Tuesday, November 30, 2010

St. Andrew Novena

Today is the Feast Day of St. Andrew. This powerful Novena has made incredible difference in my life.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (30th November) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Remember Sr. Sally?

Remember Sr. Sally, Daughters of Charity? Well, she came by the store the day before Thanksgiving and was jumping out of her skin to tell us a story about the "Spirit of the Season". She came to the register at the bookstore and I immediately tried to help and screwed up her order for 10 minutes. Finally we got on the same page that she was trying to get a purple globe with 5 insert candles for her Sanctuary lamp during the Advent Season. I thought she was going for 3 purple and a pink for a wreath. Oops. Anyway, helped her out a little on the price because she had mentioned knowing it would "cost her" but they have an electric lamp and she just wanted the "real thing" during such a special season. I thing she'd always prefer the "real thing" and I agree. So she smiled and thanked me and said how much she loved the "Spirit of the Season". That morning a man had come to the Outreach Center, where she and Sr. Naomi hand out food and clothes for those in need, and asked if they needed anything. They had just started to tell people that they were out of meat so the man offered to go to Krogers and buy meat. When he came back, he gave $50 Kroger gift cards to everyone in the place along with a $20 bill. Sister said there was hoopin' and cheering like these people had won the lottery. During the uproar, the generous man slipped out sight unseen. Right on the verge of not having meat for Thanksgiving and along comes the "Spirit of the Season". I hope we all remember and appreciate our cities' Sr. Sallys.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions

How appropriate to wake and read that today we celebrate the Feast Day of St. Andrew Dung-Lac and Companions, martyred in Vietnam between 1820 and 1862! May we pray for his intercession during these times of threatening war between North and South Korea. "You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives.”
God grant them peace!

Monday, November 22, 2010

My Mom The Artist

Check out my mom's beautiful new website. She's awesome!

www.JeanDortch.com

St. Cecilia

The Feast of St. Cecilia immediately brings to mind the 4 years I spent at St. Cecilia Academy. My high school years were full of good times and great friendships. We are fortunate to have an all-girl high school run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. My 7th grader just attended a sleepover in the gym this past weekend with other 7th and 8th graders from around Nashville. What an awesome experience for her! But the Feast Day also brings to mind my lack of ability to sing or draw or dance or do anything else in the artsy department. You'd think with 4 years at this beautiful institution that I'd grab one ounce of talent from somewhere within it's walls. But, No! However, after reading the Gospel reading this morning and pondering, "she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood" I wondered just what talent I had in my mind versus the talents God wants me to recognize and bring to their full potential. Maybe I too, in my poverty of talents could offer my livelihood. Let's think about that today. From our poverty, what do we have to offer?
In my Mother's Prayer Book, Bless My Child, I offer a prayer for our children to use their Full Potential: St. Cecilia, guide my child to reach her full potential in all her works. Teach her to use the talents that God has given her to make a difference in this world. As you sang to the Lord in your heart, guide my child to be pure in mind and heart, and to always pursue the will of God. Amen.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Can I Get a Witness

Last Saturday we had a new customer come into the store who had just moved to Nashville and was very happy and somewhat surprised to find a large Catholic Bookstore right in the heart of the city. (well, sorta). I introduced myself and he was very complimentary and kind. I allowed him to shop and actually forgot about another customer who had gone to the 3rd floor earlier. I walked up to the office moments later to find the newcomer speaking to the young man and talking about the catechisms. They said they were fine. I thought it okay and went back downstairs. A few minutes later the newcomer approached me and explained that the young man seemed to be interested in the Catholic Church and wanted to make me aware of an "opportunity". "He seems young and may limit himself to the more concise readings because of money so I would like to give you may credit card and after I leave, you tell him to buy whatever he wants." And so I did. I went to the third floor and spoke with him for some time and he explained being raised in a different religion but not really being tied to it because he felt the people around him to be judgmental of other religions. He felt excited about the possibility of finding the Catholic faith to be a fit for him. He was "worried about his soul". I told him of the man's offer and he flushed. He was more than humbled by the kind gesture and we discussed what it meant to be a true Christian. A Catholic Christian in this case. What an amazing experience for me to be in the midst of this witness from both men! As he checked out, I asked his name and when he shook my hand he apologized for his balmy hand. He was nervous. He was truly moved. He was so humble and grateful. I promised him I would let the gentleman know of his gratitude. His well worn cowboy boots walked him right out our door the same way they brought him in but he was definitely, already a changed young man.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Was Meant to Hear this Twice

This morning I read an email that my mom forwarded me from my sister-in-law and of course I immediately thought "Cool" and let it pass. I did not paste it in my memory or think about it too much more. Then, I read the Gospel reading of Jesus curing the blind man and saying, “Have sight; your faith has saved you” and knew that these words were meant for me. These words although a little rearranged are for me to contemplate, to try to understand. In my blindness, I am to call to Jesus. In my weakness, I have to have faith, to follow. I am to listen for the sound He sends, the sound of His voice, the person.

Two Horses-Author Unknown

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it.
From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse.
But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing....
Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind.
His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him. This alone is amazing.
If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell.
Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field.
Attached to the horse's halter is a small bell.
It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow.
As you stand and watch these two friends, you'll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse,
And that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk to where the other horse is,
Trusting that he will not be led astray.
When the horse with the bell returns to the shelter of the barn each evening,
It stops occasionally and looks back, making sure that the blind friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell.
Like the owners of these two horses,
God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect
Or because we have problems or challenges.
He watches over us and even brings others into our lives to help us when we are in need..
Sometimes we are the blind horse being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives.
Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way....
Good friends are like that...
You may not always see them, but you know they are always there..
Please listen for my bell and I'll listen for yours.
And remember...Be kinder than necessary-
Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly.......
And leave the rest to God!
FOR WE WALK BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

St. Martin of Tours

"For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.”
The reading today goes right along with the story of St. Martin of Tours who is said to of come upon an almost naked beggar in the freezing cold and cutting his cloak with his sword gave half to the beggar to keep him warm. That night Martin had a dream in which the man wearing his cloak was Christ. This story today is a great example of the Kingdom of God being among us.
We encounter opportunities every day whether with children or adults, teachers or priests, in our businesses or neighborhoods to serve, to give, to sacrifice. Often, we do not know the effect of our response but someday, I believe, it'll all come back around and when it does I can only hope and pray I did more in the giving than in the taking.
Today may we all cut a little of our cloak for someone else in our lives or for someone we encounter. The Kingdom of God is among us.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What's It Like Being You?

As I was unpacking the van and setting up tables for this conference at Lake Barkley, I realized a couple of things I forgot that I bring each year. Now granted, I have three huge tables along with three sets of shelves and a floor book rack with four sides. Boy did I miss my husband while unloading the van! But as I set up the literally hundreds of items I brought, all I could think about were the few I forgot. This made me think about my brother who had to set up his booth of furniture in the Atlanta Merchandise Mart and have two different showrooms with his furniture displayed. He had to bring cushions for one couch that he had shipped (obviously without cushions) and was working like crazy right up until the show opened. The man from one of the showrooms asked him, "Just what is it like being you?" He was all over the place and that's about how I feel this week. But, let's think about it a minute. What is it like being you? I literally had to contemplate the question this morning. I can see a little bit of many of my family members in me. I often fly by the seat of my pants. I love having a great time but want people to take me seriously in my business. I way over extend myself and feel guilty not helping more in my children' school and at Church. I want people to like me. I'm a good Catholic wanna be. I love entertaining people. I'm always running a load of clothes, to the grocery, to work, at work, to school (okay, I'm always running). I often forget to take things out of the freezer for dinner. I love my life and don't want to give up anything but I'm always crazed. And I love talking about the Catholic Bookstore industry, retail, the Catholic Faith, books, authors and my family. Just what is it like being me? I am thinking about that this week.
So, how about it. Just what's it like being you? Do you see yourself in others or them in you?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cadiz, KY

I'm off to Lake Barkley for the first part of the week to set up book tables for the five Diocese conference that occurs there each year at this time. Another hand-me-down from my mother. She started working this conference twenty something years ago and I just picked up where she left off. It is the only time each year that I get to see some of my friends from Kentucky, Alabama, the Memphis Diocese and the Knoxville Diocese. It is a good three days but I miss my children and all the great happenings around my house during this time. All have started basketball so there will be a lot of running back and forth to practices. I love to watch their practices because I don't get to all their games during the season but I'll have to let go of that this week. The second half of the week, St. Mary's is attending Christmas Village, a Christmas show put on by the PiPhi Sorority which benefits Vanderbilt Childrens' Hospital. Another hand-me-down from mom. We are set up in a rather large booth from Thursday night until late Sunday at the fairgrounds. Again, we love to see the people every year. It's a tradition for many families and my sister and her friends come from Atlanta every year and we have a good time seeing their purchases and laughing at their encounters.
I hope everyone has a wonderful week and I also hope I get some much needed writing time at Lake Barkley between talks and exhibit times. May God watch over my family and the bookstore while I am away.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Don't Ya Love When That Happens

Michael moved to Nashville and came to work in our bookstore after we had to close our Atlanta location. He lived with us for a short period of time and worked in our shipping and receiving department. He called the women Sister so and so and the men Brother so and so but I was Mother Jules, of course, because of the children. A few years with us and he decided to go to seminary and is now a parish priest. A wonderful man, everyone who knows him seems to love him. For a few years, he's been looking for a nice Chapel Monstrance but we have been unable to find just the right fit. About two and a half weeks ago, an older woman and her daughter came into the store from the parish where Michael is pastor. It seems that the woman's husband had died and they wanted to buy Michael a Chapel Monstrance. One of our manufacturers had just put a few new Monstrances in our catalog and one of them seemed perfect. The woman proceeded to tell me about the care that Michael had taken with her husband. He referred to him as Brother Pete,(I was not surprised), and visited him faithfully. He was a true "gift" to her husband's last days.
That Monstrance came in last week and I set it aside to check it later. Yesterday! I remembered it and checked it and found it to be absolutely beautiful. The inscription on the bottom, "In loving memory of Brother Pete". I called the daughter and she said, "I'll send someone right away. My parents' 60th Anniversary will be tomorrow (today) and he is having Mass for them tonight. Perfect timing." It gave me goosebumps to hear her words and excitement. I thought about that Monstrance holding Jesus and having Brother Pete's inscription on the bottom. I love God-incidences.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Who's Your Favorite Saint?


This is one day I wish I had a large audience because I'd love to hear about other people's favorite Saint. If you have a favorite Saint or have read a great book on a Saint or have had a neat encounter with a Saint, I'd love to hear it. At the bookstore one year, we had a contest for 4th and 5th graders. They had to tell about their favorite Saint and how that Saint had affected their life in some way. We received incredible stories.
I personally have a difficult time choosing and wouldn't want to slight any of my friends above but today I think I'll choose St. Bernadette, strictly for her persistence despite the trials. I love her youthfulness, her simplicity, her obedience, her love and her faith. I can envision her digging in that dirt while everyone around her just stared in horror at her actions. I can hear her sweet, soft, kind voice repeating the words of Our Blessed Mother. She says she is "the Immaculate Conception."
If you have a blog, encourage those who read to come over and let us know who their favorite Saint or Saint book is for today the Feast of All Saints. I'd love to learn more.