Sunday, April 18, 2021

A Little Faith Booster--for Whoever Might Need It

Social media allows us to spontaneously share our daily experiences---even if in appearance there's nothing extraordinary about them.  Twice during the course of this week, twice on seemingly unremarkable uneventful uninteresting instances I clearly saw God's hand taking care of my personal interests.  

Last Wednesday, April 14, I was unusually sleepy. Totally drowsy. Nothing noteworthy, glamorous, or appealing about it, correct?  On the contrary, it was annoying, frustrating, and inconvenient--mostly for me who, although aware that it's wrong, cannot avoid thinking like Thomas Jefferson that the time we sleep is time we waste. I do realize that God created day and night for a reason and that it's useless to try to go against nature.  Yet, I'm proud every time I get something done during night hours. 

Well, on Tuesday evening I fell asleep earlier than ever--and slept all through the night. I barely woke up a little in the morning as needed.  I vaguely remember partially going through meds and breakfast--and falling back asleep on my swivel chair with my feet on a footstool underneath my desk . . . without even being able to get started on my computer. 

Worst of all, there was an email I very much wanted to write and send. I thought I needed to. I thought such an email might prevent a problem. When I was a child I used to think there was something adventurous and appealing about problems--as if difficulties provided us with good opportunities to prove ourselves . . . but that was only because I had too much of everything, starting with too much love--and no problems at all. Now I no longer find anything fun about having problems.  So, I like to be proactive--and was trying to be one step ahead and diffuse a potential problem before it even started. 

Yet, I wasn't much more awake in the early afternoon either. Not even able to get myself to make it to the kitchen and improvise something real simple for lunch. But I managed to make it outside the house to the mailbox.  In it there was a big manila envelope.  And the communication inside the envelope was all I needed to see that there was absolutely no problem.  Nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.  

Immediately, I realized something.  Had I written and sent the email I had in mind, I'd have only complicated things.  It was way better not to have done anything.

Now, that extreme drowsiness I had been experiencing up to that moment had been totally unusual. There was no factual or medical reason for it.  

And yet, I could clearly see that there was a much more powerful, much more forceful reason for it. Obviously, God had prevented me from making a mistake that wouldn't have been in my best interest.  No, I hadn't gotten much done that day---but at least, I had not misguidedly embarked myself on a complication that would've caused me unnecessary anxiety and would've involved unnecessary time and effort to resolve. 

And in a totally different context, something similar happened yesterday.  On one of the several Catholic Social Teaching groups I'm a member of someone had posted something really good denouncing hatred in today's society.  I was about to post a very laconic comment in support of the post when I noticed an unclear comment by another member right above my own.  So, I started editing my comment and adding a kinda long elaboration pointing out that my own comment was in support of the post and not in agreement with the ambiguous words preceding mine.  To make the long story short, before finishing and updating my edited comment, I ended up losing it. I was about to rewrite it--and then realized that the author of the ambivalent comment had deleted it. Obviously, they had realized their error.  So, had I uselessly digressed on the frivolity of a preceding comment that no longer existed, I'd have only embarrassed myself.

I just reposted my initial one-word comment in support of the awesome post. 

And I wonder . . . Who had made me lose the unnecessary much longer comment I was about to update?  

I'm just one person--but God was taking care of this one person . . . as He takes care of absolutely every single one of us. 

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Jesus Doesn't Care About IQ

 Pretty obvious. No need for any comment. Yet, I feel I should include a personal one--something I still feel guilty about no matter how many years went by. And no, I won't share how many. I was a teenager. We were attending Mass at a seaside resort. In front of us, a mother and her child with Down syndrome went for Holy Communion. The mother gently coached her son to leave his seat, get to the aisle, and move forward to receive the Sacrament. Whereas many children and adults with DS have fervent religious beliefs and fully participate in Mass or another service of their faith, that boy didn't seem to be aware of What he was about to receive.

After Mass was over, I told my Mom something I still feel ashamed of today. I'll share it publicly anyway. I told her I didn't see the point in having a child receive a Sacrament he didn't seem to fully comprehend. Immediately my Mom, E. Nydia Soracco-Godone, now with God, kindly replied that it was only normal for a mother to want her child to participate in the Sacrament the same as she did. And she added that Jesus and His Blessed Mother welcomed that boy to Holy Communion with no reservations.
Well, I still had another argument I'm not proud of at all: What if the boy bit the Holy Host? I still remember my Mom's words. And I still hear it next to me--even though God called her over eight years ago. And I'm crying. Not one single day or one single hour goes by without missing my parents and trying to find comfort in the thought that one day I'll see them again. She told me that, first of all, she didn't think that the boy would bite the Holy Host. She had been able to see in him a sense of fervor and reverence that apparently I had missed. Yet, she continued, even if the boy bit the Eucharist, Jesus would be much happier to be bitten by pure teeth than going down the throat of any adult modern version of a Pharisee, pretending to love God while unable to love their neighbor. As I looked a little disconcerted, she put her arm around my shoulder and assured me that her statement was not at all addressed to me because of my comment but referred to those who failed to care about the poor and the disabled, failed to welcome the immigrant, exploited their workers, and/or dealt with others in contemptuous ways.
She was ahead of her time as many people then still thought that Holy Communion could be received only with a clear intellectual grasping of the concept of Transubstantiation. But, again, I won't share how many years ago that was.
God bless.

Pope Francis kisses Peter Lombardi, 12, of Columbus, Ohio, who has Down syndrome, after the boy rode in the popemobile during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on March 28, 2018. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

According to Catholic Social Teaching, Proudly Part of the Catholic Left

A moderator in "Catholics for Social Justice" posted this awesome article. Trying to summarize it herein would be a waste of time--and a disservice to the Church because this article is just perfect with no need for any summaries. Yet, there are two considerations that are pertinent herein, as follows: First of all, Rerum Novarum, the first Encyclical Letter on Catholic social issues, by Pope Leo X!!!, is from May 15, 1891. From 130 years ago. It predates the Human Rights Movement. It predates all the changes that an increase in social consciousness has been operating over the years. Therefore, it clearly shows that the Catholic Church has always been in the vanguard of the fight for equality, social and economic justice, and social sensitivity.

And that leads me to my second conclusion--which is the crucial one. The Rerum Novarum principles are a clear, eloquent, conclusive, and unambiguous condemnation of conservatism and of hard-line agendas of any sort. In plain language, they're a drastic condemnation of any and all right-wing policies and position no matter what variations they may come up with. Those principles, such as the "preferential option for the poor" and the "priority of labor over capital," just to mention only two, exactly amount to what hard-liners and right-wing supporters of all denominations dismiss as "leftist" and "socialist".
Great news!!! We can proudly be leftist and socialist--not in an atheist godless way but in a Catholic way, in light of Catholic Social Teaching.
There's no such thing as "conservative Catholicism". Because Catholicism is compassionate, socially and culturally sensitive, progressive, welcoming, and caring. That's what the lives of the Catholic saints give vibrant testimony of. That's what the martyrdom of most of them engraved in blood. That's the Catholic Church that in word and deed from very early childhood my parents and grandparents taught me to follow and love.
God bless.


Thursday, December 3, 2020

Four Catholic Missionaries to be Remembered

Typically, I mentally write my posts well in advance --quite often for a very, very long time before I actually get to actually type them up. This one, though, came up spontaneously from an excellent article in America Magazine-The Jesuit Review, entitled, "Ita, Maura, Dorothy, and Jean:  The Legacy of Four Missionaries Murdered in El Salvador 40 Years Ago," by Margaret Swedish, Dec 2, 2020.

Maura Clarke, M.M., Jean Donovan, Ita Ford, M.M., Dorothy Kazel, O.S.U.

The atrocities committed by the military dictatorship in El Salvador and other Central American countries are unimaginable. As an immigration attorney, I used to have clients who had been through those horrors. When I was in Guatemala for about a week many years ago, the military period was already over---but the military and police forces were still on the streets with a bullying attitude, and the poverty was heartbreaking.

Let's think about these three Catholic sisters and one lay Catholic missionary who were massacred for standing up for the sake of the poor and the oppressed. Let's think about St. Oscar Romero, the El Salvadorean Archbishop who was murdered too because of for action on behalf of the needy and against the brutal right-wing Central American military dictatorships.

This is the Catholic Church in action. This is the Catholic Church that my parents and grandparents taught me to love. This is the Catholic Church they modeled for me. When on their honeymoon. my parents, E. Nydia Soracco-Godone and Armando C.E. Godone-Signanini made a trip all across the American Continent. In the U.S. there was still segregation. While in NYC, they made it a point to use public transportation so as to sit on the black seats so as to deliver a powerful message. They could have ended up the very same way--because their message could have cost them their lives. This is the Catholic Church that Jesus established. He had reached out to the sick and the foreigner and had shared His table with sinners. This is the Catholic Church that all Catholic saints, both canonized and not formally canonized lived up to. This is the Catholic Church most of them died for, quite often in atrocious ways.

Was St. Oscar Romero deemed to be on the left? Yes, on the Catholic left. On that religious, compassionate, caring, fervent, devout left my family and I proudly belong to.

There's something I want to say--in straightforward words. If someone dislikes it, I'm very sorry. I need to address three different groups of people, as follows:

- To those who from outside the Catholic Church criticize it because of some mistaken Catholics who believed Trump's false claims to be ProLife and support him.
Please remember that "empty vessels make the most noise". They may vociferate--but they're still there are not so many of them. Moreover, most Trump supporters are white Evangelicals--and they hate Catholicism and Catholics. Some Trump supporters don't speak for all Catholics. Or would you say that all U.S. citizens are Trump supporters and racist? Would you say that all Germans are Nazis or neo-nazis? Would you say that all Italians are fascist? Obviously not. So, when you think about Catholics, please think in terms of refugee camps, immigrant shelters, missions serving the poorest of the poor, Catholic Worker houses... Think about how many Catholics were murdered because of embracing the causes of the poor, the marginalized, the discriminated against, and the oppressed.

- To those within the Catholic Church who were gullible enough to believe Trump's false claims to be ProLife and a Christian. Please think that Pope Francis referred to Trump's Mexican border wall as anti-Christian, and Catholic Bishop Stowe clearly stated that Trump's agenda was anti-life. So, for all those who drank the KoolAid, it's time to find an antidote for that. Do you want a good, great, amazing antidote? Listen to Pope Francis, read some Encyclical Letters, and learn more about the lives of the saints. Then maybe your hearts will open up again and overcome the immobilizing and desensitizing effect of the poison you were given, Maybe you'll start to feel and care again.

- To those who got stranged from the Church because those mistaken or bad Catholics drove you away. Please keep in mind that Pope Francis is the Head of the Church. Listen to his homilies and speeches. Read his writings. Let the lives of the saints inspire you. They all want you back. Jesus wants you back. Now that the pandemic doesn't allow you to go back in person, a virtual comeback may be a more gradual and perhaps easier one. Think that, starting with Jesus, all those who risked their lives and quite often lost them for the sake of those most in need, also did it for you to come back.

God bless.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

A Key Issue to Win This Election

To Anyone and Everyone,
I'm not at all the kind of person to publicly complain about any individual, group, organization, or movement I'm loyal to. I strongly believe that "washing your dirty laundry in public" is not only wrong but harmful in many ways. It's not only embarrassing to yourself but also discouraging to others. You don't want your speech or writings to become a deterrent for others who would otherwise embark on something that, even if some correctible imperfections, is basically good, uplifting, edifying, and helpful.

My family and I are proud ProLife Democrats. As devout cradle Catholics, we uphold equality, social and economic justice, friendly and welcoming immigration policies, universal access to healthcare, a living wage, climate action, gun control, and, needless to say, the sanctity and dignity of human life from conception to natural death.

That's why I'm doing this.

To anyone reading my post:

- If you're a Democrat ready and willing "to vote blue no matter who", you're all set. You don't really need to read this--but you might want to as I believe I can give you some good arguments to talk to others. And if you're a Dem in the public eye, please do read it--before it's too late!!!

- If you're a Republican and a fanatic right-wing Trump supporter, there's no need for you to read it--because nothing I or anyone says will make you change your mind.  And even if you claim to be avidly religious, you already closed your heart to more than half of the two components of being religious: not only to love God but also to love your neighbor.

- If you're a Republican but like Barbara Bush (George W. Bush's wife), Patti Davis (Ronald Reagan's daughter), John McCain, and countless others, you feel disillusioned with and betrayed by the current administration, or you're undecided only because you still believe Trump's false claims to be ProLife, please read!!!

Abortion is the murder of a defenseless victim. Hearing abortion propagandists talk, many people shudder and turn ProLife. The problem is when those infected by racism, xenophobia, and homophobia falsely claim to be ProLife . . . because they turn many away from the ProLife cause, hurting it much more deeply than the most recalcitrant pro-abortion activist can. They're the worst threat to the sanctity and dignity of human life--and are getting away with what they're doing!!!

This is my letter to fellow Dems who are in the public eye:

Fellow Democrats, 
I'm doing this NOT as a detractor but for Democrats to win--because my family and I are totally with you.

I'm deeply concerned, really appalled to see how many Democrats in key political positions refuse to take the only easy, costless, effortless, and failproof step needed to defeat Trump and his right-wing scoundrels in November.  Winning the upcoming election is in your hands--if only all of you stop being stubborn and allow some ProLife Democrats more visibility in this fight.  That's all you need.  No matter how much you spend on the campaign, Trump has big corporate interests backing him with much larger amounts. Yet, a few speeches from some ProLife Democrats will for sure win you the election without spending one cent. 

Even if you yourself are not ProLife, please acknowledge how much is at stake. Please do it for the sake of immigrants and refugees in need of more welcoming policies,  of individuals with pre-existing conditions and low-income families in need of universal access to healthcare, of minorities and foreigners in need of a society free from prejudice and xenophobia, of the LGBT+ community in need of acceptance with no homophobic attacks, and for the sake of the population at large, in need of social and economic justice, climate action, and gun control.

Trump is NOT ProLife. He never was and he's NOT ProLife now either. Why does he claim to be, then? Because that serves his political goals. And, by falsely claiming to be ProLife, he'll get himself four more years in office destroying thousands of human lives. 

I'm a ProLife Democrat--because I'm a Catholic. And I can assurer you that by just giving some more visibility to the over two million ProLife Democrats like me, you'll get the Catholic vote--and you'll win the election. Catholic Social Teaching upholds equality, social and economic justice, and respect for all. It breathes social sensitivity and is an exhortation to welcome the immigrant, shelter the homeless, and feed the hungry.  Therefore, most Catholics agree with the Democratic Party's platform.  The issue is that we also affirm and defend the sanctity and dignity of human life from conception to natural death. And here is where the Democratic Party creates a moral conflict for many. It is abhorrent for us to see immigrant families separated at the border, to see children placed in cages, to hear racial slurs coming from the White House and find white supremacists and KKK members parading on the streets. It is also abhorrent for us to think that anyone might be denied proper medical care due to lack of ability to pay or sexual orientation. We're NOT the so-called 'religious right'.  We understand 'religious freedom' as the right and the duty to refuse any participation in the murder of an innocent child--but NOT as the right to deny counseling to a gay couple or refuse to bake a cake.  No problem so far. Yet, it's also abhorrent for us the thought of a preborn baby being dismembered alive or having their little brains sucked out.  So, by trying to silence the over two million ProLife Democrats who could win you the elections, you force us to choose between our commitment to equality and social justice and our commitment to the sanctity of human life.

Some of us have the level of education and discernment to realize that the worst enemy of the ProLife movement is the right-wing pretending to be ProLife while endorsing death in so many ways.  Every time I hear a Trump supporter claim to be ProLife I feel sick to my stomach. By the same token, there is no better way to make the public opinion turn ProLife than letting abortion supporters saying that it's okay for a mother to kill her child.

Do you realize how horrible that sounds?  Maybe not everyone is able, ready, or willing to parent a kid. But--there are millions of families worldwide praying and crying for a child to love--or for more children to love.  The argument of the "unwanted child" is only a myth.  I have three biological children and five adopted ones--and am very involved in the adoption community,  There are plenty of families willing to adopt not only infants or toddlers but also school-age children and teens with the most severe physical and developmental challenges, with the most serious medical conditions, and the most concerning acting out behaviors. 

I'm NOT asking you to change your personal pro-abortion opinion.  But if you're truly progressive, and at least for the sake of winning this election, why can't you also talk about empowering those single somen who want to raise their babies to be able to do so with better assistance in any respect they may need?  Why can't you talk about making adoption less bureaucratic and more affordable so that any family that wants to add more children can do so?  

I'm not talking about a few extra votes--but about millions of votes pouring in, about millions of new Democratic voters from one day to the other.  By just opening up a little more to ProLife Democrats you can make it.  There are millions of people who'd vote Democrat if only you were not so much pro-abortion!  Moreover, you cannot be open to others if you're unable to allow different opinions within your same party.  Show the world that Democrats are better!!!  Don't imitate Trump who seeks revenge on those who testified against him or voted in favor of his impeachment. 

By giving some room to ProLifers, you'll be opening many more doors for yourselves--not only among Catholics but also among believers from all faiths.  You'll be getting most of the Hispanic and Native American votes too.  And the votes of many former Republicans who are disappointed in this deplorable present administration. 

 Just by expressing your intention to make adoption easier you could significantly increase your chances to win the election because many more ProLifers would vote Democrat. International and private domestic adoption costs are exorbitant and the fost-adopt process is too long and enervating,  Nevertheless, so, so many families want to adopt!!! In two lines I can summarize a personal story:  By voluntarily doing without needed treatment and surgeries for her cataracts and her knees, my Mom, Nydia Soracco-Godone, now with God, happily sacrificed her own mobility and eyesight for the sake of my international adoption expenses, first from Haiti and then from Bulgaria, for those five boys to become my sons--and my three oldest (bio) children gave of themselves much more than words can say, more than they should have given, and certainly more than I should have allowed them to give as they put many of their own goals and dreams aside--because in their hears and in their minds, their younger brothers' best interests came first. 

I'll wrap up this communication in just two lines---and please, take my advice into consideration:  Give some more visibility to some ProLife Democrats and for sure you'll win the election.  All that may prevent you from winning in November is your recalcitrant pro-abortion position.  Is it worth it?

My family and I don't want four more years of Trump.  I'm sure you don't either.  

Thank you--and, whether ProLife or pro-abortion, let's join Democratic forces to defeat the right-wing,

Lillian Godone-Maresca

Sunday, June 17, 2018

On Father's Day, I need to make this story known--one more time.

I must admit that after watching "Heaven Is For Real" I felt very down. Undoubtedly, it's an uplifting movie--but what made me feel down is the thought that I do have a true, real, inspirational story to tell the world--and my telling never went past my own limited social circle and social media network. This is not about a near-death experience but about an indisputable intercession from Above. And, as such, is also a clear testimony that Heaven does exist. It's clear testimony that my Dad was watching over us. It's clear testimony that he was heard because he's really close to God.

My Dad, Armando C.E. Godone-Signanini, was called by Jesus on November 1, 1993. Coincidentally, it was on the Day of All Saints. The same as about my Mom, if there is anything slightly negative that could be said about him, it was to have been too overprotective.  By profession, he was a C.P.A., with a Ph.D. in Economics and an unusual gift for mathermatics. He was very serious, a little bit of a perfectionist, but he had a heart of gold, loved children, had a deep interest in all cultures, and a zeal for equality and social justice. He enjoyed traveling and trying anything new. Most importantly, he cared about making his family travel and try new things. He was a fervent, practicing Catholic, and, precisely as such,  was also open to people from all walks of life. He was used to the best but never really cared much about social prestige or profile. He was just a family man to the fullest extent of the expression. I still remember one Father's Day many years ago when the card I gave him made him cry.

Around late May of 2008, after the Haitian government had granted the adoptions of Thomas and Nicholas and they were legally mine already, the U.S. Consulate in Port-au-Prince came up with a nonsensical issue that could have jeopardized everything.  Basically, my sons' files were randomly selected for a third-degree scrutiny that could have delayed their homecoming for months, maybe years--and maybe could have held them and us in limbo forever.

My Mom, then still on this earth, my three biological children, and I were in sheer agony.  All doors seemed to be locked. Our senator's office in San Diego didn't even seem to be accessible within any reasonable timeframe.  Our local representative's office promised to get in touch with the Consulate--but their promise didn't sound very promising either.

My Mom, my children, and I were praying together. Still, there seemed to be little hope--if any at all. Then, one night I had that dream that will stay with me for as long as I live . . . until that day when I too will be called and will then see my parents again.  Well . . . I'm basically a good person--but not even remotely as good as they were.  Without keeping on digressing on what my ultimate destiny will be, I'll go basck to my dream. Someone was knocking at the door.  It was my Dad, carrying both Thomas and Nicholas in his arms. He smiled at me and told me, "I went to Haiti myself as the only way to bring them home." He added that he had filled out all the missing documents, having only left their middle names blank because he was not sure which ones I wanted for them. That was the only little detail that was not totally fitting with the reality of the situation because, at least ten years ago, an adoption decree from Haiti meant the change of the adopted children's family name but not of their first or middle names. That would need to be done once in their new country.

I tried to hug my Dad in my dream but he vanished. Thomas and Nicholas stayed--as real as if physically there, next to me.

in the morning, I called the Consulate one more time--and couldn't believe my ears. The same female officer who had told me that, even if unfair, the situation was beyond her power, apologized to me and told me that my boys' files, which apparently were already in route to the mainland, had been pulled back. Tbeir visas would be issued within the following few days--and I could go ahead and purchase the plane tickets to pick them up and take them home.

After praising Jesus, His Blessed Mother, and all the saints all together, after the hugs and the happy tears, I called our local representative's office and asked for the person who had promised to call the U.S. Consulate in Port-au-Prince. Without telling him that the problem had been miraculously resolved, I pretended to be still worried and asked him whether he had had any chance to contact the Embassy. He honestly replied that he had been swamped with lots of different issues--and promised to email the Consulate as soon as he got off the phone with me.  Then I told him that there was no longer any need for him to contact theVisa Unit. The seemingly unsolvable problem had been solved. It had been solved through a much more powerful kind of intervention than any political one can be. It had been my Dad's intercession from very near God. It had been exactly as he had told me, "I went to Haiti myself as the only way to bring them home."

Thank you all for reading this story. Please feel free to share it. You may want to think about it to help yourselves in keeping your faith strong and keeping up your hope or you may want to use it to help someone else to recover their fairth and/or hope. God bless. 


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