lay Carmelite

carmelite feasts

I’ve been a lay Carmelite ever since October 2001. The Order is quite ancient and has its origins well before the eleventh century, traditionally hearkening back to before the Birth of Christ.

The Order, since the days of Sts. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila in Counter-Reformation Spain, has been divided into two main branches, the Discalced, and the Calced (or Ancient Observance).  Although they have much in common, each branch has its own separate customs, rules, and traditions. Each month of the liturgical year has at least one Carmelite feast day.

July is quite an important month for Carmel since it’s the month during which we honor both St. Elijah, the Prophet and our Father, on the twentieth; and the Virgin Mary.  Mary gets two days.  The first is the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on the sixteenth. Her other feast day is the Mother of Divine Grace, on the twenty third. It’s on the nineteenth in Europe.  Sts. Joachim and Anne, parents of the Virgin Mary, are also honored on July 26 as the protectors of the Order.

Carmelite Feast Days

Feast

Feast ~Christmas

Feast

Feast

Midnight In the Pantry

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lay Carmelites

It’s the end of January and 2015 is settling in upon us. Last night I went to the first lay Carmelite meeting of the new year. I got my niece Bridget to drive me to Our Lady of Peace parish in Lynbrook.  All went well. I made sure I paid my forty dollars dues. We’re studying Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. I really miss both the St. Joseph community in Seaford, New York, and the Our Lady of the Mountain group in Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, but thesimg-Blessed-Elizabeth-of-the-Trinitye meetings seem to be working out very well so far too.  Compared to my last two groups, this one has quite an exceptionally large membership. They said last night that there are over forty official members. The Seaford and Wilkes Barre groups only had around a dozen each.  Karen Lee gave me a form to fill out so I can officially transfer from my Pennsylvania group.   Next month there will be a day of recollection at the Immaculate Conception Center in Douglaston, Queens.  I’m hoping to be able to go. I haven’t been there in quite a very long time.  It would be so good if someday I could say that I’ve gotten things all figured out and all was right in the world.

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younger me talks to older me

One day recently I wandered, as usual, into a time warp and met 2004 me for coffee. He was happy to see that I still drink coffee so compulsively. He reminded me of what life was like back then, with all its good and bad news. I told him about what was up ahead of him. He was happy to see that I’m still a lay Carmelite. I tried to explain to him that I still have all the same staunchly conservative ideas now as then, but that by now, they’re more fully developed.  I gave him the impression that turning fifty didn’t seem to carry with it any major milestones, that the passage of time would, in many ways, leave me neither in better nor worse shape.  I explained to him that both my parents died last year and that that left me with quite a few major irrevocable changes in my circumstances. Having lived for much of the past decade in northeastern Pennsylvania gave me some insights into what life in a radically different environment was like.  The internet, of course, was quite a major topic of conversation. My younger persona was quite happy to hear of all the advances that were to transpire during the time between then and now. He got a kick out of all the things people have been doing with sites like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and all the others. He was so happy to know that I’ve been able to keep in touch with all my oldest friends from school for so long. Most certainly, he was quite disgusted when I told him about everyone’s having a cell phone these days. He reminded me of the days when my cousins and I were on the Knights of Columbus’ bowling league, with the Wantagh council and recommended that I get involved in something like that again.  He also reminded me that since my anxiety, temper and migraines have mostly subsided into virtual obsolescence, I should by now be hepper than ever.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/good-tidings/

http://tombalistreri.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/past-future/

http://rojo1990dotcom.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/hi-roger-meet-roger/

http://psychologistmimi.com/2014/11/15/a-new-york-decade-in-the-making-juggling-the-changing-city-sidewalks/

http://theyyouandme.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/a-coffee-date-with-myself/

http://katcarpita.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/dear-kat-2004/

to deal with boredom

Everyone, over the course of his lifetime, simply has to figure out how to deal with boredom. Life for me can be so quiet and ordinary at times. During the course of those kinds of times I often read even more than I usually do anyway. If I happen to be feeling truly brave I may even presume to attempt to re-read something as difficult as  “Dark Night of the Soul” by St. John of the Cross.  I really have to make sure I become as familiar as possible with all kinds of Carmelite reading material anyway. Since weight, these days, hasn’t presented me with any kind of a problem lately I can also feel quite free to go over to the refrigerator and to get something fattening to eat. Alas, that’s quite a very bad habit to indulge in inordinately, but at least it helps to keep my mind occupied for a while. Noise has quite a tendency to annoy me such a lot. If a baby starts crying continuously in the distance, or some other unwelcome sound persists, that can truly spoil my ability to concentrate, and will always leave me quite frustrated and restless. Conveniently I don’t usually get bored anyway but I at least have done quite a reasonably good job of learning to handle it.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/trio-no-three/

http://tuckedintoacorner.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/idealized/

http://guthonestfaith.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/deep-freeze/

http://itsmatthewburgos.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/pasta-for-the-dark-night-daily-prompt/

http://onesahmscrazylife.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/thank-you-facebook-sarcasm-is-amazing/

http://monicleblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/the-noisy-fridge/

http://onesahmscrazylife.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/thank-you-facebook-sarcasm-is-amazing/

literature major me

I’d say that I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction about the same, though for different reasons.  Right now I’m reading Longfellow’s poem, “Evangeline” and Jane Austen’s novel, “Sense and Sensibility”. I’m also reading “The Story Of A Soul” by St. Therese of Lisieux.  I’ve always been interested in novels and poems because they allow me to travel to other places and time frames.  I can permit my imagination to get entirely out of control. A well written novel or poem also can teach interesting lessons about human nature. Dostoyevsky’s  “The Brothers Karamazov” and Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited” are exceptionally good examples of this. One problem with Dostoyevsky, though, is that he tends to be exceptionally didactic. Reading something of his always makes me feel as if it’s written in the form of a thinly disguised theology and philosophy lecture.nortonI’ve always enjoyed seeing how many different symbols I can see in various works of literature.  Two of the most famous examples of symbolism in classic western literature are a bookworm character, who reads a story within the story,  a convention begun by Cervantes in “Don Quijote”, and travel, begun by St. Augustine of Hippo in his “Confessions”.  Among works of non-fiction, I especially enjoy biographies, and classic works of theology and philosophy. By now I’ve read very many biographies of a wide variety of famous people, including writers, politicians, musicians and saints. Although I only have thirteen credits in philosophy, and no college credits in theology, I’ve always had quite a voracious interest in those fields. As a lay Carmelite I’ve read all the Carmelite classics I’ve been able to find.  Since I really like to get involved in a good debate about the culture war, reading these kinds of things keeps me well informed.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/the-great-divide/

http://lindaswritingblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/fiction/

http://tyrocharm.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/longest-reading-queue-purely-for-fun/

http://laughagain.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/fact-or-fiction/

http://berryduchess.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/the-bibliophile-in-me/

http://thegadabouttown.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/fact-or-not-fact/

dear sir or madame would you read my book?

Ever since I was still only a little kid, I’ve always been quite the compulsive bookworm.    When my parents, Mary Anne and I used to go back and forth to northeastern Pennsylvania regularly to visit relatives, I spent each entire trip reading billboards and other signs along the way.   I can still remember being quite mesmerized over what Cutty Sark could possibly have meant.    Whenever I ate or drank something I paid quite an inordinate amount of attention to abbreviations like oz. and lb. on the labels.    In school I developed quite a reputation for having won virtually every spelling bee in Queens and Suffolk County.    I was the kind of kid whom my teachers, on standardized tests, always gave credit for having been around five years above the average reading level for my age range.    I can remember having read, at St. Gabriel’s and the local East Elmhurst Public Library, books and stories like “The Five Chinese Brothers”, “Skeeter Chariot High In the Sky” and the collected works of Dr. Seuss.   I first heard of Edward Lear at St. Gabriel’s, when I read his “There Was an Old Man With a Beard..” poem.    In the sixth grade, Brother Thomas made my classmates and me read, among other literary works, Steven Crane’s “The Red Badge of Courage”, and Edward Arlington Robinson’s “Richard Corey” and “Miniver Cheevey”.     Throughout my days at St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School and Farmingdale College, I was exposed to F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Shakespeare, Keats, Yeats, Blake, Joyce and countless other writers.    The Beatles, and other singers and bands from their era,  have always been my musical favorites.    The songs of the 1960’s reflect quite a lot of classic literary influence.   Joan Baez’ “So We’ll Go No More A-Roving” is based on Byron’s poem.    Yoko Ono’s “Who Has Seen the Wind” is based on Christina Rossetti’s poem.   The Beatles’ “I Am the Walrus” and Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” come right out of Lewis Carroll.   I’ve heard that  Pete Seeger’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”  was derived from an old medieval or Elizabethan poem.    As with my taste in show business and pop culture, I tend to be a bit of a literary snob.    The majority of the writers who really interest me are from the distant past.  Because of my pathological aversion to change-I’m ever the stick in the mud-my reaction to someone’s “We need another Emily Dickinson or Robert Frost” would be quite a resounding “Whatever good would that do? We already have the real Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost”.   When someone else has nothing to do he may eat, read the sports page. or watch television.   When I have nothing to do I read the collected works of the Brownings, Brontes or Shelleys, or some other classic author.    Right now I’m reading Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park”.    I have to be careful though.   Once I tried to read  seventy five pages James Joyce’s  “Ulysses” over the course of a day.   I got an unbearable migraine that lasted for three days.     I always have to laugh when I’m in a book store and see books by and about everyone from Tim Conway to Suzanne Somers.    I enjoy all kinds of reading material, ranging from biography to poems, novels, philosophy and theology.   Because of my having always been smitten with the humanities, people often take it for granted that I majored in theology and philosophy in school.    As a lay Carmelite I really have to keep up with developments in Sanjuanist and Teresian theology.     Sometimes I feel as if I don’t fit in very well with a lot of the people I’m expected to associate with but you never know when my interest in classic literature can come in quite handy.    On New Year’s Eve Steve an I went to a party in the neighborhood.    Although everyone else there, unlike me, was married with children and enjoyed sports,  I ended up getting into a really interesting conversation, with a guy named Kirk, about the collected works of Flannery O’Connor.    Not many people could have kept up with someone who wanted to talk about her.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/writing-challenge-reflections/#more-71506

 Bookworm_01

the times they are a ~changin

bangFor close to eight years I lived in the borough of Wyoming, in northeastern Pennsylvania.    It’s always struck me as such an exceptionally nice small town environment.   When my parents were alive it was quite interesting.   They were old and retired and we could always count on each other.   Uncle Frankie was less than a mile away in West Wyoming.   He’s also very old and retired.   My parents both died last autumn and Uncle Frankie now spends most of his time living with Fran in southeastern Pennsylvania.    Aunt Lauren and her family are the only other relatives I have anywhere near there and they live way over in the mountains of Harding and Dallas.    After our father’s funeral Mary Anne and Steve reminded me that I should have to be confronted with a final decision over whether to remain in Pennsylvania, where I had already made an established life and reputation, or to come to Long Beach, New York, where I could be very close to them and other family members.   I’ve ended up in Long Beach.     Over the course of most of my adult life, as when I was a kid, I’ve always been very actively involved in the churches I’ve attended.   When I moved from Lindenhurst to Wyoming, I automatically got just as active in Our Lady of Sorrows as I had been in Our Lady of Perpetual Help.   Having done so, I made quite a few really good friends.   I should suppose that now I can do the same thing in St. Mary of the Isle, Long Beach’s parish.  Making new friends has always been somewhat of an annoying experience for me.   Meeting new people in general has always made me uncomfortable.    I’m hoping to join their local Knights of Columbus council here so that I can meet a really wide variety of new people.   I’m a fourth degree member.   I shall have to start going to the nearby lay Carmelite meetings too at Our Lady of Peach Parish in Lynbrook.    I’ve never liked change or felt the least bit comfortable with it.   The first significant change I can remember is the big move from Queens to Long Island when I was twelve years old.   To this day I still refer to that time as an unbearably  traumatic experience.   Another major advantage of my being here is that now I can be much more available to visit my old schools for reunions and other functions in general.   Now that I’m back in the same general area as St. Gabriel’s in East Elmhurst and St. John the Baptist in West Islip,  it will be a lot easier to get back there to see old friends, including classmates and teachers of mine.   The best way to convince me that a change is acceptable and even enjoyable is to keep on reminding me of all that it has in common with all that I’ve already gotten really familiar with anyway.    Although many people equate the following of familiar patterns and habits with being stale and dull, I like it.   That must be at least part of the reason for the fact that the Beatles have always been my favorites since I was around four years old.     Change in a certain sense can be nice too but even then I’ve always most especially liked the kind of change that enables me to go back to things I can remember from days gone by.   Absolute cold turkey change simply isn’t for me.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/daily-prompt-if-you-leave/

THE FOURTH OF JULY~

The Fourth of July went so well this year. As always we ended up visiting my father’s relatives in Hilldale for a few days. The weather was perfect for anyone who enjoys the heat. Most of the kin showed up. Mary Anne and Steve, as well as Michael, Sam and Bridget, were here. Unfortunately, though, Erin wasn’t available. My mother still has lots of trouble with her cancer so she couldn’t go. Each of us took turns staying with her. I was especially happy to see Maelene, Joe and most of their family from North Tonawanda, and Vinnie from North Carolina, as well as Larry, Rose & their family from Massapequa. Anthony showed up from Brooklyn too. An inevitable reality of this occasion is the incessant reminiscing. Predictably we all got together & relived our past circumstances, especially the kin’s obnoxious references to all my supposedly bad driving. We also celebrated relevant birthdays and anniversaries. Rich, the Ronald’s son, got me an especially nice poster of Beatle Ringo Starr. Alas there was no softball game but I don’t play anyway. One night several of the cousins went to Friendly’s but I didn’t go. I was too tired. Unfortunately we didn’t go to Jitty Joe’s.  Michael and I made sure we got our traditional cigars though.    Music, religion and politics, and current events provided much conversation. I spent lots of time in the pool so I made sure I pot on lots of sun screen. The lay Carmelite meetings have been going well lately in Wilkes Barre, at the Little Flower Manor. So have Fr. McKernan’s men’s group meetings at Our Lady of Sorrows. Recently Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church at St. Joseph Marello Parish, on William Street in Pittston had their annual bizarre. I made sure I spent around an hour there each night. It was a very nice time. My mother still needs a lot of medical attention but we’re keeping track of it well.   Aunt Lauren,  Uncle Frankie and Fran come over fairly frequently and Mary Anne and family come in whenever they can.

EASTER

T

Easter went really well considering all our trouble lately.  Mary Anne, Steve, Michael and Bridget showed up from Long Beach.  Sam was visiting his other grandmother in Florida.  Erin was with her family in New York.  Uncle Frankie and Fran were both here and Aunt Lauren and Uncle Jim paid a visit too.  All worked out except that it was entirely too fattening for me.   Unfortunately Michael and I didn’t get any cigars , nor did Steve go for his usual ice cream trip.   As always there was trouble with lectoring.  Gabrielle’s mother called and asked me to lector for Gabrielle on Easter Sunday so all their family could be together at the Easter Vigil.  Jared called and asked me to cover for him on Palm Sunday.  I ended up being one of the  lectors at the Holy Saturday Vigil anyway.   The lay Carmelite meetings have been going well.  Last week’s meeting was cancelled.    I went to Rose Chairge’s on Luzerne Avenue in West Pittston a few weeks ago to get a haircut.  My last haircut was at the Pittston Tomato Festival in the summer.   A few days ago the Wyoming Free Library, in conjunction with the Methodist church next door, had one of their regular book sales.  I made sure I got  a few books, as I always do.  There was quite an interesting selection.  I even found “The Awakeners”  by Sherri S. Tepper.  I first heard of her when I took Marlene S. Groner’s ethics class at S.U.N.Y Farmingdale a long time ago.  For that class I was forced to read “The Gate to Women’s Country”.

HABEMUS PAPAM!~

aklose

My mother has been home from the hospital for a while by now. She has lots of trouble with pain but she’s been keeping up with her therapy & doctor appointments. Because we couldn’t have an eightieth birthday party for her on her birthday we had one for her this past Saturday night, combined with a St. Patrick’s Day party. Mary Anne & Steve were here with Michael & Erin, Sam & Bridget. They brought the dog. Uncle Frankie & Fran showed up. Aunt Lauren, Uncle Jim & Elaine were also here. All went well but as always it was entirely too fattening. Alas Michael & I never got our traditional cigars. He bought some fancy beer instead. He gave me a Dell laptop computer that they no longer need at work. I met Robert F. Kennedy at his last St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The morning of the party I went to my monthly lay Carmelite meeting at the Little Flower Manor on South Meade Street in Wilkes~Barre. The papal conclave that started on March 12 was filled with suspense but all worked out so exceptionally well. The cardinals only took a fairly short time to elect Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, from Argentina, as Pope Francis I. He’s the first South American pope, though his parents were both from Italy. He’s also the first Jesuit & the first one named Francis. Eight years ago, when Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as Pope Benedict XVI, Bergoglio was in second place. Spring is only two days away but unfortunately we still have snow. I went to Frank Gubbiotti’s Auto Lodge in Plains this morning to get an oil change & my annual inspection. I don’t usually get to keep in touch with my New York cousins but I called up Gary on his birthday, February 27. It was nice being able to talk to him for a while.