Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dominicans and dogs


What is the significance of Dominicans and dogs?  Well, the story goes that when Blessed Jane of Aza was pregnant, she had a dream of a dog with a torch in its mouth.  The dog ran around the world, setting it on fire.  When others heard of her dream, they took it as a sign that the baby she was carrying would be born to do great things.  That baby was St. Dominic.  

There is also a play on the word "Dominicans."  Domini Canus literally means, "God's Dogs."

I like dogs.  At the present time,  I do not have a dog I can call my own.  So, when a friend of mine called me up to tell me she had the best Christmas gift for me, I was happy to hear it was a dog! 

"Foundem" is a black, mid-sized, curly haired, droopy eyed, floppy-eared fluff of love.  I can't tell you what breed he is, because, like his name says, he was found.  He had been placed up for adoption, but when no one wanted him, my friend's sister took him in.  She's hoping to find the right owner for him.  They thought I would be perfect.  I thought I could make it work.  So, yesterday, I picked up Foundem at his house and took him home with me.  The moment he came out of my car, he ran.  I had him by the leash, and his powerful body dragged me all over the place.  I must say, I had a very good workout!  He pushed me to the limit.  I have a good piece of property---many acres of what used to be a cornfield.  He enjoyed running from one end to the other and back again.  I couldn't get him to stop.  But my goat stopped him cold in his tracks.  Millie was busy munching on grass behind the barn she lives in.  That introduction didn't go so well.  I have never seen my goat's hairs stand up on edge like that.  I didn't like the noises she was making, and she ran for her life.  Foundem ran after her, and I was dragged around even more.  I was so out of breath, I thought I was having a heart attack.  He got pretty close to nipping Millie, but I had just enough strength to pull his leash before he could do any damage.  The chickens were all bunched up in their barn yard, looking at the action through their chicken wire fence.  They were spectators, but they didn't seem to be enjoying the game.  They looked absolutely terrified.  I think one of them looked me straight in the eye, and seemed to be asking, "What are you thinking bringing that monster here?"  My next door neighbor's kitten decided to come over and see what all the fuss was about.  When I spotted her, I groaned.  Before I knew it, Foundem rushed at her in a rage.  Again, it took all my strength to grab the leash back again, and pull him in.

20 minutes.  That's all I could take of him at my house.  I thought, there is no way I can keep this dog.  He messes up the nice ecosystem here...

I put him back into my car and drove him around to calm him down.  Then I drove to the Catholic church.  I had a bag of beef jerky and a bottle of water.  Foundem and I sat under a tree sharing the grub.  I took him over to the shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, and I said my Rosary.  He was a sweet dog the whole while.  Totally different than what he was at my house.  He stood on his hind legs, trying to lick my face as I prayed.  As usual, during my prayers, I closed my eyes.  I don't know if I was deeply meditating on the Rosary and didn't hear what was happening, but somewhere between the 4th and 5th Mystery, I looked at the leash, and Foundem wasn't there!  I asked Holy Mother Mary to help me get that dog back!  I found him jumping in the fields behind the church.  I ran after him, only aggravating the situation even more.  He thought I was playing with him, and he decided to take me for some laps around the large church.  I don't know if the priests were home, but they must have wondered who the crazy lady is, yelling and running after that dog?  I became frightened as  Foundem ran to the front of the church, where a major highway is.  I thought he was a goner, but something made me stop chasing him.  So I started to walk back to my car and prayed he would follow.  To my relief, he did.  In fact, he ran and beat me to my car, and I opened the door and he jumped back in.  I thanked the Blessed Mother for that!

All that running pooped him out, and he fell asleep in my back seat.  I drove him back to his house.  I told my friend that he was a swell dog, but not meant for me.  She didn't ask any questions.  I'm sure it was because my hair was totally messed and all pasted to my face, I was hot and sweaty.  My face and my clothes were filthy, and there were large drool stains all over my pant legs, not to mention the huge muddy paw prints smeared all over my shirt.  

I thought to myself as I wearily walked back to my car, "This Dominican doesn't need a dog."

That's an understatement!

Monday, December 22, 2008


I went to Mass tonite with a heavy heart.  It happens sometimes.  I know it's the holidays.  Christmas is only 3 days away, and instead of me pondering on the great event we will be celebrating, I am caught up in myself once again...

I prayed a holy hour before Mass.  During my prayer, I found myself looking out the glass doors of the church.  In the distance I could see the nearby neighborhood all awash in Christmas lights...

Christmas is a powerful day here on earth.  It seems to affect everyone, regardless of what religion one practices.  Even the Hindus in the office where I work are celebrating it!  Everywhere I look around, I see the traditional displays of the season: Nativity scenes, from the reverent ones placed outside churches, to the gawdy glow-in-the-dark plastic ones; wreaths hanging on doors and car grills; colorful lights blinking in the cold air, covering rooftops, trees, and wherever else you can get those wrapped around.  There's an excitement in the air.  A rush of anticipation.  People are all aflutter.  Shopping malls are loaded, gift-buying is in full swing, commercialism is doing it's thing this season...and yes, many get lost in the worldly version of Christmas... but despite all that, Jesus is still the reason for this season, regardless of what the ACLU and fellow atheists tell us...  

But getting back to why I was heavy hearted this evening...

Christmas present takes me back to Christmas past.  I was thinking of the best Christmas I've ever had.  Hands down, it was back in '91.  My mom had had a stroke in November, but had a speedy recovery and was able to return home from the hospital just in time for the celebration of Our Lord's birth.  Trouble was, we were so caught up in her health crisis, we hadn't really prepared for the family celebration that year.  Unexpectedly, my older brother John saw to the gifts and to the cooking.  It wasn't anything elaborate, but it was just right.  He did a very good job.  

Two years later John was dead.  My family hasn't been complete for 15 years now.  And just recently I lost my mom.  I will be spending Christmas without her for the 3rd time.


...that word is  heavy especially at Christmas... 

And tonite, I was feeling the I often do, especially when families are reuniting all around, and mine can never reunite until the next life... me a Scrooge, but the joy is lost on me at times...

Life is so short.  We need to pay attention to the time we have with those we love.  IF any one of you is having disagreements with loved ones, or haven't spoken to a son or a daughter for years and years...reconsider it this Christmas.  Or perhaps, you and a friend had a falling out.  Regardless of the reasons and who is right or wrong, this is the season to reconcile.  Throw out the grudges.  Throw out the hatred and the bitterness.  Jesus was born 2,000 years ago.  Mary did it.  She brought Him into this world.  Now it's our turn.  It's our turn to bring Jesus to those we love, those we aren't speaking to, those we hurt time and time again, and to those who hurt us.  The greatest gift we can give to one another is love, forgiveness, reconciliation.    

I miss my brother and my mom.  I'll never stop missing them.  But I look forward to that day when we will be reunited in Paradise.  I will celebrate Christmas then.  In the meantime, life has changed.  I've changed.  I live like a pilgrim in this world, always keeping my eyes on Eternity, watching through the night and waiting for the dawn of that eternal Christmas day...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

“Contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere” 

Hello ladies and gentlemen of the world!  At the request of my spiritual director, I am setting out on this new project.  My main purpose in creating this blog is to reach out to many, in order to satisfy a pining desire to share with all who will all who will hear......the musings of my "dominican soul..."

“Contemplare et contemplata aliis tradere” is a Dominican motto, which means "to contemplate and share the fruits of contemplation."  This is my offering to you in creating this blog.  I do not pretend to be a master theologian, nor a gifted mystic.  In fact, I consider myself more of a "mysfit" than a mystic!  I am just a Dominican Soul who wishes to share with you the beauty that God grants me in meditations and reflections received in prayer before the Holy Eucharist.  And if God sees to using this little "mysfit" of His, to share what He gives to her in contemplation, than she is very happy!

 First off, I'd like to explain what a "Dominican Soul" is.  Or, better yet, let me direct you to the actual text which the good Sisters of  St. Cecilia posted on their website:

I wish to dedicate this blog to the Glory of the Holy Trinity, to the honor of the Ever Blessed Virgin Mary, and to my "Papa" St. Dominic. 

I also write from my heart in loving memory of my dear mom and brother.  May they rest in peace...

The 4th Sunday of Advent

I attended Mass tonight for the Sunday Vigil.  I will also be attending Mass accordingly on Sunday.  Tonight, I traveled 60 miles to attend Mass at the Cathedral of the Bishop in my Diocese.  It is a very grandiose Cathedral, yet smaller than most, and very intimate.  It is dedicated in honor to the Mother of God.  

I entered the Cathedral, and knelt to say a greeting to the Lord.  I try not to greet anyone else  before I greet Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.  It was not always that you had "greeters" in a Catholic Church.  It has only been in recent times that greeters became a staple.  I suppose it is to satisfy those who feel we need to be greeted in God's house by another human being?  Or maybe, perhaps, the greeters are there for those who do not know the Lord is there to greet them in the Blessed Sacrament?  My dear mother taught me, when entering anybody's home,  you greet them corteously first before addressing any other visitors.  So, when I enter the House of God, I find it very important to greet Him first, before anyone fact, greeters just get in my way...but hey, that's just me...

I was the first person in the confessional line.  It's a great feeling to be the first person.  I go to confession quite often.  In fact, I went about 3 times this week.  I go whenever the opportunity presents itself.  God knows I need it, and so opportunities abound for me...

After receiving absolution, in which Jesus Christ, who is present to us in the confessional and forgives us with the power he has given to His priests, I was washed clean in the Blood of the Lamb.  Walking into the pews, I knelt and presented my penance to the Lord.  I thanked Him profusely for His Mercy and  Forgiveness.  

Holy Mass began with the thunderous ancient of sounds created by the massive Pipe Organ.  "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel."  The song and the music filled my senses with awe as I imagined all of Heaven coming to greet Jesus as Mass began...

We hear in the First Reading and the Responsorial Psalm, the Covenant God promises David of an "Eternal Kingship."  This is in reference to Jesus Christ, who will be born of David's lineage (St. Joseph is of the House of David, and although St. Joseph is not Jesus' natural father, he was wed to the Blessed Mother, she who gave birth to the Son of God.)  

In the Second Reading, St. Paul writes of "the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages..." and declares that revelation to be Jesus Christ, Son of God.  

And now for the Gospel:

Luke 1: 26 - 38

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And he came to her and said, "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!"
But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be.
And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end."
And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?"
And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.
For with God nothing will be impossible."
And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.

St. Luke writes beautifully of the Annunciation of the Angel Gabriel to the Blessed  Mother.  Gabriel greets her, "Hail Mary."  If it's good enough for the angel Gabriel, it's good enough for us Catholics to repeat those words also! (Sorry, Protestants!)  The Gospel is the fulfillment of the Covenant that God made with the Prophet David.  And as we notice, Our Lady does not hesitate; she just has that one question for the angel on how it was all to come to be.  And she answers with her whole heart and soul:  "Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word."

AS i received Jesus at this Mass, I was overcome with the image of the Babe who Our Lady gave birth to 2,000 years ago.  How amazing that we are able to touch the Baby Jesus as we receive Him in Holy Communion!  And my face was streaked with tears in the reflection that HE remains with  us always, in the temples we build Him, and in our hearts when we receive Him.  How does it all come to be?  Lord, we don't understand it, but , "let it be done according to Your Word!"