Thursday, February 21, 2013

Spiritual Riches

I'm quite sure my readers are sick of hearing me complain that I can no longer get to early-morning Mass before work, but at least during Lent, I have somewhat of a reprieve.  A nearby parish,  staffed by some very humble and generous Augustinian priests offers evening Mass during Lent Monday thru Thursday.  I break my neck to get home, get dinner for the family, and bolt out the door.  Evening prayer precedes and then a simple Mass with brief homily takes place afterward.

Mass takes place in the lower church, which resembles so many "fixed basements" that we so often see in South Philly row-homes.  Minimal furnishings but still comfortably and suitably appointed.  No frills, to say the least.

Last night, after nearly giving myself a coronary to walk against the howling wind to rush there, I hurried to my usual pew and genuflected without looking up.  When I knelt down at my pew, I looked up and realized the Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament had been placed upon the altar.  The priest was starting the Rosary and then the Litany of St Gianna Molla was distributed to be prayed following Mass.  Apparently, the parish has a pro-life group that meets one evening a month for Adoration, Rosary and Mass, followed by confessions.  Talk about good fortune!

Tonight, after nearly giving myself a double coronary to get there in time, I was again pleasantly surprised, this time to learn that on Thursday evenings, a novena to St Nicholas of Tolentine is prayed immediately following the Mass for the intention of the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

My prayer life has been turned upside down a bit, at least during the week, because the routine that was mine for the past five years or so is no more, at least for now.  Rather than continue to beat myself up and complain unceasingly over something beyond my control, I've simply decided to make the most of everything I can do, which quite frankly, should have already been my approach.  This means taking on menial tasks at work that are not my responsibility but provide an opportunity to practice humility and some measure of mortification.  I try to regard the snoring that takes place next to me every night as music from Heaven.  I must confess to having failed miserably thus far but there is ample time to keep trying.  I try to exert great effort to demonstrate patience with people at work who, through no fault of theirs, possess habits that drive a curmudgeon like me to distraction.

Earlier this week, I received a call, quite out of the blue, that I have been identified as a potential match as a bone marrow donor for a young man who is battling leukemia and is about the same age as my oldest daughter. I nearly forgot that about 20 years ago, I took part in a drive to try to find a match for a young woman in my neighborhood who was deathly ill and needed a transplant.  Sadly, she died before a match was found.  I got a letter once, about 10 years ago, telling me I might be a potential match for someone else  but then a closer match was found and I was off the hook.  This time, it seems like more of a possibility I could be the one who is the closest match.  I've already submitted to a lengthy interview and other paperwork and have consented to further testing.  My concern is that if this comes to fruition, it might happen around the time of my daughter's wedding.  I did ask that if this works out, we could do everything possible to avoid having this coincide with the wedding.

There are two methods for donation. One takes place under anesthesia and the other doesn't and involves daily injections for four days that have some unpleasant side effects, followed by a 4-6 hour process called plasma phoresis.  Part of me is hoping that if donation does happen, it happens during Lent.  I know it's selfish on my part, but how many opportunities do any of us get to do something to directly give life to someone else who is not part of our family?  What joy to be able to offer a little bit of suffering to give someone a new lease on life!

Of course, after all of this, I might not be a match at all.  As God wills.

Can I ask that in your charity, we pray for this young man, whoever and wherever he is, that God may see fit to provide the cure he needs?  If you're part of our on-line Rosary community, please offer this as one of your intentions.


  1. Wow, I was laughing so much at you having double coronaries and wanting the snoring to start sounding musical, that I didn't see the bone marrow transplant coming!
    Well, I wasn't really laughing about the coronaries. You just painted a funny picture.
    Of course I will pray. You are a better man than me.
    The church you are describing is most definitely not the one I first thought. :) Sounds lovely. I'm so glad you found it.

    1. One of these nights, I really am going to have a coronary and then I won't make jokes about it anymore, but until then... laugh with me :) BTW, I've gone to this church on other occasions. There are no liberties taken by the priests to invent their own liturgy and doctrine and to me, that little church is like a beacon in the neighborhood. I am so grateful to them for offering this Mass during Lent, and better yet, I can walk there ( if I don't have a coronary doing it!))

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you Allison. BTW, I met some lovely women from your parish on Candlemas. I wish I could remember names and perhaps they will come to me. Perhaps one day you and I will finally meet! God's blessings Joyce

  3. Joyce, I think it is so wonderful that you might actually get to be a bone marrow donor for that young man. I have always wanted to do that...maybe save a child who has leukemia. I suppose I should get into the registry, if I am to have a chance to do such a thing. Anyway, I hope you do get chosen..but not at the time of the wedding :)

    And..sounds like your Lent is off to a great start...your heart is so much in the right place, and that is what Our Lord truly looks at. Even though you are rushing about with your "coronaries," you are making such a valiant effort. I can just imagine the beautiful smile Jesus gave you when you
    rushed into your pew without realizing He was exposed in the monstrance. I've done that before too! Thanks for being an inspiration.

    I'm going to link to your rosary sign-up to see if we can get some more participants. I don't have a huge following, but maybe I have some readers who haven't come across your invitation yet. I hope so. It would be so awesome to cover the entire 20 mysteries. I've been enjoying praying my decade each night. It's so special to be united with others in prayer. Have a great weekend! xoxo

    1. Thanks Patricia, for offering to post the link! Every little bit helps. Yes, I wondered what The Lord's reaction might have been as well, though you are much more optimistic than I am. I was thinking more along the lines of "Great, you didn't even notice Me" But then again, His ways are not ours, so you are probably closer to the truth. One day, with His help, He will tell us Himself. Until then, we just have to keep plugging away. Love ya! Joyce

  4. Certainly praying for that young man.

    You had me laughing on the snoring. My wife was complaining for the past year and that coupled with chronic sinus infections had me go to an ENT doctor. He diagnosed it that I've picked up a winter allergy. Nose spray and antihistomine seems to have worked. You might have your husband try that. Also those nose strips seem to mitigate the snoring too.

    Good you found that parish.

    1. Thanks for the advice Manny. We've tried the nasal strips in the past and perhaps it's time to give them another go. I make jokes about the snoring but it's why I wake up exhausted every morning. I don't mind on the weekends but when I have to get up at 5 for work, it's a different story.


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