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Monday, September 10, 2012

Sunday Thoughts and Prayers

A blessed and pleasant Sunday, my dear folks and friends! Hope and pray that we're more than just alive and surviving but struggling and striving. Yes, we are all God's children and we have basic human rights and at the same time responsibilities towards ourselves and others. We believe that as long as we have faith, hope and Love, we have life. A life that can be well-lived and shared with others, for His glory. A life that can make a difference for others, for the salvation of the world...

 My wife, our young adult daughter, my sis-in-law, and I are fortunate, I must say, to have gone to two church services today. As you see, I used the word fortunate, not in terms of material riches or wealth but in spiritual growth, I believe. At least, that's what I believe and feel strongly today.

First, we attended the 9:30 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. Paul's Catholic Church where we've been parishioners for years. Though my wife and I were not scheduled today to do any of the volunteer Liturgical Ministers (Lector and Extraordinary Ministers for Holy Communion) duty or responsibility, i.e., Host (consecrated Body of Christ) or Cup/Chalice (consecrated Blood of Christ) , I was requested or tapped to administer or distribute the consecrated Blood of  Jesus Christ. (One of the scheduled volunteer EMHC was not feeling well, although she, along with her husband, attended the Mass.) Thank you, God, for giving me the opportunity to serve You by trying to help serve others. Thank you, Jesus, for being an Inspiration to me.

Rev. Fr. Chris H, our parochial vicar for the four clustered parishes, officiated and celebrated the Mass with us, parishioners. (Note: Summaries of the First Reading and Second Reading, and today's Gospel are from New...Saint Joseph Sunday Missal (Prayer Book and Hymnal for 2012.) Maureen, a retired school principal and teacher, did read the First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 35:4-7a. The reading tells about Prophet Isaiah speaking of the Messiah's coming. At that time God will come to save his people and bring many blessings to them. Delores, an elementary schoolteacher, read the Second Reading from the Letter of Saint James 2:1-5. To sum up, the reading speaks about St. James warning the Christians about showing favoritism to the rich. No one is in a position to judge. God chose those who were poor according to worldly standards to become rich in faith. Father Chris read today's Holy Gospel according to Saint Mark 7:31-37. The Gospel talks about a deaf and dumb man brought by the people to Jesus for him to cure. taking him aside, Jesus cured him, asking him to keep this a secret. But the man proclaimed the cure all the more. The people were amazed at this power.

In his homily or sermon, Fr. Chris mentioned about St. Augustine, son of St. Monica (a Christian) and Patricius (a pagan). Born on November 13, 354 and died August 28, 430, in present-day Annaba, Algeria, St. Augustine was a famous orator/preacher, Latin philosopher, author, priest and theologian whose writings "were very influential in the development of Western Christianity." (from Wikipedia)

As our parochial vicar, Fr. Chris, continued talking about St. Augustine (who converted to Christianity in 387), I was thinking about the film or movie "Restless Heart" that I've come across while visiting once in a while my Facebook page and reading some of my favorite Catholic links. How I'd like to watch this movie about St. Augustine. I bet it's inspiring, enlightening, and educational, notwithstanding its cinematic appeal and entertainment value.

After the Mass at St. Paul's Catholic, the four of us found our way to a Christian church where our daughter Tintin was scheduled to play piano this morning for the church service there at 11:15 a.m. Each time Tintin plays piano for Sunday church service there, we all accompany her or one member of our household, either her aunt Rose will go with her . She gets paid for playing the piano, though. And once in a while, I've participated in the church service there, in a special way, by singing a Gospel song (accompanied on the piano by my daughter) for the parishioners, mostly middle-aged and elderly or senior citizens. That's how I became familiar with some of the Christian Church's songs.

BTW, though I'm a practicing Catholic, I don't mind attending other Christian church services, especially when Tintin is scheduled to play piano there. But, most of the time, it's her Aunt Rose who accompanies her.

As usual, we're always eager and delighted to see our friend-parishioners there. But today we didn't see Mr. Richard, the Christian Church's pastor. Neither was his wife Joanne. We just learned  from one of the regular churchgoers there that the pastor and his wife are in another state visiting their son and his family.

The visiting guest minister today was Mr. Bill, from another Christian church in Hampton Roads. At the opening of the church worship service, one of the women church members welcomed us all present at the church. Then she greeted us "Happy Grandparents' Day!" In the today's Christian Church's worship program printed on a regular white bond paper reads: Grandparents are the footsteps to future generations. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts. (Psalm 145:4)

Like any regular Christian church worship service that we've attended, there were hymns, prayer thoughts, Communion Scripture readings, Communion, Offering, and Pastor's or Guest Minister's Message (or Homily). In solidarity with others in the church, we praised God, prayed and sang with others in the church.

Mr. Bill, the guest minister, spoke briefly about the Ten Commandments, our relationship with God, with others. He said that out of the Ten Commandments, four are about the love of God, and six are about love of others/people. He discussed about love, the three kinds of which are Eros, Agape, and Philo. He also mentioned the following statements (of which I tried to note down on the one-sheet Christian Church's program): "The best use of life is love...The best expression of love is time...The best time for love is now... Life, without Love, is worthless...You cannot love without giving...You cannot give without loving..."

After the worship service, the four of us had lunch at Seafood Restaurant in Chesapeake. As regulars there, we always order that Family Value Pack Meal, in addition to a gallon of sweetened ice tea. As always, before and after eating we offered our prayers (of blessing and thanksgiving). Then, we dropped by Rose to her part-time work. Prior to going home, we dropped by at Dollar Store to buy the local Sunday's newspaper. Not only that but we also bought one or two books there and two bottles of liquid hand wash soap.

On our way home, we pumped gas at a gas station, even if the car shows that it has fuel over half-full tank. I don't know about you, guys, but it has been our habit of always filling the gas tank even if or when it's half-full tank.

At home, even I was still in church attire, I read the papers while in our eat-in kitchen downstairs. Then, I went upstairs to change clothes and thought of starting to write on my blog. But, when I logged on in my laptop and got connected, I decided to read a few of the blogs I've been reading or following. One of them is from a Concord Pastor, Rev. Fr. Fleming of the Archdiocese of Boston, whose prayer posts and Midday prayers always inspired me. Like this one he just posted today. Thank you, Father Fleming, for everything that you do. I always read your blog posts/prayers which, to me, are inspirational. May you continue to be blessed with good health and wonderful, insightful thoughts. May God bless you always!

pick me up,
shake me silly,
turn me upside down and
splash cold water in my face
until I'm wide awake
and heading in the
right direction.

With a pen and a Composition Book, here's what I scribbled in it:

Lord, God:
here I am
a sinner but trying
to do your will, living
loving and believing and giving
what I can for my eternal salvation
and always praising and asking forgiveness
and thanking You for everything: all Your goodness
and blessings, and praying not only for myself but for others.

Well, this is all for now. Until next time around. Thank you all for your time. Take care and have a wonderful day, everyone! May God bless us, always!-chris a. quilpa, 09September2012

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