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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

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Image by PixArc from Pixabay

It was kind of an amazing sight — if anything about being part of a funeral procession could be amazing.

Minutes before, we had just viewed the wake of a close friend for the last time.

For me, she was a friend, a sister, someone I knew since high school.  To my wife, she was a close confidant.  To my boys, she was an aunt-figure who lavished them with love, gifts, and hand-me-downs — bags and bags of hand-me-downs.

She was the stand-in for our first-born’s Godmother, who couldn’t make it north from Nashville — a role that she would voluntarily play on a permanent basis.

After saying goodbye, we left the funeral home with heavy hearts, gathered in our minivan, and joined a long line of cars that followed her hearse from the funeral home down Montauk Highway to Wellwood Avenue, the main street of my home town of Lindenhurst, Long Island.

As we pulled up to the Church, our cars were stopped in the middle of the road by a traffic officer.   Second in this seemingly mile-long procession, we quietly watched and waited as the officer spoke to the driver of the car in front of us.

Shortly after, he slowly approached.

“Good morning,” I greeted him, believing that he was going to point us to an area set-aside to park.

“Just leave your keys in the car,” he politely commanded, seemingly in disbelief.  Then added, “… just in case we have to move your car.”

Park here?  In the middle of Wellwood Avenue? 

Wellwood Avenue is the main artery in and out of my hometown.  When our parents asked where we were heading after school, we would often say “Into town” which meant we were going to Wellwood Avenue.

It’s where we got pizza, ate ice cream, saw a movie.  It was the home to our restaurants, our Church, our local theater.

Only one street went from the shore line of our community to the very end of our town, and that was Wellwood Avenue!  It was, in more ways than one, our main street.

We did as he asked, as did the rest of us in the procession, and slowly exited, leaving our vehicles parked along the double yellow line.

That’s when it hit us all — and we moved forward, like zombies, in perpetual disbelief.

The streets were lined with bystanders.  Elected officials and police officers in dress uniforms stood at attention.  There wasn’t a parking — or standing — spot in sight.

Wellwood Avenue — Main Street — was shut down!

“You only see something like this if a President dies,” I whispered in the ear of my eldest.

My knees weakened as the bagpipes waled, seemingly guiding us all inside Our Lady of Perpetual Church, my childhood parish.

Like outside, the Church was adorned, wall-to-wall, with people from all walks of life.  Elected officials.  Teachers. Parents. Loved ones.  Relatives and friends.

Every parish priest and every deacon was present.  In fact, the officiant of the Mass came all the way from Virginia to serve and honor the deceased.

Absent, however, were news reporters.

You see, on paper, my dear friend wasn’t someone “special”.  She was just a mom, a housewife, and a friend.

She never sought higher office beyond the PTA.  She never sought fame or riches.

All she did was love and love large; so much so, that at news of her passing, a multitude came to pay homage. So many, in fact, that they had to shut down Main Street.

Seeing all this, I struggled, as a Christian, how someone so faithful to Our Lord could be taken so early and so painfully?

Finally, the priest approached the podium to give his homily.  He shared with us all an event that only he and her husband knew:  After being diagnosed with brain cancer, the doctor asked this couple if they had any questions.

“Can you give me three years?” she asked.

“One of my patients lived 20 years,” the doctor professed. “Most live four to 15 months.”

After leaving the doctor’s office, her husband turned to her and asked. “Why did you ask for three years?”

“You and the kids aren’t ready now, but you’ll be ready in three years,” she answered, and three years was the time she was granted.

Jesus, the priest reminded us, only had three years to prepare His family, the world.  Comparing my friend’s mission to that of The Christ, the priest defined Jesus’ mission as Love.

The priest then spoke directly to her husband, “Your marriage presented that Love to all who witnessed it.”

I was a groomsman in their wedding. I witnessed that Love first hand.   In fact, I wanted that same Love in my life, in my relationship with my wife.

I also knew that my dear friend had slipped into a coma only days after her wedding anniversary.

Suddenly, the yoke of my sadness was lifted.

You see, she knew, as the priest explained, that God didn’t make her sick.  She also knew that He can take a tragedy and use it to send a clear message of his Real Presence — and often He uses His most loyal followers to communicate this message of His Love.

Take the death of His Son, for example!

Soon, everyone in the Church and all the people lining the streets, would know what I had just realized…

“And like Jesus’ life,” the priest added, “your marriage, your Love-on-display, lasted 33 years.”

Of course, I’m paraphrasing.  An Irish funeral followed the Catholic funeral at the cemetery, so things might not be exactly as I remember them.

But for all those listening on that day, in that holy place, the veil was lifted and His message was clearly received.

therese-giganteTherese M. Gigante, beloved wife of Gerard; cherished mother of Christina, Gerard, Joseph, Annemarie, and Matthew; loving daughter of Margaret and the late Vincent Moran, caring sister of Ann Massetti, Vincent Moran, Mary Cramer, Margaret Cronin, Elizabeth Lovizio, Bernadette Haffner and Joseph Moran; adoring aunt to many nieces, nephews and, endearing friend to many more, died on November 15, 2019 exactly as she lived her life, sharing the gift of Christ’s Love to everyone she encountered.

Always a giver, she only asked for three things:

  • A Church funeral where we could all pray together.
  • An after-party where we could all drink, love, and laugh together.
  • And for us all to move on.

Well, we did our best and gave her two out of three!  Enjoy the video of her life.  You’ll quickly understand why it won’t be that easy for many of us to move on.

In the end, keeping true to herself, she gave us all a very clear and lasting message:  The only road that matters is the road you take to Heaven!

Rest in Peace, Reese, and may the perpetual light shine upon you!

#ThreeThirtyThree

 

ON A PERSONAL NOTE:  There will soon be a scholarship in Theresa’s name.  To honor Reese’s life in a special way, all my profits from the 2020 sales of my book:  Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, an inspirational novella, will go to that scholarship.  You can find the book on Amazon. com.  God bless.

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James Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul,and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL
James Dobkowski
Today, James lives in UpState New York where he continues to teach.

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Image by Oleg Ilyushin from Pixabay

Every now and then, I get into a religious chat.

And, every now and then, the person I’m talking to will pause in the middle of the conversation, lean forward, and politely ask me, “You really don’t believe the Catholic Church is the One, True Faith, do you?”

The first time that it happened I was caught off guard.

I found it odd that the person thought that under a shroud of secrecy I would come clean and denounce the faith I dutifully promote publicly.

Today, I’m better prepared for the question then I was that day.  However, my response remains the same:

Don’t you believe the church you attend is the One, True Faith? … If not, then why do you belong to it?”

Disagreements, like this, among Christians are not new.

In his Commentary on Galatians, the prolific St. Jerome wrote about a minor squabble between some early Christians in Ephesus and St. John the Apostle.

The blessed John the Evangelist lived in Ephesus until extreme old age. His disciples could barely carry him to church and he could not muster the voice to speak many words. During individual gatherings he usually said nothing but, “Little children, love one another.” The disciples and brothers in attendance, annoyed because they always heard the same words, finally said, “Teacher, why do you always say this?” He replied with a line worthy of John: “Because it is the Lord’s commandment and if it alone is kept, it is sufficient.”

This example of St. John should remind us that we must let our conversations always be full of grace.   As apocryphal as it may be, this lesson taught by St. John is applicable even today.

Simply put, it doesn’t matter what you believe — be it Faith Alone, Grace Alone, Scripture Alone or any other dogma de Fide.   You are only truly of the One, True Faith when your daily practice starts and ends with the simple commandment to Love Alone!

Sola Caritas!  Blessed Pascha!

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more.

Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write.

To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

 

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I haven’t seen my college roommate since I moved my family back East. Nine years has past since then.

Of course, we still communicate through text from time-to-time.  His response time is awful … just saying. However, a few weeks ago, we actually chatted on the phone.  It’s been awhile.

It was nice just hearing his voice.

We picked up our conversation like we did when we shared a room together in college. Instead of discussing plans for the weekend, we lamented about not seeing each other. More so, we lamented about not seeing each other’s kids.

He has girls, who are full-grown; I have two boys, who are much younger.  (He was always a few steps ahead of me.)

We talked about getting together soon, but both probably recognized that a reunion wouldn’t happen — at least not anytime soon.

The conversation had to end because we both had to run.

Likewise, I received a text recently at 6:59 am from someone I knew since forever. We exchanged texts about our days working in Yakutat, Alaska for Sitka Sound Seafoods.

His last text was “Drop me a line. 2 minutes”.

We talked for 2 1/2 … hours!

Our conversation went from our days Alaska to our antics high school; from Charlie Daniels to Yosef Islam to Father McDonald back to Yosef Islam/Cat Stevens.  That lead us to Quebec City and the 1444 1/2 Bar — and on and on and on.

The conversation only ended because I had to feed my 9 year-old breakfast.

Both times, as I hung up, it occurred to me…

Having a good friend, especially one who lives a long-distance away, is much like having a relationship with God.

As with God, we probably should talk more often than we do.  However, when we do, it’s as we were at each other’s side.

And, as you know, God is always at your side.

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, Kwanzaa Klaus, Hail Mary series, and two children’s books: The Second Prince and Klaus: The Gift-giver to ALL!  As a writer, James has been widely featured on Bob Salter (CBS Radio), Mike Siegel, Mancow, and more. Today, James lives in New York where he continues to teach — and write. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

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Source: Pixabay.com | JamesDeMers

Let’s be clear, the reason why slavery and racism are deplorable is self-evident. Also, I’m not a fan of Confederate statues. I never liked them. (I blogged about it here over a year ago.) As uncomfortable as they make me, here’s why they need to stay up — it’s actually very simple:

So, we NEVER forget!

These statues must remain so no one can ever deny that Slavery never happened in America; that Jim Crow, in all it’s ugly forms, never happened!

Sure, we have museums and places like Gettysburg where we can go. But that’s not enough. There needs to be a reminder in every American town and city of our own atrocities. So, we never forget! So, no one can ever deny it happened. So, it never again occurs.

Once these monuments of Lee, Longsheets, “Stonewall” Jackson and alike are gone, we limit the evidence that such beliefs and actions were once a part of the fabric of America. And, once this is gone, we open the door for a new breed of haters: The Deniers!

So, how do we begin this transition? How do we take a statue of Robert E. Lee and give it new meaning? I believe the great comedian and movie producer Mel Brooks has found it.

Years ago, Brooks told Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes:

“Hitler was part of this incredible idea that you could put Jews in concentration camps and kill them…How do you get even with the man? How do you get even with him?” he asks Wallace. “You have to bring him down with ridicule, because if you stand on a soapbox and you match him with rhetoric, you’re just as bad as he is, but if you can make people laugh at him, then you’re one up on him,” he tells Wallace. “It’s been one of my lifelong jobs – to make the world laugh at Adolf Hitler,” says Brooks.

Charlie Chaplin lampooned Hilter. Disney did as well, sending Hilter to Hell. He also enlisted Donald Duck to do the same. Of course, there’s Hogan’s Hero’s. And let’s not forget the hilarious Hilter Pineapple scene in Adam Sandler’s Little Nicky.

The movie Forest Gump is a perfect example of this type of lampooning. Watch the clip here:

You can’t watch that clip without realizing how sad – and ridiculous was this part of our American history.

So, for now, we need to keep these monuments up for the same reason Forrest Gump’s mother gave him his name.

“Momma said that the Forrest part was to remind me that sometimes we all do things that, well, just don’t make no sense.”

And instead of venting our anger with violence, we can bring these statues down with ridicule – and make the world laugh at Adolph Hilter … and all those like him.

 

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. For six years, James taught At-Risk kids in Los Angeles. Today, he lives in New York where he continues to write — and teach. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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Photo: Samir | Preemptive Love

When ISIS came for his grandmother, 10-year-old Samir stood between her and the militants. This is his heroic story.

Learn more go to: http://preemptivelove.org/seebeyond

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It was Taco Tuesday at the Dobkowski House.  As we passed the chopped lettuce, grated cheese and diced tomatoes, my 7-year-old asked me, “Daddy, does God love the Devil?”

“That’s a good question, Bud,” I replied, unwilling to admit that I was stumped.  I elicited my wife’s help and, together, we started to piecemeal the story of the fall of Satan and his prideful followers, as I stalled for more time.

All the while, my three-year-old kept interjecting, “But Daddy … But Daddy…”

Finally, I conceded.

“But Daddy, Jesus loves the Devil … He just doesn’t like what he does.”

Well, said!

 

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman & McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

 

 

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Today I discovered Preemptive Love.

I made this powerful discovery after previewing the video, embedded below, after a friend posted it on facebook. After watching it, I just had to share it’s powerful message.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this video is worth much more — or arguably much less. For it is only worth one word.

So, what is Preemptive Love? To find out, watch this video till the end…

What We Found Inside This Church Destroyed by ISIS Took Our Breath Away from Preemptive Love on Vimeo.

Powerful, yes?

… And now you know the worth of the word in this video. The Word! The Word that encompasses all words.

The Word that was from the beginning; the Word that was with God; the Word that is God.

God who is Love!

Since, we are the body of Christ. We too are the Word. The Word sent forth. The Word called in action.

We are Preemptive Love!

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Click on the link if wish to learn more about The Preemptive Love Coalition.

 

James DobkowskiJames Henry is the author of Corporation YOU: A Business Plan for the Soul, ‘Twas, and the new book series Hail Mary. To contact James or book an interview, please contact Mark of Goldman/McCormick PR at (516) 639-0988 or Mark@goldmanmccormick.com.

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