07.20.1969 Welcome

Man on Moon

Our family didn’t have a TV in 1969, but that didn’t stop my parents from making sure we (along with 500 million other people around the world) watched THE television event of the century.

I sat squashed between my brothers on my grandmother’s couch, my swinging legs unable to reach the hardwood floor. The historical event went past our normal bedtime and my eyelids were drooping as much as my limp pigtails. However, I do remember being awake as grandma’s black and white TV displayed the shadowy figure of astronaut Neil Armstrong bouncing along on the grey surface. I was mesmerized.

The moon has always fascinated me. From this impressionable moment as a child when I sat in my grandmothers living room watching man walk on the moon, to the many camping trips I experienced with the moon acting as my tent’s nightlight, to now.

Now, when I have a much deeper understanding of the significance of space travel. Now, when I have a richer appreciation of the celestial body that was perfectly placed in orbit around our earth to anchor us in our rhythms of life. And now, when I feel I have a personal connection to she who reflects sunlight to me in the nighttime of my fear.

As the 50th anniversary of this monumental event approached, my mind kept pondering the moon and her beauty and my soul felt called to write a tribute regarding this time in history. The poem below is that humble attempt.

07.20.1969  Welcome

“Honor, greetings and blessings to you,
conquerors of the moon.
Pale lamp of our nights and our dreams.”
Pope Paul VI, July 1969

Honor, greetings and blessings to you,
high respect, great esteem.
Best wishes and good will,
divine favor, celestial dream

to you, conquerors of the moon.
Collin, Aldrin, Armstrong: Mike, Buzz and Neil.
Space seekers, summit reachers;
Lunar landing, serenely surreal.

The moon, pale lamp of our nights,
calendar inspiration, force of tidal sea,
lightly illuminate, faintly reflect,
our eventide, then dark apogee.

Of our nights and our dreams:
Mankind dark-side, aspiration peers to blue.
And her peaceful presence glowingly concurs,
honor, greetings and blessings to you.

  Rose of Sharon 07.20.2019

Moon

 

“Why Are You So Good To Me?”

Why Are You So Good to Me

My husband Danny and I have been together for over two decades. From the very beginning of our courtship, he treated me so well that I used to ask him all the time, “Why are you so good to me?”   I had recently come off a relationship that was not so good, and the nice things Danny was doing were in stark contrast of what I was used to. His acts of kindness went above and beyond anything I could imagine. From little things like opening the door for me, sending me cards and flowers, and cooking special meals for me, to big things like the day the rabbit died.

You see, I had a backyard pet rabbit that I found dead one day in its cage. Due to a number of different circumstances, I was not able to bury him right away. Though it was not terribly long before I went to take care of the situation (a day or two), when I actually did, well…let’s just say it was not a pretty sight. When Danny found out about the dilemma, he came over in a flash with gloves, a mask, a shovel, and cleaning disinfectant to tackle the problem; and soon my queasy quandary was gone.

Monday roses and care packages were other ways that Danny was good to me.  In the beginning of our relationship, I had pretty low self-esteem and was coming out of a tough spot in my life. The start of the work week in particular was challenging for me, so Danny would buy me a rose and make sure to bring it over every Monday before I left for work. Sometimes he would drop it off at my place of employment (a school) if he didn’t catch me in the morning before I left. The rose, along with a quick hug and a short prayer, meant the world to me. He continued this Monday rose tradition for years.

Also, anytime I went away, such as on a weekend retreat, a family visit, or a vacation, he would make a care package for me. It was full of sweet notes to read for each and every day I was gone, and sometimes he would add snacks or other fun treats.  With each kind act I would wonder, why is he so good to me?

Most of the time when I would ask Danny, “Why are you so good to me?” he usually smiled and said nothing. Later in our relationship when things were more serious, his answer to my question would be, “Because I love you.” Though I got an answer, I still struggled with understanding his kindness towards me. Like when Danny would give me a compliment, I would usually discount or deflect it.  I didn’t fully realize it then, but my distorted mind set was that I didn’t deserve to be treated so well. It took me a while to realize that Wow! This person really thinks I am worth something. It took even longer for me to personally accept, Yes! I am worth something! Now when Danny gives me a compliment I can honestly say “thank you.”

The amazing thing about our story is that even though the enchantment phase and the honeymoon are over, Danny continues to be so very good to me! Yes he still cooks for me, opens doors for me, and prays with me. Yes, the care package is something he still does now, twenty-three years later, each and every time I go away. And he often has a honey-do surprise for me when I get back home! He also makes sure I have a “Monday rose” with the start of each and every school year. And there are so many other things he does that I cannot even begin to list them all.

Though I am not as surprised with his acts of service for me now as I was all those years ago, I am still in awe of Danny’s devoted love. Recently I was thinking of how good Danny is to me and I realized that his sweet love really helps me to understand how much God loves me. In my heart the Lord was telling me that, Yes Danny, an imperfect human-being loves you this much, and I – your Father and Creator – love you even more!  The perfect, eternal and unconditional love of God my Father is not something I can fully wrap my mind around, but my Lord gives me the love of Danny here on this earth to help me begin to see.

So the question “Why are you so good to me?” has been answered. Two times.

Me to my husband: “Why are you so good to me?”
Danny: “Because I love you!”

Me to my Lord: “Why are you so good to me?’
God: I am so good to you because I love you! You are my precious daughter and I love to shower you with gifts. Danny’s love is one of the many ways that I give you love. Danny is my gift to you.

And I humbly say, “Thank you!”

Marriage Stain Glass at St Rose

My Personal Letter to Cardinal DiNardo

Letter with no return address

His Eminence,
Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
1700 San Jacinto
Houston TX 77002

Your Eminence,

I am a cradle Catholic and daily communicant who has spent countless hours volunteering in numerous ministries in the Church-most notably with the youth. I am writing because I am deeply troubled by this horrific crisis in the church. I feel angry, ashamed, and betrayed. I have great concern for my two young grandsons, one who currently attends a Catholic school, as well as all the youth that I work with.

My prayers go out -first and foremost- to the victims, yet I want you to know that I am also praying and fasting for you, your brother cardinals, bishops and priests, as well as our Holy Father. I plead with you to remember the victims during this process. Keep them as your driving motivation to bring justice and healing to God’s people.  During this dark spiritual warfare that is going on, I propose a battle cry of “Remember the Victims!”

You, Most Eminent Cardinal DiNardo, are in this place and time for a reason. God has placed you in the position of President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and you have the opportunity to lead the charge, to act courageously and justly on behalf of the victims, and to help bring the Church into a period of purification and reformation. Transparency, truth, and reparation for sins are a must. Know that I am making special sacrifices specifically for your strong moral leadership.

Respectfully yours in Christ,
Rose of Sharon

St. Maria Goretti, St. Charles Lwanga, and St. Mary MacKillop pray for us!

Five Things the Faithful Need to Do During This Crisis in the Church

What Do I Do

Scream, cry, hide in shame, and walk around in dumfounded shock. These are some of the things I have done since the resurfacing of the horrible scandal that is rocking the Church. The information that is coming out is horrific. It is truly sickening. Anger, disgust and hopelessness want to flood my spirit. I feel like I will drown if I don’t do something. But what in the world can I do in the enormity of such grave sin?! I ask myself the question, but it also gushes out of my heart as a desperate prayer-plead to God.  And in his beautiful love, he responds. Here are five things to do during this crisis:

  1. Keep going to Mass/Reconciliation

In a time when you could find lots of excuses to stop going to Mass and walk away from your faith…keep the faith! Keep participating in the sacraments. Don’t stop going to Mass or Reconciliation! Don’t walk away from Jesus and the Eucharist! Nothing would make the enemy happier than to see you walk away. We need lots of grace to get through this spiritual battle and receiving our Lord and Savior’s precious body and blood is vital.

In regards to going to Reconciliation, the passage from the Lord ’s Prayer rings true; “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who have trespassed against us” (Mt 6:12). During this terrible time in the Church, resentment and holding a grudge will be tempting. The sacrament of Reconciliation helps us to face our own sinfulness and lets us experience the healing beauty of God’s mercy. We need be at our best during these worst of circumstances; therefore, going to confession is a must.

  1. Pray and Fast

There is nothing more powerful in the face of evil than prayer. First and foremost, pray for the victims, that they will find healing and peace. Pray for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (and maybe you) who are struggling with their faith during this crisis. Pray for the church leaders, and all that work for the church, that they may courageously follow the direction of the Holy Spirit and provide strong leadership during this moral catastrophe. And don’t forget (gulp) to also pray for the perpetrators of these horrible crimes.

In regards to fasting, Cardinal DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops says, “The Holy Father is…inviting, and I am asking this as well, that all the faithful join in prayer and fasting…Jesus remarked once, ‘This kind can only come out through prayer and fasting’ (Mark 9:29); a humble reminder that such acts of faith can move mountains and can even bring about true healing and conversion,”

To read more about the benefits of fasting and ideas on how to fast, check out https://www.catholicgentleman.net/2014/04/spiritual-weapons-fasting/

  1. Write Your Bishop

Write an actual letter with an envelope and stamp. Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance and pour yourself out on the paper. Keep it honest and concise, but make sure to let the leader of your diocese know your concerns. Monsignor Charles Pope writes about taking this action in his article entitled, In the Midst of Clerical Misdeeds, a Crucial Moment for the Laity. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/msgr-pope/in-the-midst-of-clerical-misdeeds-a-crucial-moment-for-the-laity

If you needs some tips in writing to your bishop, check this out: https://avemariaradio.net/tips-write-bishop/

Also, at the end of this blog is a letter written and delivered to Cardinal DiNardo by my brother Eddie Scales, along with a link to where he got the information on the forty day period of prayer and fasting that he mentions in the letter.

  1. Affirm your Priests

Though this is a dark time for the Church, remember there are many virtuous, celibate priests out there. They have given their life to serving Christ and his people. It is a sad time for these faithful priests who are learning about their brother priests who have committed grave sins. Make sure to thank the priest(s) at your parish for their service. Write them a note. Send them a card. Invite them over for dinner. Let them know you are praying for them and that you appreciate all their hard work. And while you’re at it, encourage your priest to speak to the congregation about this crisis, if they haven’t already. Yes, it is a difficult topic to address, but it must be done!

  1. Stay Informed/Educated

This advice is coming from someone who hates watching the news and following current events. I’d rather not think about those things or deal with them, mainly because it always seems so negative. However it is important that we do not do what some of our church officials have done in the past…sweep things under the rug and look away.

Knowing what is going on can fire us up to help make the world a better place. Staying informed gives us opportunities to pray for specific people or specific issues. Staying educated can help you have healthy discussions about current issues. That is why it is good to have reputable sources to help you stay abreast of the latest news. In regards to the topic of this article, I recommend:

The National Catholic Register (owned by EWTN)  http://www.ncregister.com/
Bishop Barron’s Word on Fire  https://www.wordonfire.org/
1430am Catholic Radio in Houston KSHJ  http://www.grnonline.com/stations/1430-am-kshj-houston/

The church is in dire need of reform and renewal. This will not be easy! It is a long rough road ahead. Along with prayer, fasting and continued participation in the sacraments, there is hope.

 


An open letter to his Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo,
archbishop of Galveston-Houston.

I am a lifelong Catholic, active in the church, fervent in my faith, faithful to the Magisterium and disgusted by the abuse and cover-ups that have plagued the Roman Catholic Church. I am heartsick and ashamed over the 1000+ victims of abuse in the state of Pennsylvania and all the other boys and girls, men and women who have been sexually abused by priests and further victimized by the bishops who covered up for these crimes. I pray for justice for the victims and their families and their communities.

Something must be done, and I am asking you to lead your flock, and to be a leader in the Church in addressing these crimes. We are all sinners and we must confront our sinfulness, and the Church must do the same. Christ would have it no other way.

I believe in the Catholic Church, founded by Christ and sustained by the Eucharist. We are one body in Christ. As such, I invite you, your Eminence, Cardinal DiNardo, to join us in observing a forty day period of prayer and fasting as an act of reparation to God for these sins. From the feast of the Queenship of Mary on August 22, through the month of September, we will join our sorrow with Our Lady of Sorrows, and make daily sacrifices for this intention.

Your servant in Christ,
R.E. “Eddie” Scales
Parishioner of Sts. Simon & Jude in The Woodlands, TX

Corruptio optimi pessima (The corruption of the best is the worst of all)

http://www.catholicallyear.com/2018/08/sexual-abuse-sackcloth-and-ashes.html

Afraid of the Dark

Afraid of the Dark

The words “the Boogie Man will get you” terrified me as a child. This was one of the many fictitious reasons I was afraid of the dark. Along with the imaginary witches in my closet, the werewolves outside my window, and the monsters under my bed.

I combated my fear of the dark by keeping my bedroom door open and making sure the hall and bathroom lights were on when I went to bed.  But the lights did not stay on long…my money conscious parents always turned them off.

My fear of the dark continued into young adulthood. This time my reasons were valid. I knew the crime rate escalated at night. I had read the scripture passage that speaks about how “people preferred darkness to light because their works were evil” (John 3:19) and I did not want any part of that! It was in these young adult years that I was horrified to discover that there was another kind of darkness…an emotional darkness; a black depression that wanted to smother me. And leaving the lights on did not work, for this darkness lasted through the night AND the day.

I learned that the way to combat my dark fears was to call upon the True Light. For it says in Psalm 27 “The Lord is my light and my help; whom shall I fear?” And Paul encourages us in Romans 13:12 to “throw off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.” For “light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth.” Ephesians 5:9. This Eternal Radiance has brightened my soul way more than I could ever begin to describe.

And as the famous song says…I’m not gonna put it under a bushel! NO!
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,
let it shine, let it shine,
Let it SHINE!

Let it Shine

 

Eight. Sick. Severe.

Home sick

I was eight. I was sick. It was severe. I had all the classic symptoms. Distress, sadness, anxiety, and most prominently the shedding of endless tears. It went on day after day after day. The diagnosis? Homesickness. It was my first time to attend summer camp and I was not enjoying it at all. Neither was my big sister who was a camp counselor. I had thoroughly embarrassed her.

Fast forward a handful of decades, and here I am still at summer camp! (I eventually got over my homesickness and kept going to camp.) As an adult camp worker, I can tell you that homesickness is still alive and well. In matter of fact homesickness has been around for a long time. The Old Testament speaks of the sadness that the Israelites felt who had been exiled from their home.  “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.” Psalm 137:1

That sadness, that wistful yearning is in us all. We all long (whether we realize it or not) to go back. Back to our true dwelling place. Back to our place of highest joy.  Back to our place of total fulfillment.  Our home in heaven. A place that has no sickness or tears. A place of perfect contentment and infinite joy. A place where we will be united with our big family-the family of God. And of course…it is a place that I won’t embarrass my big sister.

TALKING FEET

Talking Feet

My feet talk to me.
They do that a lot now that I am getting older.
They chatter about Big Thicket hikes,
jumping volleyball spikes,
and running games of tag.

The phalanges yak about
hopscotch,
sprinting bases,
and glacier assents.

The tarsals and metatarsals recall
when life was strong and fast and free.
Each and every movement-memory
is carefully filed away between the bones.

My timeworn feet rejoice
when God puts a spring in their step,
and a giddy-up in their gallop.
They sing when I waltz with my husband
and they giggle when sand settles between their toes.
My feet thank their Maker.

My feet also recount the feet of a man
who walked on a rocky road to a place known as “The Skull.”
It was a bloody death march,
made by Christ
out of love for his brothers and sisters.

His holy feet were punctured with nails
onto the wood of the cross.
He didn’t just talk the talk,
but he walked THE WALK!

And though the path is painful,
I choose to follow
His feet.

Feet walking on rocks