I come to visit Darling and have me some okra and Dr Pepper.
Today, in Dallas there are those who are cursing almost 7 weeks of daily rain. And then there is Danny boy with his deep, deep memories and a nice cold Dr Pepper.
"I have desired to go
Where springs not fail,
To fields where flies no sharp and sided hail
And a few lilies blow.
I have desired to go.
And I have asked to be
Where no storms come,
Where the green swell is in the havens dumb,
And out of the swing of the sea."
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89). Poems. 1918. 2. Heaven—Haven A nun takes the veil
Thursday, December 04, 2014
St Ann’s Knights Meeting December 4, 2014
So Happy St Nicholas' Feast Day to you and yours, on the 6th-my boys are way old, but Traditions are what they are but modified with age--I now put the mounds of gelt for them not in their shoes, but on top of their key board and phone charges-Giggles, but what "kid" out grows gold covered chocolate coins-giggles.
Now, after Mass on the Great Feast Day on the 8th and after the Hour of Grace, I start putting the 9 creche sets around the rooms--all with the 3 Wise Men far removed so they can travel to their destination and finally land on January 6th which yes, is the end of the 12 days of Christmas--but no not the END of the Christmas season--that is February 2nd-Candlemas. And then we have two weeks off before Ash Wednesday on the 18th of February.
Here are some ways to enjoy Christmas through the Whole Advent and Christmas Season--
St Nicholas Feast Day-December 6th—great fun for the children and grandchildren. Tradition is to put gold chocolate coins in the children’s shoes. Then as a family you go from there-special breakfast, or dinner, or out to eat and movie night. A good teaching moment too—how did he become a Saint? Taking care of the poor and those in need- we are always called to help the poor.
December 8th-Immaculate Conception-Wonderful Holy Day—and yes this year there is a work around the Sunday-Monday mass if two in a row is simply too much for you-you must make your mass obligation. But, if you go to Sunday mass after 4:00 PM according to Cannon law that is an anticipatory mass for the following day- your Mass would count as the obligation of mass on the 8th. Some will try and say that you have to have the readings of the mass to be valid-but that is nowhere to be found in Law .Giggles. I know you were thinking that.
I like to begin my home decorations after this mass and finish up by the 12th. Of course December 12th is the glorious Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I suggest you treat it as a Holy Day if you want any favors from your Mother. Seriously.
I have nine creche sets which I put in different places, and with each one the 3 Wise men are put away a ways and they travel to Bethlehem. They arrive January 6th.
Now you all know the 6th is Epiphany, but how many of you think that is the end of the Christmas Season?
You would be wrong. As Catholics we take our cue from our Elder Brothers in the faith-the Jews-we celebrate in Octaves and in Forty Day cycles. So we have our Christmas Eve Mass—so wonderful, and then we come home to late night snacks and some presents.
Christmas Day (a Holy Day if you have not made the Vigil) and then we keep the celebration going for Eight Days and it cumulates on New Years Day (another Holy Day of obligation and need to make mass) is the celebration for the Great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy.
Then we continue to keep the Season of Christmas-Christ in our hearts-come as the Emmanuel-The Christ Child all the way to February 2nd-Candlemas. The first day out of the Christmas Season is the 3rd and St. Blaze Feast Day where we have the blessing of the throats and blessing of candles at Candlemas.
A Christmas Version of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah that will Give You Chills
Notes for a Reflection Talk to Grandparents:
Now for those of you who have raised your own children and think that life is passing you by—this is for you. Samuel, the Old Testament Prophet was very great in Israel’s history. I Samuel 1-2-3 tells the story of Samuel's birth and very good to read if you do not know it well.
During this historical period Israel unlike the heathen nations around them had no King—they were ruled by a Prophet of God. And sadly the previous prophet, Eli had gotten very old and had left the running of all things to his two sons—and they were corrupt. Actually, they were so evil that God decided to kill them-have them die in such a way that all would know it was a judgment of God to the way they acted and to the fact that he as there Dad did not stop them. So Hophni and Phineas, the father Eli, and the son’s wife all died in the same day.
And Samuel became Judge of Israel and Scriptures say Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life and was the best Judge and Prophet Israel had seen—and when he became old, he appointed his two sons to rule over Israel. Now you would think, Samuel would be very aware of the way things turned out under Eli, and that he would make sure things did not go badly with his sons----but NO, his sons started down the same path of doing what worked for them, accepting bribes-and it got bad enough that the people had a March on Samuel and said—look you are old, they are no good-appoint us a King.
Of course I am leaving out many details and building a particular story. We can address how wrong it was to want a king and the judgment of God that came upon them for that choice and make comparisons to today’s government and problems in another talk. What I want you to consider is this.
Eli and Samuel were just like so many of us—it takes such effort to hold a family together, to make a living and to build and keep a carrier that will give you the ability to provide for your family—and so many of us as parents make the same mistake made famous in Harry Chapin’s famous song—the Cats in the Cradle. And our children do not always come out the way we had hoped, prayed for and dreamed all our dreams around.
One of my favorite Bible verses—Romans 2:4 “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”
I grew up singing it this way and it became a prayer of my heart:
Friday, December 13, 2013
I was invited to reflect on the last 20 years of pro-life activity in Waco, Texas. I had intended to share the day and festivities with you, but life gets in the way often, eh
Although, my sons and I moved to Coppell in 2000, Waco and the work of the Gospel of Life has never left my heart. You are remembered in my daily prayers and
as I lead the Dallas diocese pro-life prayers each month at Planned Parenthood in Dallas, you are remembered in our prayers always.
I am always reminded of my roots in Waco-Waco is truly a good place to be from.
In 1992 when Planned Parenthood announced they were going to begin doing abortions in Waco-it shocked me, as many of you, to our cores. Up to that time I of course considered myself very pro-life and made sure I preached a pro-life sermon the week of January 22nd to remember Roe v Wade. Not much else. Up to 1992 I had only really talked to one person in a crisis pregnancy, so the whole abortion issue seemed so out of sight, out of mind. Within a day my family set up shop with a prayer candle and Bibles to stand and silently pray that God would keep this horror from our community.
Within a month the ladies of my church did a very effective phone campaign to call every OB/GYN in Waco asking if they would do or refer a woman for abortions. It was effective-the OB/GYN doctors on the board of the local Planned Parenthood made hasty retreats and later we joined with efforts to bring in Miss Carol Everett and started a Say No to Planned Parenthood campaign that had over 10,000 simple copied signs and then later an effective bumper sticker campaign. The prayers continued there on Columbus Avenue, and we as a city kept them from performing a single abortion for two years. Thanks God.
Then in 1994 it Began-Please God-was the fervent prayer we began again across the city-that He would stop this horror from our city streets. As a local pastor, I was privileged to invite and host first Rusty Thomas, and then later Operation Rescue National, Paul Vaughan, and many other heroes of the Rescue Movement to come to Waco and continuous Street prayers and even activism began in earnest in the streets of Waco, Texas.
Miss Carol Everett
Miss Norma McCorvey
Jim Sedlak from STOPP and American Life League
Human Life International
Priests for Life
the CPLC and the White Rose from Dallas
the Liberty Bell and Dave and Phylis Hall---so many wonderful Heroes--so many more that a 5 minute clock does not allow to fully remember....
Some quick remembrances:
The Waco Project-seeing Chef Giovanni and his monthly meatballs and wonderful meetings grow out of this
The 100 Days of Waco--100 days of daily White Crosses placed on a different street corner throughout Waco each Summer from 1994-1999
The Tuesday Night Rosary-started by a simple Evangelical pastor who saw great value in established prayers at such places of Darkness
The live Baby Showers and the Baby Summer Wadding Pools--which brought such sharp contrast to why we were there and to what was happening inside
The founding of Bears for Life and a consistent pro-life presence at Baylor
Being the Kick off speaker at St Mary's in Bryan when they began their fight--seeing David Bereit and his good works grow out of that
The two windows broken out of my cars and the conversations they produced with the wrecking yard guy who fixed them for me
The all night vigils with the Liberty Bell
Seeing the actual children I have been introduced to who were actually saved from abortion-- grow up into such wonderful people-Thanks God
Knowing that Waco still had some who prayed, who cried, who tried to STAND JUST-who groaned and sighed against Injustice
Like St Athanasius who stood against the whole world-Contra Mondo-you STAND for the Gospel of Life against the Culture of DEATH. Thank you dear wonderful Christians who gather in Waco and do what the hands and feet of Jesus have done in every place and every time-you are Running Well-continue to Run the Race with confidence that HE who has begun these good works in you will continue to the END.
I remain blessed and humbled by all your many good works and deeds, and that your zeal for the Lord and His House has consumed you. I remember standing so many days alone in the sun during those 100 Days of Waco with those 33 White Crosses-wondering When God-when will you rise up your army of Life in this place, among these people? You have answered so well and for so long now-Well done my friends, and May our Blessed Lord Jesus continue to lead you the next two decades as you answer each and every onslaught that is thrown at your dear town and continue to STAND JUST.