Thoughtful Sentiments, But . . .

I’ve been pondering recently things people say to make others (or themselves) feel better, yet are not necessarily true.

For example:

  • I believe everything happens for a reason, God knows best.” – While God does know best, He doesn’t cause our actions.  That’s why we have free will; to freely choose (which presupposes the ability to choose wrongly) to do His will or not.
  • He (or she) is in a better place.” – While that may be true, it isn’t necessarily true; a loved one may very well be in heaven, but they also might be in hell.  They also may be spending a little time being purified before entering heaven, i.e. purgatory.
Although it’s not a statement offered to make others feel good, the equally annoying “death comes in threes” also irritates me.  It’s heard around funeral homes and people who work with those near death.  It’s just not true – ANY TIME someone dies, you can group them together with the next two to die or the previous one and preceding one, or the two previous.  Mathematically “death comes in threes” is just as true as “death comes in twos” or “death comes in fours,” etc.  The only true statement about deaths is that death comes in ones.


Thus endeth my current rant on thoughtful sentiments.

Categories: Commentary, Linguistics | Leave a comment

It’s “Merry Christmas,” Folks

I held off as long as I could, but finally had to just blog about this.  I’m a “Merry Christmas” kind of dude.  When I’m shopping and interacting with people this time of year, that’s what I say to them.  It’s simple folks, it’s the Christmas shopping season, not the Holiday shopping season.  Political Dumbness Correctness is out of control in many areas; particularly this one.

I’d rather get a Hanukkah or Kwanzaa greeting than to receive a sterilized-so-as-to-not-offend-anyone “Happy Holidays.”  In fact, I’d prefer a simple “thank you” or “have a nice day,” in lieu of that annoying “Happy Holidays.”  And don’t give me that “it’s store policy” riff — I’m not buyin’ it.

So, to accompany this short rant, give this poll a try.

Extra credit if you can guess the response Deacon Chris chose

Categories: Commentary, Ranting | 2 Comments

O Antiphons Begin Tonight

During Vespers on December 17th, the O Antiphons make their annual appearance.  The antiphons usher in the final days of quickening before the coming of our Lord Jesus.

As I did last year, I will be entering a blog post each day related to the specific antiphon.

I hope you enjoy the reflections, and I pray that your preparations for the nativity of Jesus are assisted by mulling over these beautiful antiphons.

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Heartland Heroes and Heroines

All the victims of Wednesday’s crime have been identified.  I’m posting again on this topic to honor their memory and to solicit your prayers for them.

One item I would like to draw attention to is the fact that the employees of Von Maur continued serving  their customers.  Most of them stayed at their stations and helped patrons find cover.  The six employees listed here became heroines and heroes without pausing to think about it.  Although they became victims against their will, they will be remembered as heroes and heroines by choice — they served to the end.   

 There were two male shoppers at Von Maur that were killed:

  • Gary Scharf – 48 years old and a resident of Lincoln, NE — stopped to do a little Christmas shopping before hopping a plane for work.
  • John McDonald – 65 years of age, a resident of Council Bluffs, IA — shopping for family and friends. 

There were six employees of Von Maur as well whose lives were taken:

  • Maggie Webb– just 24 years old and already a store manager for Von Maur.  Energetic and loving, Maggie brought out the best in those around her.
  • Angella “Angie” Schuster – 36 years of age – department manager and just a few weeks shy of being engaged to marry.  Angie was a loving aunt that was great with children.
  • Beverly Flynn– 47 years of age – both a real estate agent as well as a part-time employee of Von Maur who shared her love of Christmas by wrapping gifts for patrons.  
  • Gary Joy – 56 years old – a store janitor that spent his life being helpful to others.  His giving spirit continued even beyond his lifetime – Gary donated his organs to save another life.  (for more info on donation click here)
  • Janet Jorgensen– 66 years old – a full time Von Maur employee and a grandma that enjoyed baking and sewing.
  • Dianne Clavin Trent– 53 years of age – a charming, helpful woman with a perpetual smile on her face.  Dianne’s cheerful demeanor was evident in her previous job as a flight attendant.  Graceful, loving and a special aunt to her 23 nieces and nephews.  Dianne is also the sister of Bill Clavin – a fellow parish family member of St. Gerald. 

I don’t like calling members of our parish “parishioners,” but rather family members.  It better describes the attitude of collective love and service of the members of the parish.  We are a family and everyone has gifts and talents that keep our family intact.   

One of the things I do as a deacon of our family is help those who are hurting.  And the hurt that Bill & Kathy and Katie are feeling has spread throughout our parish family.  So I ask you to pray for the Clavins, and for Dianne’s sisters and brothers-in-law and their children. 

And the pain doesn’t end there – Dianne was a member of St. Leo’s parish family here in Omaha, as well.  Another parish family reeling from the senseless violence.  And, unfortunately, there are seven others that have families that are hurting.  And the ministers of their congregations would all have similar things to share about them.  It’s the nature of living in community – of being a part of a family of families.

And all the hurt, all the suffering connects us together in a special way.  It makes us understand, in a profound and visceral way how St. Paul describes us as members of the one body of Christ.  

Please pray for all the Heartland Heroines & Heroes – and for the families they leave behind.  We love them and want to comfort them.  As they weep and mourn we taste the saltiness of their tears.  We wrap our arms about them, even from miles away. 

If you feel called, add a comment to this entry with a short prayer to honor them.  To honor our brothers and sisters:  Gary and John and Maggie and Angie and Beverly and Gary and Janet and Dianne. 

May perpetual light bathe them, and may they rest in the peace of Christ, our true King.

Categories: Commentary, Prayer | Leave a comment

The Lord, the giver of life

Yesterday horrendous violence rained down upon my city.  Upon my brothers and sisters working at Von Maur, upon my brothers and sisters doing their Christmas shopping.

 Regardless of how much speculation and questioning that occurs, no one will ever know the full intentions of Robert (Robbie) Hawkins, who took the lives of eight persons, wounded many others, and then took his own life.

You see, that’s the unseen victim in every suicide — the questions never cease and the answers never come.  Sure, the frenzy of media feeding will produce enough info to patch-work together some sort of theory; but the only person that knows for sure what was going through his head can no longer tell us.

  My prayers are with each and every family affected by this tragedy.  The murder of your loved ones is unthinkable, it’s beyond our mind’s power to fathom.  I wish I could comfort each one of you.  Please know of the many prayers offered for you and yours.  


 In the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed we pray each week at Mass this line, “I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life . . . ”  But too many among us refuse to acknowledge the truth of the statement, or at least refuse to believe the Lord is the author of life.  To Him alone belongs the right to create life, to Him alone belongs the right to take life.  Such was the case at the foundation of the world, and such is the case today.

But we refuse to understand that — and anytime we try to play God, anytime we try to assert our own sovereignty over human life tragedy always results.  It makes us numb (over time) to how precious life is.  When God creates life in the womb human history is uniquely changed forever — a new life immensely increases the value of our world.  When we attack the life God has given it destroys a precious part of our human family. 

You see, we live in a culture that takes death too lightly.  A culture that aborts in the womb every third life that God creates.  A culture that accepts the euthanizing of the elderly and the terminal patient.  A culture that repeats shooting in school after school and in mall after mall.  I am sick to death of the cheapening of human life through our culture of death.

Please join me in praying, right now, for an end to our culture of death.  Nine persons were killed for no reason whatsoever yesterday – pray for a conversion of hearts, a metanoia, to return to treating God as if He really was our sovereign King, and our Lord, who alone gives (and takes) life.

And amidst the grief of this tragedy, remember the next lines of the Creed – I believe in the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.  It’s this belief alone that can comfort us.

The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18)            

Jesus wept at the tomb of his friend, Lazarus (John 11:33)

May you feel the closeness of Jesus as He comforts your broken hearts.

Categories: Commentary | Leave a comment

Our Beloved Copper

Last Tuesday (Oct 3oth) Erika and I had to put our beloved Copper to sleep.  He lived a good life, a full life, and gave so much joy to all those he encountered — humans as well as dogs.  But the last couple days of his life he lost his hearing and sight.  So we did the right thing, the humane thing, but it was very difficult and it hurt . . . badly, profoundly and comprehensively.


Copper (or Copperboy, as we affectionately called him) was with us nearly our entire married life.  We adopted him from the Humane Society around our first anniversary, and we think he was a little more than two years old at the time.  As such, he was probably about 14 when he died; so God blessed us with his presence for all these years.

Copper was always his own sort of man (dog?) – from the moment we took him home — he lived life on his own terms.  Not patient enough to wait for his stitches (from his neutering) to be removed the next week, he just ripped them out the first week.  I taught him how to catch a Frisbee, which he loved very much.  But when he was tired he would just refuse to bring it back, and trot off to some other part of the yard. 

So it was fitting that for his last hurrah, he wanted to go outside and trot around the yard one last time.  He must have made the rounds largely by memory, as his eyesight had failed.  But he seemed to enjoy himself, and after 20 minutes or so he just flopped down into the fallen leaves. 

We miss him terribly, and I’ve never so much hated the quietness of my own home.  Each day as I arrive from work he was there to greet me and play with me for a bit.  I miss that.  And Erika misses him getting up and down from the bed throughout the night.  We miss him scruffling in where ever he wanted.

Copper was a fan of taking a ride in the car, any sort of drive-thru (bank, restaurant, whatever) and catching his Frisbee.  He knew the names of all his toys and would bring the requested one by name.  A sweet and loving companion, and a protective one at that.  One time he nearly took the hand off a visiting mom who gave her misbehaving child a swat on the butt.  After checking over the child he watched over her for the remainder of the visit — and glared at the mom to boot.

Thank you God, for bringing such a wonderful pet into our lives.  We love him and miss him, and are so grateful you brought us together.

I’m sure we will get another dog sometime (maybe even soon), but we’ll never forget Copperboy.  We’ll never replace him, because he is irreplaceable.  The joy he brought to our family is immeasurable; and I want to forever cherish the small hole in my heart that was made when he drifted to sleep for the final time.


Rest in peace, our darling Copperboy.  We will always love you. 

Categories: Commentary, Pets | 2 Comments

Movin’ On Up . . .

For multiple reasons I am moving my blog.

I will attempt to move the existing content as well, but we’ll see how easy the migration goes.

In any event, I will recommence regular blogging at the new address:

Thanks to all my loyal readers, and even those just looking around!

God bless you all,

Rev. Mr. Chris

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