Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Litany of Mary, the Mother of Mercy

For a retreat on non-violence at our school I composed the following Litany as a concluding prayer. I did take a few lines and ideas from other litanies.


LEADER                                                                         ALL

Lord, have mercy on us.                                              Lord, have mercy on us.    
Christ, have mercy on us.                                            Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.                                              Lord, have mercy on us.    
Christ, hear us.                                                             Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven,                                            have mercy on us.
God the Son, redeemer of the world,                           have mercy on us.
God the Holy Ghost,                                                     have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,                                                 have mercy on us.

Holy Mary,                                                                    pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,                                                     pray for us.
Mother of Christ,                                                           pray for us.

Mother of Mercy,                                                            pray for us
Mother who cares for all victims of violence,                pray for us.
Mother who cares for all the unborn,                              pray for us.
Mother who cares for the poor,                                       pray for us
Mother who cares for the sick                                         pray for us
Mother who cares for the hungry,                                   pray for us 
Mother who cares for those who are abused,                  pray for us
Mother who cares for refugees,                                        pray for us
Mother who cares for those caught up in wars,               pray for us
Mother who cares for those oppressed by prejudice,      pray for us.
Mother who cares for those in prison,                             pray for us
Mother who cares for those denied education,                pray for us.
Mother who cares for those denied justice,                     pray for us.
Mother who care for those denied equality,                      pray for us.
Mother who cares for those who are unwanted,              pray for us.
Mother who cares for those who are ridiculed,               pray for us.
Mother who cares for those who are neglected,              pray for us
Mother who cares for those battling addictions,              pray for us
Mother who care for those who suffer mental illness,     pray for us     
Mother who cares for all creation,                                    pray for us 
Mother of Mercy,                                                             pray for us.

O Queen of Mercy,                                                    pray for us.
Queen of Peace,                                                         pray for us.
Queen of Healing                                                       pray for us.
Queen of Compassion                                                pray for us.
Queen of Comfort                                                      pray for us.
Queen of Good Counsel                                             pray for us.

LEADER                                                                                 ALL   

Queen of Reconciliation                                            pray for us.
Queen of Justice,                                                       pray for us.
Queen  of Mercy,                                                       pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,      spare us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,      graciously hear us, O Lord!
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,      have mercy on us, O Lord!
Christ, hear us.                                                                   Christ, graciously hear us.

Let us Pray. (All)

O Lord, grant that all Your servants may remain continually in the enjoyment of health of mind and body, that they may be treated with compassion, justice, and fairness, and through the glorious intercession of Mary, the Mother of Mercy, may be delivered from any present sadness, and enter into the joy of eternal happiness. Amen. 

(Still some refining to do?)

Pax et bonum

Sunday, September 14, 2014

It could be a blue Christmas ,,,

This has been a strange September. Normally I don't get the blues this early - they tend to wait until winter enshrouds us. But the other morning I was so down I wondered what would happen if I just quit my job; I didn't want to face it. I was lapsing into silence, unable to work or focus.

Even my haiku began to take on a darker edge.

just before sunset
is often the darkest time
winter's come early

into the darkness
step from shadow to shadow
listen to that wind

on a night when clouds
conceal the moon and the stars
one candle still glows

a slug among weeds
has days when each song he sings
comes out as the blues

a slug among weeds
is sometimes overwhelmed
by the sound of her soul

I didn't quit. I did get up. I did do what needed to be done. No thoughts of suicide. But not in good spirits.

This had begun to creep in a couple of weeks ago. Maybe the final straw was discovering that because of a contract I signed last year I will not be able to work as Santa at the mall this year or next.

A new company took over the local mall Santa concessions, but the old company had had us sign an agreement last year that we could not work for the mall or another company for two years. I had signed it; it was one of many papers shoved in front of us, and I had no suspicions that the old company would not continue running the mall operations.

People suggested that since the old company is not working in this area any more and that the "no-competition" agreement may not really be legally binding that I could just go ahead and work for the new company at the mall. But I did sign it. I gave my word. I feel ethically bound to keep it - what kind of Franciscan would I be if I tried to use legal loopholes to get around having given my word?

But it is so late in the season to find another gig, and I'm not really one to market myself. So except for two volunteer parties, I may not be doing Santa this year. There's one place to check, but that's all I can think of.

I even trimmed my beard a bit for the school picture. Ho. Ho. No.

That's enough to bring up the blues. But it's more than that. This year it's hit early and hard. Harder than usual. Thank God for God - and my faith. The candle I mentioned in one of my haiku is the hope my faith gives me.

But I need to watch this. Right now I'm in better shape - but what if it hits again?

Pax et bonum

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Joan Rivers and the Culture of Death

When in in 1995 St. John Paul II issued Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), the encyclical and its implications lead to much discussion of what came to be called the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death. Although the focus of the encyclical was on life issues like abortion and euthanasia, it has come to be understood that "Life" touches on aspects not only of physical life (and death), but also to respect for human dignity. Conversely "Death" involves how people are mistreated in life in terms of such things as unjust treatment of workers, sexual exploitation, humiliation, and degradation. There is a range in those activities - from that which hurts to that which kills. And there are different levels of awareness. Some people may do things out of ignorance. Same may do them with malicious intent.

I thought of the Culture of Life and the Culture of Death after hearing of the death of Joan Rivers.

Rivers, who died September 4, has received lots of media attention since, with people pouring out all sorts of praise. The more I heard and read, the more troubled I became.

For in that outpouring of praise we seem to be forgetting that Rivers made her name (and lots of money) in part through sometimes viciously insulting and hurting others.

Now insult humor has been around for a long time. It can be done in a way that does not hurt others, even with obvious affection - watch an episode of Duck Dynasty, for example. But in Rivers' case, the humor sometimes went well beyond being good-natured to being downright cruel and insensitive.

I sure Rivers' defenders will say that it was all in the spirit of fun. Lighten up.

I don't lighten up when I hear people (or their children) being called fat, ugly, and so on.

That kind of humor seems to me to be part of the Culture of Death. It degrades other human beings. It may not kill them, but it certainly hams them.

I don't know why Rivers did and said what she did. Maybe she really was oblivious. Maybe she was exorcising personal demons. Maybe she just found it a way to make money.

But with her humor, she sometimes did not treat other people as human beings. She treated them as objects, as targets, as means to an end (fame, money, acceptance, whatever).

She dehumanized people.

Similar to the way abortionists and abortion activists dehumanize unborn children.

And even though she may not have killed, she and others like her helped to make us lest sensitive to the feelings of others - helping to lead to the kind of insensitivity that can lead to abortion, euthanasia, abuse of women, sexual exploitation, mistreatment of workers, selfishness, and so on.

She was part of a spectrum of people who helped to desensitize the culture through art, films, literature, magazines, and so on. She may have helped to open doors for people who went further than she did. She may have helped to make it easier for people to be cruel, and even more cruel.

She was part of the spectrum that helped to nurture the Culture of Death.

She helped to make violent films and games, graphic porn, 50 Shades of Gray, and so on "acceptable" with justifications being offered in the name of art or free speech or individual freedom.

Joan Rivers in her personal life may have been generous when it came to charity. She may have been a wonderful mother and a good friend. She may have been kind to puppies. She may have made the world a brighter place for some people.

Indeed, perhaps even as I write she is being embraced lovingly by God. I leave judging her soul to Him. I offered a prayer for her.

But when it came to her insult humor, in my judgment, I believe she helped to make the world a darker place.

Pax et bonum

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Isis Clerihew

One of the aims of ISIS
is eradicating Western sins and vices,
except, of course, for a select few
that they themselves like to do.

(I know they're not a laughing matter, but the poem popped out as I thought of some of their violent, hypocritical actions.)

Pax et bonum

Friday, August 29, 2014

Vatican gives guidance on the Sign of Peace

The Congregation for Divine Worship and Sacraments has issued some guidance on the Sign of Peace.

The document advises the bishops in future Missals call for the ending of some practices identified as abuses. This section reads:

In any case, it will be necessary, at the time of the exchange of peace, to definitively avoid abuses such as:

-the introduction of a "song for peace", which is non-existent in the Roman Rite.9

-the movement of the faithful from their places to exchange the sign of peace amongst themselves.

-the departure of the priest from the altar in order to give the sign of peace to some of the faithful.

I've seen all of these in various churches, some more blatantly than others. Most churches don't go too far, so these guidelines will affect only a few places - at least in this area.

Now there are a few other areas that could use some guidance ...

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Okay, okay, I'll consider singing

I had planned to return to the choir this year after a year off. But then the pastor did something this summer that angered me, and I decided I'd forget it, even though the numbers are down and the choir needs male vocalists.

But the other day I was asked by a member of the choir if I was coming back. I said no, and explained why.

He responded that I should be forgiving and I'm too good to hold a grudge.


He's a Santa. And he's more of a Franciscan than I am - and he's not a Franciscan.

He was right. Just because I'm annoyed at  the pastor, should I hurt the choir and the parish? (Then again, my singing might be considered painful!)

It got me thinking about my temper. I have done and said foolish things because I got mad. I've quit jobs, left groups and organizations, broken off friendships and alienated people.

In his admonitions St. Francis said, "The servant of God who does not trouble himself or get angry about anything lives uprightly and without sin." Alas, that has not been me.

And even if I have been truly wronged, I should live by Francis's admonition: "He truly loves his enemy who does not grieve because of the wrong done to himself, but who is afflicted for love of God because of the sin on his [brother's] soul and who shows his love by his works."

I have to look at what I do and say, and to stop dwelling on slights - real or perceived. What is the more Christian, the more Franciscan way to respond?

I'm considering rejoining when the choir starts up.

Pax et bonum

A possible playlist

If I had to play a gig in a couple of weeks, what songs do I have ready or almost ready to play?

If there were kids there, definitely –

"There's a Great Big Monster Under My Bed"
"On Top of Spaghetti"
"Puff the Magic Dragon" 
"Henry My Son"

In general -

"County Roads"
"Midnight Special"
"This land is Your Land"
“Blowing in the Wind"
"Maggie (was a boozer)"
"I'm Gonna Live 'Til the Day I Die"
Pete Seeger's version of "Give Me that Old Time Religion"
"Bottle of Wine"
"Blood on the Saddle"
"Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport"
"My Get up and Go Has Got Up and Went"
"The Swimming Song"
“Pick a Bale of Cotton”

“Going Down the Road Feeling Bad”
“Walking Down the Line”
“Lonesome Valley”
“Open the Eyes of My Heart”
“Hello, Mary Lou”
“Proud Mary”

I’d probably need to prep a few more songs.

Thank God no one has asked me to play a full show!

Thank God I don't have that green suit any more that I wore 35 years ago to play at a wedding!

Pax et bonum