©Michele L. Catanese
Notes: This entire blog, Heart Speaks to Heart, is the result of the wisdom and encouragement offered to me by Joanne Knowles, my long time spiritual director and dear friend. She passed away this past week, so while I know she is rejoicing with God and all the holy ones, please pray for the repose of her soul and also for her family. For years Joanne encouraged me to write and she kept a copy of every single blog entry ever posted here! Fittingly, there is an early entry in which I wrote about her. It can be found in my Archives from November 2012, or you can click here: https://www.catanesesd.com/micheles-blog/the-gift-of-an-anam-cara
Rest in peace, Anam Cara!
Next post November 4
* After disasters in many places around the country and the world, not just here in Houston, Houstonians are quick to share their money, goods, and hard work to help others. It is very impressive and inspiring. During a crisis no one asks about the politics, religion, race, or creed of those who are in need: they help all equally. I must also mention that recently one of our deputies, Sandeep Dhaliwal, (a trailblazer as the first Sikh deputy to wear a turban on duty), a beloved, courageous man who cared deeply for the people of this city, was murdered during a traffic stop. The people of Houston honored him and continue to mourn his loss; another touching example of the love and care of this community.
** This is a paraphrase of a quote often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi as he missioned the friars to serve in the community.
*** Read Luke’s writing and count how many times Jesus ate and drank with so-called sinners, put Himself into the presence of a demoniac in order to set him or her free, or healed the servant of an ‘enemy’ (such as the Roman centurion); count how many times He chose to be with those who cheated others such as Levi (Matthew) and Zacchaeus, forgave those who wronged Him, and had patience with those who simply could not understand what He was trying to say (not just the Pharisees, but often the apostles!) Thus it is obvious that He did not seek perfect people, nor did He ask anyone He associated with to be perfect. But He did offer them healing, hope, and the freedom which would start them on the path to holiness, clearly outlining what was expected of those who committed to Him.
1. My photo, taken in Hermann Park, Houston: It seems fitting to use one of the prettiest parks in Houston to highlight my hometown, mentioned in the opening example.
2. Painting, Sermon on the Mount, Blessed Fra Angelico: Bl. Fra Angelico is one of my favorite artists because his works convey a holiness and beauty which I believe is unrivaled. I chose this mostly because Jesus is teaching His disciples not only so they understand His message, but so that they become missionaries of love and blessing through their word and deed.
3. My photo of a fresco, The Visitation by Giotto, located in the Scrovegni Chapel, Padua, Italy: The highlight of a recent trip to northern Italy was the Scrovegni Chapel. If you have followed my blog for any length of time you will have seen that I love Giotto. For many years I had wanted to see the frescoes in person, and it was a blessing, indeed. I chose to use this image because it is of Mary who at the Visitation acted as a missionary of love and blessing to her older cousin Elizabeth. It was as if Mary was 'preaching the gospel' yet unspoken, given that she was still pregnant with Jesus.
4. Icon, St. Paul the Apostle, by Fr. William Hart McNichols: This icon depicts Paul with the gospels, that is, as a missionary who brought the Good News in his many travels, (hence he was evangelizing.) You can find it at https://fineartamerica.com/featured/st-paul-the-apostle-196-william-hart-mcnichols.html
5. My photo, Masi Vineyards, Veneto, Italy: I chose this photo taken within an olive grove because it was a place of beauty and peace. The light streaming through the olive grove and the stump of what seemed to have been an ancient olive tree remaining among the living, vibrant trees conveyed a sense of life and hope.
6. My photo, grapes drying at the Masi Vineyard: These grapes were in the first step of the wine making process. The bounty of the harvest was what struck me. Along with the olives in the previous photo, it seemed to speak of the miracle, if you will, of taking the fruit and crushing it so that it can 'rise to new life' after a period of transformation, (metaphorically and symbolically speaking). This message is the heart of the gospel and it is through our love that we help others in this process of trusting that God is with them and that new life awaits all those who commit to Him.
7. My photo, taken in the baptistery at San Vitale Cathedral, Ravenna, Italy: This is a close-up of part of a huge mosaic. On the left side of the mosaic was this open cabinet with the four books of the Gospels displayed, which you can see if you look closely. It seemed a fitting way to end this entry.
NOTE: In compliance with GDPR rules, I wish to make it clear that I do not gather any information on any of my readers at any time.