Thursday, November 2, 2017

ALL SAINTS PARADE-A VIGNETTE





Statue of St. George slaying the dragon.  Photograph by LS Wagen, November 2016,
 at the Church of the Dormition, Jerusalem, Israel



On November 1st, the feast day of “All Saints” our parish feast day, and the Church’s Holy Day, we had a parade of saints; the children of the parish all dressed up as saints. 
They sat ahead of me in the reserved seats, and paraded in in front of the priest during the entrance procession.

St. George was dressed in his plastic suit of plate armor with a plastic helmet and plastic sword.  With his family in tow, he sat in front of me in the pew.

Just because the sword was plastic didn’t mean it wasn’t dangerous.  The 6 year old St. George decided to wave that thing around and point it at people during mass while his Aunt and godmother tried to pull it out of his hand.  After the tug of war, she finally succeeded.  Since it was now 7:30 pm and probably passed his bedtime, St. George decided that he was tired, took off his plate armor, and then took a nap on the pew. A pew that looked like real wood, but like the armor was only plastic, so as to save money on the new church.

Worn out from fighting that dragon, he couldn’t stay awake for the rest of the mass. But he couldn’t resist picking up the sword one more time, while he blessed himself with it, waving that sword widely around in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Swish, swish, swish, slicing the air, while he moved about.  He almost poked me as well as everyone else with it!  Even though it was plastic, it had a sharp point to it.

At the end of the mass, Father invited the children up on the altar and asked each one which saint they were.  We had saints from all over the world, and from all time periods.  We had King David who looked very kingly, Father said.  We also had 1 St. Nicholas, 2 St Francises, 1 St. Bernadette, 1 St. Charles Borremo, 1 St. Lucia or better known as St. Lucy in America who was dressed in a white dress with a pink sash, and of course, as patron saint of the blind, she also had a wreath with a candle on it worn on her head, 2 St. Georges, and 1 Mary, Mother of God, complete with a baby doll. 

Mary, an 8 year old was a very white, fair complexioned child; baby Jesus was black.  Nothing wrong with that mind you, just looked a little strange. Mary’s mother called baby Jesus a very, very dark Mediterranean olive skinned baby from the Middle East. The only doll she could find on short notice.

Proving once again as the song goes, “Red, yellow, black or white we are all beautiful in His sight.  God loves the little children of the world.” 

By the way, we had 2 St. Georges who were fighting the very same dragon. One in plastic plate armor, the other dressed in plastic mail armor wearing a hauberk, a shirt of mail. 

One young girl undoubtedly taught by her parents not to talk too loudly in church whispered who she was in Father’s ear.  Don’t ask me who she was?

And we had one young lad who when asked who he was said that he didn’t know, but he thought he was St. Henry VIII.   Lots of giggles ensued.  If you don’t get it, you don’t know your world history.  Let’s just say the Henry VIII would never be canonized by the Catholic Church in this century or any other century.

Of course, Father had to use all this confusion over the saints as a learning opportunity and remarked that even though you don’t know which saint you are, at the parish of All Saints, we can all be saints in the making! (Technically, you have to be dead to be a saint, so none of us sitting the in the plastic pews were qualified for that designation quite yet.)

Later on at the parish reception while we were eating our “treats,” I asked Sister which saint was “King Henry” supposed to be portraying?  Turned out Sister Catherine, Director of Religious Education for the parish, who had assigned the children the names, said the saint was St. Henry II, who was also called Emperor, the Good, of the Holy Roman Empire, and who also had lived many centuries before King Henry VIII.

She remarked that the child was doing a world history classroom report on King Henry VIII at the same time that he was preparing his costume for the parade of saints.  He just got the roman numerals mixed up; that was all.  At least that’s what we think?

I wonder what St. Thomas More who was beheaded and martyred by King Henry the eighth, thinks about this one. Rolling over in his grave, I’m sure.

At the reception after the feast day mass, I also asked one of the St. Georges who was dressed in the mail armor just how big was the dragon that he was trying to slay?  The child was driving his plastic sword into the floor exclaiming that he was killing the imaginary dragon.

The answer was 3,333.33 miles tall.  The child must have just learned about decimals in school!

No information on how big St. George’s dragon really was since it is just a legend anyway.

And for those of you who don’t know your world history “All Hallow’s Eve” is the evening before All Saints Day, a feast day celebrating our “Hallowed” predecessors, when traditionally children dressed up as saints in costumes.  This ancient custom is one of our precursors to our modern day Halloween, where children dress up in costumes and go trick or treating. The word Halloween comes from the word Hallowe'en which dates back to the 1700’s and is of Christian origin. The word "Hallowe'en" means "hallowed evening" or "holy evening".  It comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows' Eve (the evening before All Hallows' Day, or All Saints’ Day, which also precedes All Souls’ Day, a day where all of our loved ones who have passed on are commemorated, and honored, and which follows All Saints Day). All Hallow’s Eve Christianized the ancient pagan Gaelic festival of Samhain, when it was believed that the walls between our material world and the spiritual world, became thin enough to allow ghosts to come through and damage the Autumn crops.

Now, this is a retirement community, and the Catholic Church is bleeding the next generation of saints, so there wasn’t a whole lot of young saints; however, the feast day still had all and all a great All Saints' Day parade of saints!!

Everyone had a great time hanging out with all of our “saints,” including myself, and I know that Father thought the whole evening was amusing.





Saturday, October 14, 2017

THE UNREPENTANT SINNER

The Doctor was getting ready to leave for work, when he found his wife of 30 years weeping in front of the television set.  He asked her what was the matter, and she replied, "Oh, Henry, it's awful, some terrorist just blew up the Federal building in Oklahoma City, and there were children involved.  A day care center for the Federal employees' children was in that building."   Henry looked at the set, and saw a blood stained child being rescued from the building.  "Yes, it is terrible, Mildred, just terrible, but I do think you are over reacting.  I have to leave for work."

When the Doctor arrived at his private practice medical office, he spoke to his business manager, Elsie, "Elsie, did Miss Citizen, get the paper work done for today's operation at the hospital?"

"Yes, Doctor, her private care physician through her company's medical plan, referred her to you, so you can perform the operation today, and not have to worry about getting paid for it."

"Good", said the Doctor, "Not all companies are willing to pay for this.  We don't work for free around here, you know."
           
"Yes, Doctor," replied Elsie.

At the local Protestant hospital, the Doctor, had brought along his private nurse, Joann, to help with the operation.  He had to bring along private help, because the hospital nurses had refused to help with this kind of operation.  He scrubbed up and entered the room.  Joann had already arrived and was prepping the patient.

The Doctor entered the delivery room, which was also used for the operational procedure.

The anesthesiologist said, "The patient is already under.  You can go ahead."

Joann continued, "The ultrasound is all set up for you, Doctor.  Why do you keep putting them under for this procedure; you could do it while they are awake?   Isn't it less risky awake?"

"The damned patients keep changing their minds, while they are awake, and I end up with no fee from their insurance plans."

"Doctor, your language!" Joann exclaimed.

"Sorry," replied the Doctor.

The Doctor using the ultrasound to guide him inserted the long needle into the woman's womb; the fetus (Latin for little one) immediately jerked violently to one side.  The Doctor missed.

"Look at that!  It moved!" said Joan, never seeing something like that before.

"Reflexes.  The fetus has no self consciousness.  Just an animal reaction," said the Doctor.

The Doctor again inserted the needle.  Reacting against the assault, the little one (English for fetus), again moved violently in reaction to the jab.  This time to the other side.

"I think that is more than reflexes.  I think a decision has been rendered," replied the anesthesiologist.

The Doctor quickly took over the operation of the ultrasound from the technician, and adjusted the machine himself.  This time he could see what he was doing, and he didn't miss.

"We got it.  Yes!  It will only be a matter of time, now before she delivers."

Soon after, Miss J.Q. Citizen, delivered.

The child struggled to take one breath; the child failed to breathe, and then expired.

Joann in an almost inaudible whisper said, "Breathe, Honey, breathe."

A breath signifies that a certificate of live birth would be brought forth.  If the child then subsequently expires, a death certificate would then be issued forthrightly.  If the child had taken at least one breath, the little one would have been immediately reeled next door into the emergency room.  According to state law, a breathing infant, has all the rights and duties under the Law as a human being under the State.  The emergency personnel, next door, would have put up a most valiant fight to save the infant.  The Doctor would have stayed out of it.

What did Joann see, perhaps saw some signs of life yet?  Where they wrong?  Was the child still living?   No, perhaps not.

Suddenly, at the ninth hour, Joann thirsted.  Eli, Eli, lema sabacthani?

The Doctor took one look at the child, and says in a loud voice, "It is finished."

After Joann had left the room to get a gulp of water, and the Doctor had washed up, he found Joann crying in the lobby, with her head held in her hands.  He said, "If you don't have the stomach for this anymore, you're fired."

"You know how hard today is for everybody, with the Oklahoma City bombing; you could be more understanding.  If that's how you are going to react, I'm glad that I'm fired."

Joan nervously and unthinkingly twisted her Mothers' Day Ring, known in the jewelry industry as the Ring of Life, around her finger, and silently left the hospital, without saying one more word.

The Doctor changed, and left for his solid and stable home, where his first and only wife of 30 years, was waiting for him.  The hour was twilight, and although he was cold sober, he had trouble seeing, as he was getting up in years.  He was also exhausted having done many pregnancy terminations during that week---as his job, as a private gynecologist demanded.

As he was turning the corner onto his upper middle class neighborhood, where he lived, a young male toddler about 5, on his low ridding monster bike darted into the street.  The Doctor hit his brakes with a thud, and stopped just inches from hitting the child.  There was no one around out at that twilight hour on the street, save the Doctor and his young neighbor.  The Doctor in shock, rushed into the street, gathered the child into his arms, started bawling like one of those young babies he so often delivers, and cried in a loud voice, "Oh, The Children, The Children!"

At that particular moment, the Good Lord calls him home, and the Doctor keels over dead.

The Doctor is ushered to right outside the pearly gates, where he meets St. Peter.  St. Peter asks a few pointed questions, and then the good doctor, is ushered inside Heaven's walls.  Fifty million angels rejoice over one repented sinner.  One fallen angel throws a fit.


While the Doctor was carefully driving home, Jacquelyn Q. Citizen had developed complications.  No one at the hospital, exactly knew what was wrong.  The Doctor was beeped, but he had refused to answer.  While Jacquelyn was being reeled from the delivery room into the emergency room, still under anesthesia, her entire life was reviewed before her in her mind, especially clear was the last 2 weeks leading up to the abortion.
           
Two weeks ago, J. Q., as her friends knew her, went in to see the Employee Relations Manager, where she worked at the Federal building in downtown Phoenix.  She wanted to find out about what kind of benefits, she would have, if she carried her child to term.  The conversation went thusly,

J.Q., "Do I have paid maternity leave, with this outfit?"

"Well, no.  But we have to give you time off due to the Family Leave Act, and the Pregnancy Act. Most of it is unpaid leave," Employee Relations Manager.
           
"Say, if I had a kid, and one of my fellow employees wanted to adopt.  Does our legal plan pay for private adoption attorney fees?"

"No, our legal plan specifically rules that out."

"Oh, I see.  Can I have a raise?   I'm too poor.  I couldn't even afford lunch today."

"No."

"Day Care?"

"We have that.  It's in the same building."

"Does our medical plan pay for elective abortions?"

"Well, yes.  After President Clinton got elected, he undid President Bush's mandate to rule out Federal employer medical plan abortions.  I believe the government union pushed to have it overturned."
           
"Well, how does one go about making out the paper work for that?"

The Employee Relations Manger, unhappily, went about telling her how Miss Citizen could avail herself of the wonderful Federal benefits.  The Employee Relations Manager, added, "You know, I don't support these policies, I just report them."

Another conversation traversed through J.Q. Citizen's mind.  It was the last conversation that she had had with her fellow coworkers over lunch in the employee lounge. 

J.Q. quietly munched on affordable crackers and cheese, while, her more wealthy coworkers, had a full and nutritious meal.

"I'm going to have an abortion next week.  What does everyone think?"

"That's great.  Women should have the right to choose," Marilly said.

"Do it in a hurry," replied Bill.  "You're unmarried, and I don't want to support no bastard kid with my tax money, for Aid to Dependent Children."

"What does the father say?" asked Joyce.
           
"Don't want it.  Disappeared," J.Q. replied.

"Isn't his decision anyway.  Don't matter.  It's the woman's," said Marilly.

"You are standing up for the woman's rights. Marilly's right.  Should do it," Joyce was always the one to let someone else offer a sacrifice on the altar of women's rights.
           
John stated, "Every child should be a wanted child.  Should do it.  Mother don't want it.  Father don't want it.  Go for it."

"What about adoption?" Joyce asked.
           
Bill added, "Everyone knows kids on welfare, or have been adopted feel unwanted, and turn out to be mass murders, because they have no love in their life.  Doing the kid a favor, as well as society, by doing this now.  Think of all my tax money you save, with the kid not in prison.  If those stupid Catholics are right, and the kid does have a soul now, he should go straight to heaven anyway.  And if they're wrong, it's just a mass of tissue anyway."
           
"Bill, is right," Joyce parroted.
           
"Pass the salt, please," said Bill.
           
J.Q. passed the salt. 

J.Q.  "I used to be Catholic."

"Thanks," said Bill politely, referring to the salt.
           
The Employee Relations Manager sitting at a separate table alone across the room quietly eating her lunch, got up and left quietly mumbling to herself something about not wanted to get involved, and everyone can make up their own minds about this.

The day of the operation the nurse Joann, had asked her, before she went under the anesthesia, if she was still certain she wanted to do this.

J. Q, "Yes."

After Miss Citizen went under, she slept. Suddenly, like a thief in a night, her entire life, passed before her eyes in a twinkling of an eye.  The next thing she knew she was talking to St. Peter, outside those pearly gates.

"Where am I?  And who are you, an angel?  Are you God?"

"No, I'm His messenger, but I'm not an angel.  I'm who you know from your early Catechism days as St. Peter, the Rock of the Church."
           
"Oh, I'm outside Heaven's gates.  Oh, no.  Where is the baby?  Is he in Heaven?"
           
"You know it's a he from the last ultrasound.  And you know he had a soul from the moment of his conception, from your teenage Catechism classes."

"I want to see my baby!"  J.Q. shouts with regret.

"Can't," says St. Peter. "Can see the doctor, though, he's inside the gates."

"What's he doing in there?" replied J.Q. dumbfounded.
           
"He had a heart attack on the way home, and died."

"But he killed my baby!  What's he doing in Heaven!!!"

"He was penitent sinner.  The angels are all rejoicing."

"Are you going to let me into Heaven, so I can see my baby?"

"You will have to share Heaven with the Doctor.  Do you forgive him?  Or will I have to spend eternity tearing you two apart?"

"Certainly not.  I don't forgive him.  He killed my son."

"Well, yes.  But God, the Father, sent his Son to earth, and people killed Him, too.  He forgave them.  You have to follow His example to be a good citizen of Heaven."

St. Peter pauses, and continues.  "I see, you are not ready for Heaven, quite yet.  You're emotions need purification, and purging."

"What does that mean?"

"That means, my dear little one, that God forgives you, but you can't quite know what it is like to feel His forgiveness, so that is why you don't know how to forgive the Doctor quite yet.  If you remember, back before you stopped practicing your faith, you used to pray for the 'Poor Souls of Purgatory'.  That's where you are going, to Purgatory."

"I object.  You're not God.  I want to see the main boss, around here.  You're going to be overruled.  I want to get into Heaven to see my child."

"You can't," says St. Peter.
           
"And why not?"

"The Beatific Vision is only reserved for heaven's citizens.  You'll still commune with the Godhead, just not like you want to."

"Well, then, just let me get inside a moment to see..."

"David.  God named him David."

"David.  I like it.  Good biblical name." A pause.  "Well, David it is.  I want to see David."

"Can't."

"And why on earth, not."

"Because he's not in there."

"Well, where is he?  He's in Purgatory.  Well, let's get this show on the road.  Send me to Purgatory."

"Where do you think you are now?  You are in Purgatory, Child, talkin' to me."

Miss Citizen of Purgatory looks around frantically looking for her lost child.  She only sees herself, some clouds, the pearly gates, and St. Peter.  Sounds of angels playing harps, and rejoicing emanates from within Heaven's gates.

"O.K.  David isn't in Heaven, and he ain't in Purgatory.  Where is he?  Did he live through the abortion?  Is he still alive?"

"No.  He's not alive.  He's dead."

"Well?"

"He's not within those walls.  He's in the Village of the Damned."

"Alright.  This is not funny.  I don't believe, he's in Hell.  He's just a little baby; God wouldn't be so unfair as to allow an innocent to end up in Hell.  Besides Bill says I was saving him for Heaven."

"Bill, also said, as I recall, 'Do it in a hurry.  You're unmarried and I don't want to support no bastard kid with my tax money.'  Bill's understanding of theology is rather limited and just plain wrong."

"Why that bastard!  He talked me into this.  I hope he, ends up in Hell."

"Now, Jacquelyn.  Don't say such things.  You'll regret them.  It's true that Bill is guilty of the sin of duplicity, by consenting to your evil act, and even encouraging it, but you made the final decision.  Bill has many more years to live, and he may end up joining you one day in Heaven.  Then again Bill may end up spending time with David in Hell, endlessly explaining to David, 'Bill's' version of theology."

"Does that mean St. Augustine was right, when he said, 'Unbaptized babies don't end up in heaven?"  Rather unfair, I think."

"Who said life was fair?  If life was fair, you would not have been in the financial mess, you were in, when you made that decision.  To answer your question, yes and no.  David did not have the opportunity to be baptized, but by God giving him a soul, David did have the capacity to make a final decision for or against Christ at the moment of his death.  It's what is called Baptism by Desire.  Unlike the Doctor, he did not call out for forgiveness, or even act semi-remorseful like you do.  Unlike other aborted babies, baptized by desire, now in Heaven, David made the mistake of choosing to believe against the mercy of God."

"But he never lived.  How could he have experienced the goodness of God exhibited through God’s Most Holy People?  All he knew was the eight months he spent in my womb, and the brief moments, when he was killed by my, or should I say our hands."

"True.  If David had lived, God would have given him the opportunity to receive Him in his lifetime, and experience the goodness and mercy of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  He would have also have given David the opportunity of drawing other people closer to God, by his love and example.  You might have become a loving mother, or have felt enough genuine love to give the baby up to a loving Christian couple for adoption.  David's manifestations of earthly love may have shortened your time in Purgatory, and also could have had an effect on your friend, Bill."

"Bill, said David would have ended up in prison for being unwanted."

"Even if David felt unwanted by his parents and society, God still wanted him.  Preferably, alive and worshiping Him.  Even if David ended up in prison, he could have experienced the unconditional love of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  At the end, languishing on his prison bed, David could have still rejected the Lord, or accepted Him as the case may be.  But you were not to have played God, taking a life, before life itself, was allowed to breathe its first breath.  Only God has the power over life and death, Heaven and Hell, and only He is omnipotent to know what would have happened to David.  What happened to David was not your concern, it was God's, and you should have allowed him to live his own destiny."

"O.K," J.Q. starts to cry, full of remorse, and lost opportunity.  "Give me a second chance.  Send me back.  Send David back.  I'll be a good mother, this time.  I promise.  God names David, and then loses him.  Why?"

"I told you.  I'm not God.  I can't do that.  It's too late anyway."

"It's not too late.   Show me the brethren of Hell.  Let me go down to Hell, and bring David back with me."

"Can't."

"You like that word.  An awful lot.  Why not?"

"The citizens of Heaven and Hell, are only separated by their own choosing.  Subjects of the Village of the Damned, don't want to leave Hell, so they stay there.  They can't bear to be close to God.  This is of their own choosing.  Citizens of Heaven, can't bear to leave.  This is also of their own choosing.   Unlike David, you have experienced a taste of Christ's unconditional love during your lifetime, through your mother's love. You on the other hand, can chose Purgatory or Heaven, but not Hell.  Whether you remain closer to Hell or Heaven is up to you, and your progress."

"Will I ever leave Purgatory?"

"Like I said, this is up to you.  There are lots of people down there praying for you.  Good Catholics who believe in praying for the 'Poor Souls in Purgatory.'  Even the Federal government is rethinking its employee benefit package, thanks to one repentant Employee Relations Manager.  She's crying at your funeral, right now.  Later, she plans to raise a great big fuss with the government.  I'll check with you on All Saints Day to find out what your progress is.  I have to go now.  I'll leave you in God's capable hands."
           

David's body was sold at a cost of thirty pieces by the hospital to a medical charity for scientific research. A birthright consumed in a bowl of Esau's stew. No prayers were entombed.  No incense offered.
           
At Henry's (the Doctor) funeral prayers were offered for his soul on the Last Judgment Day.

At Jacquelyn's funeral the mourners recanted, "May all the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace."
           
It has been said that "the wages of sin is death."  Well, one fallen angel was certainly rejoicing over one's day work.  The Deceiver thought one out of three wasn't bad pay for all its work accomplished on that fate filled day.   "It" is used instead of him/her as the fallen angel is genderless, unlike an unborn child, which is either a him or her.
           
In Heaven, fifty million angels were rejoicing over one repentant sinner. 

On Earth, fifty million Catholics were praying for 'All the Lost Souls of Purgatory'.

Another fifty million Catholics were praying for themselves.



ENDNOTES:

© 1993 LS Wagen  All Rights Reserved.

This work is entirely a piece of fiction.  Any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental and not meant to be implied.


The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All Rights Reserved.

This piece was published by the author to commemorate the 40 days for Life ending November 4, 2017, a prayer campaign endorsed by the US Catholic Bishops and other dominations to pray for the protection of human life from conception to natural death.  It was also written to commemorate the April 19, 1993 Oklahoma bombing of the Federal building.

This piece is not affiliated or commission by the 40 Days for Life, but only contains the author’s opinion buried in a work of fiction.  It supports the mission of the 40 Days for Life which is a community-based prayer campaign that takes a determined, peaceful approach to showing local communities the consequences of abortion in their own neighborhoods, for their own friends and families.  

For more information see,

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

I Was a Book Fairy for The Day




I participated in Book Fairy Day in order to celebrate Goodreads' birthday.

Goodreads is a site for authors and readers to interact and share stories, and book reviews.

Here's my link on Goodreads.  Please be sure to ask me a question!

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6571089.L_S_Wagen


Book Fairies is an International organization based in London, England.  Emma Watson, the actress started the craze by leaving her favorite books around London where they could be found, and shared.  Other people joined in.  Don't we all want to share our favorite books!  You too can be a book fairy!

You can find out more about The Book Fairies at the website below.

http://ibelieveinbookfairies.com/


Here's some pictures where I left my books.





Barnes and Noble




Pauline's Perils of Perplexity on Target's Bench at the Bus Stop



Pauline's Perils of Perplexity on St. Daniel The Prophet Catholic Church bench.


Not pictured, I also left a copy of Pauline's Perils of Perplexity in my doctor's office.

Also, not pictured, I left copies of books by other authors.  God for one.  The New American Bible   I left a copy of the Bible, the best selling book of all time, on a bench in the cemetery where my parents are buried, and a book by Scott Hahn, another religious book in another cemetery where my friend is buried.  The book by Scott Hahn?  A Father  Who Keeps His Promises

So I prayed that the right readers would find the right books!  I always pray for my readers!

So next year on September 18th Goodread's birthday, you too can become a Book Fairy.  Join the fun!


If you decide to read my books, please review them on Goodreads!   Join the fun!


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

7 Secrets of Confession - Book Review


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1884479464/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=1884479464&linkCode=as2&tag=lwasauspa-20&linkId=ab882ab7618d4debf352f9dd459877d5

This book is about “7 Secrets”.  I’ll start off my book review with a secret confession of my own.  On my Goodreads LS Wagen’s Author page, I marked this book off as to be read on January 29, 2017.  I noted that I would either have to special order it from a bookstore (religious or secular), or purchase it on www.amazon.com Also, my parish lending library didn’t carry it. Low and behold, my Catholic parish set up a book display in McKay Hall with the paperback book on it.  They had previously carried the EBook, but I didn’t want the EBook. For a $5.00 donation you could buy the book.  It was on the honor system, you put the money in the little hole.   This paperback version was offered for sale 2 months ago. I never got around to bringing the $5.00 with me.  I think I really was afraid to read the book as it might motivate this cradle Catholic into going to confession more than my twice a year duty during Advent, and Lent.   This reluctance to purchase the book despite my desire to read it continued, until I had a dream.  In the dream, this book was sitting on a shelf in my private library at home.  That’s it.  End of dream.  Short dream.  To the point.  Okay, God, I’ll read the book.

Two weeks ago, I bought the book, and this week I read it!   Yea!   I’m glad I did!

Oh, by the way, the book retails for more than $5.00; obviously our parish was subsidizing the books on the display.

So what were the secrets in the book, (that’s all of my personal secrets that you are getting out of me), Beyond the Grocery List, Secret 1 Sin Doesn’t Change God, Secret 2 It’s Not Just About Forgiveness, Secret 3 Your Sin is Different From My Sin, Secret 4 Confession is Never Really Private, Secret 5 You’ve Got Mail, Secret 6 New Wine Needs New Skin, Secret 7 You have to Let Go of Your Chains, and bonus secrets Change Your Oil!, and Don’t Forget the Hors D’ouvres.  

Obviously, chapter headings.

Beyond the Grocery List is about rediscovering confession beyond simply rattling off your sins, and the same sins from confession to confession. 

Sin Doesn’t Change God is about your personal relationship with God and how your personal sin effects it. 

It’s Not Just About Forgiveness is about how confession heals the soul, and sanctifies it, not just how God forgives sin in the confessional. 

Your Sin is Different From My Sin is about how God views all the circumstances of your sin, and about only how He can judge the serious of each sin. 

Confession is Never Really Private.  Yes, the author Vinny Flinn states that there is a “seal” of confession which forbids the priest to ever reveal or make use of the information he hears in the confessional, that’s not what the author means.  He means more than just a priest is there, God is there, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and all of Heaven.  As it says in Luke 15:10, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."  So all of Heaven rejoices too in a truly penitent sinner. (Which means not just going through the motions, all you cradle Catholics out there.)  And of course, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as Confession, not only reconciles you to the Blessed Trinity it reconciles you to your brothers, and sisters in the Lord.

You Got Mail.   I’ll leave that one as a surprise.  Read the book.

New Wine Needs New Skin is about becoming a new creature in Christ.

You Have to Let Go of Your Chains is about not hanging onto your sins of unforgiveness.

Change Your Oil is about the graces received during confession, and the help God gives you in overcoming your besetting sins.  More frequent confession helps you do this, and by confessing your venial sins more frequently, this helps you not to fall into more serious (mortal) sin.

Don’t Forget the Hors D’ouvres is how to examine your conscience and prepare for confession. Strange place at the end of the book, but the author ties it in how preparation on your part, and the priest’s part can pay off at the end.  Yes, you can pray for the priest before he hears your confession.  
A prayer that you might be understood better, and that your anxiety won’t get in the way of your communication.

So my recommendation for people who need to read this book is that it’s a book for just about everybody - - -  Cradle Catholics, and Catholic converts, Protestants, atheists, agnostics, and people in general who want to know more about the Catholic Church and Her sacraments. 

So even after know a great deal about confession after growing up Catholic, I still got a lot out of this book, like realizing this is a “healing” sacrament, just as much as the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is a healing sacrament.

But the reason God nudged me into reading this book wasn’t only for myself.  It was because He knew I would write a review to urge you to read 7 Secrets of Confession by Vinny Flynn and published by Catholic Press, Ignatius, for yourself!


PS. I’m still not convinced to go to confession more often, sorry Mr. Flynn.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Story You Need To Tell - Writing To Heal From Trauma, Illness, or Loss - Book Review






Sandra Marinella, a professional English educator, has written a book that is half English writing manual, and half narrative writing therapy, which culminates in a how-to book on Writing to Heal from Trauma, Illness, or Loss.

 A retired high school/college writing, and college preparatory reading instructor, she found herself facing a cancer diagnosis. As she chronicled her own spiritual journey in her private journal, she realized that an inner healing had taken place. She began to wonder if this might be true for others, as she had watched some of her troubled students over the years, also experience emotional, and spiritual healing from the personal English essays that she had assigned for her classes. Mrs. Marinella even noticed healing happening in her parent’s use of his own personal journal during his own personal illness.

She decided to research the subject, and discovered that narrative counseling, reframing your own personal narrative with the help of a counselor, was an established and accepted method of psychological counseling. In The Story You Need to Tell she cites research psychologist, James W Pennebaker, a pioneer of writing therapy, on the importance of breaking the silence through narrative.

She also wondered if this might be true of the literary side as well. Her educational background which enabled her to study the literary classics confirmed this, as most of the best written classical literary works were born out of the authors’ own personal struggles. And writing for publication not only capitulated the author into success, but also acted as a catharsis for the writer…The Story You Need to Tell 

This was true of Elie Weisel, who in 1960, published his autobiographical memoir Night, about the time that he spent in WWII concentration camps, which is still required reading in high school to this day. According to Mrs. Marinella, this was the story that he needed to tell, and we all needed to hear.

But not all the participants in her writing workshops for veterans and cancer patients need or want to write for publication, so in her book The Story You Need to Tell, Sandra Marinella concentrates on private journaling. The six parts of her book combine elements highlighting this blend of private journaling, combining psychological healing, and narrative (story) elements. These six parts include Writing: Not Drowning, Writing Down the Self, Finding Meaning through Story, Rewriting our Shattered Stories, Writing to Heal, and Writing to Transform.

She dedicates her book in part to “writers and students who inspire me.” I hope, now a published author, and writer myself, that I am one of those inspirational students of whom she speaks. A student, in her classroom, Room 221, who was inspired by both an exceptional teacher, who loves stories and literature, and by a moving and wonderful writer, who wants to bring healing, and hope through her personal gifts of research, teaching, and writing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Have You Ever Heard a Bird Sing?





Have you ever heard a bird sing,
A long, long way from home?
Its song is like a breath of Spring,
On its long journey's roam.

Have you ever heard a TV grrr,
To fill up the lonesome hours?
Its incessant crowing a droning lure,
Which sirenly powers.

Have you ever heard a radio blaring?
With all your vacuuming and running,
No space is left for quiet caring,
And no time for one day's sunning.

Can you hear a bird sing,
A dove, a lark, a sparrow true?
For God's own Spirit would bring,
A quiet voice to have His rule.
Cooing, wooing He bids us, still,
If only we could do His will.
                                                                                                                                                                       
For to hear a birdie sing,
You must create the time.
Turn off your vacuuming and drumming,
And you may even create a rhyme,
To help you in your funning.

You haven't heard a bird sing,
Because you are afraid,
Of the peace contentment brings,
When the peaceful prayer of dawn is laid.

You must have heard a bird sing.
For God is found in tender breezes,
Where He flirts and plays,
For Jesus',
Voice doeth truest ring,
In each and every quiet day. 
Copyright © 2016 LS Wagen
Taken From 
Published by Wagen-Load Productions
All Rights Reserved

The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 23, 2017

"WHY DO YOU CALL ME GOOD?"

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus asked.  "Only God is truly good!"
                                    -Mark 10:18

“Are colored people as good,
as white people?"
the child of the '60's, asked.

"Only God is good,"
replied the Father of All Eternity.

"Are girls as good,
as boys?"
the toddler of the '70's, asked.

"Only God is good,"
 replied the Father of All Eternity.

"Are handicapped people as good,
as healthy people?",
the infant of the '80's, asked.

"Only God is good,"
replied the Father of All Eternity.

“Are newborns as good,
as the unborn in the womb?”
the fetus of the ‘90’s, asked.
                       
"Only God is good,"
replied the Father of All Eternity.
                        
“Are research embryos in a test tube as good,
as embryos in the womb?”,
the embryo of  the new century, asked.

"Only God is good,"
replied the Father of All Eternity."

"Why do you call Me good?"
Jesus asked.

"Only God is good."


Copyright © 2016 LS Wagen
Taken From 
Published by Wagen-Load Productions
All Rights Reserved

The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and are used by permission.  All Rights Reserved.

Published to commemorate the souls lost to abortion on the tragic anniversary of Roe vs. Wade.   Pray to end the evil of abortion.