Archive for February, 2012

Create in me a Clean Heart

February 29, 2012

If you’re attending daily mass during Lent, or, at least following the Church Liturgy each day, then you know today’s readings include Psalm 51.

Our job is to study the Word with contrite hearts.

When I was a young man, in the late 70’s, I remembering learning about a singer/song writer named Keith Green.

What happened when I first heard of him was both enlightening musically and then, ultimately, heart breaking.

Keith’s music changed my life, as it did millions of others.

Then, tragically, he died in a plane crash.

I know my place.

When it comes to asking God to create in us a clean heart, no one does it better.

I hope you enjoy this song as much as I did when I first heard it.

It will help you fly to God.

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Michigan, Arizona and the Dragon

February 28, 2012

Today’s an important day for the Republican primary candidates.

My wish is that there is a clear winner.

It’s time to start focusing more on the real enemy of freedom.

A name that must not be spoken.

I realize that primary races have a purpose, but, at some point, just like the Daytona 500, we fans want to forget the time trials and pole positions and get down to the actual green flag to start the race.

I’ll never forget the first political contest I was in.

It was the fourth grade and I was a candidate for vice president of the class at St. Mark’s school.

There were about 30 kids.

I had no idea it was possible for me to lose.

I thought I was so well liked.

I did lose, by one vote, to Glenn Bassett.

How crushing was that defeat for me?

Very.

It doesn’t hurt any more, but I recall the feeling of humiliation.

Fact is, half the class was with me, except for one.

Many times in life, we get so focused on winning that we forget to see that there is love around us, even if by human standards we fail.

I appreciate anyone who runs for office, even those with opposing ideals.

It’s a huge risk in so many areas.

Since we conservatives know who our real enemy is, we need to pray for all of our candidates, that God can use them, even when they’re ultimately turned away from the nomination.

They have fought hard for the opportunity to slay a dragon.

For that we must be grateful.

I just can’t remember that dragon’s name.

Oh yeah…Puff.

May we all some day forget the smoke and mirrors.

Obama Prefers “Gradually” Higher Gas Prices

February 27, 2012

For those who love Obama, but are complaining about the price of gasoline, be consoled by the fact that your hero is OK with it.

Yes…that’s right, Barrack Obama, in an interview just a few short months ago, when gas prices rose above $4, made the following comment, when asked if these higher prices could help us.

I’m not opposed to the President’s vision for a country less reliant on foreign oil.

I stopped burning home heating oil two years ago and switched my house over to natural gas.

It was very liberating.

The decision I made, moving to a proven system like natural gas, reduced demand and increased the supply of oil, even if it was a relatively minute amount.

The problem with Obama’s vision for America, being free from foreign oil, is that he’s trying to use the Government to force change faster than simple free market economics will allow.

His boondoggle investment in Solyndra, the $500 million he gave them, is gone forever.

It’s his administration that approved the loan, but  you and I that have to pay it back.

Why?

Because he wanted to force America to accept his dream, before the technology was ready to compete on a global scale.

The free market would not have permitted such non-sense, that’s why his government accounting office recommended Solyndra not receive any loans.

If you’re wondering why the President seems to be agreeing that high gas prices are OK, it’s because he knows he can’t force Americans to switch to alternative fuels, until they feel the pain at the pump.

Are you enjoying the full nelson you and your wallet are in at the gas pumps?

That’s no hero to me.

So, the next time you fill up, don’t think of Obama as feeling your pain.

He wants you to feel pain.

And, he doesn’t pay for gasoline, remember, he’s the President.

He doesn’t pay for vacations or food either.

He can’t relate to anything you’re experiencing right now.

Here’s another fact, the President is doing nothing to lower prices at the pump, because he likes it.

If he cared about what you were paying, he would’ve approved the Keystone Oil Pipeline with our friendly neighbors in Canada.

Instead, he hides behind his environmental extremist friends and blames the Republicans for having to turn down the oil pipeline.

In the meantime that oil is headed to China.

That’s politically correct garbage, similar to the stuff we hear when a bank robber blames his upbringing for his felonious behavior.

The madness will soon come to an end.

I just wish November would get here–less gradually.

Arguing for Life–A Scientific Slam Dunk

February 26, 2012

As you know, I believe all Atheists are faking and their conclusion is nothing more than a risky game they like to play.

I read an interesting article this week, about the world’s most famous atheist, Richard Dawkins, from England, who was unable to say he’s 100% sure God does not exist.

The host interviewing him, along with an Arch Bishop from England, seemed perplexed by his self-doubt.

Fact is, he’s being honest.

It’s difficult to say really, what leads a person to a place in their lives where they declare themselves Atheists.

What’s not difficult to comprehend is that there exists no scientific experiment which can disprove God.

Simply said, Atheists love science to death, but have yet to find an experiment which can rule Him out.

Here are two definitions of science we need to know:

1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws.

2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.

Recently, our district had a local election for a vacated seat in our State House.

Thankfully, a very bright woman named Tricia won the contest.

Ironically, she is a pro-life Democrat–remember, I live in Massachusetts–that’s as good as it gets here.

One of the criticisms she received from her primary opponents was that, as a pro-life Roman Catholic, she did not represent the Democrat’s pro-choice platform.

They were right to some degree–death is their motto.

I had the privilege of running into her soon after she won the election.

Here’s what I said:

Your Roman Catholic Faith is irrelevant to the argument of the scientific question–“when does life begin?”  Find a biologist who would disagree–you can’t.

Bottom line:

Life begins at conception, not just because The Bible and The Church say so, but because we can ascertain (watch me closely now) through systematic knowledge of the physical world, gained through observation and experimentation, that through the joining of a sperm and an egg–life begins.

It’s been scientifically proven, countless billions of times.

What more evidence do we need?

Just like the Atheist, who could not stand firmly on an argument such as 2-2=0, when it comes to the sum of God being nothing, neither can guerillas of the pro-choice movement say with certainty–“life does not begin at conception.”

In fact, the entire body of evidence is contrary.

So, the next time you have an argument with a feminist, ask her why she’s so unscientific in her approach.

I promise, she’ll be the one perplexed.

With God, we can always beat them at their own game.

Santorum = Tebow II

February 25, 2012

This has been the year of the Christian underdog.

First, Tim Tebow dominates the news, after a string of stunning NFL football victories.

The hype that followed was almost too much to take, especially knowing that a fickle American public had the potential to throw him away if he lost so much as one game.

Mr. Tebow did lose in the playoffs, but, in spite of the public appetite for his personality, he wisely turned down a CBS offer to appear the following week as a commentator for the Patriots/Ravens game.

God brings us to our pinnacles, then, just as important, is our refueling time, like the Lenten season we’re in now.

My heart and prayers are for Mr. Santorum and his family right now, as, like Tebow, he’s run up a string of victories.

Now, the pressure is greater than before, as he’s being looked at as a saviour for socially conservative causes.

In some ways, we believers are being a bit unfair to him and ourselves, if we fear that a loss means the end to our vision for a better America.

There’s only One Saviour and that’s Jesus Himself.

Tebow and Santorum are members of Christ’s Body, but only Jesus is the head.

God can use us to advance His causes, but, when it appears as though we didn’t succeed, that doesn’t mean we’ve failed God.

He knows the heart–the world knows only what it hears or reads in the news.

As important as politics are to us Catholics, especially right now, the Salvation of the Lord and His endless Grace, transcends our simple analysis of how we are to reach our mountain top.

Lord, we know You are with us; it’s impossible for You to lie.

Help us and all our brothers and sisters, on our respective roads to Calvary.

No matter how many times we fall, Resurrection Sunday is a promise we will enjoy, amongst a sea of white robes so vast, only You could count.

Obama and The Gates of Hell

February 24, 2012

When the Lord gave St. Peter the keys to the kingdom, He also assured him that the Gates of Hell would not overpower the Church.

Check out Matthew 16:17-19

And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.  I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

Since the Church was first founded, on that very day when Christ rose from the dead, things had been set in motion, like who would hold the keys.

My Catholic friends understand the teaching of dynastic succession and the symbol of the keys, ironically, our closest allies politically in the U.S., the evangelicals, still don’t get it.

We’ll set them straight later…that’s a promise from Jesus Himself in John 17.

The bigger issue right now are the Gates of Hell.

The translation I chose above, uses an excellent word to describe the battle–“overpower.”

That’s a word that harkens back to the concept of wrestling, hand to hand combat, or even a “knock down drag ’em out.”

Does Hell ever take a rest?

My heart tells me no.

The latest shot at our foundation, or rock of faith, is the new HHS mandate the President so kindly dropped on Christian institutions, to force us to provide abortion pills and contraception for employees against our conscience.

It’s amazing how much power the gates of Hell has right now.

It would almost make us lose hope.

The main stream media has moved on from this story, as if Obama parsed the issue with the Wisdom of Solomon.

Not so.

If you were to ask an Administration’s spokesperson if this was a personal attack against Catholics, they would deny it.

Q: How do we know when Obama and his people are lying?

A: When their lips are moving.

Fact is, Christ’s point to Peter is that the Gates of Hell will always attack, until that day when they’re finally cast into the lake of fire.

The easy part is to trust God to fight for us, in the non-stop battle against death and destruction.

The hard job, similar to an evangelical agreeing that Peter is the Rock, is to pray for our President and the other lost souls on his side, blinded by the trappings and empty promises of our enemy.

No one said this would be easy.

All together now…

God bless Barrack Obama!

Ow…I wish this wrestling match would end soon.

What’s that Lord?

I know, I know…I’ll rest when I’m dead.

Reconnecting with Deceased Parents

February 23, 2012

Before you jump to conclusions and think this reflection is about conducting a séance or some other such non-sense, check out this passage from Proverbs 27:10.

Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend

I recently had the unique privilege of visiting my late mom’s 88-year-old first cousin and closest friend, while I was out-of-state on a business trip.

She was only half an hour from where I was staying.

As I was speaking with her over the phone, to get accurate directions, the lump in my throat kept growing.

Thoughts of my mother overwhelmed me.

It was a real reconnection of our Spirits, through the Doctrine we Catholics call the Communion of Saints, simply because I could sense her approval of my pending visit.

The assumption of this Doctrine is that we’re both Saints…I’ve got a long way to go, but my mother has been one for as long as I can recall.

Lent is a great time to embrace the lessons of love and faith that our parents taught us.

The message in Proverbs is not just so that our parent’s friends can be blessed by our presence, it’s so that we can be equally blessed by the shared memories.

Moral decay in our world, especially here in the West, is not the fault of our ancestors.

Our American heritage is so deeply ingrained with the Church and God’s Word, that the remnant, who do still walk the narrow road, have golden opportunities each day to bring people around us back into the fold.

Chances are, the non-Church-going co-worker of yours, with whom you share lunch each day, has or had, a God-fearing grandmother or mom, whose prayers are being offered daily, not just for them, but for you, to live the Gospel in front of them, bringing them back to a time when they believed.

It’s far more complex than any of us can imagine, yet, at the same time, it’s so simple.

Live–love–remember–reconnect–then watch God do the rest.

Closed for Inventory–a.k.a. Lent

February 22, 2012

As a family that owned a small wholesale business for three generations, we knew that at the end of every fiscal year, we had to close up shop early and take inventory.

For those who’ve never worked in the private sector, inventory is a counting up of all saleable assets.

Once counted, their value is then tabulated and turned over to the accountants to see if in fact the business turned a profit and/or has liquidity.

In our case growing up, the easiest things to count were the cases of Marlboros and Winston cigarettes and boxes of Hershey and M&M Mars candy.

Reason being was they were large and their cost commonly known, since we sold them most often.

The worst part of doing inventory was counting the pipes.

We had hundreds of them, mostly made by a company called Medeco.

I can still see them in different lengths and shapes, laying in their cardboard pullout drawers.

My favorite was the Windsor, which curled down onto your chin.

It had a very stately look about it.

Although I loved them, doing inventory of the little items like that was tricky, as each one had a different value.

Lent is a bit like that for our souls.

Each year we Catholics take some extra time to see if we’ve grown or regressed in our faith.

The big items are easy to count up, like whether or not we’ve attended Mass regularly, or tithed our blessings…

It’s the littler items, like our demeanor toward our spouse or our friends that takes more time to analyze.

Are we growing short-tempered, or forgetting to do the kind things we once did when we first got married?

At work, are we slacking because we think we’ve put in enough time that goofing off is our right as a veteran?

Have we gone a whole year without calling our best friends who moved away?

This is a very important time for all Christians.

Even those who don’t observe Lent should at least check out today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 6.

It’s a lesson on inventory for our souls, taught by the most stately Master of all.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
“When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”

Sealed With a Cross

February 21, 2012

It’s really no wonder that the U.S. Post Office is so far in debt and losing business.

Communication, which was once a luxury and required deliberate intent, has become cheap and not much more than a wipe of the sleeve across ones wet nose.

When my oldest brother Louis went away to College–Holy Cross, in Worcester, long distance phone calls were relatively expensive.

He devised a plan to make a collect call to our house, then ask for himself and pretend he was my other brother, Phil, who was still at home.

Back then, if you could not connect your person to person call, there was no charge.

At that point, Mom and Dad knew they needed to call him back on his dorm phone, so that they would incur the charges from the house, which were less than collect calls.

Yes, they were scamming the phone company, but I was only seven, so don’t blame me.

The only true, cheap communication back then, was the hand written letter.

Postcards were 2 cents and letters were 10 cents.

They’re about to become 50 cents.

With social media, texting, email, unlimited minutes on cell phones, Skype, it’s hard to believe anyone writes letters at all.

There’s still something special about a handwritten note that makes me feel like I’ve given of myself more than just tapping away at a keyboard.

God’s message to us is personal.

He wrote His life down with no regard for the cost–His suffering and death on Calvary.

When He meets us at the gates of heaven, God willing, our name will have been “written in the Book of Life”–not texted in.

Here’s the song that inspired today’s blog.

Justin Bieber’s haircut is not as original as I thought.

Tribute to An Old Friend–Bob Holmes

February 20, 2012

I’m not sure of the exact year, but it must have been at least twenty plus years ago by now.

My great-uncle, who owned rental property downtown, had a part-time custodian, who needed full-time work.

Uncle George called my dad and asked him to hire Bob Holmes to come to work at the White Star Confectionery.

George gave him a good recommendation and guaranteed my dad that he’d be a hard worker.

Uncle did not lie.

In fact, as time went on, I realized that he had under-sold Bob Holmes.

Not only was he a hard worker, but he was about the most loyal friend anyone could have ever asked for.

Some of the things I loved most about Bob was his dedication to the Boston Red Sox.

At the beginning of every season, no matter how badly they fell from grace the year before, I could hear him say–“this is our year.”

Bob had an incredible sense of humor too.

Even though, at times, it included jokes not necessarily fit for the King’s Court, I could not help but laugh–sometimes for days.

One of the saddest periods of my life was when our family had to sell our business–White Star–and then say goodbye to people like Bob, who were as dedicated to our success as any of the Masserys.

Bob passed on a few weeks ago, from the effects of colon cancer.

Ironically, my dad, who died from the same disease, was one of the few people who had the ability to cause Bob to occasionally use–if I may be so bold–“Holy language.”

Bob told me at Dad’s wake, more than once, that he loved my father, for the many heart to heart talks they had together, early in the mornings, well before the store would open.

Bob, for some reason, rarely slept.

My dad, for some reason, rarely slept past 4:30 am–worrying about business.

Bob, may you finally have the peaceful rest that eluded you on earth for so many years.

If you see my dad, please tell him it’s OK to sleep past 4:30 now, and while you’re at it, you can both say a prayer for the Red Sox.