Category Archives: Inspirational

High school students give homeless-friendless veteran a final farewell

Catholic Memorial High School (CMH) is a co-ed Catholic high school in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Established in 1949, CMH opened as a parochial school for St. Joseph’s parish, named for the 23 men of St. Joseph’s who died in World War II. Later, the dedication of the school was extended to include all graduates and former students of CMH who have died in service to their country. With 80 faculty and an enrollment in 2016-2017 of 660, Catholic Memorial is a college preparatory school and a participant in the International Baccalaureate Program.

The school’s motto is “Caritas in Omnibus”, Latin for “charity in all things”.

True to their school’s motto, when Catholic Memorial students learned that a homeless U.S. Army veteran, known only as John, had died on the streets with neither family nor friends, the students decided to give John a final send-off that he deserves.

Bill Shields reports for CBS Boston that on Nov. 15, 2017, John was buried with full military honors.

But before an Army hearse took his flag-covered casket away, there was a memorial Mass in Catholic Memorial’s chapel, presided by Rev. Chris Palladino, who volunteered his services and the eulogy.

After the memorial Mass, a contingent of Catholic Memorial High School seniors carried John’s flag-draped coffin to the waiting hearse, accompanied by the playing of taps.

CMH President Peter Folan explained:

“For us paying homage to a veteran, to bring him to our campus, to provide the burial rights he deserves, and to honor his legacy and to help our boys realize we have to stand with those who are marginalized.”

CMH senior class president Will Padden said:

“We have a lot of veterans in my own family so I know the sacrifice he made for the country and I know the service he committed in the years he committed to serving our country. John in this case needed a family and we were there to be John’s family.”

In life, John didn’t have any family. But in death he found a huge family at Catholic Memorial High.

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: How have you used the ‘talents’ God gave you?

The Parable of the Talents
Matthew 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'”

creation-of-man

The homilies and sermons I’ve heard define “talents” as natural aptitudes or skills, such as a “talent” for music, or math, or speech, or writing, or athleticism…. We are exhorted to make “good” use of our “talents” without explaining what “good use” means.

But if you think about it, in His parable Jesus did not define “talents,” nor did He restrict the word’s meaning to aptitudes or skills. In the context of the parable, the word “talents” clearly means “gifts”.

So what “gifts” has our Creator given each of us? — all given generously, bountifully, and gratuitously, for none of us actually did anything to deserve them.

I can think of the following gifts, about which I ask myself if and how I am using them. Have I used them to good or to disuse (“buried in the ground”)? Or worse, to ill?

1. The Gift of Life: Life is precious and truly miraculous. We are to honor, treasure, and respect not just our own life (and not throw it away in suicide), but also all life, including the unborn still in their mothers’ wombs, as well as other life forms on Earth, for we are called to be good stewards of His creation.

2. The Gift of a Body: Our bodies are truly a miracle. It is only when a part of our body fails that we realize what a miracle it is — how each organ (just look at the eyeball!) is a fascinating and most intricate construction; and how every part must work in perfect coordination to keep us alive. We are to honor this fantastic gift by keeping our bodies intact (i.e., not mutilating it for no good reason via body piercings, tattoos, cutting, perverse amputation, vain cosmetic surgery….) and healthy, instead of abusing our bodies with gluttony, drugs, tobacco, alcohol, STDs, and worse from promiscuity and bizarre sexual practices like anal penetration, fisting, rimming, fecal-ingestion (see “What they’ll never teach you in ‘homosexual education“).

3. The Gift of a Mind: We were created with a mind and with certain unique-to-each-of-us aptitudes and skills. We are to honor this awesome gift by keeping our minds pure instead of defiling it with thoughts of lust, greed, and hate. And as the Parable of the Talents reminds us, whether we’ve been given many aptitudes or few, our Creator expects that we put those aptitudes to good use and multiply the “talents,” instead of being lazy and indolent (“burying the talent in the ground”) or, worse, using our intelligence and skills to ill purpose to deceive, defraud, hurt, destroy, or kill.

4. The Gift of a Soul: More precious than our body and mind is our soul, for our soul is our essence that remains and survives after our bodily death. Do we keep it holy, or do we allow our soul to become darkened and overladen with sin, like that grotesque portrait of Dorian Grey in the attic? Doubt the soul’s existence? See:

5. The Gift of Family and Friends: We are each commanded to honor our father and mother. However imperfect they are (as if we are perfect!), they did not elect abortion but gave birth to us.

6. The Gifts of Money, Home, and Food: Do we put our money to good and useful purpose? Or do we spend it on frivolous indulgences, or worse — to evil (like Warren Buffet giving $millions for abortions)? Do we miserly hoard it, instead of helping those in need and donating to honest, productive charities? How many of us waste food, instead of treating food with respect? (It never ceases to amaze me how much food diners leave on their plates in restaurants, when they can take it home in a doggy bag.) Do you know that Americans threw out 35 million tons of food in 2012? That’s 20% more food than we tossed out in 2000, 50% more than in 1990, and nearly 300% more than in 1960 — which means, despite the preachings about global warming and saving mother Earth, we actually are wasting more food today than before there was an environmental movement.

Two last thoughts about the Parable of the Talents:

  1. We are told that if we put our talents to good use, “Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.” What a humbling thought…. But though our responsibilities will increase, we are also promised great joy: Come, share your master’s joy.”
  2. Jesus warns us that if we’re lazy and not make use of the gifts we were given (“buried in the ground”) and so live a “useless” life, then more will be taken away from us. At the end of our life, we will be thrown “into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” If this is what will happen to the indolent, I dread to think what the Creator will do to those of us who misuse our gifts for evil.

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and may you make full use of the gifts He gave you, and bloom like this rose!

~Eowyn

Behold He comes!

Riding on the clouds!

Robin Mark performing Days of Elijah

“Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war.”
– Revelation 19:11

One morning about a year ago I woke up with this song playing in my head. What a great start to a day. You don’t forget a thing like this.

 

Sunday Devotional: Are you prepared?

Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise.
The foolish ones, when taking their lamps,
brought no oil with them,
but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps.
Since the bridegroom was long delayed,
they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight, there was a cry,
‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise,
‘Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise ones replied,
‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you.
Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’
While they went off to buy it,
the bridegroom came
and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him.
Then the door was locked.
Afterwards the other virgins came and said,
‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’
But he said in reply,
‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Therefore, stay awake,
for you know neither the day nor the hour.

The above passage from Matthew 25 is a sobering reminder of our mortality — that our time on this mortal coil is short and fleeting.

Both wisdom and prudence mean being careful, exercising good judgment in avoiding risks and hazards, and learning from our mistakes. So be wise, be prepared, and make sure there is “oil” in our “lamps,” for we know “neither the day nor the hour” of our end.

Wisdom 6:12, 15

Resplendent and unfading is wisdom,
and she is readily perceived by those who love her,
and found by those who seek her….
For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence,
and whoever for her sake keeps vigil
shall quickly be free from care….

See also:

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

Down syndrome entrepreneur build success out of socks, shatters stereotypes

john cronin

Good thing John’s mom didn’t live in Iceland when she became pregnant.

From Fox News: John Cronin’s message is simple, “socks, socks and more socks”, but the 21-year-old entrepreneur with Down syndrome and founder of John’s Crazy Socks mission is much more powerful; smashing stereotypes of what people with a disability can achieve.

“Down syndrome never holds me back,” John Cronin tells FOX Business. “I love inspiring people.”

In 2016, John was finishing high school and, like other young men, was facing a big decision of what to do next. “He started talking to me about going in to business,” Mark X. Cronin, John’s Dad, co-founder and president of John’s Crazy Socks, tells FOX Business.

John came to his dad with some interesting ideas, including a “fun store” — they are still trying to figure that one out — and a food truck. “I had a problem, my dad and I, both of us can’t cook!” jokes  John Cronin.

Eventually, John’s love for colorful sock flair became an inspiration, and in December 2016, John’s Crazy Socks, an online one-stop sock shop, opened for business.  From food-inspired knee highs to canine crew socks, John’s Crazy Sock’s now boasts over 1,300 pairs of fun, funky socks. Since opening, business has been booming.

“We are on a mission to spread happiness, and we are spreading that message through socks,” says Mark X. Cronin.

Each order is shipped out the same day which includes John’s story, often a hand written note by John, some candy and two discount cards – “one for you and one to give to a friend.”

Like any startup, John’s Crazy Socks ran into its fair share of challenges.  Initially, manufacturers refused to do business with a startup that had no track record.

“I think there was an assumption on many that this was a quaint, little business, you were doing part time and on the side.  When they find out, in our first year, we are going to do $1.2 to $1.3 million dollars, that makes people sit up,” says Mark X. Cronin. “Which I would suggest is pretty good for a startup.”

The nine-month old company has been recognized by local organizations, John and Mark recently completed the prestigious business accelerator MassChallenge, and have shipped socks to former president George H.W. Bush, comedian Kevin James and Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt.

More than profit, John and Mark are dedicated to giving back.  5% of their sales go to charity, like the National Down syndrome Society, and they carry specialty socks for causes like Autism Awareness. In addition, John and Mark’s staff include employees who have a disability.

Read the rest of the story here.

Shop for John’s socks here!

DCG

Sunday Devotional: Whoever exalts himself will be humbled

Matthew 23:1-12

Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying,
“The scribes and the Pharisees
have taken their seat on the chair of Moses.
Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you,
but do not follow their example.
For they preach but they do not practice.
They tie up heavy burdens hard to carry
and lay them on people’s shoulders,
but they will not lift a finger to move them.
All their works are performed to be seen.
They widen their phylacteries* and lengthen their tassels.
They love places of honor at banquets, seats of honor in synagogues,
greetings in marketplaces, and the salutation ‘Rabbi.’
As for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi.’
You have but one teacher, and you are all brothers.
Call no one on earth your father;
you have but one Father in heaven.
Do not be called ‘Master’;
you have but one master, the Christ.
The greatest among you must be your servant.
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled;
but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

*Phylactery (definition): A small leather box containing Hebrew texts on vellum, worn by Jewish men at morning prayer as a reminder to keep the law.

What a stunning rebuke this passage from Matthew 23 is!

Try this:

In the place of “scribes”, “Pharisees”, “synagogues” and “Rabbi”, insert the words “priests”, “ministers”, “churches” and “pastor/bishop/archbishop/cardinal/pope” — and Matthew 23 is as timely today as then, as a rebuke of hypocritical, uncaring and pretentious church clergy, with their pomp and ceremony and bureaucratic titles.

Matthew 23 is also a rebuke to us, when we exalt ourselves by pretending to possess knowledge of God over others. For we are all the same — brothers and sisters in Christ, who have but “one Father in heaven” and “one master, the Christ.”

May the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

All Saints Day

Yesterday, October 31, was All Hallows’ Eve or Halloween, that is, the evening before the holy ones.

As explained in “Reclaim Halloween as the holy All Hallows’ Eve!,” the word “hallow” is “to make holy or sacred, to sanctify or consecrate, to venerate,” while the word “e’en” means “evening.”

The word “saint” means holy.

Halloween, therefore, means Holy Evening or the Evening of the Hallowed or Holy Ones, i.e., the Evening of the Saints.

In other words, Halloween is the evening before All Saints Day, which is today!

saints in Heaven1

Then I saw another angel come up from the East, holding the seal of the living God.  He cried out in a loud voice to the four angels who were given power to damage the land and the sea, “Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”  I heard the number of those who had been marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand marked from every tribe of the Israelites.” Rev. 7:2-4 

After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue.  They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.  They cried out in a loud voice:  “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.”  All the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures.  They prostrated themselves before the throne, worshiped God, and exclaimed:

“Amen.  Blessing and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving, honor, power and might be to our God forever and ever.  Amen.”

Then one of the elders spoke up and said to me, “Who are these wearing white robes, and where did they come from?”  I said to him, “My Lord, you are the one who knows.”  He said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  Rev. 7:9-14.

“For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple.  The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.  They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them.  For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  Rev. 7:15-17.

saints in Heaven

Through the “communion of saints,” a doctrine proclaimed in the Apostle’s Creed, the blessed in heaven assist those of us on earth; we pray with the saints so that they may intercede on our behalf before Our Lord.  Remember, these incredible, courageous and wonderful individuals see God face to face!  How cool is that?

Indeed, they are the ultimate role models, heroes and heroines-people who chose to do extraordinary things and behaved always with serving Our Lord as their first priority in their lives, no matter what the cost.  They were no different as human beings than we are, with faults, talents, proclivities towards temptation and bearing all qualities incident to human beings.  What made them different were their choices, to serve God first above anything and everything.  To put it more eloquently were the words of St. Thomas More on the day he was beheaded, wherein he stated, “I am the King’s good servant, but God’s first.”

saints in Heaven2

In the communion of saints, “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home and those of us who are still pilgrims on earth.”  (CCC 1475)

St. Thomas More said this about the saints.  “We venerate the saints as God’s servants, as we would on earth welcome the servants of a great man we esteemed.  If the goodness we bestow upon our poor brethren is considered by Christ as bestowed upon Himself, as He tells us (Mt 25:40), and if those, as He says, who welcome His apostles and disciples welcome Him (Mt. 10:40), assuredly those who honor the saints are likewise honoring Christ.  Our Lord Himself showed that He would have His saints partake in His glory when He promised the apostles that they would be seated at His side on the final Day of Judgment (Mt. 19:28).  Moreover, He promised that Martha’s sister Mary (whom More identified as Mary Magdalen) would be honored throughout the world for her deed of anointing Him with ointment (Mt. 26:13).”

As to honoring the saints, and our desire to request their advocacy and intercession on our behalf, as to whether or not the saints can either hear us or help us, St. Thomas More provided, “Yet how can we doubt whether they hear us?  Their souls are not dead, and therefore as living souls the love and charity toward their fellowman that characterized them to this world cannot have diminished in the next.  The closer one draws to heaven, the greater is his solicitude toward his brethren here on earth, as was the case with the martyr Saint Stephen, who after seeing heaven opened, prayed for his enemies who were stoning him (Acts 7:55-60).  In view of this, is it conceivable that Saint Stephen would not pray for those who honor him on earth, now that he is in heaven?”  And the question is further posed, how can the saints in heaven help us?  More reasoned that since “the saints were certainly able to assist others while on earth where their human nature was as weak as ours, surely they can do so in heaven.”

More further reasoned that even while Our Lord lived on this earth, He permitted people to come to His apostles rather than directly to Himself for help and allowed the Twelve to work miracles in His stead.  Indeed, on some occasions the apostles assumed the role of intercessors with Christ, presenting the petitions of others to their Master.  “If this was the case when the apostles were with Christ on earth, it must surely be so now that they dwell with Him in heaven.  God is pleased to have us honor and call upon His saints, His especial beloved friends, for it becometh us and well behoveth us to make friends of such as he hath in favour.”

Have not you ever asked someone, “Please pray for my mother, she is very ill,” or “Please pray for me; I am about to make a very important decision that will affect my life.”  Indeed and in fact, we have set forth these petitions to others on FOTM.  Ergo, we pray with the Saints, inhabitants of the Church Triumphant, for their intercession, for their guidance that they receive from Our Lord Himself.  If we ask those we know on earth for their advocacy and prayers, all the more reason to ask the Church Triumphant to enter our lives, to give us direction and to ask through them the Grace from God necessary to live our lives according to the Will of God, to the fullest extent, using all of our talents and gifts given to us by God.  The Saints are with us; we are foolish not to have camaraderie with them and to enjoy intimate and meaningful relationships.

We end this post by honoring the particular Saints in our respective lives who have inspired and helped us:

We love you, we admire you, and we thank you!

May Our Lord Always Be First Served!

Christ with angels

For the Saint posts we’ve published, go to FOTM‘s “Saints and Angels” page!

Sources:

  • Catechism of the Catholic Church.
  • James Monti, The King’s Good Servant but God’s First, The Life and Writings of Saint Thomas More (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1997).
  • Sister Mary Raphael is Gone, But Not Forgotten!  Daily Catholic 2000, January 18, 2000, volume 11, no. 12.

~Joan & Eowyn