July 16, 2016

NH State Senator Kevin Avard to Interview Me & Discuss My Book, "Unraveling My Father's Suicide"

From Twitter:
                             by Kathleen Laplante
Amazon (incl. Kindle)

Source: Twitter = kathleenlaplante @klaplante02

June 28, 2016

8 Things Every Catholic Should Be Doing Every Day - #7, Serve, and #8, Reflect

Finishing up with the 8 Things Every Catholic Should Be Doing Every Day series, we move onto #7 and #8.

7. Serve in some way

"For you were called for freedom, brothers. But do not use this freedom as an opportunity for the flesh; rather, serve one another through love." - Galatians 5:13, NABRE

This sounds straightforward, but many people do like I did and complicate this suggestion with grandeur. For example, I thought I had to go to Kentucky on a mission trip for a week in the Appalachians to do service that counted for anything. The ironic thing was, at the end of the week, the counselors answered the question, "What do I do now?" with a suggestion of going home and doing service work there. They offered these ideas: work at the local food pantry, volunteer at the public library, help someone cross the street, mow the lawn for your parents. Do small things every day and you will have a significant impact on making the world a better place. And go on your mission trip after all, just with better perspective.

8. Reflect on your day

In Catholicism, this step is often done with an examination of conscience at the end of the day. In 12-step programs, it is done with a daily inventory. Did I hurt anyone? Did I take something of someone's without asking? Am I holding any resentments? Was I able to forgive someone for raising their voice with me? How about Jesus? Did I even talk with Him today? What good things have I done? Did I give my sons my daily hugs? Did I tell them I love them?  etc.

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As the author of the list, Becky Roach reminds us:
"The goal is to start incorporating one or two of these [eight] things into your day and then keep working until these actions become a natural part of who you are.  Make them essential healthy habits – like brushing your teeth – so that you don’t even have to think twice about getting them done."

Good Wishes in Christ,

image - https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CllXmmwWYAAEPUN.jpg

The Melkite Catholic SOPHIA Summer 2016 Journal Is Out - And It Rocks!

Bishop Nicholas J. Samra has been doing a wonderful job with bringing richness to the articles and photos in SOPHIA, The [Quarterly] Journal of the Eparchy of Newton for Melkite Catholics in the United States. A sense of cohesiveness is present, not only in the material, but in the community of Melkite persons it serves.

From the Editor: The Beauty of God’s Creation 3
From the Bishop: Joyful Stewards of Our 50-Year Jubilee 4
Writing Straight with Crooked Lines 6
Deacon Paul Ordained Fr. Theophan 9
The Melkite Church at Second Vatican Counsel 10
Archbishop Jeanbart Pleads for Aleppo 15
Syrian Christians “Reckoned as Sheep for the Slaughter” 17
The Great Council of the Orthodox Church 18
The Origins of Byzantine Chant 20
The Church as Servant 23
A New Testament Gallery of Marian Images 24
Memory Eternal 25
Melkite Quiz Feast Days and Saints’ Days 26
[National Association of Melkite Youth] NAMY Turns 35 28
Our Small Size Empowers Apostolic Life 29
Exarch Joseph Haggar Celebrates Golden Jubilee 30
Re ections on Vocations and Anniversaries 31
Around the Eparchy 33
[National Association of American Melkite Women] NAMW 38
Navigating the Eparchy 39

image - https://melkite.org/sophia-issue/sophia-summer-2016

June 26, 2016

8 Things Every Catholic Should Be Doing Every Day - #6, Sacrifice

 6. Sacrifice something

#6 is where it's at, at least while I write this blog entry.  ;)  When I first perused 8 Things Every Catholic Should Be Doing Every Day, #6 drew me in. We don't talk enough about sacrifice. It hurts. We don't talk enough about the spiritual benefits of sacrificing, i.e., salvation. Hebrews 9:28 ties the two together, "Christ, offered once [crucifixion] to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him."

We need to be prepared for the Second Coming, but the words sacrifice and salvation are often scoffed at, even within our very own Church. This is probably why we see non-stop rushing by many of us, why people don't help an elderly person cross the street, why parishioners talk, and talk loudly, in the pews before Mass, and why CEO's and Presidential candidates embezzle from the very organizations that sustain them.

The author, Becky Roach, keeps things simple and that is what I try to do. We don't have to become suicide bombers to reap the benefits of sacrifice. Jesus loves us. He wants us to get to Heaven. Practicing small sacrifices will help immensely. Then, if a large sacrifice is needed, we'll have a foundation to persevere.

Small sacrifices can be giving up bread for a day, or at least for one meal. It can be giving up driving and walking to work instead, if that's reasonable. It can be foregoing the last piece of apple pie so your daughter can have it. Or how about sacrificing personal time at night and getting to bed earlier to get up for Daily Mass?

This is Jesus crucified. Remember, He is God, so He could do something as insufferable as the crucifixion.
We are not asked to be God, but we are asked to sacrifice to join with Jesus in His sacrifice for the world.
Sacrifice involves pain, but there is joy in this kind of pain.

"Keep It Simple" is the theme. At the same time, one might ask, "To what end?" What is the benefit of sacrifice and who receives it? When we make a sacrifice, especially when we make a sacrifice and consciously unite it to Jesus' suffering on the Cross, more than one person benefits. The sacrifice-er, the person(s) "raised up" in the gesture, and God  knows who else gains. It could be the souls in Purgatory. Maybe a little bit of their time in Purgatory is reduced, bringing them closer to their final destination in Heaven with God.

When I adopted this frame of mind, the concept grew. I felt better about myself, I felt closer to man and angels and saints, and I became creative with how to apply this concept, thereby helping more people and feeling even better about myself...of course, watching for becoming arrogant.

Try this. Make a sacrifice every day. Unite it to Christ suffering on the Cross and gain a little salvation for yourself and others. Most of us do it when there is a physical manifestation, e.g., we give up our weekends to go to the lake and rebuild what will become a summer cottage, which is important, but we need more spiritual requests and we need to trust that God will meet them. The physical manifestation is not enough.

Spiritual requests?
"Dear Jesus, I offer this sacrifice for the conversion and salvation of my two sons."
"Dear Jesus, help me to grow and become closer to you."
"Dear Jesus, I offer this sacrifice for Millie who is suffering from throat cancer. Please bring her relief in the way You see most fit."
"Dear Jesus, I offer up the work being done by the Town Committee. Please guide them so they do the right thing."
"Dear Jesus, please bless my mother. She died a couple years ago and I pray that she makes it to Heaven."

And get really specific if you want:
"Dear Jesus, please cure Anna."

Best Wishes,
Kathleen +

image - http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-RaWsTQDL_Uc/TlY7yj3bDTI/AAAAAAAAADY/p2Gu91j5Wq8/s1600/jesus-on-the-cross_closeup.jpg

June 21, 2016

8 Things Every Catholic Should Be Doing Every Day - #5, Talk About [and to] God

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 5. Talk about God [and to God]
I'm not sure why we lose our childhood wisdom and innocence, but we can get it back. Do you remember having an imaginary friend? Talking to her, feeding her, playing games with her, and including her in everything. That's what #5 is about, except that the friend is not imaginary in this case. The friend is real and omnipotent. Talk to Him, offer Him a sacrifice, play games with Him, feed Him "dinner," tell Him your woes, thank Him for bringing you into this world, ask Him to care for your children, mention Him in a conversation with another adult or a child -- all day long. It is the most important relationship we will have, so we must find ways to nurture and rely upon it.

God is a personal God. Imagine if we all tapped into this wonderful resource. +

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images - http://www.biblechurch.org/chbc/images/sermons/TalkToGod.jpg
- https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/b8/22/df/b822dfcb98e1370ed12380dc8e3f49dd.jpg 
- http://www.lovethispic.com/uploaded_images/68732-Talk-To-God-Though-Short-Little-Prayers.jpg
- http://www.christianitycove.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/TalkAboutGod_thumb1.jpg
- http://www.godtalkstoyou.com/images/God%20Wants%20To%20Talk%20To%20You.jpg
- http://tuneinnmusic.com/images/Acm-You%20can%20talk%20to%20God.png
- http://www.biblequotebook.com/go/images/if-you-are-afraid-talk-to-god-47.png

June 18, 2016

8 Things Every Catholic Should Be Doing Every Day - #4, Tell someone you love them and why

4. Tell someone you love them and why

When I was growing up, my parents were in emotional survival mode. I don't recall one time when either of them told me or any of my five siblings that they loved us. Nor do I remember a time when they shared such sentiments with each other.

On the other hand, my five brothers and sisters and I started telling and showing our children, "I love you," very early on in their lives. We still do it 27+ years later. Our children are happier and relatively more self-assured. I would not attribute that solely to our expressing our love for them, but I believe that was/is a significant part of it. Once you start saying it (and showing it through acts of kindness and love), it fosters a more loving environment than the one created without it. No science; no psychology; no religion. Pretty much speculation, but it's speculation based on a mother's heart, and sometimes that is more reliable than any of the rest.

Every day. Tell someone every day that you love them and why. The why could be because the child is a gift from God and how can any of us not love a gift from God?

image -http://in2.ccio.co/k3/IE/NF/4105dece39d7f1a69d5235da51dd70e4.jpg

June 11, 2016

3. Go on social media (i.e., communicate!), call a friend, visit a friend.

Continuing with 8 Things Every Catholic Should Be Doing Every Day:

3. Go on social media (i.e., communicate!), call a friend, visit a friend.

Background:  I have a Facebook account and I have three break outs on it:

1) My personal account.
2) The Page I manage for my church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Greek Melkite Catholic.
3) The Page I manage for my self-published book, Unraveling My Father's Suicide.

So I use Facebook often, the last two for business purposes, the first one for my personal use. I am claiming it because I want to say that the first part of #3, go on social media, is not something I would include in my list. Call a friend or get together with a friend or co-worker, those are things I would recommend on a daily basis. Facebook can wear a person down with all the insignificant information in our News Feeds.

To me, getting on social media opens a can of worms, not the least of which is the decision about which one to use, so people use all of them: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Trumblr, Instagram, and more. That's enough to disrupt one's spiritual calm.

There are all kinds of interpersonal struggles that can and usually do arise. I know people who do not have a Facebook account. I have a Twitter account, but I hardly use it. I haven't quite figured out how to get into a rhythm with that one. I see them all as tools, and as such, I would not recommend them for a spiritual boost or renewal. The Rosary would be a safer bet.
Just my.......

So sure, call a friend, or your mother, or your sibling. Visit a friend - for tea, not to talk about work.
But don't expect social media to provide you with a spiritual renewal. It may at times, but ask any psychotherapist, and they will probably confirm the strife to which I am referring.

Peace in Christ,
Kathleen +

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June 26, 2016 - Edited for clarity