20 April 2014

My Easter Message

My Easter Message

Certain skeptics and atheists like to amuse themselves in mocking the Resurrection of Jesus Christ by referring to Him as "Zombie Jesus".

Hmmm, no. Not even close.

There are two definitions of a zombie. The first is of a person who has been drugged to the point of appearing to be dead, then revived into something of an altered state in which someone can manipulate him/her, most likely with evil intention.

The second is the more common image - one of the animated dead. Essentially the zombie is still dead, only somehow revived but not thinking beyond a very fundamental level (namely, to kill the living).

Jesus Christ in the Resurrected State does not apply to either definition. Instead, the teaching is that He is completely and fully alive, His entire being, with only the nail marks and spear piercing to give testimony for what He did for Humanity out of complete Love for us: offering Himself to His Father, which then not only restored the friendship between God and Humanity that was lost in Eden, but also has given us the means to Salvation.

No, He is definitely not Zombie Jesus. He is Resurrected Jesus, the One whom Death could not keep.

A Blessed and Happy Easter to Everyone! God love you all.

In Nomine Domini Nostri Iesu Christi, Amen.

20 June 2011

On Father Corapi and a Lesson Learned

My mother, who passed on four years ago, absolutely loved Father John Corapi.  She never missed his television show on EWTN, hanging onto his every word.  His message was a straight-up orthodoxy in Catholic teaching that is rare to see these days, a message that we need to hear more and more in a Church that is perceived by many to be losing itself in a secular age that eschews all things holy.  It certainly bolstered mom up in a time between my dad’s passing and her own.  Father Corapi was my mother’s hero, a true champion of the Catholic Faith that she loved so very much. 

So what is with this recent announcement from him, stating that he is leaving active ministry and taking on a persona with the name “The Black Sheepdog”?  Like many I have read the statement and watched the video, and it leaves me with two reactions.  The first is, “Thank you, God, that my mother was not alive to see this happen”, for it would have broken her heart completely.  And the second reaction is one of “Yes, I get it, I understand.  But ---“

About the second reaction: Yes, I do get it. I understand Father Corapi’s apparent reaction to the way he has been treated by the Church in regards to allegations that he has had an “inappropriate relationship” with an adult woman formerly under his employment.  The system of dealing with accused priests is very, very flawed, we know that.  The way it grinds on and on with no resolution is certainly unbearable.  To have so many walls put up to block your progress towards a timely resolution of your innocence would drive many to do what he has done.  But does any of this justify his action?  No, it does not. 

Again, I get what Father Corapi is going through. True, I have not experienced it on the same level of publicity and scrutiny he has, but I have had my own difficulties with certain people in the Catholic Church's authority. It can hurt very deeply and yes, it is very frustrating. But does the way one has been treated make the message of the Catholic Church all wrong? No, it does not.  The Catholic Church and the Gospel it proclaims is true and worthy of belief. It always will be. The human part of the institution may fail or delay, but God will not.  In time things will be made right, maybe not in the way you want it, but it will be to your benefit as long as trust is given to Him.  What is not to be done, though, is taking up your ball and going elsewhere.  You stay and let God do His work. Otherwise it becomes all about you or someone else, and not all about Him.  That would be unacceptable.    

Now where did I learn this?  Though some of it has come from tried and true experience, I first learned it from my mother.  Long ago she taught me about Psalm 146:3 “Put not your trust in a prince, in a son of a man, in whom there is no salvation”.  People in the Church may fail you, she taught, and the system may let you down, but God will not.  Turn your matter over to the Lord, she would say, and trust in Him.  I always have done so, I still do, and I always will. Hopefully Father Corapi will come around and do the same. 

18 June 2011

Remembering Dad

George Mozier was not an easy man to know. He was about as rock-solid as they came: a US Navy veteran, a hard worker who rarely missed a day of labour, a devout yet quiet Catholic, a loving husband who was completely dedicated to my mother, and a honest and punctual man who had the respect of everyone he met. And yet, as his son I really did not know him well. Oh yes, I knew he loved me and was a very good father in many ways. His excellent traits were ones that I have always sought to emulate, and whatever is best about me was learned by imitating him. Yet he never did open up to me and share any deep thoughts or experiences with me. He was indeed the most difficult-to-understand man to ever walk the earth.

I always wanted to know him better, but there was this barrier up that told me to not go there. I suppose he felt the need to have this distance between a father and a son because it was just the way such a relationship was supposed to be. The rare times he would open up just a bit, like sharing a story about his Navy days or teaching me a song he and his friends used to sing together in his youth, were very special. They form for me fond memories of him, but they are far and in-between.

I always wanted to let him know how much I loved him, but to say so would have caused an uncomfortable silence between us. It did the couple of times I tried, with him looking away and once muttering “I love you too, Steve”. Praise was rare from him, and the one time he said to me, “Steve, I believe you are finally an adult man” - that just made me break into tears when I was able to be alone after that. I still tear up thinking about it.

I remember the last time I saw him. Dad was dying from cancer by then and he looked very drained, with his voice raspy and his body shriveled up in a way I had never seen before. I tried to say one more time that I love him, but he brushed me aside. “No, Steve,” he said, “I don’t want any of that mushy stuff from you, and I don’t want you feeling sorry for me. I am not afraid to die, and you and I know how we feel about each other, so just leave it at that.” Leaving him, I glanced back one more time to see him hunched over, so gray and old, sitting on the bed in a room down a hall. I kept walking and never saw him alive again.

Today on Father’s Day, I give tribute to my father. In my mind, I see myself running down that hall one more time and embracing him, and to his embarrassment - but with no shame from me - saying, “I love you, Dad! I love you!” I am sure he would have muttered one last time, “Um, I love you too, Steve. Now get going.” God rest his soul in eternal peace, Amen.

02 June 2011

Our Pilgrimage To Rome: Saturday (Final Day)

This has taken a few months, but I do need to close up our sharing of the Pilgrimage of Thanksgiving that the Lady Julieta and I took to Rome and other parts of Italy.  On our last day, which was a Saturday, we had to hurry up and finish a quick breakfast at the excellent hotel buffet.  This was really sad, for it would have been great to have had a nice, leisurely breakfast and enjoy it one more time at a comfortable pace.  But it did not open until 6:30 and our driver was coming at 6:45 to take us to the airport, so we had to hurry.  Thankfully we placed our luggage down with the front desk and I settled the bill beforehand, so at least we were not shoveling it all down at warp speed. 

After finishing and quickly picking up a couple of items to go, we went down to the lobby and were delighted to meet up once again with the same driver we had upon our arrival ten days before - the surly, impatient, beaten-down-by-life guy who drove like a maniac yet handled Rome traffic like a pro!  He was glad to see us too, though not overly expressive of it (he had an image to maintain). With a quick loading up and goodbyes given to the excellent staff of the Hotel Diana gathered around the front desk, we were off. 

Our trip to the airport was about as quick as you can get there, and we made sure to tip our driver well.  I hope whenever we return to Rome some day, we get this guy again!  A surprisingly quick trip through check-in, and we were at the gate and subsequently on our flight home. 

The journey was marked by this sadness as Lita and I both looked out the window and watched Italy fade away into the distance.  We sighed and smiled at the same time as we held hands, a great pilgrimage finished and a wonderful experience for both of us shared together.  We continued to look out the window and saw these small yet striking islands below, surrounded by the bluest water.  Soon we were over France and the beautiful mountains below filled our view. 

I would like to say that the rest of our trip was wonderful, but I had the terrible inconvenience of the guy sitting in front of me reclining almost completely onto my lap!  I tried to get him to move it a bit forward, but he was actually ignoring me!  Sighing, I just offered it up to God as an exercise in patience and accepted it, though I have to admit I would "adjust" occasionally and bump him!

Time passed, a little bit of turbulence, some food, a brief nap, and three movies, and finally we found ourselves over Newfoundland and back in the Western Hemisphere.  I watched in amazement as Atlantic Canada soon became the East Coast of the United States, and then we descended safely to a soft landing in Atlanta.  We were almost home!  But first there was Customs.  It was an obstacle course of this line, this check in, go here, go there, show this, show that, go through it, pick up your luggage, put it here, come back here, no don't go there, and finally freedom! 

We had to wait a while for our last plane to Tallahassee, so we ate a terrible food court Chinese food supper, which only underscored just how awful the food is here in America compared to excellent fare we had back in Italy.  Ah well, that is what antacids are for, right?  We felt better when our plane departed Atlanta on time and we had a smooth flight all the way back home.

Upon disembarking in Tallahassee, we were met by our daughters and we embraced them like never before!  It was great to be home.  After such a long journey, al done in a Saturday, we were indeed quite exhausted.  Still, we got home late in the evening and were met at home by our happy dogs and our wonderful Tempurpedic bed!  Afer unwinding for a while as we shared gifts brought home for the girls, we finally retired for the night. 

So ended our Pilgrimage of Thanksgiving to Italy. Deo Gratias!

08 May 2011

Remembering Mom

Today is Mother's Day, and this is about my mother.

I have very few pictures of my mother, yet I can see her clearly in my thoughts. She was a wonderful woman, not always perfect, but that is what made her human. I find that I can overlook her mistakes and find comfort in all the things that she did right. 

Mom could cook like no one else, and I can still smell the wonderful odors that permeated our home. She was always there when I was in need, giving her love and support as best as she could. She was well thought of by all and gave acceptance to people even when they did not deserve it. She was very religious in her Catholic way, and often thought much about God and what eternal life would be like after death.  We had many conversations about God and Faith, something that we could spend hours and hours doing. She did not understand things in a theologian kind of way, but she believed and trusted in God very deeply.

Mom also could be stubborn and moody, and sometimes held grudges for far too long. She suffered greatly from her own circulatory illness (which would claim both her legs) and missed my dad terribly when he passed on.  I came to realize that there was a lot of hurt in her life, especially in the relationship with her own father, who was indeed a very cold, hard, and distant man. I am happy to know that they reconciled as he appproached the end of his own life, making his peace with God and family.

Mom passed on in 2007, finally joining my dad in eternity as well as the God she longed to truly know.  On this Mother's Day, I remember her with great love and fondness, and will miss her while at the same time smile in all the good memories of her. 

Pax Christi