Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Remembering a Friend's Mother

My beloved brother David,

If you wish me to share your thoughts regarding my mom, please e-mail them to me before Sunday, October 13th.  The memorial service will be at 3:00pm in Irvine.

In His love, by His grace and for His glory,


My memories of Beverly go back more than half a century, when my family and her family were neighbors on the same block in Northridge. I lived at that house from April 1953 to December 1961. Her son George and I were best friends in those wonderful days, for the 1950s were perhaps the best time in the history of our country to be a kid. George  and I were frequently in each other's homes during those years, playing sandlot baseball, collecting and trading baseball cards, reading comic books, dressing up as superheroes in costumes we made ourselves out of old bedsheets, being taken by our parents to special places on our birthdays, and under their careful supervision swimming on hot summer days. On the day we received our weekly allowances, we were driven to Frank's Liquor Store to purchase five-cent packs of baseball cards, each containing five cards and a generous stick of bubble gum. We played army in the black walnut orchard near our homes, and harvested pomegranates from untended trees in the nearby fields.

Beverly was a wonderful host, and a great 1950s mom to her family and her children's friends. I remember frequent overnights in each other's homes, sharing dinners (including barbecues), making breakfast after getting out of our sleeping bags after a sleepover, and dishing out ice cream on hot summer afternoons. We watched television shows like "Sky King" and "Supercar" and "The Adventures of Robin Hood"--black and white shows, of course. 

Our mothers set the rules as we rode our bikes through our neighborhood, and occasionally cycled two miles west along shaded Rayen Street to Northridge's "downtown" on Reseda Boulevard. In those days, once we were out of sight we were also out of touch, for there were no mobile phones--but also in those days we could be gone for hours and never feel that we might be unsafe. 

Our mothers took care of us when we dressed up for Halloween and went door-to-door through the neighborhood. The day after Halloween we would organize and compare and trade the mountains of candy we had acquired. 

These were the days when we were children and our parents were young, days that made an indelible impression on our lives. They were days of innocence and hope, when our fathers provided for our families and our mothers made the homes in which our families lived. Our parents gave us our lives, and then shaped them as we grew. They gave us standards, standards they had learned in their own days of growing up, in the generation before ours that had known hardship and war--but to their children they gave an era of optimism and plenty. Rightly has their generation been called "The Greatest Generation" our country has ever produced.

I give thanks to God for the time in which we grew up as children, for our parents who set us on the track, and for Beverly in particularly, who was a vital part of my own growing-up years. 

Monday, October 07, 2013

Our Lady of the Rosary

October 7 is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The rosary is a way of praying, meditating, and doing Bible study. Its beginnings go back to the days of the beginning of Christian monasticism in the deserts of Egypt in the fourth century, but its current form may go back to the days of St. Dominic, who lived in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries.

How does one use the rosary? It’s sort of like what happens when you read. The words on the page inspire your imagination. Especially when one reads fiction, the images of places, what voices sound like, and so forth can only be described by the writer up to a certain point. After that the imagination of the reader must take over to give life to the story.

There is a form of prayer like that; it is a form of meditation, which can be done very simply or very deeply. The rosary is a particular kind of meditation. The purpose of the rosary is to help keep in our minds and hearts and wills certain principal events or mysteries in the history of our salvation, to thank and praise God for them, and to grow more and more in love with God. By meditating on key events in the life and ministry of Jesus and his promises to the faithful, we can conform our lives better to his will for us. We also learn to love others better, and through the rosary we can even pray for others.

There are twenty mysteries reflected upon in the Rosary, which are divided into five sets of four:

The five Joyful Mysteries are about Jesus’ childhood:
1.       The Angel Gabriel Announces to Mary that She has been Chosen to be the Mother of the Messiah
2.      Mary Visits Elizabeth, the Mother of John the Baptist
3.      Jesus is Born in Bethlehem
4.      Mary and Joseph Bring Jesus to the Temple When He is Forty Days Old
5.      Mary and Joseph Find Jesus in the Temple When He is Twelve Years Old

The five Luminous Mysteries are about his earthly ministry:
1.       Jesus is Baptized in the River Jordan
2.      Jesus Changes Water into Wine at a Wedding in Cana
3.      Jesus Preaches the Kingdom of God
4.      Jesus in Transfigured
5.      Jesus Institutes the Eucharist at the Last Supper

The five Sorrowful Mysteries are about his suffering and death:
1.       Jesus Prays in the Garden Before He is Arrested
2.      The Soldiers Whip Jesus
3.      The Soldiers Put a Crown of Thorns on Jesus’ Head
4.      Jesus Carries His Cross Through the Streets of Jerusalem
5.      The Soldiers Crucify Jesus

The five Glorious Mysteries are about his resurrection and the promise of eternal life:
1.       Jesus Rises From the Dead
2.      Jesus Returns to Heaven
3.      The Holy Spirit Comes On the First Believers
4.      Mary is Taken into Heaven After She Dies
5.      Mary is Crowned as the Queen of Heaven

For well over a hundred years, there has been an intercessory guild within the Anglican Communion that uses the rosary. It is called the Guild of the Living Rosary. It was founded in England in October 1905. The Guild is Anglican-based, but membership is open to any Christian.

Members are asked to pray just one decade of the rosary each day with a special intention. Intercession sheets with the intentions are produced three times a year and are provided to the members before the first days of January, May, and September.

Though one decade may seem a small prayer to ask, one benefit of membership in the Guild is that one prays with nineteen other members to comprise an entire rosary of twenty mysteries. One can be assured that in partnership with others an entire rosary is prayed with the appointed intercession. I have been a member of this guild for over forty years, and found it to be a powerful means of prayer and growing in love with Jesus and learning how to do so through the example and leadership of the Virgin Mary. (See my blogpost from November 1, 2006

Anyone who may be interested in the Guild is asked to write to guildlivingrosary(at)