I would venture to say that ninety percent of people have had their heart broken at one time or another. While I was in Steamboat Springs near the Yampa River, I happened to see a stone that reminded me of a heart broken in two. The thought that came to my mind was that a broken heart should be mended as soon as possible or weeds of sadness, doubt, anger, fear, mistrust, and despair would grow where the heart is cracked. A heart needs to be whole to have happiness so the broken heart needs to be mended to give it a try at love again. To think that a rock split in half would fill my mind with thoughts of love and broken hearts!
As I was driving on Wadsworth Blvd. in Lakewood, Colorado, I happened to see a sign advertising a Lebanese Festival for the following weekend. I made a mental note that I would like to attend the festival to see what it was all about. Where was Lebanon? I had to bring it up on the computer to find out it is a Western Asia country bordered by Syria and Israel with Beirut being the capital. It is mentioned in the Bible several times and on the news. I have heard the about Lebanon but never thought about its exact location.
There are 1.2 million Catholics in Lebanon and follow the Maronite Christian sect with the Roman Catholic Pope as their leader. I could attend the church in Lakewood by the name of St. Rafka and it would be the same as attending any other Catholic church. Something of interest is that the lady that married George Clooney is part Lebanese.
A bust of a white bearded man with what looked like a helmet, is in front of the small church. This is St. Sharbel or Charbel. I had never seen a picture of the man or heard his name spoken so I picked up a brochure that would tell me all about him.
May 8, 1828 - December 24, 1898
He was a holy Maronite hermit priest who lived in an isolated monastery
in the rocky mountains of Lebanon. He lived a simple, silent life dedicated
to Eucharistic prayer and manual work. He died in 1898 and was buried
in the frozen mud of December. But mysteriously, lights were visible
by farmers and locals at the burial site. In the spring his body was retrieved
and it was found to be incorruptible and blood and water has flowed from
it to this day He has come now to Lebanon as
a mighty intercessor and advocate for world peace.
I expected to see a Festival like the Bazaars that many of the Catholic churches have every year and was disappointed at the tiny festival. I figured, small parish, small festival! They had a few food booths with Lebanese goodies and some of it looked good. A fellow in the sun was roasting corn on the cob, a cookie booth with different kinds of sweets, lemonade table and jars of garlic spread were some of the things I saw.
I had expected to see some dancing in costume but all the entertainment were people sitting in a circle playing drums. I was asked to join in but declined since I am not musically inclined. I entered the church and it reminded me of a Greek temple with icons.
I am glad I visited the St. Rafka church because I met two new saints and also found out that Rafka is known as Rebecca who was a Maronite nun canonized by Pope John Paul II in 2001. She is known as the blind mystic of Lebanon. She lost one eye and the other eye became diseased and she suffered terrible pains in her eyes for twelve years. Her body also became paralyzed and gave her lots of pain though she remained patient, silent, praying, and in joy to share in Jesus' suffering. Her life long life of suffering she offered to God and said, "With your suffering, Oh Lord, for your Glory."
After having my blog for seven years, today I hit 51,000 of page views. On December 27, 2011, I began writing my thoughts at the encouragement of my daughter and with the help of my granddaughter. I used to write daily, but lately I have slowed down and four or five days will go by with no writing in my blog. All I know is that there are a lot of memories in my blog!
Every day, small things happen that I know are directed by a higher power. Some people call those happenings a coincidence but I don't. I know that those moments when I wonder how something happened to surprise me, are God's way of communicating with me.
I am Catholic and was raised a Catholic, yet my religion remains a mystery to me. I see other devout souls and wonder how they are able to have such faith and I wonder how they can believe
wholeheartedly in their faith. Every time at the consecration at mass, I pray for God to let me believe what I have been told and not have any doubts. I want to believe that the transformation from bread and wine is turned into the body and blood of Jesus at the consecration of the mass. Wouldn't we fall to our knees in front of the host if we truly believed? After all, we are taught to believe that after the consecration Christ is before us.
Last Sunday, after receiving the host, I went back to my seat and bowed my head as I have always done when I receive the body and blood of Christ. I do this every time I receive the host and as usual I thanked God and apologized for not being the person he wants me to be. Then a thought entered my mind. I knew, for a fact that Christ was within me! Whatever went on at the altar did not mean that much to me, but after receiving the host, I knew. Christ was within me dwelling in my soul. I apologized for not having a 100% clean soul for His visit and asked that he help me become a better person. I told him how sorry I am not to understand as He probably wants me to understand but with His help I know that I can become a better person.
Even though I have had doubts, when I receive the host I know Christ is within me. I wonder if this is enough, knowing that Christ is dwelling within me. Does this mean I now truly believe? Or is there more? A few years ago I wrote a poem and I will re post it again because it sort of relates to this blog.
A Home For The Master Builder
With lots of love the Master Builder built a house.
He formed the perfect house; clean and spotless, in and out.
Yet, without a doubt it didn't take long for the house
to become cluttered; a dirty mess.
The house became dirty and stained, I must confess.
Any one seeing the house from the outside
would say it looked beautiful and great.
But inside the house accumulated dust and dirt.
One day, the Master Builder decided to visit the house that he had built.
In a panic, a little corner of the house was swept and cleaned
to await the coming of the Master Builder.
The rest of the house remained untidy
and no matter what was done it would not get clean.
The Visitor arrived, resting in the area that did gleam,
the area that had been scrubbed and was now clean.
He continued to return on other visits
and to my surprise cleanliness began to spread.
With each visit the house became tidier and it did not take long for the
house to become a place of welcome for the Master Builder.
How strange it was that those little visits from the Master Builder
A group from Spirit of Christ Catholic Community named Young at Heart (members are 55 and over) travels monthly to Blackhawk, Colorado for a bit of gambling and fun. Sometimes, a treat of going to Cripple Creek, Colorado is planned and on September 5, 2018, there were forty-three persons who enjoyed going to the mountain town to gamble. It is a two and a half hour drive from Arvada though sometimes due to traffic it may take a bit longer.
McDonald's in Monument is a half way point and we stopped for some leg stretching and coffee break.
Many ate breakfast or used the bathroom before we were ready to continue our drive to the gambling town. We had hoped to see some golden Aspen leaves but only saw about ten leaves that had turned from green to yellow!
To pass the time, drawings were held to win small, silly gifts and jokes were told as we traveled toward our destination of Cripple Creek!
Arriving at Bronco Billy's in Cripple Creek we were greeted with a booklet of perks; twenty percent off coupon on merchandise, one dollar dessert or coffee, and one half off the lunch menu.
After getting a Player's Card everyone went to a favorite machine to try their luck at winning. As usual, win some and lose some though a few seemed luckier than others! Hostesses go around asking if we want anything to drink and since I get water, I do not know if free alcoholic drinks were also being offered. Many of the group went to Baja Billy's to eat Mexican food while others ate at
the Home Café.
One lucky person had her name called at random in the casino and won $75 and then the same person was called on the bus to win the "hot seat" gift. Now, how lucky was she?
Our trip home was full of chatter, laughter and questions about when a next trip would be planned!
Something I learned today made me want to write in my blog. I have been negligent in writing because I have been extremely busy with working on the 40th Anniversary of Young At Heart from Spirit of Christ. Yet, today I was at Cripple Creek and saw a large plaque near the bar at Bronco Billy's Casino. Who knows if this is true or not, though it makes for an interesting piece of information about Cripple Creek!
Above the bar hangs a huge cow with a broken leg that is sort of weird to see the cow hanging from the ceiling, but it goes along with the story of how Cripple Creek got its name!
Two hundred and eighteen years ago, my great-great-great-grandfather donated an altar screen to San Jose Church in Laguna, New Mexico. In doing research on my genealogy, I found a few references to Jose Manuel Aragon in different books. In the book Religious Architecture of New Mexico by George Kubler a foot note stated that on the back of the altar screen was a notation in Spanish. "Se pinto este coral y se yso a costa del Alcalde Mallor Dn Jose Manuel Aragon este ano de 18 ." In different books there is a degree sign after the eight and in another it looks like 78. Since my ggggrandfather was alcalde mayor from 1790 until 1813 my guess is that the altar screen was painted while the Laguna Santero, who is credited in painting the screen, was in the area from 1800 - 1808. Don Manuel paid for the altar screen and donated it to San Jose Church plus donating other works of art to other pueblos. I have not been to the other places but they will be put on my bucket list!
On my recent visit to New Mexico in May of 2018, my family and I visited San Jose Church and the priest at the parish gave us a large poster of the altar screen photographed by Lee Marmon. I had the screen framed for a cool fortune of $210.41 but figured this was part of my ancestor's life so I didn't mind paying the amount! Now to find some place to hang it.
It is exciting to think that my ancestor may have looked upon the altar screen so many years ago. He lived in Laguna as the Alcalde Mayor and officiated in settling disputes between the Spanish and the Native Americans. Every time I see this framed poster, I will think and wonder about my great,great,great grandfather!