Monday, July 31, 2006

Second annual Magdalene Retreat

The Second Annual Magdalene Retreat was a blessing. Here are some samplings from the retreat that will show its inspiration.

Here is the Prior, Mark Gross, OPL, giving his presentation--cup in hand and a thoughtful and prayer-provoking point being made. After each presentation, the retreatants prayed silently. You can see below the agenda for each separate part of the retreat in contemplation of St. Margaret Magdalene and her true relationship with Christ. Mark was the Retreat Master and the retreat was held at the Chapterhouse in Homedale.

Here are a few of the retreatants doing what many Dominicans do well, talk and eat! God bless them all!

Retreat attendees at the second annual Magdalene Retreat, Homedale, Idaho, Saturday, 22 July 2006.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Thank you!

I would like to thank the men of the St. John's Tuesday morning prayer group for volunteering to help with the concrete work!

We will meet at 6:30AM at St. John's and go to Homedale. It should be quick to finish the job with so many willing hands. May God be praised! You have melted my heart.

For a map and directions, click here

In 1913, my great-grandfather lived in Portland OR. He was known as "The gimp Gross" - Now I seem to be growing into a family tradition! I am very grateful to have volunteers to do what I can really no longer do.

After prayer group I went home and read the Divine Office, which today includes Psalm 102. Here is what I read:

Yes, the time appointed has come, for your servants love (Zion's) very stones, and are moved with pity even for her dust.

Considering for next Sunday, we discussed the miracle of the loaves and fishes, where we see Jesus moved with compassion, we can in the psalm relate that the very stones of Zion are the hearts of men, for dust we are and to dust we must return. Aware of the great mercy the Lord has shown us, we learn to show mercy for our neighbor who is loved by God who desires his friendship, as once he desired ours.

Then he will turn to the prayers of the helpless; he will not despise their prayers.

Since my help comes from the Lord, truly the most helpless are those who do not know the Lord! Yet God has made us in his image, and part of that image is to seek the good. And it is true that God seeks us before we seek him, for his grace is totally gratuitous, not merited on our part. Thus the prayer of the helpless can in one sense be thought of as the yearning of the heart of good will seeking the good (ie: God), even though the name of God is unknown. The desire for God is innate, because he put it in every heart.

Let this be written for ages to come that a people yet unborn may praise the Lord;

A people unborn is the unregenerate soul, who has not yet entered the saving waters of baptism. Unborn today, even blaspheming the Lord today, many will yet enter the saving waters and then praise the name of the Lord. Oh joy of the saints and angels of heaven, that a soul be converted!

That he might hear the groans of the prisoners and free those condemned to die.

Due to original sin, we are all born under a death sentence, prisoners to a material life under the lordship of Satan, the prince of the world. In our original ignorance we strain against this while simultaneously embracing it. But our Lord knows our weakness, and has pity on us, and helps us to receive our Savior so that we can escape that death that is eternal.

He has broken my strength in mid-course, he has shortened the days of my life.

The Lord gives, the Lord takes away. Thanks be to God.

Long ago you founded the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain.

We remember when we hear "earth," that we are but dust; and in a sense, the heavens are where God's will is done, and can be thought of as the saints who do God's will. The earth (this mortal coil) perishes, but the heavens (once regenerated, our union with God) will live forever.

God bless,

Monday, July 24, 2006

Where did Ecclesiasticus 9:10-13 go?

For our retreat on Mary Magdalene, we used the chapter from Ven Louis of Granada in his Summa of the Christian Life, found here, which contains the following:

O wisdom of God! One of the vilest things in the world is an evil woman, of whom Ecclesiasticus says that she "shall be trodden upon as dung in the way" [Ecclus. 9:10].

OK, for Ecclus 9:10-13, in the Douay-Rheims, translating the Latin Vulgate we find:

9:10. Every woman that is a harlot, shall be trodden upon as dung in the way.

9:11. Many by admiring the beauty of another man's wife, have become reprobate, for her conversation burneth as fire.

9:12. Sit not at all with another man's wife, nor repose upon the bed with her:

9:13. And strive not with her over wine, lest thy heart decline towards her and by thy blood thou fall into destruction.

Your NAB or RSV has verse 9:10ff to match the DR verse 9:14ff

If anyone knows why these specific verses have been removed, I'd like to know!

Monday, July 17, 2006


The Dominicans are holding a contemplative Retreat this coming feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, as we consider her life in words and in prayer, and the true role--as contrasted to the fable role--she played in the life of Jesus Christ.

As a member of the Chapter, we honor Gwen Gross McGarvey, OPL, as she took the name of St. Mary Magdalene as her religious name when she was professed into the Order of Preachers perpetually on September 18, 2003, and the Retreat is dedicated to her, as she died on July 17, 2004. God rest her soul.

The Magdalene Retreat will held this coming Saturday, 22 July 2006 at the Chapterhouse in Homedale, Idaho.

Dresser of sycamores?

From Mike Turner OPL:

Today's first reading contained a line that was just a bit too obscure
for me to leave alone. Amos is being scolded by the priest at Bethel.
"Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah!" And in Amos
7:14, Amos responds, "I was no prophet, nor have I belonged to a
company of prophets; I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores."

Douay Rheims says, "I am a herdsman plucking wild figs."

Strong's Concordance says, "...herdman and a gatherer of sycomore fruit."

Our Polish Bible says that he was a cutter of fruits.

The sycamore tree of Egypt is a relative of the mulberry and produces
figs. In order to bear fruit, the flowers actually need to be visited
by a wasp, which lays an egg there. But the egg causes the fruit to
be bitter, unless the young fruit is cut open and exposed to air.

It appears that this would have been a form of agricultural work --
cut the young fruit so that it will mature into tasty figs.

Here is one of several web sites that describe the marvels of the sycamore.


Thursday, July 13, 2006


See details here:

Lunch will be provided. There is no charge for the Retreat.

Do you need a ride? Are you able to give someone a ride to the RETREAT? If so, call John Keenan, OPL at 208,375.2532. Leave a message. He will help get a ride or use your name to give someone else a ride to the MAGDALENE RETREAT. Thank you.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Second annual Mary Magdalene Retreat

The lay Order of Preachers in Idaho is holding its annual MAGDALENE RETREAT this coming Saturday, July 22, 2006 at the Chapterhouse in Homedale, Idaho. It starts at 9:00 a.m. We will have Mass, contemplative prayer, and share meals together. Please join us as we consider the life of St. Mary Magdalene and her true role in the life of Christ. You can see the details at the following site, and even find a map to the Chapterhouse at:

If you need more information, please call John Keenan, OPL at (208)375-2532.

Garage for Chapter House in Homedale

The work is started, finally!

More pictures and detail here

Monday, July 03, 2006

In times of trial

This from Pope Benedict XVI's homily on the feast of Ss. Peter and Paul. It contains words of encouragement for all who strive against the snares of the devil, none the least of which is the successor of Peter.

”In this Basilica erected over the tomb of Peter, a pauper’s grave...”

by Benedict XVI

And then he turned to Peter. He said Satan had demanded to sift the disciples like wheat. This evokes the passage in the book of Job in which Satan asks God for permission to afflict Job. The devil - the calumniator of God and men - wants to prove by this that true religious devotion does not exist, but that man is always and in everything looking for his own gain. In Job’s case, God grants Satan the freedom he has requested precisely in order to defend his creature, man, and himself. This is what happens to the disciples of Jesus, in all times. So often it seems to us that God is allowing Satan too much liberty, that he is granting him the ability to shake us in a much too terrible way, and that this exceeds our power and too greatly oppresses us. Again and again we cry out to God: Look down upon the misery of your disciples and protect us! In fact, Jesus continues: ‘I have prayed for you that your own faith may not fail’ (Luke 22:32). The prayer of Jesus is the limit posed on the power of evil. The prayers of Jesus are the protection of the Church. We can seek refuge under this protection, cling to it and be sure of it. But, as the Gospel tells us, Jesus prayed especially for Peter: ‘that your faith may not fail.’ This prayer of Jesus is at the same time a promise and a task entrusted. The prayer of Jesus safeguards Peter’s faith, the faith that he confessed at Caesarea Philippi: "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16). Ecco: don’t ever allow this faith to become dumb, always reinvigorate it again, even in the face of the cross and all the contradictions of the world – this is the task of Peter. This is precisely why the Lord does not only pray for the personal faith of Peter but for his faith in the service of others. This is what He means when He says: ‘and you, when once you have turned back, strengthen your brothers’ (Luke 22:32).