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I love this particular passage from Psalms. The first time I had seen it in print was on a wall in a local Asian Food Buffet. I know I had heard it before but, at that time, was not sure from where. Now whenever I go there, I know where it came from, originally, and it makes me smile that anyone who reads it, is reading the words of King David from The Book of Psalms in the Old Testament.

It also makes me want to be that “He”.

I can say I was well planted. My parents were sure of that. We lived in a great community and were ushered to church every Sunday and Holy Day of obligation. I became an Altar boy at a young age and hung in there till I was nearly 18 years old. We lived in a big house with a front porch big enough for our friends to hang out. We were taught how to cook and clean, we had dinners at the huge dining room table where we were taught nobody eats until Mom sat down and we said Grace. My Grampa lived with us, extending the family tree, also a lesson in love and respecting our elders.

Here’s the thing, though…that tree so well planted did not understand the workings and need of being a good Christian. I dropped out of Mass and religion entirely for near 27 years. I found cigarettes, alcohol and other worse items. I destroyed a marriage with the end results of destroying a perfectly good family. I hurt a lot of people, most important of them all was my children and my wife. Two of my kids spent very little, if any, time with me. They felt that I left them and I knew how badly I had hurt them but I didn’t have a clue how to fix it or how to even apply a band-aid. My parents asked me to not come by any longer after my divorce which leads to further aggravation and loneliness and this leads to consorting with anyone who will keep company with you. The phrase “misery loves company” became a phrase for a reason…because it’s true. When your life becomes only about you, which mine had, then you feel the “you alone circle” which restricts every good feeling from being able to get near you or to touch you.
 I joined a motorcycle club and was working my way up the chain of command. I worked an average of 104 hours each week. Yes…I know that sounds un-doable, but it was…doable…until I destroyed my back and could no longer “do” anything I knew how to do to afford to eat, live, have a home, etc. We would sit at the clubhouse and there was always a story of another divorce and it was never really our fault and none of us could believe that someone like us, “great catches”, could be sitting around a bar with nothing better to do but complain and keep doing what undid our lives.
I left that motorcycle club and was lead to a preacher shortly thereafter who found a way to console me and about 70 others, through the words of the Bible. Every Wednesday night and Sunday morning this young man of about 30 years old would fire up his sermon, literally removing clothing that was too restrictive for him to continue…suitcoat first, then the tie, then the upper buttons near his neck. It was much like binge watching NetFlix where you didn’t want any of it to come to an end. I actually felt drained but empowered at the same time. Every time the service was over I could not believe that three hours had passed when it felt like 20 minutes.
I was living with my eldest brother and then a friend for over 3 years because I could not afford to have a place of my own. My financial situation bloomed a bit and I was able to move into a double with my closest cousin. All new furniture and appliances but that was not the best part. I was able to have a stable home for my children once again. My two younger kids would be there every other weekend and some days during the week. We painted their rooms walls with murals and they were permanently theirs. It housed a huge kitchen where we could make dinners, preparing them together and an actual sit in dining room where we would eat together. Anyone with children will know this feeling of joy and of accomplishment.
My eldest daughter graduated high school and went off to college and it was during this time that I felt healing happening, finally, in my life. We visited. We laughed. I watched her bloom into this intelligent, thoughtful and loving person who, gracefully, allowed me back into her life.
I heard footsteps coming up the stairs to my flat and went to the top as I wasn’t expecting anyone at that time. I hadn’t seen my folks in nearly 8 years. My Ma was crying before she got to me and my Dad was following her, making sure she didn’t fall back down the stairs. It chokes me up just thinking about it. Ma apologized for being gone so long but I knew it wasn’t her doing and she need never apologize for doing what was right. You don’t get in a car with someone who you know is driving into a brick wall, repeatedly.
From that day on they would come by for coffee and tea sometimes three days a week. If you’ve ever been separated from a loved one and then are gifted their return then you know how great a treasure this was. Shortly after we started talking again I had a two week stay in a hospital. The first 7 days or so I don’t even remember. I was in the CCU and then the ICU and then in a regular room for the remainder. Each time I woke up, there they were…sitting, watching me and Mom praying the ever present Rosary. My Ma would start crying and come to hug me, making it all better with her tears. My Dad looked tired but he wasn’t anywhere she was not. That kind of loyalty and love…that is a tree whose leaves do not whither. My kids and my best friend were there so much, too, that it told me, in their presence, I am Blessed. My friend Marky was there so much that my Mom thought he was my nurse. That is a true friend. I was able to go home on July 4th that year. Ma wanted me to come live with them for a while but I really wanted to be home, so they would visit every day for the next month.
My Dad passed away a few years later and I know how Blessed I was to have that contact with him. My Mom needed someone now, to stay with her. We didn’t know she had dementia until Dad passed away and it brought a steep drop in her abilities. They had been going to church every single day. My brothers and I figured we had best keep her on what we knew about their daily schedule so as not to further her decline. Get up, go to Mass, mall walk, breakfast. The going to Mass part was a hurdle for me. I had moved on from the preacher as I was watching far too many people “speaking in tongues”. I’m not saying they weren’t. It just made me feel cheap in being there and I wasn’t into believing in that kind of thing. Well, I was going to take Ma to Mass and then I would drink coffee and smoke cigarettes in the parking lot and wait for her to come back out. I’ve mentioned this before so bear with me if you’ve seen it. As I pulled up to the church, I could count too many exits and I could not see all of them from any one point in the parking lot. This meant two things: I wasn’t going to get my morning smoke and I was going to have to step back into a church. You really do wonder if you’ll be hit by lightning, by the way. Talk about tension!! I was also still grieving the loss of my Dad, had a few insolvent feelings within the family and was tired. I had a lot of pain going on in my mind to say the least. We walked into the church and Ma lead me to the pew that they apparently had owned for their duration of time coming to Mass at that church. Now if you know anyone that goes to church you will also know that they try to sit in the exact same pew every Mass…and if someone has taken this for granted and sits in “their” pew…and that said person has dementia and wants “her” pew…
Well I would not want to be the person that got shot with that 84 year old womans glare!
So that very first Mass, that first coming into the house of God in 27 years, I hear a reading from the Gospel that healed my heart. How does a near two thousand year old book have a reading scheduled on the very day I reluctantly end up in a pew? I have a very slim belief in coincidence. I don’t have a whole lot of anything called luck. I did learn that day that I had a whole lot of stored up stuff that did not matter any longer…and a whole lot more of something I had just tapped in to:

Blessings.

I can’t count them all. Neither could you or even Einstein. There are no charts or narrative that can ever explain them. No college degree, not even at the Theology Doctoral level.
After a few weeks I was introduced, suddenly, to the woman that runs the Religious education for the parish. I was introduced to her by another friend who helped my sons business grow…and I had no idea she was a church going woman until that Mass where she was also attending. She walked us over to the school and said,”Hi Marie. This is Bill and we heard you were looking for another after school teacher for the 9th grade kids. He would love to.” I had no idea how to teach children about God and I had no idea how I was going to do any of this. I heard the readings for 17+ years but I didn’t think they ever, truly set in. I found out that what little I knew would grow exponentially because I had a foundation that those children built on that for me. The year 2020 would have been my 14th year teaching students from the 7th, 8th and/or 9th grades. I was also Blessed with meeting other teachers, Pastors, Priests, Deacons,  parents and more.

I was able to care for my Ma for several years and after I was no longer able to, another Blessing, my brother and his family were able to and they took on the task until her death. She passed away on my 50th birthday. Now follow me here, it was not a bad thing…we now share the same exact birthday. Mine to the earth and her to Heaven. That is a Blessing! Something that nothing can ever take away from. No wind, rain, erosion, hurt feelings and nothing that I could ever do can change that beautiful fact. Another sign from God had to happen, though. She had not opened her eyes for about a week and was unresponsive even when we pulled an eyelid open to see her, or to show her we were there. The doctors had said she would be gone in a matter of days…three weeks earlier. The doctor came in this morning and said she would probably last a few more days. My brother and I had been there for about 3 straight days by then. We decided to take shifts so we could go home and shower, one staying while the other left. I stayed the first shift. When I went back to her room after walking my brother out, there was a Hospice Chaplain named Dottie sitting there, holding her hand. She was a Chaplain of the Christian faith. We talked for a bit and I told stories of my Moms antics and what it was like growing up with 6 siblings. She then asked me if we could pray together before she had to leave. I surely accepted quickly. We held hands and each had one of Moms hands as we started, “Our Father who art in Heaven” and Mom opened her eyes and looked directly into mine. She squeezed my hand during the prayer and as we finished the Lords prayer, she closed her eyes and passed. A prayer probably learned in her earliest childhood…woke her up for me to see her eyes, to know she knew me once again before she went to Jesus. If you know anyone who has dementia then you know how perfect that moment was for me. She knew me once again.

Since that time, I have been able to afford a self-sustaining house with my brother and sister in laws help. A house where I was able to live with my eldest daughter and her family, seeing my oldest granddaughter every day and my 2nd granddaughter being born while there. We lived together for several years until they could afford a house of their own. We continued whole-family dinners even after they moved up until the Covid-tide came to be. I am now expecting my 5th grandchild and my 3rd grandson by my youngest daughter. My eldest brother knows everything about house stuff and has also helped me immensely at the worst times…water heaters breaking, plumbing or electrical concerns, drywall, etc.

What I understand now is that this tree, planted near streams of water, has not pulled his roots from that fertile ground. The sunshine that warms my boughs, the water that feeds my roots and brings all the nutrients up to the farthest branch and leaf is God given.
Prosperity has nothing to do with money or buildings or anything bought and owned.
Prosperity is my children and grandchildren, parents and siblings, those friends that never are too far away.


I wish you peace…and right-willed, God gifted prosperity.
~b
Shine Today™

William J Corbett

Rembrandt-the-three-crosses

 

So many things are associated with right and left now and we rarely see anything defined as “center” or anyone as a “centrist”. It seems very hard to hold value without being ascribed as positive or detriment to one side or the other. It also seems that what we have been born as now holds us captive and we will be judged no matter the content of our character. Even our religious beliefs have been brought in to question on whether we are a good or bad person.
Can anything of one side hold, or not hold, value that can be discerned as positive also on the other? Even people with a common providence have trouble (from their inception) to placing peaceful adherence to their commonalities.

Christians are no longer a community beyond the word alone and are, to too great an extent, intolerant of other denominations (and non-denominated) yet all raise Jesus as their center, their Divine. The Christian Liturgy is taken mostly from the New Testament yet differing Christians use different Bibles some with a lesser number of books or chapters.

Muslim faiths have the same extraordinary split within Shia and Sunni and these are 1,400-year-old forms of identity.  Both follow the Qur’an but we have been witness to thousands of years of wars to prove whom is the higher order. The largest split came immediately after the death of Mohammed. It seems he never selected a successor and had no male heir. One sect believed his successor should be a relative and the other placed his best friend as his heir apparent to lead their faith. 

Those of the Jewish faith are also split  Reform, Orthodox and Conservative. The Orthodox are known to hold fast to the original worship and traditions and the others seem to follow more to cultural seams, yet they also all believe in the Torah. Christianity also believes in the truths of the Torah yet it is called “The Old Testament”. This split came with Jesus, the Christ, a Jew who Christians believe came from the Words of the Torah as the Savior. The One who would come and seamlessly fulfilled all of the words of the Prophets, including His death.

Was Jesus the last centrist?

It seems He never held back any of His healing from anyone. He healed any who would come to Him and even to those whom touched His cloak, never holding back His ability to heal from non-Jews known, better as Gentiles. He fed thousands, not once being sure to remove any one person because of how they were previously associated. He did choose a certain twelve to teach as His Disciples and then to be His Apostolic ministers, and He taught them all, including the one He knew would bring His death. Would we not remove someone from our community or close circle who would want to have us killed? In the writings of our Bible Jesus did not exclude Judas even from His second most Holy hour, better known as The Last Supper. Judas was there and Jesus asked of him only this, “Go now and do this quickly”. Judas did his deed and brought the soldiers to arrest Jesus. One arresting officer was faced down by the Disciple Peter wherein Peter drew his sword and cut off his ear. Jesus told Peter to step away, basically, and even put the ear back on the soldier, healing him. He held no quarrel with the Jewish authorities and continued His quest without giving trouble to Pontius Pilate. 

The final divide came within the crucifixion. Jesus was placed on a cross between two criminals. Both had been arrested and sentenced to death for their misdeeds. Jesus was placed there for disrupting the continence of the Jewish faith of the time. As He hung on the cross He had one to His left and one to His right and even in this time, a time where we would surely be thinking of our life and how this death was going to suck rocks, there was division…and not from those who wanted Him dead but from the two He was stationed between.
Gestas, to His left, criticizes Jesus and asks to be freed from this situation, critical of Jesus power to do so.
To His right hung Dismas. Dismas critical of the way the other thief reprimanded Jesus, rebuked Gestas, telling him that they were the only ones deserving of this penalty box and  never asked to be taken from the situation of which they (two) more rightly deserved but he asked of Jesus one thing…to be forgiven. Jesus, well on His way to succumbing to His crucifixion finds it in His glory to forgive and to testify that the forgiven Dismas will, indeed, see and accompany Jesus to Heaven on that day.
Within the Books of Matthew 5, of Mark 4 and of Luke 11, they bring Jesus words of what we do (or should do) when we light a candle or torch. No one lights a candle and puts it under a bushel to hide it but we put it up to light our path, to have less chance of tripping in the darkness is how I feel it…just in the same way we place lighthouses for ships at sea. They light an area of trouble for the ships so they can avoid certain peril.
In Jesus final act in His humanity, He was placed high above the crowds, in a place of peril named Gethsemane ( place of the skull). He withstood the cruelty of the beatings and lashings, the weight of carrying His cross to the appointed place, the spitting and the slurs that were cast at Him, the driving of spikes through His hands and feet to hold Him tacked to the cross, and in His final breath,” Father, forgive them”. 

Everything, every movement, every culture, every affiliation is placed to the right or to the left. Do we not see the peril of this, yet?

stepping stones

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

 

roads

 

Idol time…surely not misspelled, although it does bring us to the thought, or question, of what do we do in our idle time? Also, what do we make of our idle time? All time is used for something constructive, including our times of rest and relaxation.
I go through a serious transition each year. It lasts approximately three months and it has these times of highs and lows and intricate (and far less) times of trial. It originally started with me going off of any social media from the last day of school (for my grandsons) and I would stay away until the first day of school the following year. I did so because I knew the time I would spend on social media would not benefit the time I could be spending with them. I did not have the ability to just keep it in the background. I’m sure that most people can relate to this: “I’ll just look quickly”. A ten minute perusal always, for me, turned into an hours length or longer…most often longer. Now I am retired so my days have wide open spots where I could be doing laundry or clearing space in the garage, washing the dishes or measuring the windows I want replaced…but, if I open up and see something I’d like to address, positive or not, and in these times “not” is an easy find, still, taking no account of the time, I address the post and I wait to see another response.
Do you do this as well? People that don’t know me well often think I’ve been placed in FaceBook “jail” or, in these times, I could be sick and in hospital. Actually I never feel better than when I am unrestricted in my time and social media…is…a…restriction! We have the icons on the home computer, the work computer, our cell phones, kindles and any type of tablet we own. They have made it ever easier to tune in which, as it seems, allows us to also tune out. We live in times of serious change, and these changes can happen hour by hour if not even minute by minute.
I had oft marveled about how my children had been lucky enough to be born in a time of great technological advances (ie:computers,etc) as they got in on the ground floor of mass use of computers and software changes, even having classes on all of the fine tuning and they seemed to adapt so quickly to all of these changes. I remember fighting geometry and biology in high school and now those things have become fully discussed and taught at a much younger age. Now these school aged children (some) have tablets and laptops that are their sources of learning that go home and back to school. Teachers e-mail a subject and the assigned homework needed to be done…nope, not college and universities but high school and sometimes even lower grades. I am not sure when elementary school children will no longer need a back pack but a sleeve to carry everything they will need for the day, some form of computer.
So, I took a right turn there…
I really want to speak on what we do each and every day that makes us less likely to have a good idol. If social media is your crutch as it was (is) mine, then it is time to disconnect in some great fashion and find a more antiquated way of socializing. We are fed far too much to be able to digest what we are given and in an instant we are either praised or thought we have pledged our soul to “the other side”. Everyone likes praise. It is very easy to enjoy, although it can become embarrassing in public as there are not too many people (beyond politicians) that enjoy becoming a spectacle…think about how many times you have been asked not to have a birthday cake in a restaurant…or you have asked your family not to do such a thing…and that is a celebration worthy of public attention! You’re alive! Another year has passed and you are still here!

What gives you a feeling of accomplishment? When you think back on good times you’ve had, and that feeling wells up inside of you, how do you harness that and recreate it every day?
I do truly enjoy social media for being able to keep tabs on the health and well-being of my family and friends. I have been able to reconnect with my Marine Corps Brothers and Sisters and even attended my first high school reunion, the 40th, because of social media but, not one social media moment has brought me great joy. I can remember finding someone again or someone finding me and that was very nice but it lacks permanent happy feeling status. There are many things that will bring us permanent happy status ie: weddings, anniversaries, especially the high count anniversaries, the birth of children and grandchildren and those times when you laugh so hard that you remember it, beyond the fact that your sides and face hurt.


Myself, I find these joys in my family and friends, the times we spend together and the times that we miss one another. I also enjoy reading, much of which is on religion and the saints and writings of religious people. Venerable Fulton Sheen, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John of the Cross and Mother Saint Teresa to name a few. We each have a viewpoint into the same ultimate idol in God. What I find in so many people now is the lack of faith in God and in what they replace Him with.
There are many allusions and delusions; porn, gambling, alcohol and drugs just to name a few. Each of these are readily available especially the ones we can access online with the stroke of a key or touch of an icon. The God that I worship and hold as my vice is so often attacked nowadays, as well. Yes, there are many, many Catholics and Christian denominations have become uncountable across the globe but being affiliated with any denomination comes under attack and we are each assigned a “go-to” word that makes us wretched. Because of my faith in Jesus I have been called a supremacist and the listing of my faith in social media circles has brought so many out of the shadows, not literally, and the attacks become more frequent. I think that the ability for so many to hide behind their own keyboard and screen, to remain nameless and faceless emboldens the attacks as they know they will not be able to have direct recourse for these attacks.
My faith is tested at times and I have my own set of weaknesses that I fight against, sometimes daily…but I have a strong enough faith in Jesus to know there is mercy and love, forgiveness and an ever-after life. When I feel I have wandered too far I think of the story of the Prodigal son and I know I will be welcomed immediately home. I also think of the times I wonder if He is real or imagined and I think of Mother Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Read the fascinating book titled “I loved Jesus in the Night”. It explains how someone of true faith and ultimate goodness, someone who put her life second to everyone she met and how she fought for equality but also for food and clothing and better conditions for the poorest of the poor. She watched and cried as children died from lack of medicine and food and clean water. She herself fought with the same darkness and questions we all, as Christians, face…”How could there ever be a God that allows these things to happen?”. It isn’t easily answered, if ever, to a degree where it will be accepted. This woman warrior was in the middle of the harshest reality that we could ever have to endure, yet she did endure. She had questioned whether there is a God, too. I am very sure in her visions of the world it could be very hard kept to ensure people there is a God, yet she, even with her own doubts, never stopped loving God, praying to God and working for God. This is the kind of faith I try to hold and my life has been amazing in its graces and love. This is where I find the ultimate idol for my idle time. What do you have for an idol? When you look upon just yesterday, what did you use most? What drew your attention? What time did you spend in worship? To most adolescents it is gaming and they won’t call it worship but I guarantee if the gaming system or phone or computer were to be closeted for even a day…they would know what they worship and so would you. Children learn what they live, just as I had learned throughout my childhood that Sunday meant God and as I grew older and understood less, everyday is God.
I try to remember every single day that we are only here on earth for a limited amount of time and then comes eternity. I want to spend eternity in a good place. It’s going to be a very long time. Choose God.

May the goodness of the Lord Bless you and protect you and may you find the very thing that will lead you to Him.

I wish you peace!

Shine Today™

~b

William J Corbett

Forbidden fruit. Since the beginning of the history of man, as chronicled through the Divine Word, it seems we have a particular craving for getting what we want, instead of what we need, deserve or work for. Some will not agree with these things only because of the text within which it was written, The Holy Bible, and will then dispute its truth. In the Book of Genesis, Adam is made first and then put to sleep, a rib removed and Eve is created. It comes a bit later that Eve is convinced that eating from the tree of knowledge is something that will benefit she and her spouse, although they already have everything that would or could have asked for. The temptation was that with eating the forbidden fruit, they would attain a higher status or some other sum that, really, was not necessary. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil has been labeled by us as an apple tree, although it is not said in the Bible as such. Thus came the very first emotion labeled “guilt”. God comes back to the Garden and calls to Adam but he is hiding because he now has the knowledge that he is naked. If you aren’t a believer in The Bible and/or Christianity I am very sure that you can find your own sources through any antiquated literature, that people can inherently do not only wrong but, also evil things for the compensation of some form of pleasure.
Catholicism and every form of Christianity are sometimes viewed as a weakness, even between them/ourselves. We have a similar view of religion and religiosity yet we have certain differences that can, and do, cause ill feelings towards one another. In “feeling right” I think we also display a sickness in pride, something which we have also been warned against, but yet there it is.
In reading ‘The Confessions of Saint Augustine’ he illustrates how as a youth he and his friends joyfully stole a bunch of pears, shaking the trees and gathering them only to feed them to the nearby hogs and hardly, if at all, enjoying the fruits for themselves. They were not in any need nor were they hungry. It was only to sate the appetite of theft, getting away with the activity and the pride which they would build within each other for doing this with one another. As a group of immature children or youth, I can surely see how this would advance quickly from an idea to an action and if one had admonished another, that one would have been removed from the group within which they had felt honored or loved, even if they didn’t honor or love each other, they thrived on being a singular part of the group. Who likes to stand alone or to be lonely? It is far different to enjoy the quiet or to be alone for a more insignificant amount of time (ie: once the children have been put to bed especially after a grueling day). To be expelled from your group, no matter the reason for expulsion is a hit not too many will make on their own, and surely not done without a level of maturity and/or conscience. Think about how hard it is to change jobs. We become casually and causally used to being in a certain place with a certain people during a certain time and in changing anything we feel a need to examine our abilities and to provide a proof that we deserve to be at the level we have attained. The same thing can happen when a new person is brought in. Do we measure up?
As a child of about seven years old I had such an experience as this. My friend whom I had spent endless times for and through the previous two years had been introduced to a newer child that lived closer to his house and without allowing me any invite, they had left school together to walk home without me. I was hurt and ran after my friend not knowing why he had left without me. When I caught up to these two I had an immediate mental response that I had been left behind. I didn’t know why and it didn’t really matter. My friend was walking with the new guy and had no thought that I wasn’t included. I ran between them and threw an elbow into the new guy and kept running until I got home. I knew it was wrong immediately yet I also felt justified. Years later I became friends, good friends, with this same individual, actually, closer than what was with my first friend. We never mentioned the incident to one another, although I did still retain the guilt. Guilt is something that does not just disappear. It lingers quite well in the darkness until it doesn’t.
Back to Saint Augustine; he didn’t act within the group to have pears to eat, not for a thirst of the taste of the fruit nor from hunger, but the intrigue of doing such a thing, the act of stealing. He mentions frequently that he would not have done this alone, either. A person who has real hunger, mentally or physically, will do about anything to sate that hunger. He mentions that his family had good fruit at home, even better than the fruit which they had stolen.
We can assimilate this with any number of things, even as adults and within differing types of hunger. A new bike or skateboard as a child to an adults craving for that car, boat, property or sex. Do we condemn a man for stealing to provide for his family? It is stealing no matter the incident that led to it, right? Breaking into a pharmacy to get the insulin your daughter needs yet you can not afford or breaking in to fill the void of a pharmaceutical you depend on for a fix. Is there any difference in the activity? Or the consequence there of? But we feel a different emotion quickly.
There are even more complications when we involve others. The commandment states, “Thou shall not covet thy neighbors wife”. What if she/he isn’t married? What if neither of you are married?
Is it justifiable to “road test” another person? To see if it works out? What happens when lust takes over driving? Does it stop at red lights or cruise through? If you can road test this one and another model comes out just a little slicker and a little bit quicker, is it okay to try that one? She/he didn’t turn out as enjoyable as the one you have at home or mayhaps they did turn out more enjoyable. What then? Well then you (I) have hurt at least one person and if you had been the chaser and slick talked your way into the second relationship, you have committed the sin of fornication and of leading that other person (or two) into sin as well. What if prior road tests had brought children into the world? What have we taught them?
Think how many blame Eve of bringing the fruit to Adam instead of blaming both for eating of the forbidden fruit.
We claim degrees of guilt when we feel guilted.
There is no degree of guilt, really. Guilt is guilt no matter how we attempt to portray it or color it…and there is no stimulation on this earth that lasts. Sexual intercourse, done quickly or for hours, ends. It may have had an amazing body-shuddering feel but it ended. That car or boat will not last through eternity, as nothing but our spirit does that…and even if it lasts into antiquity, you ‘physically’ won’t.
In todays culture, we have (as a whole) not shared religious beliefs with our children as so many generations have from the past, myself included. I don’t have one child or grandchild that claims Christianity as her/his own. It makes me sad to know that it was me that ended that procession of faith.
Today, couples find living together as a “norm”. We no longer bite the apple but eat of it entirely. One of the most profitable (Nee prophet-able) companies in the world uses, as its symbol, an bitten apple, as though it is a good thing. The founder and CEO (now passed) had a screen saver that stated “Bite that Apple”. Kind of telling, I think.
I had an aunt and uncle who believed that this is all we get. Once our body gives out, there is nothing beyond here. I am rather happy that more people don’t believe in this train of thought. Imagine if it was widespread? There would be no stopping the stealing of whatever your fancy was for, physical, mental or just plain materialistic wants, probably more thought of as needs when there are no rules.
I believe in God and eternity. I will most assuredly never be considered for Sainthood but I am hoping and praying for His unending, ever-enduring mercy for the things of which I had done, knowingly or unknowing of what I had done. I’m hoping the “unknowing of what I had done” is a shorter list than what I do know of. I am ever grateful of the presence of the Catholic faith which my parents had and that I found it once again, to be freed of sin and to attempt to steer clear of future sin, although, I am weak in far too many ways. The Prodigal Son and the narratives of Saint Augustine allow me some form of respite, but I won’t take too much comfort in them, knowing how I am in being able to stretch certain weaknesses.
Remember this one thing: Eternity is forever. It is what lasts beyond any number of years man can acquire on earth and the highest of highs will never compare to the bliss of Gods presence. Reach for Heaven!

God Bless you and keep you!

Shine Today™

~b

William J Corbett

Peter, secured by double chains,
was sleeping between two soldiers,
while outside the door guards kept watch on the prison.
Suddenly the angel of the Lord stood by him
and a light shone in the cell.
He tapped Peter on the side and awakened him, saying,
“Get up quickly.”
The chains fell from his wrists.
The angel said to him, “Put on your belt and your sandals.”
He did so.
Then he said to him, “Put on your cloak and follow me.”
So he followed him out
Acts 12:7-9

How often is it that we enslave our very own existence and self? It is a thing. Every thought and action, every reaction and everything we watch, every video game we play or allow our children to play (children being those we are still raising; preteen/teen).
If you don’t believe these things affect us I have a very simple exercise for you: What is the saddest part of any movie you have seen?
How did that just make you feel? It was not the saddest part of the movie that just brought you the feeling, it was the experience of seeing it and it taking on a life of its own within you. Same goes for happy, happier, happiest. When I think of the movie “The Green Mile” it triggers something inside of me that gives me that sadness and that ‘want to see it again’ thing that happens. It is not the things which were very touching that I think of now, and there were many. He healed the wardens wife, healed Tom Hanks, made Tom Hanks’ wife cornbread happy, in fact. What comes to mind for me is this…this man was arrested and imprisoned for something which he not only did not do, all of this happened, and within him, he could never do the acts of which he was imprisoned for. Yes…I remember it’s a movie, and it had great acting. What does a great movie with great acting bring to you (as it brings to me the same)?
Emotions.
Emotions gather us and bring out the simplest nature within us: to cry, to laugh, to wonder…I can not explain the whys or the why nots but I know about the chains which bind me, and, in that, which also may bind you.

Do you know why it is so hard to change employers? It is that lack of knowledge of the workplace and not the actual work, most often. I was a very skilled auto technician. I was trained and certified by the very engineers of the company I worked for, but…changing the workplace I would be at gave me a discomfort because I felt I would have to prove myself and my skill set once again. I don’t know about you but I hated taking tests my whole life. I had always thought I didn’t know enough to do well on a test, even though I had proven well enough to get to take the exams. People stay in the same jobs, at the same workplace, for the same employer for one reason…chains. Mental chains. The discomfort we get. That knot in the stomach to have another interview. Any interview was to me another test. What I realized at some unknown point is this: I was the best me I had within me. I had knowledge that was worth the change. I had a skill set that was well worth a higher pay and a better workplace and a better boss who knew I was worth these things.

Unchained.

This is but one set of chains we face, and we have the possibility of taking those chains off with encouragement and with the spirit of God. There are many worse chains in drug addiction, mental illness, and many others I have not had the afflictions nor the necessity to fight. I don’t know how to unlock those chains but I know there is a key and I know the Holy Spirit is with and within each and every one of us. With His help we can find the keys:doctors, nurses, medical attentions. It can also be education, experience or time that holds these keys.

We don’t need to see the physical chains we bear but we know we have them. They sometimes weigh more heavily than a physical chains and shackle would.
Find your faith. Pray. Unchain. Teach another.

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

William J Corbett

I have to wonder, and perhaps others find the same query, what cost free will has had since the beginning. I know for myself it has been quite the stumbling block. How about you?
Without freewill we would still be in the Garden, Satan would not be a thing and we would not have prisons, wars, conflicts of any sort and the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” would not have been a thing, either. To think about there being no devil, no hell…that’s a pretty wonderful thought…but then I also think of the Angels, Gods own guards and attendants have the same free will and have also fallen. Imagine living in Heaven and all of the things we have cluttered our minds of what it is and to once again be near all of the people we once treasured here on Earth, unthinkably perfect…and yet, there are still those who have elected for themselves that they could be better by changing Heaven.
Satan for one, when he figured he needed to be at the same level as God, or higher, and found that even in his existence, surrounded by perfection, that he assumed there was more to be had. He also brought others with him, they are known as Satans angels.
How simple to say “no”…but is it? When we want what we want, especially in a world so full of “there is no God”, no afterlife, no repercussion for wrong doings past our time here. True enough in peoples minds that it just doesn’t matter what choices they make, how they care to get ahead or just plainly get what they want. Simplicity would be one tree, somewhere, that not one person would touch, no matter the pull. I don’t know anyone, myself included, that would not have been drawn by this, to this, and to have taken Eves position for the duration of time.
The list of things that would not be would be far too long to be in print, but then again, we wouldn’t know of them so no print.

Most people would recognize the Bible quote “for God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son”. Do you also realize that God so loved the world that He gave us you? Indeed it is truth. I often wonder what I was brought here for. Did I miss it? Did I, among all of the less than good choices, pass by the purpose? Have you ever felt this way? Do you still feel there is something calling you to be done, just not yet? Me, too.

In todays reading (Matthew 8:1-3):
When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him.
And then a leper approached, did him homage, and said,
“Lord, if you wish, you can make me clean.”
He stretched out his hand, touched him, and said,
“I will do it.  Be made clean.”
His leprosy was cleansed immediately
.

What the leper was saying was “if it is your will” You can make me clean. Imagine having the chance to ask Jesus this question? For Him to cleanse us, most often of things much worse than a physical ailment, even worse than leprosy. Would you have the courage to face God, knowing it is God that you are about to face, and to then ask Him a favor? To place with Him your ultimate trust and to allow everyone know that you see this man is more than a prophet or magician, more than a doctor or priest? We all too often prescribe for ourselves only what we can easily hide from others and there are not too many who would show, in their life choices, what is unpopular today.

I have a very strong will for what I want and what I do, which is probably my largest downfall…as it has been my record to make uncounted bad choices. I also make good choices but the largest life changes I have had were mostly not the greatest choice and there was no accounting to God what I was about to do. In this time, though, I have realized that I am and will be held accountable for even the apple turnover I chose instead of the apple which was not filled with sugar and other ingredients that turn to sugar. Such a simple choice,right? And we can wonder how we make larger bad choices…or not take into account that we will be held accountable. It is quite simply an easier life when we don’t figure on accountability, when we don’t listen to the conscience…or the doctor…and if we don’t pay attention to the highest cry that wells from within us, “Don’t!”, then will we ever ask “what is Your will for me,Lord?”?
When the Disciples had asked Jesus how to pray, He included this part, “Thy will be done on earth”. This is something He had given us and it wasn’t posed as a question but as a statement, almost as a demand upon ourselves, in stating the phrase we acknowledge His supremacy and His goodness which can be very hard for those of us with too much pride…which is also sinful, so I’m told.

There is nothing saying we can’t make requests, in fact, Jesus told us to make requests in His name!
“Wherever two or three come together in my name,there I will be”.
“What you ask of the Father in my name shall be granted to you”.

When I think about the crucifixion, I have to realize that Jesus Himself also had free will. He was 100% human and 100% God when He came here and even He asked the Father for a favor!!! “If thou could pass this cup from me,but Thy will be done” from His agony in the Garden.

I have a very limited audience but I would ask of you to make this one change in your life…ask if you can in His will. Even with a limited audience, when four are noticed by four and those four take up the same habits and they each show four. Multi-level marketing tools used for the good in our lives and for the saving of others from painful often (soul) scarring events they needn’t have gone through. Remember too…Life can be even a hundred years long which may seem as an eternity, but there is a reason that we have those disseminations, separate words and phrases that mean closely the same thing but not really. Lifetime we often impose in thought as “here on earth” but in truth, our lifetime includes the eternity we have fashioned for ourselves…and eternity is a long,long time. Choose wisely…through your conscience only as a tool but “in His will” will guide you much better, clearer, cleaner…and eventually in Heaven.

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

I wondered today one very difficult thing to figure,and beyond that,to ever become comfortable with this thought.

Is it only God that can hear our thoughts,including any worries and desires? Or can satan also intercept such things?
As we figure in our minds as God being above and satan below,can satan tend to our roots,twisting and clipping them,entangling them to the point where the part of us that is above the ground,like a flower,will whither and die from such meddling? In fact,dying to the sunlight and fresh air and proper tending. By weeding and introducing manure and other proper sources of nutrition to our vegetation and flowers,we can not by these means ensure the survival of the flower or tomato plant,if below the surface we have not also tended to the more significant root systems in place.

If satan knows our fears and complications,he will also know our tendencies toward them. He will know when we become complacent of our own care and in these times,twist us into further complacency and further lack of self care.

I have far too many vices and failures to enter the narrow gate,and in Jesus words where the road is straight. I try to read and understand the daily liturgy and to digest what is told during the homilies of Mass. My attempts to tailor myself more towards sainthood,as we are all called to this,are rather rudimentary and often elusive.

Have you ever thought of how hard it will be to remain on a road that is straight? and narrow?
How often do your thoughts veer from right to left and then to find out that it is more popular to be on the right? Or a particular protocol or definition of a politic moves and you have to wonder where you will end up. In fear we can say one thing and not mean it, perhaps unintentionally, perhaps not
.

There is a sure fire way of determining the “straight path and narrow gate” and, for non-believers, if there is a God: Pray.
Pray for your path and for guidance in all you do, for your health and well-being and for all those you care for. Hold nothing that is a product of this earth in high esteem. Bless those who need Blessings and, in this, your Blessings will come because you have Blessed the Father.

Prayer is the nutrients we feed our roots. Prayer loosens the soil for them to grow unimpeded, and what grows below allows what is above to flourish, to flower and to bear fruit;fruit that is everlasting.

In this,we need never worry about the about who knows our fears,weakness or anxieties, because the One who truly cares, repairs.
God Bless you and keep you!

I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

William J Corbett

Most notably in the Holy Word, we enjoy and are enticed by the miracles of Jesus and of His apostles after He returned to Heaven. There were many miracles and most were publicly viewed so as to note from through whom they came. Even the ones that were done more privately had enough witnesses and proof of a miracle being performed that they could all be substantiated to have been done through the Son of man.
Jesus first miracle changes water in to wine at a wedding. Although this doesn’t sound like much to appreciate beyond more alcohol and a wedding there is great significance to the depth of Jesus heart. In those days, and in our times, there is great significance of the rich/poor dynamic. Those who have and those who don’t. The groom was marrying into a well-to-do family and her parents weren’t all that happy with it. For the family of the groom it may have cost them dearly to run out of wine during these festivities:shame,for one. Small town shame…where everyone knows when you trip over a small stone or receive a wink from the gal or guy down the road with the bad reputation. So, in this first, He brings great joy to the married, to the grooms family and it restores the grooms placement in the minds of the brides family, also it brought this small yet significant change…the best wine, Jesus’ wine was served during the course of the celebration where they normally would bring a poorer class of wine because people were already drinking and at that point, who cares? but everyone knew this wine was the best they had ever had.
Does all of this matter? Sure!
Jesus then heals Peters mother in law, several lepers, the blind, the mute, He takes demons out of children and heals a woman who has gone broke with the doctors attempts at healing her bleeding. I like that particular miracle because Jesus doesn’t even touch the woman or face to face her for her request. She sneaks in and touches His garment with the knowledge that she will be healed by only touching something. That is called “Faith”! I made it a capital F for a reason.
Today we have faith, and that is only a maybe kind of faith. We need a Faith kind of Faith to return. There is the sending of the demoniacs named “Legion” to the swine that run headlong over a cliff. He also brings Lazarus back from the dead several days after he passed. He had been noted for several ‘back from the dead’ miracles.
After His death and resurrection, a miracle in itself, He stands on the shore waving at ‘the boys’ and tells them to throw the nets over the other side as they haven’t caught anything all night. Sure enough, not just some fish on the other side of the boat but they took in a haul of 153 fish, the significance of that number described much later by Augustine of Hippo…a great read, as well.
Here’s the rub…after Jesus lift off to the Heavens,there are numerous miracles performed through the Apostles. The removal of spirits and bringing back from the dead and all sorts in betwixt.
There are a great many saints with fantastic healings noted throughout history from the time of Jesus. In reading the books of the saints one would be more than astonished at the wisdom and power of them while here and from beyond their deaths.
Back to the pointed Title: What of Miracles?
Today we point to technology and we are weaned on fantastic theatre with astonishing and magical whimsy. You and I have our favorites and those we don’t care for but they still have amazing effects within them. We come to believe in “Star Fleets” and draconian rulers with scary voices and unseen faces…or if the faces are seen,they are either wonderful handsome or pretty or they are strangely alien-esque. Wonderful things happen and we see entire scenery changed at a whim or the spirits of old men returning to whisper the answer or to come to the aid of any of these theatrical characters. All bring oohs and ahhhs and leave us with churning stomachs or splendid heart-felt love. We purchase the movie posters and the movie itself on whatever the newest format is,the merchandise of the characters is sold to us in the billions of dollars and are kept or traded, bestowed to shelves and they are loved. These movies and stories have become even more grandiose with prequels because the story ended so let’s go back before the beginning…and then more merchandise comes out and the stores are flocked and the websites have backorders because of the hordes of the needy and again, billions of dollars are made on fantasy.
Who needs miracles when we live at the whim of fantasy and theatre? The greatest of stories have zero actual landings in reality. Fantasy has outdone actual living legends and the legends who have passed. Today we mourn the loss of sports figures, those with million dollar game day salaries watched while eating our favorite snack and beverages. Statistics gathered from the rich play of highly motivated college athletes garners millions and probably billions as we gather for the draft or as we create our fantasy fill-in-the-blank teams. A human that pounds out a thousand receiving yards gets more notice than the scientist who just found a cure. The newest and most commercialized prequel to the prequel to the prequel gets air time on from every night show (clown) host while the men and women of every sanitation department who save us from rat and disease infestations don’t get as much as our hand waving thanks to them even once a year. That desk jockey you love in the suit who is challenging todays president was told to by the network bosses. These hosts of late night were comedians and who doesn’t like to laugh but, do they deserve their million dollar weekly stipends for making us laugh or was it what they made us think and mold us to do in the voting booth that allows them such a cray cray pay day?
The movies such as those telling the stories of the Jewish peoples exorcism from Egypt and when Moses opens the sea for them to be able to escape the army of men that has been sent to kill every single one of them and then Moses is able to close the path once again entrapping and killing off this murderous crew that nearly brought them to extinction, but for a wave of the Lords staff in the hand of Moses. No matter how magnificent we can make this theatre people would not flock to see it, there would be no merch to purchase and no prequel.


In 1968 a man set foot on the moon. Can you find a teen that knows his name? How about the name of that particular flight in space?

Martin Luther King Jr and Bobby Kennedy were both murdered by gunmen within the same year as each other. Ask anyone in their 20’s,30’s or 40’s what year that happened.


A woman scientist discovered that radiation can do amazing things to cure sickness. What was her name? How did she die?

OJ Simpson was known for his accomplishment of gaining ________ yards in a season? But, what were the names of the people he was charged with murdering?

Who is Jesus? This would get a multitude of answers from Christians, atheists and from our Jewish brethren and sisters but ask any Christian how many books are in the Bible? Are all Bibles the same? What, if any, are the differences? What is the name of the villain in Star Wars? What is the name of the newest episode?
The Bible is noted as a historical document beyond its use as a religious tool. Some of its authors were lay fisherman, a physician and a tax collector. Name five of them? Who was the physician? Who set out a table and had a party for Jesus and the others immediately after Jesus called him to “follow Me”? Was the Centurions daughter sick or was she dead? What are the words to the song “Baby Shark”?

Who was the President of the USA in 1964? Who was the love interest of Luke Skywalker?

When was the polio vaccine introduced? How many people do you know whom now suffer from polio? Who was Fred Flintstones sidekick?

You see, miracles happen every day. It rarely matters compared to sports statistics, athletes, movie stars, the storyline of those movie stars or the varied storylines they had. Everyone knows you don’t pair yourself with Tom Hanks in a movie because everyone else dies. Even a simple soccer ball died…and…it made you cry! What was the name Tom Hanks gave the soccer ball?

Did you know you can purchase a Bible at the Dollar Tree™? For a dollar plus tax, you too can own the entire Word of God and even if you are an atheist, agnostic, Jew, derelict, criminal, baseball team owner or a regular Joe or Josephine…if you read it and just do what it asks us to do with all of our other humans, you will have lived an awesome and wonderful and kind life. Did Steven King write a better story than Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Is the lineage of Jesus boring yet we know who todays Olympic stars came from the lineage of past Olympics stars? Does knowing about a mans life or his rise to fame seem tiresome (Mohammed Ali, Shaq, Tom Hanks, Jesus) or is it that we need only to know those within our own timeframe of life? To really know what they have offered us, is it fantasy, a great storyline or is it the ever-after? Did George Orwell predict the future better or Jesus? Who was the better poet:Joyce Kilmer, Robert Frost or King David (Author of most of the Book of Psalms).

Is there a Heaven or hell? An afterlife? If there is not then you have lived an awesome and wonderful and kind life even if it is never noted, it was noteworthy. Yet if there is a Heaven, you will now have your place amongst the greatest that ever lived, including the greatest One of whomever lived, perished and was resurrected.

“I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there is not, than live my life as if there is not and die to find out there is”
Albert Camus (Often misrepresented as being spoken by Saint Teresa of Calcutta)


I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

*an afterthought because I reread everything a thousand times to spellcheck (although I have probably missed some,or grammatical errors) but I was thinking how every great novel is credited to the person whom authored it. Every great movie, the producers, the directors and actor receive great accord and acknowledgement. Poetry, art, music all have their superstars and with great aplomb. Jesus and His twelve handpicked had many, many miracles and prophets before and after His time here on earth, also many…but they are not miracles of their own…they are miracles because of only One: God. Performed through them, yes. Named with the miracles they were tithed with, again, yes. But not of them. Superstars of the Bible…for sure! They would certainly have retired jerseys and numbers on the wall. They do have great stories written of them like all superstars…and again, you can get a copy for a buck plus tax. I love when watching sports and let’s say a player hits a homerun…and they make the sign of the Cross and point to Heaven. They know who endowed them that homerun. Find yours! Don’t ever think it was you that allowed it or that it was you that made you a star. Make the sign of the Cross when that light shines upon you and point to Him, the Alpha and the Omega. God Bless you! May He protect you and yours from this deadly virus and bring you peace and prosperity post virus and beyond.

William J Corbett

In these days of extensive waste, especially now where we can bring ourselves to prepare for the worst and we sparingly use all that we have, we need to ask of ourselves, this: Who created all that we have? What is it that we need to cling to which will provide for us beyond the needs of toilet paper and hand disinfectant, clean water and nourishment? We have produced,manufactured and brought forth some amazing things,some unthinkable, in the times of our father and mother,surely without a second thought or even the original thought to generations before them.
We have not only produced, we have mass produced the things of which bring us great comfort and convenience. We have the ability to take motorized transport to shopping centers and in more normal times,we purchase with a man made monetary system, all of our and our families needs and wants, beyond even what we can afford. The items were transported to the stores by something created by man that can carry many items because it will not be one shopper but hordes of shoppers. These large trucks can bring us many things except what isn’t produced locally and we needed something larger for that. What is produced across the country from us can still come in trucks but what is overseas needed another form of transportation and in that we turned what was used for a crew of fishermen into something which can carry more people and more items to other lands. These, too, were not convenient enough for us and with technology and skill we created aircraft that would bring us these things more quickly, more conveniently so that we could fill our pantries shelves and our living rooms and bedrooms, our homes, with everything. Not just food and water but toys and machinery and computers and gaming systems, the newest and highest upgrades are sought after and the older systems traded away or shoved in a box that collects dust somewhere in the home where all things become useless…keeping in mind that those very things were the most sought after “things” at one point in time. All man-made, all turning to some sort of waste and it has turned to waste if it is now in a box, stored and used less than what it was created for.

We have created and we have destroyed. We build and we start and end wars and we pillage. We make possible new technology every single moment of every day. Not only to help man become healthier but to bring health by eliminating things like disease and cancers. We have developed tools for our children to become more productive and to be able to learn more quickly, sending them in to lifetimes of producing something. We have extensive texts to include not only instruction but to provide fiction and fantasy,to provide noted times in history and at the same time providing creative thoughts of a future world. When I was growing up it was “The Jetsons” and that world seemed so far away and unobtainable until I watched a rocket leave the Mother Earth and actually land on the moon. Surely,cars would become spacecraft and we and our children would soon be stepping in to a garage eighty floors above the ground and hop into our spacecar, pull down the lid and fly away. Today we have rockets with monitors that relay actual video of space. We have a “Rover” on Mars and are seeking other planets we could inhabit. We have books of magic where we (we being Harry Potter and company) can wave a wand and recite a few words and something is created, or destroyed. We have people who believe that concentration camps and the killing of millions never happened, even though there is extensive physical proof, pictures and text, people that lived through those horrid times that stand as proof, with numbers and letters tattooed to their arms. We have people who believe that the moon landing was filmed in a dessert somewhere undercover to subvert humanity. There are children today who know what the holiday in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. is….it’s a Monday they don’t have to go to school…but,they don’t know his life or legacy. They don’t realize he was murdered or even the year he was murdered but, they know they have another day off from school. I teach middleschool aged children. I had to realize that they were born after the worst murderous nightmare we as Americans have ever suffered. Mention 9/11 in most any circle and you will hear stories of the horror and where, exactly, they were standing when they heard or watched on television the unfolding events. It seems strange to me when I mention 9/11 to them and it is just another day in history books that they are truly disconnected from. These same middle school aged children carry the newest version of the iPhone or Samsung. The phones have gaming capabilities, can be programmed as the remote for their particular model of 85″ television in their bedroom and are not remotely similar to the rotary dialed phenom that hung on the kitchen wall with the umbilical cord that would only allow you six feet from your mothers earshot, if you had the cord completely stretched to its limits.
What we have created is truly magical and beyond what the beliefs of a child, when I was a child, could have been. Modern medicine is not only pharmacueticals that can trigger our bodies to create antibodies that kill disease, it is also laser guided robotic surgery that removes cancer cells from the body. Science has taken the lead and made sheep from other sheep cells, in a test tube. We have test tube babies made from stem cells. With stem cells we can create so many things that are in the works, possibly making kidneys and livers,lungs and any other human body part are in our futures. A reminder of the space probes and missions to other planets,truly marvelous and exciting. The fuels of tomorrow could come from the rays and emissions of our sun. Our gardens are full of plants that have been intermixed to create the most beautiful and exotic plants which we can cut and sell to display on a holiday table,even in the middle of our winters coldest days, thanks to transportation technology.
What we create, though, is from what was already created. Everything we have came from something that was here long before our parents, grandparents, and as far back as your and my lineage can be tracked. What we may create in the future that may be powered by the sun, is man made…but we can not create a sun. The Saudis have used technology to move earth and sand to create new islands of which they use to create and build the most majestic palaces to live in but,they can’t create the sand and the earth they have moved. The jewels and gems which they endow their palaces for ornaments, they can not create. We have found ways to use carbon and oil in our quest to develop other things we find essential to our lives but, that same carbon and oil was not created by man. It was utilized to create other things but,was not created. The planets and stars we find ourselves in need of landing upon and discovering their own unique structures of materials, we did not create. Even though we have found ways to move earth and sand to create islands, we have never created another planet. We barely have the technology to get to the other planets and we can not get to the end of our universe…much less getting to the next universe and even if we can get to the next thirty universe, we have not created even one.
What with creating body parts with stem cells, we have not created the stem cell and even if technology brings us to the point of being able to create stem cells and humans made to order, it reminds me of the horrors of Hitler and his need to manufacture a superior race and to delete every human form that is considered less. We do delete human forms considered “less”. Technology has allowed us to know if our baby has a birth defect and technology has allowed that we can remove them from the mothers womb, to take the parts we want (ie:stem cells) and to move the rest of that human to the rubbish container. The real rub here is that even if removing a child because of a birth defect becomes “normal”, the real “normal” now is to remove the child that interrupts our life. We haven’t gotten all of the money or a house or the comforts we wanted…all of those man made things we find so very necessary, so we use technology to remove that disruption and carry on with life, gathering more man made items instead.
You can tell me all about the “Big Bang theory” but who created the elements that exploded or collided with one another? Was this collision and explosion able to create the entire solar system, the dirt and flowers,the seeds which regenerate those flowers, the root systems of the trees and vegetables, the fruits which hang from those trees that we collect for our health and well being? Was this collision and explosion able to do all that AND to create mollusks and fish and apes and humans and dinosaurs and the beloved family pet? We were able to break natures cycle and make wild animals home friendly and we were able to make Labradoodles and Chi-weenies but, we used the materials we did not create to make these pets. Who created the sun and the moons and planets we are drawn to? The universe we live in and those beyond our reach? We are drawn to imagination and fantasy more than we are drawn to truth and history.
We have documents that note the history of man but they have become boring when seated at the same table as fantasy. We have figured technology a “good enough god” for many. We figure because we can make decisions and make things happen in our lives that we have become the god of our existence. Prophets and saints have no place set at the table of the godless, except consider that you and I would probably not even exist were it not for their guidance, existence and placement at the time they existed here. We have people who believe in an afterlife and Heaven but do not believe in the Supreme God. I hear of people losing family and friends calling them angels now…but without a God there is no Heaven,no Angels,no afterlife. You see we may be the lord of our lives and even of our home, making all of the decisions and putting into place all of the rules but that is not being God. We can create things and hang drywall and have children and grandchildren,but what we really create is to stay on the earth. What we birth is more and we only are able to create another human from our abilities to mix with another human, in an exact way but who created that way? An explosion? Did a big bang make it so that we have (and literally every creature) the ability to bring life to our lives? Did the big bang create conscience and the lack of conscience? Did a big bang make our brains love,honor and respect? Find the oldest history book. The book that explains what we can digest how humanity started,how it turned away from God and found what a foul thing life became when they did this,literally every time…in the same way so many are allowing themselves be steered right now. If there is no God, there is no Heaven, no hell, no saints or prophets,no right conscience and nothing to live for. If we are here only to extend life as far as we can, to include further generations and technology, we are useless.
Read the Bible.
Know the truth. Realize the disruptions that were suffered, the suffering that was extinguished, the sufferings that were eliminated, the routes that were abruptly changed and brought greatness to some while dethroning those who made themselves supposed greatness. Know that as simple as life was in that history book, that lush was turned to desert or consumed by insects. That was when technology didn’t exist. How far can we fall from this tower we have built? Babbels people thought they could build a tower to reach Heaven and they could become gods,as well. How’d that turn out?

I wish you peace!
~b

William J Corbett


In todays Gospel reading from Luke, celebrating the Annunciation of our Lord, Mary shows what it is like to be completely held by God and by His graces.
If God send His Angels to ask you to do something for Him, what do you answer? Or do you ask the situation and ten other questions before “possibly” committing?
Have you ever noticed that when an Angel of the Lord comes and speaks to anyone, they start with “Do not be afraid”? I don’t catch that Mary was afraid of much of anything. The Jewish people had been overrun so many times in their history, caused into servile positions and unable to break free. They did however, have constant contact with God and they taught their beliefs diligently from one generation to the next, even today. If you walk in to a Catholic church on Easter Sunday or any Christmas Mass you would be floored by how many people are there. In the same light, if you stopped in on most other Sundays, you would be floored that you have a choice of seating, except mostly near the front. The rows closest to the exits are well attended.
I am in my 14th season of teaching religious education. My experience has been from 5th through 9th graders. The first class of each year I ask two questions:
Do you go to Mass weekly or do you go to Mass weakly? And secondly (or would that be thirds?) Do your parents go to Mass? It is really quite stunning to find that roughly one person goes to Mass regularly and that only several parents go to Mass regularly. Now if this were my first or second year, I would think differently but, it is my fourteenth year (but my thirteenth class as I was out for one year for cancer treatments). This is a pretty good pool of information gathered, I would think. Now don’t get all worked up to the numbers I have stated here. I know there are many, many religiously driven people who attend Mass regularly, even during the week and all Holy days of obligation. Religious activities have certainly gone to the wayside in these most recent generations, though.
I came from a family of nine that went to church all Sundays and Holy Days. Our neighborhood was full of “Church walkers”, and in several denominations. Easter was a time of new clothes for Sunday and everyone was excited. Church bells rang all the time, noting the start of Mass. My Grandma walked to church daily…yes, daily. My Mom and Dad went to church daily after they had both retired. It is only because of my Moms dementia that I started going to Mass. To be her driver to and from. God had another idea though. My Dad had passed away and we found my Mom needed constant care so it was figured that someone would keep her on what was “their” current schedule: Mass, mall walk, breakfast. As I pulled up to the church the first time (in 27 years) I realized there were too many exits, all of which I could not see from any point in the smoking lounge…errrrr…parking lot. I knew she could walk out any door and if I didn’t see her she could walk right into one of the busiest boulevards in the area. So I went in. It stuck. What I didn’t realize through those 27 years is how much things had changed, and most probably because of my generation….sadly. The notion that I wasn’t paying attention to church never brought to notice that my children had no God, no higher power, nothing to believe in spiritually. Now I think about things like “who will they turn to if they end up alone?”, “what if they get in a real jam and don’t know they can call on God, their Guardian Angels, Saint Michael?”. All of these things are so foreign to them! When my Dad passed away we had the usual Catholic funeral Mass. My kids looked (and were) very unfamiliar to these practices and were clearly uncomfortable. My youngest daughter made the note that Mass seemed like a cult thing. Everyone speaking the same prayers, all in order, throughout the Mass. I had never thought of Catholicism as a cult and it bothered me greatly. To think about it in the long run,though,they have only seen movies where bad people are worshipping some witchcraft and they all speak together,all the same words. There aren’t any shows for kids that have Mass involved but there were plenty of shows about witchcraft and the occult. So, it wasn’t to hard to figure why they felt this way.

My parents raised us to have these beliefs and did figure on us continuing our religious practices throughout our lives. Confirmation, the biggest choice a young person has in the church,where you yourself agree to become a Catholic of your own volition is such a changed practice now. All those parents who don’t go to Mass ensure their non-going to Mass children go to their grades “religious education” class up until they have their very own Confirmations. Why? It can’t be that they want their children guided by Gods word and “do as I say, not as I do” is the only thing that comes to mind.


With my youngest child turning 30 this year and my eldest near 40, it is pretty hard to bring them the Word of God. I really feel that it was no one elses fault but mine. My ex-wife has no religious belief, although she has great morals and follows good to a better point than I had. I am happy that they all have her moral compass but I would still wish (and pray) they find that Higher Power we call God. I also pray my grandchildren find their way because they are now separated two generations from attending religious functions. I do truly believe in God and I know that He can bring Himself to my children,grandchildren and future generations where I was too weak to do so, He will never be weak.

This whole article started with todays reading of the Gospel according to Luke where Mary tells the Angel Gabriel,“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” ~Luke 1:38
What beautiful, strong and thorough trust in God! (and it lead to my rambling…sorry).

Trust in God!
Trust in Jesus!
Trust in the Holy Spirit!
Make prayer a part of your life that can’t be taken away! May the good Lord Bless you and keep you and your families and friends safe and protected from anything the world can sling at you, especially during these trying times of the virus outbreak.


I wish you peace!
~b
Shine Today™

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