Tuesday, March 28, 2006

St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us

No, today is not the feast of Saint Mary Magdalene. Her memorial falls on July 22. But I thought it might be a good preparation for the upcoming DaVinci Code movie to offer the prayers to God and to St. Mary Magdalene that the Church offers each year on her feast day. This is taken from Volume XIII of "The Liturgical Year" by Abbot Gueranger O.S.B. published by Marian House, Powers Lake, ND 58773.

your Son first entrusted to Mary Magdalene
the joyful news of His resurrection.
By her prayers and example
may we proclaim Christ as our living Lord
and one day see Him in glory,
for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading: Song of Songs 3:1-4
The bride says this: On my bed, at night, I sought him whom my heart loves. I sought but did not find him. so I will rise and go through the City; in the streets and the squares I will seek him whom my heart loves. I sought but did not find him. The watchmen came upon me on their rounds in the City: "Have you seen him whom my heart loves?" Scarcely had I passed them than I found him whom my heart loves.

optional first reading: 2 Corinthians 5:14-17

Gospel Reading: John 20: 1-2.11-18
It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb. She saw that the stone haed been moved away from the tomb and came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved. "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb", she said, "and we don't know where they have put Him".

Meanwhile, Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping. Then, still weeping, she stooped to look inside, and saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had been, one at the head, the other at the feet. They said, "Woman, why are you weeping?" "They have taken my Lord away", she replied, "and I don't know where they have put Him". As she said this she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, though she did not recognize Him. Jesus said, "Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?" Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will go and remove Him". Jesus said, "Mary!" She knew Him then and said to Him in Hebrew, "Rabbuni!" -- which means Master. Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God". So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.

Praise be to Thee, O Christ, Creator, Redeemer, and Savior,
Of heaven and earth and seas, of angels and of men
Whom we confess to be both God and Man,
Who didst come in order to save sinners,
Thyself without sin, taking the appearance of sin.
Among this poor flock, Thou didst visit the Canaanite woman and
Mary Magdalen.

From the same table Thou didst nourish the one with the crumbs of
the Divine Word, the other with Thy inebriating cup.
While Thou art seated at the typical feast in the house of Simon
the Leper.
The Pharisee murmurs, while the woman weeps, conscious of her

The sinner despises his fellow-sinner, Thou, sinless one hearest
the prayer of the penitent, cleanses her from stains, lovest her
so as to make her beautiful.

She embraces the feet of her Lord, washes them with her tears,
dries them with her hair: washing and wiping them, she anoints
them with sweet ointment, and covers them with kisses.

Such, O Wisdom of the Father, is the banquet that delights Thee!
Though born of a Virgin, Thou cost not disdain to be touched by a
sinful woman.

The Pharisee invited Thee but it is Mary that gives Thee a feast.
Thou forgivest much to her that loves much, and that falls not
again into sin.

From seven devils cost Thou free her by Thy sevenfold Spirit.
To her, when Thou risest from the dead, Thou showest Thyself first
of all.

By her, O Christ. Thou cost designate the Gentile Church, the
stranger whom Thou callest to the children's table;

Who, at the feast of the Law and at the feast of grace, is
despised by the pride of Pharisees, and harassed by leprous

Thou knowest what manner of woman she is, it is because she is a
sinner that she touches Thee, and because she longs for pardon.
What could she have, poor sick one, without receiving it, and
without the physician assisting her?

O King of kings, rich unto all, save us, wash away all the stains
of our sins, O Thou the hope and glory of the saints.

Congratulate me, all ye that love the Lord; for He whom I sought
appeared to me: *and while I wept at the tomb I saw my Lord,

v. When the disciples withdrew, I did not withdraw, and being
kindled with the fire of His love, I burned with desire.

* And while.

Monday, March 27, 2006

... mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain

My son Michael is twenty-five years old today. My brother-in-law Wally has his birthday also today ... is it fifty he turns, or is it forty-eight? Is he my brother Jim's age or my brother Pic's? I never can remember... My grandson Owen is twenty-three days old. My brother Mark turned fifty-eight on March 24. My brother Jim turned the big five-oh on March 16. The very next day, St. Patrick's Day, my son David turned thirty-two . Two days later, the Solemnity of St. Joseph marked four years to the day that my mother Nickey D'Orazio died. On that same day, a few hours later, my Uncle Angelo D'Orazio died. It has been four years since we celebrated two family funeral masses, one after the other. My son Simon died on March 3, 1982, twenty-four years ago. His brother Eric died on February 13, 1984. On the twenty-fifth of next month, both the cruelest and the one with shoures soote, my son Ish turns twenty-one. My sister Marguerite turns fifty-four on the seventh of this same sweet, cruel April. Sister-in-law Mary has a birthday on April 1, but I don't know how old she is. One of her daughters has a birthday on that same day. Sister-in-law Gerry turned fifty-nine the last day of February.

My father Nick D'Orazio died in March of 1985, but I don't remember the date. I think my mother-in-law, Helen Stabosz, died in March also, but I don't remember the date or the year.

I turned fifty-six years and 1/3 years old on March 1.

"Birth, death, and copulation, that's all there is," said T.S. Eliot in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Marvin Gaye quoted him on one of his album covers. Marvin Gaye was born on April 2, 1939 and was shot to death by his father on April 1, 1984, one day shy of his forty-fifth birthday.

All this was a long time ago, I
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had
seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different;
this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like
Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these
But no longer at ease here, in the old
With an alien people clutching their
I should be glad of another death.

- T. S. Eliot, The Journey of the Magi

Sunday, March 26, 2006

A woman wrapped in silence

So here is a taste of the book that is making my heart sing,
A Woman Wrapped in Silence
by John W. Lynch.

But when across the years we see her so,
Our generation finds it hard to think
Of her as one with us. Our stains have made
Us hesitant, and sad remembrance curls
And turns within to slow the prideful binding
To ourselves, as if the very claim
Could soil in her the grace whose essence is
It is not soiled. This name is benediction
On our blood, defence and refuge, hope
And harbor, and our one fair memory
Of innocence, and we have known too long
Its silence on the world's wild clamoring
Not now to know this name is uttered prayer
And not a name.

And yet, the gifts that were
To weigh her heart will find already there
Bewilderment, and seated fears, and sight
That moved no farther than her vision ran,
And God gave her to see. Not true to think
Her tears were not as salt as tears may be,
And not as real. It is not true to say
Her sweetness made a cushion for the blows
That fell on her, and left her warmed and snug
Against the starkness of the staring night.
This voice could laugh, and sob, and sing, and cry:
This was a woolen garment that she wore
About her tired shoulders, and the hands
That brushed the weight of hair from off her brow
Were roughened with the water jars, and knew
The feel of sunlight and the form of bread.

Not strange is this, and we have always known
It true, that she was one with us, and yet,
We've built so many towers in our skies,
So often flung the great stones up for her
To ease the heart's full need, and be a praise
To stand above the years' long pondering;
So often have we turned the litanies,
Strung out so many garlands, while her bells
Have called to us, and kneeling we have sighed
In such dear confidence...

We scarce remember
Now that once this name was spoken softly
In a time before the Aves rang.
Perhaps across some threshold it was said,
So casually, by one who called to her,
"Mary." Then, she might have turned and come,
Obedient from where the children played
Together in the dusk: and no one knew
That more was said than just a young girl's name.

No, not true to think that then her feet
Were visibly upon the serpent's head,
And stars ringed visibly about her brow.
Except for gentleness and modesty,
The grace she held in fullness, was as grace
We hold, a silent gift, unknown, if knowing
Be the shattering of earthly molds
And loosing of the need for watchfulness.

No deep, relentless tide of ecstasy
Swept over her, to carry her beyond
The world she knew, and make her stranger here.
The dawn was cold, and in the dark, the wind
Still spoke of other dawns, and all her days
Were labor and were vigilance. And peace
That made its quietness in her was peace
God gave, since she had made a place for it
By tired hands and a heart that did not tire.

The de-iconization of the Blessed Virgin Mary in my life

Happy 4th Sunday of Lent!

Someone bought a copy of the book Woman Wrapped in Silence by John W. Lynch from my bookstore, the Pious Ladies Bookmobile. As it happens, I have two copies of that book in stock. Curious, I took a look at the book as I got it down to sell. This is a long narrative poem about the Mother of God.

Even before my grandson Owen's birth, I had been trying to understand Mary as more than an iconic figure. Through the centuries, saints have written about the Our Lady as a personal friend and beloved mother; and then of course the Marian doctrines proclaim a powerful theological understanding of Mary as a model for Christian discipleship, a type of the Church, the new Eve to Christ's new Adam, and the Theotokos or God-bearer not just in her historical role but in the realm of the spirit, here and now.

But for me she has always been elusive, an icon rather than a personal saint to whom I could relate as I can to folks like St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Clare, Kateri Tekakwitha, even St. Jane de Chantal as strange as her odyssey was.

I had told St. Lorraine of my difficulties, when she was preparing a talk on Mary for the Pauline Cooperators retreat and asked if there was any aspect of Mary I particularly wanted to learn more about. I did not get a chance to go to the retreat, because of the situation with Owen, so I didn't get to hear Sr. Lorraine although she confessed that she too struggled to understand the Blessed Virgin as a person rather than an icon.

This book, A Woman Wrapped in Silence, is the answer to a prayer. Beautiful narrative poetry is wonderful to discover and read. Beautiful narrative poetry with a subject so dear to Catholic faith is a pearl of great value. I am loving it.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Barbara Nicolosi's "Othercott" of the DaVinci Code movie

As much as I like Ron "Opie" Howard and Tom Hanks, I am not looking forward to The DaVinci Code film becoming a blockbuster. Especially not after I heard that people broke out in applause at the trailer for the film the other day.

I totally agree with Barb Nicolosi that protesting the film is foolish. Catholics always look stupid protesting any form of art.

I don't normally go to animated films but I just might join her in the Othercott of the movie. I'm copying the whole article from her blog because I'm too exhausted to do anything more sophisticated.

DVC "Othercott" Reminder - Spread the Word!

8:05 AM | Comments (26) | Trackback (0)

May 19th is the date the Da Vinci Code movie opens. A movie based on a book that wears its heresy and blasphemy as a badge of honor.

What can we as Christians do in response to the release of this movie? I'm going to offer you the usual choices -- and a new one.

Here are the usual suspects:

A) We can ignore the movie. ........

The problem with this option: The box office is a ballot box. The only people whose votes are counted are those who buy tickets. And the ballot box closes on the Sunday of opening weekend. If you stay home, you have lost your chance to make your vote heard. You have thrown your vote away, and from Hollywood's point of view, you don't count. By staying home, you do nothing to shape the decision-making process regarding what movies will make it to the big screen.

B) We can protest. ........

The problem with this option: It doesn't work. Any publicity is good publicity. Protests not only fuel the box office, they make all Christians look like idiots. And again, protests and boycotts do nothing to help shape the decisions being made right now about what movies Hollywood will make in the next few years. (Or they convince Hollywood to make *more* movies that will provoke Christians to protest, which will drive the box office up.)

C) We can discuss the movie. We can be rational and be ready with study guides and workshops and point-by-point refutations of the lies promulgated by the movie. ........

The problem with this option: No one's listening. They think they know what we're going to say already. We'll lose most of these discussions anyway, no matter how prepared we are, because the power of story always trumps the power of facts (why do you think Jesus taught in parables?!). And once again: rational discussion of history does nothing to affect Hollywood's choices regarding what movies to make.

But there's a fourth choice.

On May 19th, you should go to the movies.

Just go to another movie.

Save the date now. May 19th, or May 20th. No later than Sunday, May 21st -- that's the day the ballot box closes. You'll get a vote, the only vote Hollywood recognizes: The power of cold hard cash laid down on a box office window on opening weekend.

Use your vote. Don't throw it away. Vote for a movie other than DVC. If enough people do it, the powers that be will notice. They won't have a choice.

The major studio movie scheduled for release against DVC is the DreamWorks animated feature Over the Hedge. The trailers look fun, and you can take your kids. And your friends. And their friends. In fact, let's all go see it.

Let's rock the box office in a way no one expects -- without protests, without boycotts, without arguments, without rancor. Let's show up at the box office ballot box and cast our votes. And buy some popcorn, too.

May 19th. Mark your calendars now: Over the Hedge's opening weekend. Buy a ticket.

And spread the word. Forward this e-mail to all the Christians in your address book. Post it on your blogs. Talk about it to your churches. And let's all go to the movies.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Sunday morning

Sunday morning, the Lord's Day. I am still sick as a dog, still cannot talk, almost no energy, and my mind and spirit are as messed up by this deep chest cold or whatever type virus it is as by the situation with Owen my grandson.

Being sick sucks at the best of times. Right now, I'm shell-shocked in so many ways, and so is my whole family.

Things that are good right now -- ginger ale, water with lemon, herb teas, soups, bananas. Prayer, rosary, scripture, Fr. Alberione's words, JPII, To Kill a Mockingbird which I am finally re-reading. What a welcoming book. Having a daughter in Alabama makes it so much more personal; the COM-PASSION in that book is such an antidote to the anger and hatred that characterizes racism and the mutant children it spawns in all directions.

Things that are bad -- to much thinking, the bane of D'Orazios in all situations. Sue Marie called me yesterday with an amazing dream she had about Reetie and Owen. Reetie had her own amazing dream of Owen. D'Orazios are Dreamers and thinkers. The dreaming is good, the thinking is not, at least not for me and not when I am not well in body or perhaps in mind. No, I take that back. I always worry about my mental health, but as Judy Willets said to me, objectively I am just fine mentally. I behave and speak appropriately for the circumstances I am in.

Also, it's quite true that I am a writer, no matter how much or how little I have been published. And writers write... we spin gold out of straw, and must try to do so or perish.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

lookin' for that lost jigger of salt...

youtube.com is my new favorite way to waste time on the Internet. It's mostly full of young people's stuff but there is plenty for oldsters like me to view and reflect on.

Here is Joan Baez singing "Diamonds and Rust" in what is obviously a fairly recent performance. As I watch her sing, with her 60-something face and 60-something voice, I can hear all of the heartache and promise of my own youth, and that strange time of coming-of-age during the Vietnam War, when my bratty, idealistic generation tuned in, turned on and dropped out. It's a wonder my mother could stand to be in the same room with us, so full of self-rightousness were we. I remember explaining to my mom, after a freshman course in American history, how the US dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki because we didn't want Russia or China to have a chance to invade Japan and win a victory, because then we would be forced to let them have more power in post-WWII reconstruction.

Joan Baez was never a phony. She admitted her own pecadillos instead of just ranting against those of others, like some of the peace crowd who were really just dilettantes. My respect for her remains solid, even though I no longer share her political point of view.

Hearing old, wise Joan sing about young, madonna Joan & her love affair with Bob Dylan almost made me cry. "Diamonds and Rust" is as good a love song as any, honest and vulnerable, wise and wry.

Two more women die after using RU-486

RU-486 has been implicated in the deaths of two more women.

The scariest part of this story is that four of the six women who died after using RU-486 obtained their pills from Planned Parenthood, which has been recommending that women insert the final two abortion pills vaginally rather than orally as per FDA instructions. It was not immediately known if the second course of pills had been inserted vaginally in the two latest women to die, an FDA spokeswoman said, although it is known that all four women in the earlier cases had followed Planned Parenthood's recommendations for inserting the pills vaginally rather than orally as recommended by FDA.

What is scary is that the RU-486 debate had become so politicized that Planned Parenthood felt free to interpret the lack of approval for the vaginal insertion method as irrelevant to health and safety issues.

Friday, March 17, 2006

What a difference a day makes

Yesterday, I was in a bleak, black place where only the knowledge of Christ kept me sane. Today, life feels like what it is - a "vale of tears", yes, but also a place that "God saw was good."

Baby Owen Robert Stabosz Danyo turns two weeks old tomorrow. It feels like a lifetime since he was born, then shipped off to first Chester County Hospital and then Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where he was diagnosed as having severe brain damage "incompatible with life." He came home on Monday, and so far each day brings less to grieve and more to hope. He is breathing well on his own, he is nursing well, he is awake and alert for periods each day. Reetie and Bob are facing their hardest trial to date, with courage and grace. I would and do wish for them sanctifying grace, but actual grace is nothing to sneer at. And who can quantify the workings of the Holy Spirit in individual lives? Not me.

What now? He lives his life, like each of us lives our lives, surrounded by folks who love him. I hope and pray that his life exceeds the expectations given at birth.

Oremus. Saints Simon and Eric Stabosz, pray for us. Father Alberione, pray for us. John Paul II, pray for us. Louis and Zelie Martin, pray for us. Mother Thecla, pray for us. Saint Paul, pray for us. All you holy men and women, pray for us. Blessed Virgin Mary, wrap us all in your spirit and protect us from harm. Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us. Immaculate heart of Mary, pray for us.


Testing one two three... i cannot view my blog any more.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

cruel world

The cruel war is raging,
Owen has to fight
I want to be with him
Both morning and night.
I want to be with him,
It grieves my heart so,
Won't You let me be with him?
No, My love, no.

Tomorrow is Friday.
Tuesday was the day,
That my voice closed up on me
And grace went away.
Grace went in hiding,
Self-pity took me whole,
Won't You give me a break now?
No, My love, no.

Oh Reetie, my baby,
I fear I am unkind.
I don't know how to love you
As your tough road unwinds
I don't know how to love you
As you face the cruel fate
Of a mother whose heart breaks
For baby and mate.

My son-in-law Robert,
A stalwart man are you.
I could not ask better
For my daughter and crew.
I could not ask better,
Yet I spoke words that hurt,
My voice has been taken,
Lest more my pain might blurt.

Oh Owen, oh Owen,
I barely know your name.
A love that is always
On my heart you make claim.
A love that is always
A life that is brief
Can I ever forgive you
Death, thou foul cheat?

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The day after the day after Fat Tuesday

Stephen Colbert wore his ashes on The Colbert Report last night. I can't describe how I felt seeing that smudged black cross, a silent witness of faith, as a man committed sharp and gut-busting comedy. In my house at least, viewing of the Colbert Report is always punctuated by bursts of loud laughter.

I've been taking my time going through Mark's gospel for the past few months. Here's what jumped up at me from my scripture reading this morning:

People were bringing little children to him... The disciples turned them away, but when Jesus saw this he was indignant...

This is the Jerusalem Bible translation, I don't know what the verb is in the original.

But just try to picture Jesus indignant. What a smile that raises in my heart.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Happy Lent!

Pope Benedict XVI spoke today, Ash Wednesday, about the significance of the 40 days of Lent, which begin today and which will aid us in "holding to a penitent heart" ("poeniten cor tenete" as Father Alberione calls it) as we prepare for Easter:
"Today, all parish communities undertake an austere and symbolic gesture: the imposition of the ashes."
Two 'evocative formulae' accompany this rite, the Pope said:
"You are dust, and to dust you shall return," words that "evoke the human condition," and, "repent, and believe in the Gospel," an "invitation to place the firm and faithful adhesion to the Gospel at the foundation of individual and community renewal."

"The Lenten journey, by bringing us closer to God, enables us to look upon our brothers and sisters and their needs with new eyes. For this reason, Lent is a favorable moment to convert to love; a love capable of adopting the Lord's attitude of compassion and mercy, as I seek to recall in my Message for Lent, which has as its theme the Gospel passage: 'Jesus, at the sight of the crowds, was moved with pity'."