Saturday, October 14, 2017

Donde Ha Pasado El Tiempo?

Literally - where has the time gone - a phrase spoken by almost everyone. All of us - at one time or another - has had one too many irons in the fire - too many tasks to accomplish - all at the same time. Invariably - something suffers. In my case my daily blogging has become bi-weekly at best. It is not that I forget - or that I am too tired - rather I have been too busy - occupied with many other things.  And - this coming from a person who is retired!  Yes - Virginia - even in retirement - days become filled with too many tasks to accomplish. Retirement is not all breakfasts with other seniors - days on the golf course - casually hiking over numerous mountain tops - enjoying the newest book. Life goes on after retirement - just as it has done all ones life - the only difference - work - for pay - no longer gets in the way of the more enjoyable tasks of life. The month of September flew by faster than a speeding bullet - family reunion - annual apple picking - chili cook-off - tending to the lawn only to be greeted by an even busier October. The primary task - remodel one of the bathrooms. When you live in a house constructed sometime in the 1860's - always a surprise - two by fours that actually measure two inches by four inches - studs placed in random locations - joists not where they should be - the pains of previous amateur attempts at construction - remodeling with which to be contended. Demolition almost always goes easy - it is the reconstruction - correcting previous errors and oversights - making things fit around misplaced studs and joists - creating space that meets current codes - that is the  challenge. Craftsmen being the artists they are - manage to find a way to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse - and eventually a new creation rises from the ashes of the old - liked the fabled Phoenix - into a new shining creation.

We approach God much like we do when remodeling our homes. Many - from various lifestyles - experiences - as old worn down and worn out messes - needing to remodel our lives after Jesus and His Mother Mary - into the sons and daughters He intended us to be. Before we can be made new - we must first remove all the old - the clutter that has our lives in disorder - anything that is preventing us from being the person we were designed to be. Through this process - Jesus - will be with us constantly - in the rough times - in the joyful times - until God has completed His transformation. With God all things are possible - and even we - batter and bruised - unworthy - may be made new - recreated into His work of art - a person to behold. It takes time - but God has all the time in the world - for each of us. Today - invite Jesus into your life - let the Carpenter begin the renewal process in your life.
Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

To Kneel or Not To Kneel

Freedom of speech - freedom of religion - freedom to make your own decision - that is what makes America great. In America - everyone - men- women - children - black - white - yellow - brown - gay - straight - no matter what your ethnicity - all are given the right - constitutionally - to exercise freedom of speech. You may or may not agree with what is said - how it is said - when and why it is said - but as Americans we must honor everyone's right to speak their mind - in whatever way they choose. We will never - ever - get everyone to agree on any subject - never. To deny anyone their right to free speech - would be - un American. Yet - this country is being divided over exactly this issue. The biggest issue - confusion over what certain symbols - mean - represent. As a nation - we have been guilty of putting our own interpretation on certain American symbols - why they were developed - how they were developed - how they have been re-interpreted over the years - original meaning - understanding - evolving into new meanings - understandings. It happens - a normal course of evolution - involving all things. Nothing stays the same - everything evolves.  As a child - cool meant a temperature - not hot - not quite cold - just cool. Today cool - evolved to refer not just to a temperature - also an adjective meaning - neat - divine - nifty - marvelous - swell - dandy.  Any intelligent person understand this - accepts this change in meaning. Yet - that same person - failing to keep up with changes in attitude - use in a more modern manner - fails to comprehend - accept that other meanings may have also evolved. Barriers - issues that deal with language - comprehension - are the major problems with good communication among people. As a nation we have failed ourselves - our neighbors - in being open to new meanings - understanding - holding too firmly on old - often wrong meanings. It is definitely time to push the stop button - to stop making rash decisions - rushing to wrong conclusions. Intelligent people have learned that both sides of an issue must be completely investigated before making any decision. Cooler minds must prevail - calmer voices must be spoken to educate - inform others - to avoid conflicting and incorrect commentary - to stop the mass hysteria we are currently experiencing.

Satan loves confusion - dissension - misinformation - heated arguments. Letting emotions run wild never helps any situation.  Deep slow breathing - keeping a cool head - looking at the larger picture - inviting God into the conversation - will lead to peaceful solutions.  Prayer is the way to start - using your freedom of speech to speak - love - acceptance - tolerance - is the answer. It does not make a difference if you kneel or stand - as long as you do it for the right reason.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Tanti Auguri

Tanti Auguri - loosely translated from Italian - many wishes - the common expression in Italy when wishing someone a happy birthday. Today I received many - well wishes - as I celebrate my birthday. It is fun - with internet access - to receive birthday wishes from around the world. America - many different States - Italy - Scotland - wherever I have friends - relatives. In spite of the critics who see only bad from internet use - there is a lot of good that is spread.  Birthday wishes - sharing accomplishments - posting photos from vacations - weddings - the list goes on and on. In cyberspace more good exists than evil. The real evil - lives in the hearts and minds of unhappy people unfortunately.

In the Catholic Church - Today September 8th - we celebrate the birthday of Saint Mary - the mother of Jesus - the mother of us all. We celebrate all the goodness that she is and represents. We celebrate her strength in saying - Yes - to the angel - when he shared God's desire for her to bear His son. We celebrate her willingness to stand by her son at Cana - Do whatever He tells you - and her acceptance at the foot of His cross as she watched Jesus being crucified. To Saint Mary we proclaim - Tanti Auguri - many blessings - for all that you have done for mankind.

Deacon Dale

Monday, September 4, 2017

Ball Ball

Saying - ball ball - does not make any sense and yet that is exactly what people are saying when they mention they are going to play bocce ball.  You see in Italian bocce is the plural form of ball - balls. If you are in Italy you wold hear them say - let's play bocce - never let's play bocce ball. The confusion arises because the game of bocce is a game involving balls. We would never say basketball ball - baseball ball - yet when we say bocce ball - that is exactly what we are saying. After a little bit of education - most people learn the correct term. When you think about it - the language - how we use it can be confusing and amusing.

When Jesus spoke in parables - a similar situation existed - in an attempt to make His explanations easier - people sometimes became confused and took His words - phrases - to be literal. Even today there are those who do not understand what Jesus was saying - instead try to explain His words in complicated theological terms. How many ways can God - Jesus - say - love - acceptance - forgiveness - compassion - tolerance. One would think that love would cover all - but in an attempt to simplify - many tend to complicate His simple message of love. The Bible is filled with God's love - an extremely long love letter to His people - yet all too many miss His simple message. Rather than dissect - analyze - study - ponder - one has to simply understand that God's love is just that - love in the extreme form - nothing less. God loves us all - period. Not love love - not love in capitals - just simply love and all that the word contains and implies.Today - let God - Jesus - love you.

Deacon Dale

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Ties That Bind - Love Knots

We all have connections - family - friends - people we work with - those we worship with - long distance connections - Facebook friends. Many of these connections are fairly superficial - especially - Facebook friends of friends of friends - people whom you have never met face to face. The others - people we actually have met - talked with - in an actual conversation - know their story - their families. Those are people with whom we have a true viable tie. Some ties are weak - others very strong - these are the ties that bind - hold us together - through good and bad times. Immediate family members - close friends - aunts - uncles - cousins - connections - ties that bind us together - everlasting - through thick and thin.

God calls each of us into His family of believers - related by blood - not familial blood - rather through the shed blood of Jesus - His Son. As adopted children - we are connected more strongly than many realize. It is our common faith - that ties us together - into bonds of love - God's love. These ties - once developed - last throughout our lives - love knots - binding us firmly into God's family. All are invited - all are welcome - come join us - in Jesus' love knot - the true tie that binds,

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Hidden Talents

In Today's Gospel reading we heard the parable of the talents - the land owner goes away on an extended trip and places money (called talent) in the hands of three loyal workers. Two use the money given them to double what they received - the third - being fearful - not trusting the system - buries his money - only to return to the land owner on his return - exactly as received - no gain - no interest earned. Obviously this parable is not about money - rather the gifts - skills - given to us by God. It is a parable about sharing - no matter how insignificant you might think your talent - skill - might be - if used properly - may benefit others. Another comparison might be the ostrich who buries his head in the sand - hoping that what is going on around him - just goes away - not getting involved - holding tightly to a false safety net. If I close my eyes - the issue no longer exists - if I plug my ears - I cannot hear of another's need - being uninformed - justifies my non participation.

God created each of us - one by one - everyone special to God - no duplicates - even twins - different in one way or another. Like our fingerprints - voice patters - no two persons - the same. Each has been called - each is asked to use their individual talents - skills - to produce an abundant harvest in the garden of God. What you think is minor - to others - might just be what the situation calls for. We have been called - brush off the dirt and dust - from your talents - share with your brothers - sisters - all that God has given you.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Holy Land Pilgrimage 2018 - Staying Focused

I've been pretty quiet on this blog for a month now - lots of irons in the fire. Biggest thing consuming my time has been visiting doctors and resolving my leg issues. Solution - surgery. Yes - scheduled for hip surgery after we return from our November pilgrimage to Portugal - France - Spain. Once home - instant cure - I wish.

In other news I have been working on our October 2018 pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  Just today I received news that we are being offered additional discounts to help keep those costs lower so more people can afford this once in a lifetime experience.

If anyone is interested - our travel dates are October 24 - November 1, 2018.  We already have nine people signed up for this pilgrimage and have room for another thirty.  You may click the link below to take you to our information page.

Now that school is back in session and Labor Day is lurking just around the corner - we can start to breathe a little easier and take some time to focus on ourselves - while the young ones are in school. This is not being selfish - it is important that as adults we keep ourselves in good shape - physically - mentally - spiritually - so that we can be the best we can be - for ourselves - our families.  Taking time for ourselves helps keep us focused on the important things in life.

God blesses each of us every single day - blesses us with so much that we miss - ignore - many of His blessings - in the busyness of coping with daily life.  All too often we become so focused on the big picture that we forget about - small things - like self.  To be able to do all that He asks us to do - we must first and foremost - make sure that we keep our eyes focused on the Lord - all that He asks - all that He gives.  Looking straight ahead - eyes and mind - focused - renews us - energizes us - for all tasks at hand.

Deacon Dale 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

When Tongues Fall Silent

Tears - sobbing - crying your heart out - hugging anyone with in reach - all expressions of love - especially at the time of death - wake service - funeral. When words fail - as they often do - physical gestures - speak volumes - when tongues fall silent. So many times we are placed in a situation where we find ourselves at a loss for words - where the words we do find - seem inadequate. Many people experience this - in response - choose to be absent - avoiding contact - fearing that uncomfortable silence - when words refuse to materialize. Luckily for all involved -  the heart knows what the mind does not. The ability of the heart to feel - compassion - sympathy - hurt - loss - a gift from God.

God knows our heart better than we do ourselves. He knows when we are happy - sad - elated - depressed - angry - looking for answers. When we are unable to express - in words - He reads our hearts - knows - our needs - wants - desires. Conversation with God does not have to be verbal - sitting in silence - just being present to Him - is all one has to do. Try it today - place yourself in a quiet place - then let God read your heart. You just might be awed  with the conversation you will have with Him - when tongues fall silent.

Deacon Dale 

Friday, July 21, 2017


Duolingo or dual lingo - linguistics - speaking in more than one tongue - language. Whenever we travel to another country - on vacation - on pilgrimage - we always try to learn a little bit of the language of the country that we will be visiting. Whether it is Spanish - Italian - Polish - French - Portuguese - always helpful getting around - getting directions - ordering off a menu - locating the closest bathroom facilities. As an American who - all too often - has heard the remark - why can't they learn English - our language - when people from other countries visit or relocate here - I strongly believe that the reverse should be observed when English speaking people visit foreign lands. It not only helps increase the comfort level of travelers - also increases our images as ambassadors of our own country when we travel - showing respect for people of different languages and cultures. One program that I find helpful is called - DUOLINGO - a FREE program available on your computer - smartphone or iPad. It is not just a list of vocabulary - rather it teaches you sounds - speaking - writing - sentence structure. I have used it to increase my skills with Spanish - Italian - Polish. Learning a second language requires both speaking and listening. One failure of survival language courses is that they teach you what to say - failing to teach you what to listen for - how to interpret the response. There is no value in asking directions to the closest toilet if you do not understand - left - right - straight ahead - five blocks and lower level. Speaking - listening - comprehension - all very valuable in communication.

When we talk to God - very often - many people only speak out their prayers - failing to stop and listen. The most common complaint I hear from people - in regards to prayer - is that they don't feel that God - listened to them. My response - did you stop speaking and listen to God?  He may not answer immediately - it might take sitting in quiet - to hear His response. The next time you think God is not listening - go to a quiet place - sit peacefully in Adoration - open your mind - heart - ears - to hear what He is saying. You might be surprised to learn that He does talk to you. Sometimes He will speak directly to you - often times - in another language - through another person - in a vision - in dual languages. God speaks to us in so many different ways - we have to learn - multiple ways to communicate with Him. There is no app - no computer program - only silence - patience - to open the lines of communication with Him.

Deacon Dale 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Family Vacations

Family vacations - hit or miss - something to look forward to - something to be avoided. When talking about an entire family vacationing together - a double edged sword. For years I have tried to encourage our sons to travel with my wife and I to Europe. We offered up different suggestions - England - Poland - Italy - their choice. For years we discussed and debated the pros - cons of making this happen. Conflicting schedules - the biggest obstacle - the age of  the grandchildren - ability to tolerate long distance travel - cost factors - interest levels of many different personalities and ages. To our pleasant surprise - last October - we were gifted with their decision to finally make this happen - a visit to Italy. Finally after years of excuses - everything fell into place - we were all free at the same time to make this happen. Adding extended family - a boyfriend - in-laws - a  group of fourteen was organized. Having traveled extensively on pilgrimages - working with large groups of people on various international journeys - I was selected to arrange the details. It was a task that took a lot more work than I expected - in the end - everything worked out. Thankfully - my sons and their wives - accepted the challenge and gave me a lot of help in making decisions - leaving the actual task of bookings up to me. Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat!  The issues that arose during the trip - minor - the blessings received - beyond imagination. Visiting Venice - staying in a villa along the Adriatic - spending time with Italian relatives - wandering Eternal Rome - truly a great experience. The highlight - a gathering of extended family from the USA - India - Germany - Italy - 40 people gathering in the name of Family.

Very often God calls us to travel with extended families - friends - parishioners - as we journey closer to Him. Often we do not select those with whom we travel. Frequently issues arise - conflicts in expectations - disappointments in the realities of the moment.  Through all of this - God is always with us. In the good - bad - times - He is always there - helping us handle conflicts - celebrating the joyous moments. On this trip we celebrated our oldest son's birthday - his wedding anniversary and our granddaughter's engagement which happened while at the villa. Yes - a very awesome journey - many people and with Our Lord - enjoying every moment along the way. When you travel - invite God to travel with you - He is your willing travel companion. 

Deacon Dale