Monday, November 30, 2009

St. Andrew Christmas Novena Prayer to Obtain Favors:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

+MICHAEL AUGUSTINE, Archbishop of New York
New York, February 6, 1897

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Drum Major Instinct
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Historic "Drum Major Instinct Speech" was delivered
at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia,
on February 4, 1968.
Note from Daniel: There is an impressive stained glass window depicting Martin Luther King, Jr. in the small chapel in Brooks Hall, Brooks College, Baylor University, Waco, Texas. This Sermon was delivered exactly 60 days before he was murdered.
This morning I would like to use as a subject from which to preach: "The Drum Major Instinct." "The Drum Major Instinct." And our text for the morning is taken from a very familiar passage in the tenth chapter as recorded by Saint Mark. Beginning with the thirty-fifth verse of that chapter, we read these words: "And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came unto him saying, ‘Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.’ And he said unto them, ‘What would ye that I should do for you?’ And they said unto him, ‘Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory.’ But Jesus said unto them, ‘Ye know not what ye ask: Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? And then Jesus goes on toward the end of that passage to say, "But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your servant: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all."
Now very quickly, we would automatically condemn James and John, and we would say they were selfish. Why would they make such a selfish request? But before we condemn them too quickly, let us look calmly and honestly at ourselves, and we will discover that we too have those same basic desires for recognition, for importance. That same desire for attention, that same desire to be first. Of course, the other disciples got mad with James and John, and you could understand why, but we must understand that we have psome of the same James and John qualities. And there is deep down within all of us an instinct. It's a kind of drum major instinct—a desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first. And it is something that runs the whole gamut of life.
And so before we condemn them, let us see that we all have the drum major instinct. We all want to be important, to surpass others, to achieve distinction, to lead the parade. And you know, we begin early to ask life to put us first. Our first cry as a baby was a bid for attention. And all through childhood the drum major impulse or instinct is a major obsession. Children ask life to grant them first place. They are a little bundle of ego. And they have innately the drum major impulse or the drum major instinct.
Now in adult life, we still have it, and we really never get by it. We like to do something good. And you know, we like to be praised for it. Now if you don't believe that, you just go on living life, and you will discover very soon that you like to be praised. Everybody likes it, as a matter of fact. And somehow this warm glow we feel when we are praised or when our name is in print is something of the vitamin A to our ego. Nobody is unhappy when they are praised, even if they know they don't deserve it and even if they don't believe it. The only unhappy people about praise is when that praise is going too much toward somebody else. But everybody likes to be praised because of this real drum major instinct.
It goes through life; the drum major instinct is real. And you know what else it causes to happen? It often causes us to live above our means. It's nothing but the drum major instinct. Do you ever see people buy cars that they can't even begin to buy in terms of their income? You've seen people riding around in Cadillac’s and Chryslers who don't earn enough to have a good T-Model Ford. But it feeds a repressed ego.
You know, economists tell us that your automobile should not cost more than half of your annual income. Now the economists also say that your house shouldn't cost—if you're buying a house, it shouldn't cost more than twice your income. That's based on the economy and how you would make ends meet. So, if you have an income of five thousand dollars, it's kind of difficult in this society. But say it's a family with an income of ten thousand dollars, the house shouldn't cost much more than twenty thousand. Well, I've seen folk making ten thousand dollars, living in a forty- and fifty-thousand-dollar house. And you know they just barely make it. They get a check every month somewhere, and they owe all of that out before it comes in. Never have anything to put away for rainy days.
There comes a time that the drum major instinct can become destructive. And that's where I want to move now. I want to move to the point of saying that if this instinct is not harnessed, it becomes a very dangerous, pernicious instinct. For instance, if it isn’t harnessed, it causes one's personality to become distorted. I guess that's the most damaging aspect of it: what it does to the personality. If it isn't harnessed, you will end up day in and day out trying to deal with your ego problem by boasting. Have you ever heard people that—you know, and I'm sure you've met them—that really become sickening because they just sit up all the time talking about themselves. And they just boast and boast and boast, and that's the person who has not harnessed the drum major instinct.
And then it does other things to the personality. It causes you to lie about who you know sometimes. There are some people who are influence peddlers. And in their attempt to deal with the drum major instinct, they have to try to identify with the so-called big-name people. And if you're not careful, they will make you think they know somebody that they don't really know. They know them well, they sip tea with them, and they this-and-that. That happens to people.
And the other thing is that it causes one to engage ultimately in activities that are merely used to get attention. Criminologists tell us that some people are driven to crime because of this drum major instinct. They don't feel that they are getting enough attention through the normal channels of social behavior, and so they turn to anti-social behavior in order to get attention, in order to feel important. And so they get that gun, and before they know it they robbed a bank in a quest for recognition, in a quest for importance.
And then the final great tragedy of the distorted personality is the fact that when one fails to harness this instinct, he ends up trying to push others down in order to push himself up. And whenever you do that, you engage in some of the most vicious activities. You will spread evil, vicious, lying gossip on people, because you are trying to pull them down in order to push yourself up. And the great issue of life is to harness the drum major instinct.
Now the other problem is, when you don't harness the drum major instinct—this uncontrolled aspect of it—is that it leads to snobbish exclusivism. It leads to snobbish exclusivism. And you know, this is the danger of social clubs and fraternities—I'm in a fraternity; I'm in two or three—for sororities and all of these, I'm not talking against them. I'm saying it's the danger. The danger is that they can become forces of classism and exclusivism where somehow you get a degree of satisfaction because you are in something exclusive. And that's fulfilling something, you know—that I'm in this fraternity, and it's the best fraternity in the world, and everybody can't get in this fraternity. So it ends up, you know, a very exclusive kind of thing.
And you know, that can happen with the church; I know churches get in that bind sometimes. I've been to churches, you know, and they say, "We have so many doctors, and so many school teachers, and so many lawyers, and so many businessmen in our church." And that's fine, because doctors need to go to church, and lawyers, and businessmen, teachers—they ought to be in church. But they say that—even the preacher sometimes will go all through that—they say that as if the other people don't count.
And the church is the one place where a doctor ought to forget that he's a doctor. The church is the one place where a Ph.D. ought to forget that he's a Ph.D. The church is the one place that the school teacher ought to forget the degree she has behind her name. The church is the one place where the lawyer ought to forget that he's a lawyer. And any church that violates the "whosoever will, let him come" doctrine is a dead, cold church, and nothing but a little social club with a thin veneer of religiosity.
When the church is true to its nature, it says, "Whosoever will, let him come." And it does not supposed to satisfy the perverted uses of the drum major instinct. It's the one place where everybody should be the same, standing before a common master and savior. And a recognition grows out of this—that all men are brothers because they are children of a common father.
Now the other thing is, that it leads to tragic—and we've seen it happen so often—tragic race prejudice. Many who have written about this problem—Lillian Smith used to say it beautifully in some of her books. And she would say it to the point of getting men and women to see the source of the problem. Do you know that a lot of the race problem grows out of the drum major instinct? A need that some people have to feel superior. A need that some people have to feel that they are first, and to feel that their white skin ordained them to be first. Make it plain, today, ‘cause I’m against it, so help me God. And they have said over and over again in ways that we see with our own eyes. In fact, not too long ago, a man down in Mississippi said that God was a charter member of the White Citizens Council. And so God being the charter member means that everybody who's in that has a kind of divinity, a kind of superiority. And think of what has happened in history as a result of this perverted use of the drum major instinct. It has led to the most tragic prejudice, the most tragic expressions of man's inhumanity to man.
The other day I was saying, I always try to do a little converting when I'm in jail. And when we were in jail in Birmingham the other day, the white wardens and all enjoyed coming around the cell to talk about the race problem. And they were showing us where we were so wrong demonstrating. And they were showing us where segregation was so right. And they were showing us where intermarriage was so wrong. So I would get to preaching, and we would get to talking—calmly, because they wanted to talk about it. And then we got down one day to the point—that was the second or third day—to talk about where they lived, and how much they were earning. And when those brothers told me what they were earning, I said, "Now, you know what? You ought to be marching with us. [laughter] You're just as poor as Negroes." And I said, "You are put in the position of supporting your oppressor, because through prejudice and blindness, you fail to see that the same forces that oppress Negroes in American society oppress poor white people. And all you are living on is the satisfaction of your skin being white, and the drum major instinct of thinking that you are somebody big because you are white. And you're so poor you can't send your children to school. You ought to be out here marching with every one of us every time we have a march."
But let me rush on to my conclusion, because I want you to see what Jesus was really saying. What was the answer that Jesus gave these men? It's very interesting. One would have thought that Jesus would have condemned them. One would have thought that Jesus would have said, "You are out of your place. You are selfish. Why would you raise such a question?"
But that isn't what Jesus did; he did something altogether different. He said in substance, "Oh, I see, you want to be first. You want to be great. You want to be important. You want to be significant. Well, you ought to be. If you're going to be my disciple, you must be." But he reordered priorities. And he said, "Yes, don't give up this instinct. It's a good instinct if you use it right. It's a good instinct if you don't distort it and pervert it. Don't give it up. Keep feeling the need for being important. Keep feeling the need for being first. But I want you to be first in love. I want you to be first in moral excellence. I want you to be first in generosity. That is what I want you to do."
And he transformed the situation by giving a new definition of greatness. And you know how he said it? He said, "Now brethren, I can't give you greatness. And really, I can't make you first." This is what Jesus said to James and John. "You must earn it. True greatness comes not by favoritism, but by fitness. And the right hand and the left are not mine to give, they belong to those who are prepared."
And so Jesus gave us a new norm of greatness. If you want to be important—wonderful. If you want to be recognized—wonderful. If you want to be great—wonderful. But recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. That's a new definition of greatness.
And this morning, the thing that I like about it: by giving that definition of greatness, it means that everybody can be great, because everybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve. You don't have to know about Plato and Aristotle to serve. You don't have to know Einstein's theory of relativity to serve. You don't have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love. And you can be that servant. This morning, you can be on his right hand and his left hand if you serve. It's the only way in.
Every now and then I guess we all think realistically about that day when we will be victimized with what is life's final common denominator—that something that we call death. We all think about it. And every now and then I think about my own death and I think about my own funeral. And I don't think of it in a morbid sense. And every now and then I ask myself, "What is it that I would want said?" And I leave the word to you this morning.
If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don’t want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. And every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize—that isn’t important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards—that’s not important. Tell them not to mention where I went to school.
I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody. I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry.
And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.
Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that's all I want to say.

If I can help somebody as I pass along,
If I can cheer somebody with a word or song,
If I can show somebody he's traveling wrong,
Then my living will not be in vain.
If I can do my duty as a Christian ought,
If I can bring salvation to a world once wrought,
If I can spread the message as the master taught,
Then my living will not be in vain.
Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right or your left side, not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition. But I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world.

Delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, on February 4, 1968.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered on April 4, 1968 at the age of 39.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

This is an Internet forward that made me giggle and giggle and reminded me so of my own Jeweled Princes when she was so young--the picture is even eerily familiar of mine own sweet girl. Apologies for not being able to give proper credit for picture and story---

Cup of Tea

One day my mother was out and my dad was in charge of me. I was maybe 2 1/2 years old and had just recovered from an accident. Someone had given me a little 'tea set' as a get-well gift and it was one of my favorite toys.

Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when I brought him a little cup of 'tea', which was just water.

After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, my mom came home. My dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of tea, because it was 'just the cutest thing!' My mom waited and, sure enough, here I come down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy and she watches him drink it up.

Then she says (as only a mother would know...):

'Did it ever occur to you that the only place she can reach to get water is the toilet?
Aunt Nell’s Figgy Yummy's--a family favorite and Concepcion makes them even better then Auntie did-enjoy-from my kitchen to yours,


Cookie Dough:

* 1/2 cup melted organic coconut oil
* 3/4 cup organic vanilla sugar
* 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
* 1/2 cup organic milk
* 1 large organic egg
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon organic sea salt

Cookie Filling:

* 1/2 cup organic Mission figs, chopped
* 1/2 cup organic apricots, chopped
* 1 tablespoon fresh organic orange zest using your micro plane
* 1/3 cup spring water
* 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed organic orange juice
* 2 teaspoons organic vanilla sugar
* 1/4 teaspoons organic fresh ground nutmeg using a micro plane

* Cream together coconut oil, sugar, egg, milk and vanilla. Sift flour, baking soda and cream of tartar and salt. Mix well.
* Roll out dough and cut with a round cookie cutter.
* Place all the ingredients for the filling in a saucepan and cook on low heat until it becomes soft and thick. Cool.
* Place cookie on cookie sheet-add 1 teaspoon of filling on top and cover with a second cookie. Prick top of cookie with a fork.
* Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Makes-- 24 cookies. Yummy
Dear ones in Standing Just for the Gospel of Life,

As you all know--just days ago--October 29, 2009 we received this news from Tom Clark,
the State Director of Pro-life activities for the Knights of Columbus:

Brothers all,....Horrible News - Late-term abortion facility opening in Dallas.

Fairmount abortion center relocates to new facility with new name. It is capable of killing a child up to 24 weeks (6 months). CPLC sidewalk counselors are standing at the entrances to the new facility's office park on Greenville Ave. They have spent the past days sharing with tenants and those arriving at the complex that a new late-term abortion facility was opening there. Not one person that they spoke to knew that this was a late-term abortion facility.

Building on the momentum of the current 40 Days for Life-Dallas Campaign, where 2,000 people of faith have come out to pray outside of Robinson's abortion center on Record Crossing, the CPLC is calling for a massive prayer and public witness effort, particularly at this new late-term abortion facility, to bring about an end to the killing of innocent unborn children at the 5 abortion centers in Dallas.

Here is a listing of the Catholic Churches closest to this new killing center (there are a number of nearby churches of other denominations as well):

St. Patrick – 3.78 miles
St. Paul, Richardson – 4.79 miles
Christ the King – 4.97 miles (the abortion facility is in the boundaries of Christ the King)
St. Rita – 5.34 miles
St. Thomas Aquinas – 5.53 miles

If you belong to one of these churches, will you please share this information with your pastor and/or your fellow parishioners?

Thanks and God bless,
Tom Clark
State Pro Life Chairman
Texas State Council KofC

What you may not have known is that the White Rose, the Catholic Crisis Pregnancy Center that is next door to the Routh Street Abortion Facility over on Central Expressway-the very Catholic presences for Life that has been there each and every day for over 24 years-- and for years actually shared a wall between the centers--has long been longing to expand and meet even more needs in the diocese. The question has always been one of timing, greatest need, and ability to sustain the expansion once it began.

The Bishop of Dallas expressed his hopes just last October, 2008 to see many White Roses spread around the whole diocese--thanks be to God--in less than 16 days from hearing this sad news of such a horror sneaking into our community--they have been graced to find, procure and open their first Satellite Center--the Little White Rose-at 8499 Greenville Avenue.

The Surgi-Center [late-term abortion center] is in the middle of a series of medical complexes on the North-East corner of Greenville and Royal Lane. The Little White Rose is on the South-West Corner of Greenville and Royal Lane on the 2nd Fl
oor and looks down upon the heroic Side Walk Counselors--those who Stand for Life right at the very driveway of the Killing Center. They can point up to the Little White Rose and send each and every person they talk to for aide right across the street. The Little White Rose will throw open their doors Wednesday, November 18th and will be keeping the same hours as the main White Rose facility over on Central Expressway. They have three counseling rooms and of course the on-site sona-gram.

What a great blessing God has done in giving us the opening and ability to step up to this new and specific challenge the Culture of Death has thrown up to mock the Gospel of Life and seek to continue to seek and to save those who are being led to slaughter.

There will be an Open House, there will be Dedications and Blessings--more information will be coming soon--along with a list of things you can help provide to keep this new and vital center up and running. But, I wanted you to be some of the first to hear--light a candle and offer your prayers of thanksgiving that the vision of our Bishop is coming to pass at this desperate hour.

And keep pressing in with prayers for all the pro-life work done by so many good people and groups of good will in our metroplex.

And especially remember the Little White Rose, as up till now in Dallas women as late as 6 months could not even legally obtain an abortion, and now they can--they need this option to help them see that as John Everett long said--"there is no such thing as an un-planned pregnancy, there are crisis pregnancies, and if you can address the crisis then you can help the woman choose the life of their baby and complete their pregnancy."

I will keep you informed and am comforted that you will keep this new effort for the Gospel of Life close to your heart. How good and pleasant it is to get good news in the fight--that once again our Faithful Father has raised up a Defense in Jesus Name against the Foe--rejoice and keep Standing Just my friends.

Please forward to all your list--I do not care if I get this good news 20 times--spread the word and pray

For Life,

Texans Opposed to Planned Parenthood