Author: Lisa Graas
•11/29/2003 11:46:00 AM

David Webster: criminally insane

Read here the story of David Webster. Mr. Webster seems to be one of those whom we definitely want to be locked away somewhere. He is a dangerous man. He also has some mental illness lurking inside him. Among other things, he has symptoms of bipolar disorder. So, where do we put such a man? Prison? Yes and no.

I have been (as a visitor) on the ward for violently insane men at a nearby mental hospital. I had to go through many locked doors to get to the ward. It was like visiting a penitentiary. It was not a nice place to be, even as a visitor. In fact, to me, it was horrifying.

We need to stop looking at an insanity plea as if it is an attempt to get out of punishment. It is, in fact, trading one kind of prison for another kind of prison -- the prison which is the ward for the criminally insane. This prison is no vacation. It is no different from regular prison with the exception that medical care for the mentally ill is available. This is what David Webster needs. He needs to be locked away and he needs treatment.
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/29/2003 10:25:00 AM
United States: Mentally Ill Mistreated in Prison
More Mentally Ill in Prison Than in Hospitals

An article in Human Rights News -- a publication of Human Rights Watch
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/29/2003 10:21:00 AM
Ill-Equipped:
U.S. Prisons and Offenders with Mental Illness

A report by Human Rights Watch
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/29/2003 09:59:00 AM
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a traditional Thanksgiving meal. I cooked a turkey for the first time! Usually I roast a couple of chickens. We had turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, etc, etc, etc. The kids were VERY impressed. Unfortunately, my husband could not be with us. He works out of town a lot -- especially on holidays. :-(

November is a big month for us. My daughter's birthday is on Nov 12. My birthday is on Nov 16. (I'm 36.) My dad's birthday is on Nov 21 and my husband's birthday is on Nov 23. BIG MONTH!!!

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/29/2003 09:51:00 AM
Okay, I'm going to get in trouble for saying this, but say it I must. Based on the facts that I know about the case, I would say that Lisa Snyder is not guilty.

Lisa Snyder has bipolar disorder. In July 2001, emotionally distraught Lisa Snyder, who was off her medication and had not eaten for some time, entered the office of her former psychiatrist and set two fires. Her former psychiatrist was not in the office at the time, however another physician and his patient were there. Ms. Snyder did not know who was or was not in the office. It is not known what her intentions are. It is not known whether or not she intended to kill anyone. Perhaps her intention was to destroy property. Whatever the case, her intentions are not known. Nonetheless, Ms. Snyder was convicted of attempted murder. She will be serving more than two decades in prison for this act and, as the writer of this story points out, this is longer than many convicted killers are required to serve.

I submit that Lisa Snyder is not guilty by reason of insanity. Bipolar disorder is insanity, especially when one is off his/her medication. If her action was to attempt to commit suicide, she would not have been thrown in jail. She would have been hospitalized. But no, her violent action was different, so she was not hospitalized but convicted of a crime. Which is more violent? To attempt to kill oneself or to attempt to kill others? They are equally so, but if she had attempted to kill herself, there would have been no question about her insanity. Why was she considered sane enough to stand trial for attempted murder? Apparently, her attorney(s) dropped the ball on this BIG TIME.

Thankfully, she has at least one advocate in all of this. Her boyfriend is trying to get the word out about her case so that it may be revisited. He's found at least one reporter to help him in this quest. What she really needs is an attorney who will fight for the truth to be revealed.

Okay, so I've had my say. Thank you for hearing me out.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/29/2003 09:13:00 AM
I have been doing a lot better since starting a new prescription called Lamictal. This medication is, to me, a gift of God. I was having no progress at all in my treatment until I started Lamictal. Now, I am able to live life fairly normally. You can find out more about Lamictal by clicking here.
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/14/2003 09:38:00 PM
Here is some information about some of the drugs we bipolars have to take in order to achieve wellness.

Buspar
Celexa
Lexapro
Prozac
Wellbutrin
Effexor
Zoloft
Paxil
Lithium
Depakote
Seroquel
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/14/2003 09:26:00 PM
Justice is swerved -- a story about Lisa Snyder, bipolar disorder and premeditated murder. This woman needs to be in a hospital and not serving two decades in a prison.
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/14/2003 09:12:00 PM
Mentally ill increasingly fill prisons
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/14/2003 03:44:00 PM
So, where have I been? I just received an email asking that question, so I guess I had better check in and let everyone know that I'm okay. There have been no thoughts of suicide in quite some time. So, what's going on? Well, my husband and I just bought a new house together and we've been quite busy as we've been getting ready for the big move. This is an especially joyous occasion since my husband and I nearly divorced just a couple of months ago. I dare not get into all of those ugly details. I think it's enough to say that we've gotten past that and are trying to start a new life together. HOWEVER, I should note, since this is a blog about educating people about mental illness, that one of the things that was a source of strife for my husband and me has been my illness. It's not easy to live with someone who has bipolar disorder. We are cranky and demanding, at times, among other things. It gets in the way of a couple's ability to have a good relationship with each other. Mind you, he has his faults, too.......and bipolar disorder is not something that I can make go away if I just put forth enough effort. This doesn't seem to lessen the pain very much for my husband, and I suppose that I can see why. That's more than I wanted to say on this topic, but there it is.

The near divorce made me realize that I'm tired of being a victim. I'm a victim of so many things. You know, I think that if you are always thinking of yourself as a victim, you let the evil spirits win. So, I'm going to start thinking of myself as a survivor. I am someone who has battled many demons in order to get to the top of the mountain. That's what I am. A survivor. And I am still battling -- still trying to get to the top. Sometimes it seems that with every step I take, I slide back three. If I begin to think of myself as a victim, I will become one. If I think of myself as a survivor, well, I just might make it.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•10/18/2003 11:50:00 AM
I read the book. I see the show. I go down to the road and look both ways, not knowing where to go.

It doesn't do any good to look elsewhere, they said. Just look inside yourself, they said. In there, there is no one to blame, but I know better.

So I turn right, hoping to find the way because that way seems the most logical. I approach a light and I am glad. I found Him at last.

Now I have direction in my life. Or do I? This is when the road became rough. This is when I was given enough to sustain me, but no more. There was more in store for me than I could have guessed. There would be a test, now that I had found Him.

My thorn was placed in my mind. It was the kind that they call Bipolar Disorder. Disorder. My whole life became disordered. But I would not fall, though I fell in everything else; I would not fall in my faith. And this, I've found, is the basis for my life. It is why I live -- to know, love and serve Him. He is the reason I know anything. He is the reason I love and the One to whom service is owed. And I serve Him by serving those whom I consider least in the Kingdom. That is my quest. That is how I fulfill the test which He has given me.

He bids me to do His will while I am still in sickness. No easy task, but that is His will. I did not ask for this.......to climb this great hill, but do it I must, and I will with His help.

Four children to care for. I'm the one who is there for them in my sickness or my health. Enclosed in my heart is a wealth of love for them. How I long to care for them in good health. Most of the time, the choice is not mine to make, but if I let Him take from me what He will, I know that He supplies more than my eyes could take in. It is no sin to be sick, though some look upon me as sin incarnate. I have much more than fate to lean on. I have my Lord.

His will be done.
Author: Lisa Graas
•10/12/2003 11:04:00 PM
LIFE’S not our own,—’t is but a loan
To be repaid
~~~Charles Swain
Author: Lisa Graas
•10/12/2003 10:40:00 PM
Thanks so much to Wall of Fire for her comments about my most recent entry. I especially love the story about the need to shave. I'm with ya, sister. You can read her comments yourself by clicking HERE. As soon as I can, I'm going to put a permanent link to her blog, so watch for that. In the meantime, here's a link you can use now.
Author: Lisa Graas
•10/12/2003 09:56:00 PM
Today I was released from a psychiatric facility in Louisville. I had to spend the night there because I was suicidal. One night in that place seems to have kicked in a refreshing new desire to SURVIVE. What an awful place. Gee, I'm so glad to be home!!!

I realize now that I've taken for granted my ability to walk in and out of my home anytime I please. When you're behind the locked doors of a psychiatric facility, crammed in with several others who are either suicidal or (gulp) homicidal, you begin to realize how wonderful life on the outside world really is. My world no longer seems so overwhelming to me. My world is a world where I can lock my door at night to keep the homicidal maniacs away from me and not one where there may be one sleeping in the next (unlocked) room. My world is a world in which I can enjoy the luxury of shoelaces, razors, and strings in my sweatpants. My car keys are not locked away from me. I can enjoy a caffeinated drink, if I choose!! I don't have to listen to grown-ups telling me how truly awful their lives are and then looking to me, a stranger, for the answers. How sad. I don't have to listen to screaming by someone going through withdrawal in de-tox. I can take my medication just as my doctor prescribed it and not based on the whim of a confused nurse. Wow, it's good to be home.

If you feel suicidal, I strongly recommend that you do as I did. Check yourself into the best psychiatric facility available, and learn how truly wonderful life in the outside world is.

Take care.
Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•10/12/2003 09:36:00 PM
CHECK OUT Thérèse - Official Site
Author: Lisa Graas
•10/09/2003 11:36:00 PM
Yahoo! Groups : Bipolar_Catholic
Check out the Bipolar Catholic group at Yahoo.
Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•9/18/2003 11:52:00 AM
Are you misunderstood?

Today is the feast day of St. Joseph of Cupertino. St. Joseph was
quite misunderstood in his time and was kept separate from the public
because he was misunderstood. Seems like St. Joseph is an appropriate
saint for us to call on for help when we are misunderstood. You can read more about St.
Joseph Cupertino at this URL.
http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saintj04.htm


Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•8/11/2003 01:04:00 PM
I'm pleased to share with you this brilliant poem by Diane Grejczyk.


NAMELESS



well it seems it's that time again, been almost five years
and now even others can tell
that it's time once again for me to descend
into my private journey to hell.
"insanity", that's just a legal term,
or so that's what they say.
but that won't be consolation to me
when they want to put me away.......



try positive thinking, it's all in your head
you've no reason to cry or to whine;
but how do they know, they haven't been in my hell
with their sanity put on the line.....
just like people with sight who can say with such ease
there's no problem just go out and find
any book of your choice and then sit down and read,
to a person who's totally blind........



we all have our battles, i realize that,
you win most and lose just a few.
but you're kidding yourself if you think you can win
when the worst enemy in the world is you.......
"but feelings aren't facts", that's what dr. low says,
as my feelings he tries to berate.
i hope he remembers that good, sound advice
the next time he feels LOVE or HATE.........



in my bed are the demons and i fear the long night;
afraid that i'll wake up to find
that they crept right into my head while i slept
and ran away with my mind.
as hideous nightmares invade my sleep
with the force of a powerful flood,
i wake scared and shaking to sneak off alone
and wash off the sweat that was blood.



agony, anguish, anxiety, fear---------
the demons are winning the fight!
woke up this morning with tears in my eyes,
buried two of my children last night.......
psychoanalysis once every week---
it must work, it simply can't fail!
as i sit pouring my heart out to him,
the shrink listens while reading his mail.....



there's no rats on that ceiling, and nobody's here
at least that's what they all say....
but it doesn't make any difference you see
because they still don't go away......
i fear for myself and my children,
i fear for their very own lives;
so i go through the house and i start to hide
all the razors and scissors and knives.....



belongings all searched, sharp objects all gone,
i'm put in a room with no lock.
just a matter of time till the good doctor says,
"guess we'll just have to use shock".....
i lay there, i'm waiting, they're all looking down,
"ready now?" the nurse asks with a smile.
why are they going to electrocute me?
i'm not guilty, and i've had no trial........



where am i, what's happened, i ask as i wake
like lazarus back from the dead.
it's all over now, and you'll feel better soon,
wiping electrode jelly from my head.......
stelazine, compazine, thorazine first
then put in "low stimulus" too,
elavil, triavil, navane and MORE!
it's miraculous what they can do.



so where do i go now--what do i do?
all if can think of is pray,
that my personal demons go back into hell
so i can be on my way...
can i survive this cancer of my sanity?
only time will be able to tell,
but when i die i'm going to heaven.
i've already been to hell....................



Diane Dufty (Grejczyk) July, l980 and beyond..........
Author: Lisa Graas
•6/05/2003 09:23:00 AM
Click here for today's readings

Nelson Mandela said:
"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous,
talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? [...] Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's
nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to
shine, as children do[...] it's in everyone. As we let our own light shine we give others permission to do the
same; as we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."


God created each of us to be something special. Somewhere within each of us lives our true self, and this is the person God created you to be. In today's readings, St. Paul shows something of his true self as he courageously stands before the Sanhedrin convened to deal with him. Like Paul, we can stand before the things we fear and take courage saying, as the Psalm says:

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the Lord, "My Lord are you."
O Lord, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.


and

Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.


Fear separates us from Christ. One of the phrases most often said by Jesus was: "Fear not!" We are all called to be in union with Christ. We are called to be one with Him. He prayed to the Father that we would be one with Him, saying:

And I have given them the glory you gave me,
so that they may be one, as we are one,
I in them and you in me,
that they may be brought to perfection as one,
that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.


I recommend to you a chapter of the Pope's book, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, which can be read online. The chapter is entitled, Be Not Afraid!

God Bless You.
Love from Lisa


Author: Lisa Graas
•6/04/2003 11:14:00 AM
Click here for today's readings

I dont' have much of a commentary today as I have to clean my carpet today! I will just note that today's readings show that Christ intended for there to be one Church, not many. Today in America and around the world there are thousands upon thousands of different brands of Christianity. People tend to pick the brand that most suits their own sentiments and persuasions. Paul referred to the preachers of these other religions as "savage wolves". He said that they will not spare the flock. Don't allow yourself to be led away by them.

According to the teaching of the Church, there is hope for the salvation of those in other religions, but no hope for a Catholic who has been led away unless he is invincibly ignorant. This is a truth that often hurts, and yet the truth is never harsh. It only hurts if we pull away from it.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
who has to go clean her carpet!!
Author: Lisa Graas
•6/03/2003 12:20:00 PM
Click here for today's readings

I'm sure that many of us, at one time or another, have heard someone say, "I live a quiet faith". How often do we hear someone say, "I live a loud faith"? Perhaps the solemn churches, cathedrals and basilicas of the Catholic Church are not the place for those who live a loud faith......... or are they?

St. Paul lived a very loud faith. The Scriptures don't seem to indicate whether or not he shouted at any time, but he was certainly very open with the Gospel. In today's reading he says:

"And so I solemnly declare to you this day

that I am not responsible for the blood of any of you,

for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God."


How many of us would take the time to be educated enough to proclaim the teachings of the Church to others, and how many of us would do so as boldly as St. Paul?

I say to you that if you set out to do such a thing you will be reviled and rejected. No one will want anything to do with you. Few people want to meet someone who has a "loud faith". There will be much suffering of loneliness for you, but as the Psalm says:

"Blessed day by day be the Lord,

who bears our burdens; God, who is our salvation.

God is a saving God for us;

the LORD, my Lord, controls the passageways of death."


No matter the depths of the pain, our Lord has suffered it for us and made our sufferings redemptive. Thanks be to God!

And what of those who reject you? Christ says in today's Gospel:

"I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,

because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours

and everything of yours is mine,

and I have been glorified in them."


Educate yourself. Try living a loud faith and graces will be poured out to you.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•6/01/2003 10:32:00 PM
I made a mistake in the previous post. I should have noted that Mr. Rudolph is to be considered innocent until proven guilty. Please take this into consideration as you read my comments. Thank you and my apologies for the error.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•6/01/2003 10:10:00 PM
June 2, 2003
Click here for today's readings

"In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world."

We recently learned about the capture of Eric Rudolph, suspect in the bombings in Centennial Park, an abortion clinic, an office building and a night club. Many Christians have speculated about whether or not the abortion clinic bombing, at least, might have been a righteous act. Today's readings providentially give us the answer to this troubling question. Jesus said, "In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." Obviously, what Eric Rudolph did was a cowardly act and not a courageous one. Had he placed his trust in Jesus, he would never have taken this action even against those whose hands are covered in the blood of innocent children. He might have killed a room filled with pregnant women. What would this have accomplished? Fear not. All is not lost. No matter what manner of death and destruction we may see around us, Jesus has conquered the world. Christianity will not fail, and so we are to take courage and continue to work with the means still available to us -- outreach, education, and legislation. This three-pronged effort of the pro-life movement has not failed, so we have no right to declare war against those who commit acts of abortion. Other means are not only available to us, but they have also been very successful. While abortion is still legal in the United States, millions of babies that might otherwise have been aborted have been saved by the pro-life movement. Eric Rudolph has, arguably, saved no one.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•6/01/2003 09:45:00 AM
June 1, 2003
The Ascension of the Lord
Click here for today's readings

Things don't always turn out as we would like them to. People getting married don't plan on being abused and then getting divorced. Some who want to marry never get the opportunity. Some are widowed much too young. These feelings of emptiness are arguably quite similar, and probably similar to the emptiness felt by the apostles when Christ ascended into heaven.

When they had gathered together they asked him,
"Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"
He answered them, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons
that the Father has established by his own authority.
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you,
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
throughout Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth."

It should always be enough for us to know that we are doing God's will. Despite our plans which seemingly go "awry", we are still on course when we are doing God's will. We have never strayed when we have remained in Him. It is not for us to know the times or seasons, but we have received power when we received the Holy Spirit and we are to be His witnesses to the ends of the earth. This is the plan for us. Everything else is a stop along the way.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•5/30/2003 05:08:00 PM
Click here for the readings for May 31, 2003



Today's readings are particularly thrilling for me as today is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.



I was raised in a Protestant home and let me tell ya, Mary was hardly spoken of. Now that I have learned some things about Mary, I find that to be very sad. Protestants really have no theology about Mary but the Catholic Church is rich in Marian theology. We see what they do not see, and that is, among other things, that Mary is truly the Mother of God. She is also the new Eve, undoing with her "yes" to God what Eve did with her "no" to God. Now, thanks to Christ, we can be washed clean of the original sin in our souls that we are born with due to the sin of Adam and Eve. Mary is also the new Ark of the Covenant. In reading about the Ark of the Covenant in the Old Testament, we can learn some things about Mary. The Ark carried within it the staff of Aaron, the Scriptures, and some manna. These are symbolic of "the Way, the Truth, and the Life" which Mary carried within her. The Ark was holy. It was so important to God that anyone who even touched it, even accidentally, would die. Mary is holy indeed and worthy of our love and honor. God has created her to be this way. I never knew these things before and a whole new world opened up for me when I learned these things. To believe that Mary has such a high station, we more fully appreciate the majesty of our almighty God.



God Bless You



Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•5/30/2003 04:45:00 PM
Click here for today's readings

Just as we have the power to bring death if we follow Satan, we have the power to bring life if we follow God. Today, as we read what the Jews did to Sosthenes, we see what destruction man can bring with him if he follows not the light. But despite what men may do, as we read in the Psalm, God is king of all the earth. Jesus, King of kings, shows that He will not forsake us when He tells us that our current grief will bring us joy when He returns. It is often difficult when you are in anguish to remember that joy will come from it. Even many of the saints had their spiritual difficulties at times. Do not let periods of drought in your spiritual life lead you to believe that you have fallen away. Keep yourself open. Follow the light, and the time of refreshment will come to you once more.

God Bless You

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•5/10/2003 12:05:00 AM
Today was not good but I was uplifted when I received a letter from Bernard Cardinal Law. Wow. See, I had sent him an Easter card and he was writing to thank me. Not only that, he asked God's blessing on me and my children. Now what more could uplift someone on a gloomy, sorrowful day? God bless Bernard Cardinal Law.

Author: Lisa Graas
•5/09/2003 01:58:00 AM
Click here for today's readings

I truly love today's readings because I had an earth-shattering conversion experience and it was Eucharistic........but I'm not going to talk about that. I'm going to talk about God's powerful presence in our lives and our responsibility to do His will. Our beloved St. Paul was a MURDERER who killed Christians and even loved to do so. But God had another plan for Paul. Yes, this murderous man was chosen to preach the Gospel of Christ crucified, "foolishness to the world". He was to preach that we must eat the Flesh and Blood of Jesus Christ and many more truths of our Faith that many find difficult to accept. This man who was the greatest persecutor of Christ became the most prolific defender of the Faith. Yes, Paul's story is proof of the mighty deeds that God will work in our lives if we let Him. We are called to do different things in the service of the Lord, but our responsibility toward these things in the context of our salvation is no less important than Paul's was. When you are working on fulfilling these things and grow frustrated, remember St. Paul and how far he came in one lifetime. Remember his struggles and his martyrdom. May these things encourage you to forge ahead and do the right thing and not the comfortable thing.

God Bless You.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•5/09/2003 01:28:00 AM
Thanks for being patient with me while I was sick. I am doing somewhat better now emotionally since my doctor put me on an anti-depressant. I am now on five medications (again) to control my Bipolar Disorder. The medication is working reasonably well but I have bad moments throughout the day, here and there. These pains are not stabbing pains, but they are quick as a stab. I cringe. The pain doesn't leave. I try to relax. The pain doesn't leave. And finally, I pray, and I do get some immediate relief....but it is minimal. In about ten minutes - thirty minutes it goes away. Without the medications I am on, I can't imagine how horrible things would seem to me and how much pain I would be going through needlessly. I thank God for the medications that I am taking to relieve my symptoms. They are nearly all I have in this world to help me.
Author: Lisa Graas
•5/03/2003 11:10:00 PM
I am very sick again and unable to post, but hope to resume in the coming week.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•5/01/2003 07:57:00 AM
Click here for today's readings

Today we can read our Bibles, especially today's reading from Acts, and see the rejection of the Sanhedrin, how they wanted to put the Apostles to death, and we can know that there is no victory in their words. We know that their own condemnation brought condemnation upon themselves. In the Gospel, Christ says that "the wrath of God remains upon him" who disobeys the Son.

These are not vague stories from history. They mean something to us. We know what has become of those who rejected Christ and we know what has become of those who built up His Church. Let us, then, apply this knowledge to our own life here and now. God is not bound by time. All is "now" to Him. We, too, can have the courage to stand before the judgments of the powerful, as the Apostles did. God will give us the grace to do His will, and He will not forsake us, even if we are made to suffer death for our faith.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/30/2003 07:42:00 AM
About my illness: I contacted my doctor ((( who is the TOPS in my book ))) and he has prescribed Wellbutrin and Abilify along with my current medications - Zyprexa, Lithium and Trileptal. So far, I am getting better. I am coming close to wellness and I am so very grateful that God has provided me with a fantastic physician and the medicines to combat my illness. Thanks be to God!!
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/30/2003 07:39:00 AM
Click here for Today's Readings


In today's readings the Apostles were thrown in jail by the Sadducees, but God sent an angel to release them so that they could.................go to the beach? No! So they could go preach in the temple area.

In today's Psalm we read that God hears the cry of the poor. He will deliver you from all your fears............but not so that life will be made easy for you. No, He delivers you to fulfill His great purpose for you and for all, so that you and all who meet you may come to know Him more deeply. This is why he delivered the Apostles from prison. Not so they could go have a vacation somewhere, but so that they could fulfill His purpose for them by preaching the Gospel.

In today's Gospel we see how important it is that we prefer to live in the light of truth rather than in the darkness of shame and evil. God condemns those who do not believe in Him -- those who do not walk toward the light of truth. He has not promised an easy life for us, but He has promised to free us from all evil if we seek His light always.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/28/2003 08:59:00 AM
I am unable to post due to illness. I hope to return again soon. I appreciate your prayers.
Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/25/2003 08:07:00 AM
Click here for Today's Saint -- St. Mark the Evangelist
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/25/2003 07:59:00 AM
Click Here for Today's Readings
Jesus Christ is indeed risen from the dead, and He desires an active, physical presence in our lives. All of our blessings are provided through Him. Whether your need is for the basics of life -- food, water, and shelter -- or for love and compassion, all is provided through Him. Do not reject Him and He will not reject you. Turn to Him with your every need, and you will be consoled.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/17/2003 09:59:00 PM
The animal rights people have really outdone themselves (yet again). The group PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has erected a billboard using an image of Jesus and calling him "the prince of peas". Say what? Yes, the idea is to get people to think that Jesus was a vegetarian. Not so! Thumbs down to PETA and thumbs up to the good Rabbi who set the record straight. Gee, I hope that billboard comes down soon, but I have a feeling that it won't.
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/17/2003 12:11:00 AM
Go here for today's readings
http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/041703.htm

Go here for information about Holy Thursday
http://www.kofc.org/liturgical/lent/holyweek/thurs.cfm

I am going to be taking a vacation from commentaries during the remainder of Holy Week. I will try to resume on Monday.

May you all have a blessed Holy Week.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/16/2003 10:01:00 AM
Go here for today's readings
http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/041603.htm

Yesterday I was complaining about "Catholics who aren't Catholic" and how much they annoy me. Well, the readings today have certainly put me in my place. I should be grateful for the grace that God has given me and trust in Him to be my help during these times of weakness.

Betrayal is a difficult thing to deal with -- especially when it comes from your own family and friends, but as the Psalm says:

"See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, may your hearts revive!
For the Lord hears the poor,
and His own who are in bonds He spurns not."

R: Lord, in your great love, answer me.

In Christ, God has answered us. He has given us the answer to our problems when He humbled Himself to become a man and experienced betrayal Himself. In His great love, He has answered us.

May the love of Jesus Christ revive your hearts.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/15/2003 10:08:00 AM
Go here for today's readings
http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/041503.htm

Jesus is "a light to the nations" that God's "salvation may reach to the ends of the earth." This salvation, then, extends to you as well as to all you meet. No one is beyond the hope of salvation thanks to Jesus Christ. Today, however, we read that no one is immune from the temptations of Satan. Judas is on his way to the authorities to betray Jesus, and Peter is told that before the cock crows three times he will betray Jesus. It is easy for us to love Jesus and to pronounce our commitment to Him until the road we are traveling on becomes bumpy and covered with thorn bushes. We naturally want our relationship with God to come easily for us. When it does not, we are tempted by Satan who tells us that there is an easier way. Don't listen to him!

For our catechism here in our home school I use a beautiful book published in the 50s called "My Catholic Faith: A Catechism in Pictures". One of the best things about it is that it has many illustrations that speak powerfully about different aspects of our faith. My son's favorite picture depicts a man walking on a path. He has come to a fork in the road. One way leads to a descending staircase that is adorned with beautiful roses. At the end of this staircase are the fires of hell. The other way leads to an ascending staircase overgrown with thorns. This staircase leads to heaven.

So it is with each of us. God has given each of us this choice. There is no easy road to heaven. Temptations will come and they can be very powerful, too! Don't give in. Let the Lord be your hope, your stronghold, your rock and refuge. Though even your best friend betray you, God will never betray you.

God Bless You.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/14/2003 09:01:00 AM
Go here for today's saint
http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/saintp29.htm
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/14/2003 08:59:00 AM
Go here for today's readings
http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/041403.htm

My son Jesse had his sixth birthday at the end of March. He got just what he had asked for -- a toy weedeater. He also had the usual fare of cake and balloons and party favors for him and for his three siblings. It was the fulfillment of what he had been hoping for the previous several weeks as he anticipated his birthday. For at least a week after his birthday, every day he would ask me, "Mom, when am I going to have another birthday?" After a week of hearing from me that it would be a long time before he has another birthday, he grew angry with me when I would respond that way. His impatience led him to anger, but eventually he accepted it and came to terms with it.

So it is with us in our relationship with God. Each of us experiences periods of consolation and of desolation. During the time of consolation, we feel close to God and we have many examples of His blessings in our lives. During times of desolation, God may allow bad things to happen to us, like persecutions and abandonment from family. These things are inevitable and part of the process of purging us of our attachments to things of this world. It may be so bad that we become angry about it. What we must be mindful of, however, is our responsibility to preventing these things from leading us into despair.

Despair as defined by the Church is not an emotional feeling of hopelessness. No, it is a willful rejection of hope in the promises of Christ. It is quite possible to have emotional despair without willfully rejecting the hope found in Christ. This emotional despair can, however, be a source of temptation for us, so we must be mindful of it and take appropriate measures, like immersing ourselves in prayer during these times, or Scripture reading, or the giving of alms, etc.

Remember that in our darkest moments, God is our light and our salvation. As long as we keep Christ at the center of our lives, we shall not remain in darkness or trial.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/13/2003 09:35:00 PM
The Passion of Our Lord
Palm Sunday, 2003

Gospel
Mk 14:1--15:47 or 15:1-39

The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread
were to take place in two days' time.
So the chief priests and the scribes were seeking a way
to arrest him by treachery and put him to death.
They said, "Not during the festival,
for fear that there may be a riot among the people."

When he was in Bethany reclining at table
in the house of Simon the leper,
a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil,
costly genuine spikenard.
She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head.
There were some who were indignant.
"Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil?
It could have been sold for more than three hundred days' wages
and the money given to the poor."
They were infuriated with her.
Jesus said, "Let her alone.
Why do you make trouble for her?
She has done a good thing for me.
The poor you will always have with you,
and whenever you wish you can do good to them,
but you will not always have me.
She has done what she could.
She has anticipated anointing my body for burial.
Amen, I say to you,
wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world,
what she has done will be told in memory of her."

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve,
went off to the chief priests to hand him over to them.
When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money.
Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread,
when they sacrificed the Passover lamb,
his disciples said to him,
"Where do you want us to go
and prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
He sent two of his disciples and said to them,
"Go into the city and a man will meet you,
carrying a jar of water.
Follow him.
Wherever he enters, say to the master of the house,
'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room
where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"'
Then he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready.
Make the preparations for us there."
The disciples then went off, entered the city,
and found it just as he had told them;
and they prepared the Passover.

When it was evening, he came with the Twelve.
And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said,
"Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me,
one who is eating with me."
They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one,
"Surely it is not I?"
He said to them,
"One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish.
For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him,
but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.
It would be better for that man if he had never been born."

While they were eating,
he took bread, said the blessing,
broke it, and gave it to them, and said,
"Take it; this is my body."
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them,
and they all drank from it.
He said to them,
"This is my blood of the covenant,
which will be shed for many.
Amen, I say to you,
I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine
until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."
Then, after singing a hymn,
they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Then Jesus said to them,
"All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written:
I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be dispersed.
But after I have been raised up,
I shall go before you to Galilee."
Peter said to him,
"Even though all should have their faith shaken,
mine will not be."
Then Jesus said to him,
"Amen, I say to you,
this very night before the cock crows twice
you will deny me three times."
But he vehemently replied,
"Even though I should have to die with you,
I will not deny you."
And they all spoke similarly.

Then they came to a place named Gethsemane,
and he said to his disciples,
"Sit here while I pray."
He took with him Peter, James, and John,
and began to be troubled and distressed.
Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death.
Remain here and keep watch."
He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed
that if it were possible the hour might pass by him;
he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you.
Take this cup away from me,
but not what I will but what you will."
When he returned he found them asleep.
He said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep?
Could you not keep watch for one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test.
The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing.
Then he returned once more and found them asleep,
for they could not keep their eyes open
and did not know what to answer him.
He returned a third time and said to them,
"Are you still sleeping and taking your rest?
It is enough. The hour has come.
Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners.
Get up, let us go.
See, my betrayer is at hand."

Then, while he was still speaking,
Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived,
accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs
who had come from the chief priests,
the scribes, and the elders.
His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying,
"The man I shall kiss is the one;
arrest him and lead him away securely."
He came and immediately went over to him and said,
"Rabbi." And he kissed him.
At this they laid hands on him and arrested him.
One of the bystanders drew his sword,
struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his ear.
Jesus said to them in reply,
"Have you come out as against a robber,
with swords and clubs, to seize me?
Day after day I was with you teaching in the temple area,
yet you did not arrest me;
but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled."
And they all left him and fled.
Now a young man followed him
wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body.
They seized him,
but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.

They led Jesus away to the high priest,
and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together.
Peter followed him at a distance into the high priest's courtyard
and was seated with the guards, warming himself at the fire.
The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin
kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus
in order to put him to death, but they found none.
Many gave false witness against him,
but their testimony did not agree.
Some took the stand and testified falsely against him,
alleging, "We heard him say,
'I will destroy this temple made with hands
and within three days I will build another
not made with hands.'"
Even so their testimony did not agree.
The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus,
saying, "Have you no answer?
What are these men testifying against you?"
But he was silent and answered nothing.
Again the high priest asked him and said to him,
"Are you the Christ, the son of the Blessed One?"
Then Jesus answered, "I am;
and 'you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of the Power
and coming with the clouds of heaven.'"
At that the high priest tore his garments and said,
"What further need have we of witnesses?
You have heard the blasphemy.
What do you think?"
They all condemned him as deserving to die.
Some began to spit on him.
They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him,
"Prophesy!"
And the guards greeted him with blows.

While Peter was below in the courtyard,
one of the high priest's maids came along.
Seeing Peter warming himself,
she looked intently at him and said,
"You too were with the Nazorean, Jesus."
But he denied it saying,
"I neither know nor understand what you are talking about."
So he went out into the outer court.
Then the cock crowed.
The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders,
"This man is one of them."
Once again he denied it.
A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more,
"Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean."
He began to curse and to swear,
"I do not know this man about whom you are talking."
And immediately a cock crowed a second time.
Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him,
"Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times."
He broke down and wept.

As soon as morning came,
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes,
that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
"Are you the king of the Jews?"
He said to him in reply, "You say so."
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
"Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of."
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered,
"Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?"
For he knew that it was out of envy
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
"Then what do you want me to do
with the man you call the king of the Jews?"
They shouted again, "Crucify him."
Pilate said to them, "Why? What evil has he done?"
They only shouted the louder, "Crucify him."
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace,
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and,
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
--which is translated Place of the Skull--.
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
"The King of the Jews."
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
"Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross."
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
"He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe."
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
"Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"
which is translated,
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
"Look, he is calling Elijah."
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed
and gave it to him to drink saying,
"Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down."
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said,
"Truly this man was the Son of God!"
There were also women looking on from a distance.
Among them were Mary Magdalene,
Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome.
These women had followed him when he was in Galilee
and ministered to him.
There were also many other women
who had come up with him to Jerusalem.

When it was already evening,
since it was the day of preparation,
the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea,
a distinguished member of the council,
who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God,
came and courageously went to Pilate
and asked for the body of Jesus.
Pilate was amazed that he was already dead.
He summoned the centurion
and asked him if Jesus had already died.
And when he learned of it from the centurion,
he gave the body to Joseph.
Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down,
wrapped him in the linen cloth,
and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock.
Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb.
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses
watched where he was laid.

or

As soon as morning came,
the chief priests with the elders and the scribes,
that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council.
They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Pilate questioned him,
"Are you the king of the Jews?"
He said to him in reply, "You say so."
The chief priests accused him of many things.
Again Pilate questioned him,
"Have you no answer?
See how many things they accuse you of."
Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them
one prisoner whom they requested.
A man called Barabbas was then in prison
along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion.
The crowd came forward and began to ask him
to do for them as he was accustomed.
Pilate answered,
"Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?"
For he knew that it was out of envy
that the chief priests had handed him over.
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd
to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Pilate again said to them in reply,
"Then what do you want me to do
with the man you call the king of the Jews?"
They shouted again, "Crucify him."
Pilate said to them, "Why? What evil has he done?"
They only shouted the louder, "Crucify him."
So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd,
released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged,
handed him over to be crucified.

The soldiers led him away inside the palace,
that is, the praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort.
They clothed him in purple and,
weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him.
They began to salute him with, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him.
They knelt before him in homage.
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
dressed him in his own clothes,
and led him out to crucify him.

They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon,
a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country,
the father of Alexander and Rufus,
to carry his cross.

They brought him to the place of Golgotha
--which is translated Place of the Skull--.
They gave him wine drugged with myrrh,
but he did not take it.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
"The King of the Jews."
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
"Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross."
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
"He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe."
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.

At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
"Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"
which is translated,
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Some of the bystanders who heard it said,
"Look, he is calling Elijah."
One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed
and gave it to him to drink saying,
"Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down."
Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.

Here all kneel and pause for a short time.

The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
When the centurion who stood facing him
saw how he breathed his last he said,
"Truly this man was the Son of God!"
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/11/2003 12:15:00 PM
Go here for today's readings
http://www.nccbuscc.org/nab/041103.htm

I wasn't going to do a commentary today because I am so busy here, but I must.

Today's Psalm is my favorite because it describes what God did for me on Ash Wednesday, 1991.

But let me back up a bit. I was raised in a Baptist household. My parents gave me a Bible and trusted me to figure out what I needed to know for salvation. You know, they believe in "Bible only" and "faith only".......so what else were they to do? Anything else would have been hypocritical.

I could not accept Jesus because of what He asked in John 6. He said that we must eat His Flesh and drink His Blood or we will have no life in us. I did not think this could be possible, therefore I believed that Jesus must be an imposter, as did those in today's Gospel reading, but I remained open-minded.

On Ash Wednesday, 1991, I attended my first Mass. It was there that I witnessed that it IS POSSIBLE to do as Jesus commanded and, to make a long story short, what happened in today's Psalm is what happened that evening in that church for me.

Thank you, God, for being patient with me in my unbelief. Thank you for pouring out your grace to me, even as I was skeptical. Thank you, Lord, for drawing me out of many waters.

God bless you all.

Love from Lisa

Author: Lisa Graas
•4/10/2003 10:41:00 AM
Click here for today's readings

In today's readings, God said to Abraham, "I will render you exceedingly fertile."

WHAT??? EXCEEDINGLY FERTILE?? Yes, you read that right. Fertility is actually a BLESSING, not a curse. This promise of fertility was actually good news to

This blessing upon Abraham has more than one dimension. Despite any cultural norms that might have made this seem to be a blessing, it was much more than that. It was also a call for Abraham to participate with God in His creative capacity and in the realization of divine life which is yet to come in its fullness, and which can only come through Christ.

As Jesus says in today's Gospel reading,
"Abraham your father rejoiced to see my day;
he saw it and was glad."

Please consider this from Evangelium Vitae:

"Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and the inestimable value of human life even in its temporal phase. Life in time, in fact, is the fundamental condition, the initial stage and an integral part of the entire unified process of human existence. It is a process which, unexpectedly and undeservedly, is enlightened by the promise and renewed by the gift of divine life, which will reach its full realization in eternity (cf. 1 Jn 3:1-2)."

What a perversion of the Gospel we have in today's world in the practice of contraception and abortion!! Today, there are a great many who love the world (worldly things) so much that they sacrifice their sons and daughters in order to obtain them............. and consider how that is a perversion of John 3:16.

For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son: that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but may have life everlasting.

Christ died that we might have LIFE, and mankind continues to throw life away. Life is a BLESSING, not a curse, and our realization of that is a participation in divine life.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/08/2003 02:04:00 AM
Today's saint is St. Albert of Jerusalem. St. Albert was a co-founder of the Carmelite Order.

Below is the Rule for the Carmelites which he authored.

[Chapter 1]
Albert, called by God's favour to be patriarch of the church of Jerusalem, bids health in the Lord and the blessing of the Holy Spirit to his beloved sons in Christ, B. and the other hermits under obedience to him, who live near the spring on Mount Carmel.

[Chapter 2]
Many and varied are the ways in which our saintly forefathers laid down how everyone, whatever his station or the kind of religious observance he has chosen, should live a life of alegiance to Jesus Christ -- how, pure in heart and stout in conscience, he must be unswerving in the service of his Master.

[Chapter 3]
It is to me, however, that you have come for a rule of life in keeping with your avowed purpose, a rule you may hold fast to henceforward; and therefore:

[Chapter 4]
The first thing I require is for you to have a prior, one of yourselves, who is to be chosen for the office by common consent, or that of the greater and maturer part of you; each of the others must promise him obedience -- of which, once promised, he must try to make his deeds the true reflection -- and also chastity and the renunciation of ownership.

[Chapter 5]
If the prior and brothers see fit, you may have foundations in solitary places, or where you are given a site that is suitable and convenient for the observance proper to your Order.

[Chapter 6]
Next, each one of you is to have a separate cell, situated as the lie of the land you propose to occupy may dictate, and allotted by disposition of the prior with the agreement of the other brothers, or the more mature among them.

[Chapter 7]
However, you are to eat whatever may have been given you in a common refectory, listening together meanwhile to a reading from Holy Scripture where that can be done without difficulty.

[Chapter 8]
None of the brothers is to occupy a cell other than that allotted to him or to exchange cells with another, without leave or whoever is prior at the time.

[Chapter 9]
The prior's cell should stand near the entrance to your property, so that he may be the first to meet those who approach, and whatever has to be done in consequence may all be carried out as he may decide and order.

[Chapter 10]
Each one of you is to stay in his own cell or nearby, pondering the Lord's law day and night and keeping watch at his prayers unless attending to some other duty.

[Chapter 11]
Those who know how to say the canonical hours with those in orders should do so, in the way those holy forefathers of ours laid down, and according to the Church's approved custom. Those who do not know the hours must say twenty-five Our Fathers for the night office, except on Sundays and solemnities when that number is to be doubled so that the Our Father is said fifty times; the same prayer must be said seven times in the morining in place of Lauds, and seven times too for each of the other hours, except for Vespers when it must be said fifteen times.

[Chapter 12]
None of the brothers must lay claim to anything as his own, but you are to possess everything in common; and each is to receive from the prior -- that is from the brother he appoints for the purpose -- whatever befits his age and needs.

[Chapter 13]
You may have as many asses and mules as you need, however, and may keep a certain amount of livestock or poultry.

[Chapter 14]
An oratory should be built as conveniently as possible among the cells, where, if it can be done without difficulty, you are to gather each morning to hear Mass.

[Chapter 15]
On Sundays too, or other days if necessary, you should discuss matters of discipline and your spiritual welfare; and on this occasion the indiscretions and failings of the brothers, if any be found at fault, should be lovingly corrected.

[Chapter 16]
You are to fast every day, except Sundays, from the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross until Easter Day, unless bodily sickness or feebleness, or some other good reason, demand a dispensation from the fast; for necessity overrides every law.

[Chapter 17]
You are to abstain from meat, except as a remedy for sickness or feebleness. But as, when you are on a journey, you more often than not have to beg your way; outside your own houses you may eat foodstuffs that have been cooked with meat, so as to avoid giving trouble to your hosts. At sea, however, meat may be eaten.

[Chapter 18]
Since man's life on earth is a time of trial, and all who would live devotedly in Christ must undergo persecution, and the devil your foe is on the prowl like a roaring lion looking for prey to devour, you must use every care to clothe yourselves in God's armour so that you may be ready to withstand the enemy's ambush.

[Chapter 19]
Your loins are to be girt with chastity, your breast fortified by holy meditations, for, as Scripture has it, holy meditation will save you. Put on holiness as your breastplate, and it will enable you to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength, and your neighbour as yourself. Faith must be your shield on all occasions, and with it you will be able to quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked one: there can be no pleasing God without faith; [and the victory lies in this -- your faith]. On your head set the helmet of salvation, and so be sure of deliverance by our only Saviour, who sets his own free from their sins. The sword of the spirit, the word of God, must abound in your mouths and hearts. Let all you do have the Lord's word for accompaniment.

[Chapter 20]
You must give yourselves to work of some kind, so that the devil may always find you busy; no idleness on your part must give him a chance to pierce the defences of your souls. In this respect you have both the teaching and the example of Saint Paul the Apostle, into whose mouth Christ put his own words. God made him preacher and teacher of faith and truth to the nations: with him as your leader you cannot go astray. We lived among you, he said, labouring and wary, toiling night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you; not because we had no power to do otherwise but so as to give you, in your own selves, an example you might imitate. For the charge we gave you when we were with you was this: that woever is not willing to work should not be allowed to eat either. For we have heard that there are certain restless idlers among you. We charge people of this kind, and implore them in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they earn their own bread by silent toil. This is the way of holiness and goodness: see that you follow it.

[Chapter 21]
The Apostle would have us keep silence, for in silence he tells us to work. As the Prophet also makes known to us: Silence is the way to foster holiness. Elsewhere he says: Your strength will lie in silence and hope. For this reason I lay down that you are to keep silence from after Compline until after Prime the next day. At other times, although you need not keep silence so strictly, be careful not to indulge in a great deal of talk, for, as Scripture has it -- and experience teaches us no less -- sin will not be wanting where there is much talk, and he wo is careless in speech will come to harm; and elsewhere: The use of many words brings harm to the speaker's soul. And our Lord says in the Gospel: Every rash word uttered will have to be accounted for on judgement day. Make a balance then, each of you, to weigh his words in; keep a tight rein on your mouths, lest you should stumble and fall in speech, and your fall be irreparable and prove mortal. Like the Prophet, watch your step lest your tongue give offence, and employ every care in keeping silent, which is the way to foster holiness.

[Chapter 22]
You, brother B., and whoever may succeed you as prior, must always keep in mind and put into practice what our Lord said in the Gospel: Whoever has a mind to become a leader among you must make himself servant to the rest, and whichever of you would be first must become your bondsman.

[Chapter 23]
You, other brothers too, hold your prior in humble reverence, your minds not on him but on Christ who has placed him over you, and who, to those who rule the Churches, addressed the words: Whoever pays you heed pays heed to me, and whoever treats you with dishonour dishonours me; if you remain so minded you will not be found guilty of contempt, but will merit life eternal as fit reward for your obedience.

[Chapter 24]
Here then are the few points I have written down to provide you with a standard of counduct to live up to; but our Lord, at his second coming will reward anyone who does more than he is obliged to do. See that the bounds of common sense are not exceeded, however, for common sense is the guide of the virtues.

from Carmelnet
http://carmelnet.org/chas/rule.htm
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/08/2003 01:53:00 AM
Click here for today's readings

Today when I was having a particularly difficult time with my daughter who was being very disobedient, I thought to myself something that I always try to ask in these situations. "How would God handle this?" When I read a story like the one from the Book of Numbers today, I consider myself to be a very lenient parent. I mean, God sent SNAKES to punish His disobedient children! Fortunately for the Israelites, they repented of their dark ways. It was then and only then that God commanded Moses to fashion a sacramental for them in the form of a bronze serpent so that any of them who were bitten could look upon it and be healed.

It seems rather harsh for anyone to unleash snakes upon anyone. I get shivers just thinking about it. Would a loving God do such a thing? Well, the question should really be, "Would a JUST God do such a thing?" Of course, we know that God is all-just as well as all-loving whereas we are NOT all -just and all-loving, so who are we to say, my friends? Who are we to say that God is not just or not loving? These things must all be read in context.

The Lord regards the prayer of the destitute, as it says in the Psalm. He hears the groaning of the prisoners. The Israelites were groaning, but they weren't just groaning from their sufferings. No, they were complaining against God Himself. This makes all the difference. It is no sin to complain, but to complain against God? That is serious business. How do we know it is serious business? We know because we have this story about the Israelites and the snakes to show us!! The snakes were bad news for the Israelites, but look at how many generations have, by virtue of this event, learned to fear the wrath of God? Wow. How many sins have been averted due to this event? It is impossible to say.

Something else about this story that speaks to us is the fact of God's active presence in their lives through Moses as well as through the healing bronze serpent. How often do we avail ourselves of the opportunity to use sacramentals like holy water and relics in order to bring healing into our lives? These things are available to us because God wants to have a physical connection with us. We are no more apart from God than the Israelites were. In fact, the Incarnation and our understanding of the Incarnation has made it so that we can even draw ourselves closer to God than they ever could have. Wouldn't you love to have a healing bronze serpent to heal you? Well, you don't have a serpent, but you do have sacramentals, so why not use them?

There are two lines of thinking when it comes to sacramentals. One thinks they are useless and the other thinks they are helpful. The one who thinks they are useless is the one who is attached to this world and, at the same time, not allowing himself to think that anything spiritual could be connected with something material. The other understands that when God created the world, He called it good. Matter is not evil. Jesus used mud, among other things, to heal people. I mean, c'mon, did He really need to do that? Nope. But He used those things and, therefore, sanctified the use of matter for such purposes.

Jesus says in today's Gospel that we should not "belong to this world". We are citizens in the Kingdom of God. The spiritual world is all around us and even penetrating the matter which God created and called "good". There is a spiritual battle being fought all around us at all times. If we can remain mindful of this fact, it is easier for us to remain obedient children. If we remember to use all of the gifts at our disposal, God will not turn aside from us. Do not be connected to this world. Be connected to the next .......... and it is really amazing how, when one makes that break and begins to be connected to the next world, how much SENSE the use of sacramentals finally makes.

Just one last note.......... in case you've forgotten..... Jesus makes reference in today's Gospel about being "lifted up"............. and if you remember, He compares that elsewhere to the lifting up of the serpent in the desert. May you find healing whenever you look upon a crucifix.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa

Author: Lisa Graas
•4/07/2003 11:53:00 AM
Click here for today's readings

The story of Susanna and the judges is quite long but good reading, especially for anyone who is being falsely accused. Susanna was falsely accused of adultery by the two judges of the community who lusted for her and brought the false accusation against her when she refused to lie with them in the garden. Susanna is a model of the sheep at peace with the Shepherd in today's Psalm.

In the Gospel reading, we have the story of the woman who was accused of adultery before Jesus. He said,

"Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."

A very interesting part of this story is the account of His writing in the dirt as they were accusing the woman. This is the only time when Jesus is known to have written something and, although I don't know if it is true or not, it is said that He was writing the sins of the accusers in the dirt and that this is what caused them to walk away
without saying anything.

It is a horrific thing to be falsely accused, but remember that it is most horrific in the end for the one who accuses. He who has fallen into sin is to be pitied, not feared. He is to be prayed for, not conspired against. Fear not the dark valley because the Good Shepherd knows all things and He will never lead you into destruction.

God bless you.
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/07/2003 11:51:00 AM
Today's Saint -- from Patron Saints Index

St. John Baptist de La Salle -- Father of Modern Education

Attended the seminary in Paris, but quit to care for his brothers and sisters upon the death of their parents. When they were grown, he returned to school, graduated, and was ordained.

Founded the Brothers of the Christian Schools (Christian Brothers), established and supported academic education for all boys, not just the nobility. He liquidated his personal fortune, and his Brothers expected him to use it to further his education goals, but he surprised them by saying they would have to depend on Providence. The
money (about $400,000) was given away to the poor in the form of bread during the great famine of 1683 - 84. Saint John kept enough to endow a salary for himself similar to that which the Brothers received so he wouldn't be a burden on them.

Instituted the process of dividing students into grades. Established the first teacher's school. Started high schools and trade schools. Proclaimed the patron of all teachers of all youth by Pope Pius XII in 1950.
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/06/2003 11:34:00 AM
In the News


Psychiatric Drug Discovery Conference to Highlight Schizophrenia, Depression, Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety on June 23-24, 2003 in Princeton, NJ


Pfizer antipsychotic efficacious in treating bipolar patients


Embezzler tells her story - or part of it


Bomb threat suspect said to have mood disorder


Support group helps families of children with severe mental illness


Valley braces for Medicaid cuts


Suave convicted sex offender at end of his charm


Man, 62, convicted of tying up an in-law


Ex-officer on trial

Author: Lisa Graas
•4/06/2003 11:10:00 AM
Click here for today's readings

In the reading today from Jeremiah, God said that the time is coming when His law would be written on the hearts of His people. This is often given as a Scriptural "proof" that there is now no need for an authoritative church. Logically speaking, if this Scipture were read in that context, there would also be no need of a Bible. It is true that a man can be saved without having access either to the Church or to the Bible, but this does not mean that the Church and the Bible are evil. Far from it. So what is God really saying here?

God said, "All, from least to greatest, shall know me"....."for I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more."

This is a reference to the Incarnation and of the redemption which God chose to bring about through the Incarnation and His suffering on the Cross. When God humbled Himself to become a member of humanity, He entered into a union with each of us. This is how we all "know" Him. He is one of us. Each member of humanity is united with Him in a certain kinship because He has become a member of humanity. Everyone, then, "knows" God in a certain sense. Before Christ, the Jews were separated from God by sin and death, and the Gentiles were separated from God by their nature. Now, all may know Him (all may participate in the redemption) because He has become one of us.

Does it mean that all will go to heaven? By no means. As St. Augustine said, "They can sell themselves, but not redeem themselves." We cannot redeem ourselves, but we can choose to sell ourselves.

God could have forgiven all of mankind without the Incarnation and the suffering on the Cross. It was within His power to do that. So why didn't He? He chose to become one of us so that we may all be elevated in the supernatural order through an act of His love for us and so that we might know redemption in our own hearts through love that comes with sacrifice. It is in this way that He remembers our sin no more. It is through His love and through our response to that love that we can know the depth of love. I often say to my children, "love is not love unless it is freely chosen". God loves us and He wills that we also know love, so He gives us a choice to serve Him or not. He gives us a choice to love Him by loving each other.

As is noted in today's Psalm, the creation of a clean heart in us is connected with our redemption, but this requires an act of our own will. We must ask for God to do this within us. We must turn our hearts to Him and request that He do this for us. We must return to Him and away from our transgressions. Christ says, "Whoever serves me must follow me." We cannot willfully turn from God and have hope of redemption, but if we choose to follow Him, He will make our hearts clean, His name will be glorified, our sins will be blotted out and He will bring us honor.

God bless you.
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/06/2003 11:08:00 AM
Today's Saints: The Martyrs of Hadiab

Martyrs of Hadiab, pray for us!

April 6, 2003

Martyrs of Hadiab

In the fifth year of our persecution, say the acts, Sapor being at Seleucia, caused to be apprehended in the neighboring places one hundred and twenty Christians, of which nine were virgins, consecrated to God; the others were priests, deacons, or of the inferior clergy. They lay six months in filthy stinking dungeons, till the end of winter: during all which space Jazdundocta, a very rich virtuous lady of Arbela, the capital city of Hadiabena supported them by her charities, not admitting of a partner in that good work. During this interval they were often tortured, but always courageously answered the president that they would never adore the sun, a mere creature for God; and begged he would finish speedily their triumph by death, which would free them from dangers and insults.

Jazdundocta, hearing from the court one day that they were to suffer the next morning, flew to the prison, gave to every one of them a fine white long robe, as to chosen spouses of the heavenly bridegroom; prepared for them a sumptuous supper, served and waited on them herself at table, gave them wholesome exhortations, and read the holy scriptures to them. They were surprised at her behavior, but could not prevail on her to tell them the reason. The next morning she returned to the prison, and told them she had been informed that that was the happy morning in which they were to receive their crown, and be joined to the blessed spirits. She earnestly recommended herself to their prayers for the pardon of her sins, and that she might meet them at the last day, and live eternally with them.

Soon after, the king's order for their immediate execution was brought to the prison. As they went out of it Jazdundocta met them at the door, fell at their feet, took hold of their hands, and kissed them. The guards hastened them on, with great precipitation, to the place of execution; where the judge who presided at their tortures asked them again if any of them would adore the sun, and receive a pardon. They answered that their countenance must show him they met death with joy, and contemned this world and its light, being perfectly assured of receiving an immortal crown in the kingdom of heaven. He then dictated the sentence of death, whereupon their heads were struck off.

Jazdundocta, in the dusk of the evening, brought out of the city two undertakers, or embalmers for each body, caused them to wrap the bodies in fine linen, and carry them in coffins, for fear of the Magians, to a place at a considerable distance from the town where she buried them in deep graves, with monuments, five and five in a grave. They were of the province called Hadiabena, which contained the greatest part of the ancient Assyria, and was in a manner peopled by Christians Helena, queen of the Hadiabenians, seems to have embraced Christianity in the second century. Her son Izates, and his successors, much promoted the faith; so that Sozomen says the country was almost entirely Christian. These one hundred and twenty martyrs suffered at Seleucia, in the year of Christ 345, of king Sapor the thirty-sixth, and the sixth of his great persecution, on the 6th day of the moon of April, which was the 21st of that month. They are mentioned in the Roman Martyrology on the 6th.

-from Lives of the Saints by Father Alben Butler
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/05/2003 07:18:00 AM
Click here for today's readings


I have been thinking a lot about the trusting lamb. Think of an innocent lamb being led to slaughter. It has no idea what is happening. It is clueless -- not harboring the slightest thought that anyone or anything could bring harm to it, and yet it is led to slaughter.

I have heard those who say, "God does not will for us to suffer." It is true that God does not desire our suffering. It was not in the original plan, you see? But look around you and you can see that suffering does exist. It is all around us. What does it mean? Does it have any value, or none?

How do we reconcile the idea of a loving God with the picture of an innocent lamb being led to slaughter? Does God will for that innocent, trusting lamb to die? What of the innocent, trusting children who die each and every day because of abortion? They are lambs, each and every one of them. Does God will that they die? No, but mankind does.

Suffering was not given to us by God. Suffering was given to us by Adam and Eve and Satan. Ponder on that fact for a moment. For thousands of years after the Fall in the Garden of Eden, man knew suffering with no hope of redemption. Thousands of years!! But now, something new happened. God took pity on us. He did not take away our suffering, for if He did that, we would be like Adam and Eve in the Garden and we, like Adam and Eve, would just listen to Satan all over again and do the same thing. So what was God to do? He did something new. He took pity on us by placing value on our sufferings. He humbled Himself to become a man, thereby elevating the dignity of all of us so that our sufferings might have value!!! For thousands of years, suffering had no value. Now, it has value to God. Now, we have hope not of the garden of Eden, but HEAVEN!

In the first reading today, we see what happens when we place our trust in men alone. We are led to slaughter. What happens when we place our trust in God? We are STILL led to slaughter, but He sustains us as we take our refuge in Him spiritually.

I can be led to slaughter kicking and screaming, or as the trusting lamb. That is the choice that I have.

This morning I was listening on the news about Saddam's fighters who are children that have been trained to shoot. One of the "experts" stated that it is not a violation of the Geneva Convention to shoot one of these children if he is an attacker and if it is necessary to defend one's self. What a picture of innocent lambs being led to slaughter! If they perish, who is to blame? Certainly God is not to blame. God will take this, as He does all ugly things, and bring good from it somehow. Let us hope and pray that these lambs are not led to slaughter. Let us pray for them and for their parents and, yes, even for Saddam, that these lambs will not be sent to war. If they are sent, let us not blame God. It is the fault of men that these things happen. All good comes from God. Evil lives in the hearts of men who listen to Satan.

Let us take our refuge in God, even as we are led to slaughter.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/05/2003 07:16:00 AM
Today's saint is St. Vincent Ferrer, a Dominican friar and missionary who converted thousands in Europe.

"If you truly want to help the soul of your neighbor, you should approach God first with all your heart. Ask him simply to fill you with charity, the greatest of all virtues; with it you can accomplish what you desire."
~St. Vincent Ferrer


St. Vincent Ferrer, pray for us!
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/04/2003 10:14:00 PM
Click here for today's readings
The time is drawing nigh when Christ will be crucified. In today's
readings, we see the beginning of the end.

In Reading I from the Book of Wisdom, we see a foreshadowing of the
rejection of Christ.

Today's readings are for all of us who feel rejected. We are reminded
that Christ also suffered from rejection. Since His love for each of
us is perfect, how much more did that rejection cause Him to suffer?

In the Psalm we are reminded, "The Lord is close to the
brokenhearted." Know that when you are suffering from rejection, you
are close to God.

In the Gospel, we are reminded that Christ began to suffer even
before He was arrested. People were gossiping against Him, accusing
Him even of blasphemy. Imagine accusing Jesus of blasphemy!

Yes, no matter how much it hurts, know that Christ has felt that pain
for you. He has known the pain of rejection even deeper than you
could possibly know it because of His perfect love for us.

His was a prolonged agony. Notice that He was not arrested right
away. He continued to suffer from rejection "because His hour had not
yet come".

Only God knows the hour of our redemption. In the meantime, He is
close to you.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/03/2003 10:46:00 AM
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PTSD -- War news stirs memories for vets with stress disorder


Book Review -- In Better Than Well, an exploration of the American mania for self-improvement, from Prozac to Botox


Mom's Depression Ups Child's Depression Risk: Study


Highly Educated Workers at Greater Mental Health Risk


"Friendly Homicide" a Result of Hidden Psychological War Says Psychiatrist Robert Roerich


Schizophrenia -- On the couch: faces of paranoia


Suicide a Greater Risk for Some


Pfizer is the biggest drug company ever. Can it become the best?

Author: Lisa Graas
•4/03/2003 10:04:00 AM
from americancatholic.org

April 3, 2003
St. Benedict the African
(1526-1589)

Benedict held important posts in the Franciscan Order and gracefully
adjusted to other work when his terms of office were up.

His parents were slaves brought from Africa to Messina, Sicily. Freed
at 18, Benedict did farm work for a wage and soon saved enough to buy
a pair of oxen. He was very proud of those animals. In time he joined
a group of hermits around Palermo and was eventually recognized as
their leader. Because these hermits followed the Rule of St. Francis,
Pope Pius IV ordered them to join the First Order.

Benedict was eventually novice master and then guardian of the friars
in Palermo— positions rarely held in those days by a brother. In
fact, Benedict was forced to accept his election as guardian. And
when his term ended he happily returned to his work in the friary
kitchen.

Benedict corrected the friars with humility and charity. Once he
corrected a novice and assigned him a penance only to learn that the
novice was not the guilty party. Benedict immediately knelt down
before the novice and asked his pardon.

In later life Benedict was not possessive of the few things he used.
He never referred to them as "mine" but always called them "ours."
His gifts for prayer and the guidance of souls earned him throughout
Sicily a reputation for holiness. Following the example of St.
Francis, Benedict kept seven 40-day fasts throughout the year; he
also slept only a few hours each night.

After Benedict's death, King Philip III of Spain paid for a special
tomb for this holy friar. Canonized in 1807, he is honored as a
patron saint by African-Americans.
Author: Lisa Graas
•4/03/2003 10:02:00 AM
Click here for Today's Readings

When I was a kid I always watched The Ten Commandments on Easter with my parents. I remember thinking to myself how BIZARRE it was that the Israelites would even think to fashion for themselves a golden calf after all that God had done for them. It seemed to me that God had such a profound presence in their lives, especially in delivering them from their bondage in Egypt, that it must be the height of stupidity to turn away from Him. Now, as an adult, it is easier for me to see because I do the same thing myself! Knowing and believing the testimony about the Israelites and the golden calf, and knowing and believing in Jesus, I still turn from God.

In Christ, we have been released from bondage, as well. Satan has no more power over us just as Pharaoh had no more power over the Israelites when they were freed. The shackles have been removed from my hands and feet and I can now be led into the promised land. So why should I stick around and continue to listen to Satan? That would be like the Israelites choosing to remain in Egypt to serve Pharaoh after he had freed them!

I would never go out and buy some clay and make for myself a little idol to worship as though the idol is a god, but I do fashion idols for myself whenever I am disobedient. My idols are not made of matter. They are spiritual idols, but just as offensive in the sight of God as the golden calf.

Jesus invites us today to believe in Him. Believe that He has removed the shackles. You are no longer in bondage to Satan unless you choose to be.

God bless you.