|Venerable Solanus Casey, "The Doorkeeper"|
As Jack ran down the road as fast as he could he rounded a bend and ran smack into the devil. The devil smiled at Jack and told him it was time for him to die and that he was there to take his soul. Jack quickly convinced the devil that if he would let him go and promise to never take his soul he would give him all the souls of the folks who were chasing him. "And how do you plan to do that, Jack?" the devil asked.
"Well now, all ye have ta do is turn ye-self into a pot of gold coins. Then I will give the coins to the people and you will be in all of their pockets. They will be yours."
Since many souls were better than only one, the devil readily agreed and turned himself into a pot of gold coins. Jack gave the coins to all the people and they went away smiling never realizing that they had given themselves to the devil in return for money.
Jack, using the ember to guide his way, found a pumpkin patch (some say it was turnips) and carved out a pumpkin. He put the ember inside and began carrying it around so he could see where he was going. To this day he wanders the earth seeking a resting place. And that is why he is known as "Jack-O'-Lantern" or "Jack of the Lantern".
"HAPPY HALLOWEEN" photo courtesy of allgreatimages.org
(Except for some minor minor edits and photo additions, this is the same blog post from last year written on the first anniversary of Mother Antonia's passing. It is still as timely today. She was and still is a shining example for all of us as to what it means to take up one's cross and follow Christ.)
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME
by Larry Peterson
This is a love story. No, it is not about romantic love. Rather, it is about the love of Christ exploding in the soul of a woman who ran with her God given gift and did her best to shower it upon some of the meanest and worst criminals in Mexico.
This is about Mother Antonia Brenner, who was born in Beverly Hills, CA, married and divorced twice, had seven children and ultimately became known as the "Prison Angel" of La Mesa Prison, the worst and most dangerous prison in all of Mexico. Mother Antonia died two years ago on October 17. On the anniversary of her passing I just thought I would remember her with a few words.
|Mother Antonia praying with the convicts|
Mary married at 18 and had three children. The first died shortly after birth. That marriage ended in divorce and then Mary married again. The wedding took place in Las Vegas and it was to a man named Carl Brenner. She and Carl had five children together but ultimately, that marriage also ended in divorce. Mary had somehow distanced herself from her strict Catholic upbringing. No matter, it seems that the Holy Spirit had his eye on Mary Clarke her entire life. It was time for Him to shower His grace on His daughter.
Mary became more and more involved in charity work and has her seven children got older she began to visit La Mesa Penitentiary to deliver donations such as food, medicine and clothing to the prisoners. The plight of the prisoners at La Mesa began to impact her greatly and as time went by her growing compassion and love of neighbor would become focused on these people. They would become her specialty, her ministry, her purpose in life.
In 1977, after her kids were grown and her second divorce was final, Mary gave away her expensive belongings, moved out of her home in Ventura and headed to La Mesa. She had received permission to move there. Her new home was to be a 10' by 10' cell. She would live as any other inmate, sleeping in her concrete cell and having only cold water and prison food. The amenities in her room included a Crucifix on the wall, a Bible and Spanish dictionary nearby and a hard, prison bed. In the morning she lined up with the other prisoners for roll call. This was to be her home for the next thirty years.
The story of how this twice divorced woman and mother of seven kids from two marriages was accepted by the Catholic Church as a Sister and founder of a new order can be found at the links provided. Suffice it to say that as time went by Sister Antonia became "La Mama" (Mother Antonia) aka The Prison Angel, She moved freely among the drug traffickers, thieves, murderers, rapists and others touching cheeks and offering prayers. Many of these people were among the most violent and desperate of men. Yet she happily walked with them and comforted and consoled them and held their heads between her hands as they were dying.
|Mother Antonia comforting an inmate|
Mother Antonia Brenner truly saw the face of Christ in each and every prisoner she came in contact with. She loved them all. Why else would hardened criminals, some who had never loved or been loved, call the diminutive woman who hailed from Beverly Hills, "La Mama"? They loved her in return.
Mother Antonia, please pray for us. Please remember her followers, The Eudists Servants of the Eleventh Hour and consider donating to their prison ministry.
©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights reserved
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME
By Larry Peterson
Euthanasia is upon us. And, like an insidious, unstoppable virus it spreads and spreads. And it kills. And the true vaccine that can conquer this madness has been rejected by those who embrace this practice. Yes, God is not in that syringe. How far we have come as a civilized people.
Life and its creative mystery and beauty was officially relegated to second place back in 1973 when the United States Supreme Court voted 7 to 2 that women had the right to abort their pre-born children. The Roe vs Wade ruling by the SCOTUS was the rock dropped in the pond of Sacred
The years passed by and we became smarter. More years passed by and, as we grew even 'smarter', we decided it was smarter to be more "more-free". Then there were those who decided they wanted to be "me-free". Meism grew and self-gratification became the rallying cry for the 'meists'. Religion became an albatross around the necks of many. Why? Because religion had rules and among those rules the word "NO" was used. Freedom was being transformed from self-sacrifice into self-gratification. Eliminating respect for others began to wane and freedom was hijacked by the self-serving.
As time went by, those who dared say they objected to the world of the 'meist' were classified as haters. bigots, racists, and even homophobes. Today we have become so civilized and sophisticated that the courts in Oklahoma have ruled that the Ten Commandments must be removed because they violate the Constitution (doublespeak for "offending non-Christians"). The original rules used by the Founders in their American creation were tossed out by the same court system they had started. Ah yes, there is some serious "tolerance" going on in America.
Today the word "freedom" is missing its most vital ingredient. The freedom that made us truly free was filled with a common respect for others and especially for the lives of others. The primary ingredient within that respect is a love and honor for our Creator, who gave us all of this to begin with and without whom there would be nothing. Our Founding Fathers knew this. They were not adherents to any particular religion but they were Deists. They understood that we did, in fact, have a Creator. And to Him they showed all the respect they could muster.
|Brittany Maynard 1984-2014 cbsnews.com|
Today, California, Oregon, Vermont, and Montana have euthanasia laws. Yes folks, you can go there and end it all. First it was Roe v Wade and now it is euthanasia. Belgium is killing children, living children, who are ill. All they need is their "permission" along with the parents. How hard is it to convince a child that dying is a "good thing" because you won't hurt anymore.
©Larry Peterson 2015 All Rights Reserved
IT MAKES SENSE TO ME
|Milou de Moor, dead at 19|
Look at the photo above. Her name was Milou de Moor. Milou was stricken with lupus when she was 12. The course of the illness caused her not only pain but also mood swings, blackouts and depression. By the time she was 16 she requested to be euthanized. Life had become too hard and painful to bear any longer. And her own mother and father and sister, encouraged her to do it.
It makes sense to me that if a teenager is afflicted with an auto-immune disease and is severely depressed and requests to end her life, all she might need is the encouragement of her parents and sibling(s) to push her to finalize that request. If her doctors are telling her how painless her non-life will be and how easy it is to arrive in non-life, how easy does it become to go there. People who encourage another who is weak and vulnerable to begin with, to take his or her own life and help them to do it, have entered into a dark celebration of nothingness. They have joined forces with others who rejoice in choosing death over life. How utterly sad that is.
There is such a thing as palliative care which includes end of life care rather than the option of ending life. There are medications, and counselors and treatments for all types of illnesses and disabilities, Drugs for depression and severe pain are available. But what is always most important is the great intangible that you cannot see or swallow or touch. This I can attest to from experience; that the love and support of family and friends combined with an abiding faith in the Creator of life.is the true power that transcends any celebration of nothingness.
There is a strange irony in the tragic saga of Milou de Moor. Apparently her date to be euthanzied had been set. Then at the last minute her general practitioner decided that he could not go along with her dying. When Milou heard this she ran off to her family's apple orchard and hanged herself. The parents are outraged at the doctor and are suing him for NOT killing their daughter. Think of the long term ramifications of such a thing. Will doctors now be told that they MUST take lives to spare their own careers and futures? California is next up to bat. Their euthanasia law has been passed and it awaits Governor Brown's signature. Whatever have we wrought?
©2015 Larry Peterson All Rights Reserved