Specter, By John Desjarlais

Specter: A Mystery - Desjarlais, John

Specter mixes the flavors of Romero, Ghostbusters, and The Terminator with generous glops of sour cream and salsa. John Desjarlais embroils his favorite DEA agent, Selena De La Cruz in a fictional parallel to the 1993 assassination of a Cardinal at the Guadalajara airport. She unearths the stench of corruption oozing from the Mexican drug cartels, the Vatican Bank, and the highest officials in the Mexican government. Unfortunately, Selena’s investigation suggests the involvement of her late father. She wonders if she can forgive her father not only for his possible corruption but his drunken violence toward her mother and herself.

As the story comes together, Desjarlais introduces the reader to Mexican culture, idioms and superstitions. Selena broke loose from the “old ways” that placed a premium on macho honor, exemplified by her father and brothers. Her father beats her mother and arranges a marriage for Selena with the tenderness of transferring the title of a car to a new owner. Her intended believes in using girls. When Selena punches out her father’s choice during his attempt to rape her friend, her father feels honor bound to compensate not the victim of the attack but the rapist, because of his damaged machismo. In spite of, or maybe because of her family’s indignation, Selena plans to marry an Anglo. However, her fiancé is older and has the same style mustache as Selena’s father. What would Freud say?

Selena and her brothers experience similar nightmares that remind them of their father. Their Madrina (Godmother) believes that their father is sending a message from Purgatory. Selena’s brother Francisco engages ghost-hunters, techies who record electronic disturbances, to record the family’s spectral visitations. Unlike Ghostbusters, this Chicago-based team invokes St. Michael, The Archangel before they track a spook and keep the phone number to the Archdiocesan exorcist on hand in case they need back-up.

In the midst of this fascinating backstory, Desjarlais subtly lays down threads of a dark mystery which soon envelops Selena, her family, and the Cardinal.  The pace of the novel accelerates like a super loud, growling “Beast” of a “Dodge Charger R/T with a 525 fuel-injected Hemi topped by a Stage V intake, a Gear Vendors Overdrive Unit, a pair of modified 600 Holleys, a pneumatic Air Boss chute and Flowmaster Super 40s to handle the exhaust” breaking 200 MPH along a drag strip.

Desjarlais’ spectacular climax features the gadgetry and explosiveness of a James Bond thriller, but with an O. Henry twist.

The name “Dolores” better fits the somber Selena. She is a grown-up tomboy with a major attitude. Everything goes wrong for her. The chip on her shoulder is nearly heavy enough to break her clavicle. In contrast, her Madrina shows the courage and fidelity of a martyr, adding a spiritual interpretation to the sufferings experienced by the De La Cruz family, especially its women.

John Desjarlais satisfies with this excellent buffet of culture, excitement, and spirituality. I look forward to reading the other books in his Selena series.

The Catholic Writers Guild provided me with an electronic copy of Specter, and I once attended a lecture by John Desjarlais.

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Why Mercy Makes Us Uncomfortable

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In his second Encyclical, Dives in Misericordia…Saint John Paul II highlighted the fact that we had forgotten the theme of mercy in today’s cultural milieu: “The present day mentality, more perhaps than that of people in the past, seems opposed to a God of mercy, and in fact tends to exclude from life and to remove from the human heart the very idea of mercy. The word and the concept of ‘mercy’ seem to cause uneasiness in man, who, thanks to the enormous development of science and technology, never before known in history, has become the master of the earth and has subdued and dominated it.”

Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, para. 11

Something very strange happened on Tuesday. Thousands of people in Louisiana, including my sixteen-year-old son, Benjamin, and myself, were sequestered to closets and bathrooms under the immediate threat of a tornado in our area. Hurricanes we’re used to. Tornadoes no.

I sat on the ground in our small powder room with Benjamin’s lacrosse helmet on my head, clutching my rosary and praying for God’s mercy for all in the storm’s path. Our phone alarms had sounded moments earlier alerting us to an imminent threat in our vicinity, and multiple texts had arrived from family members telling us to take cover as they watched minute-by-minute news coverage of a twister aiming right at us.

From the bathroom floor, I pulled up the news on my laptop so I could see how close the tornado was to us. Suddenly, it occurred to me how unnervingly strange it is that the technology exists to give us a blow-by-blow report on a tornado that might be headed directly for our neighborhood—but that nothing could actually be done to protect us from its wrath. It reminded me that a direct confrontation with the power of nature serves up a sobering wake up call of just how vulnerable we human beings really are, as many of us have learned in recent years in the face of natural disasters.

Interestingly, I had been chewing on Pope Francis’ above-mentioned quote by Saint John Paul II all day, trying to figure out why and how mercy makes us uneasy. But the answer didn’t hit me until I was huddled in the bathroom praying for mercy!

Mercy makes us uncomfortable because it necessitates the admission of our powerlessness, and the acknowledgement that we are not, in fact, God. Mercy crashes our illusions that we are masters of the earth because of our technological prowess, calling us to confront the reality that we are not in control. Mercy demands that we have the humility to concede that we are creatures who are utterly dependent on God—creatures that would cease to exist if he turned his omnipotent glance away from us for one millisecond.

To seek the mercy of God is to experience what Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) referred to as a personal “Copernican revolution,” wherein we come to see that we are not the center of the universe, and that God is. As such, we must begin “to accept quite seriously that we are one of many among God’s creatures, all of which turn around God as their center.” (Joseph Ratzinger, What It Means to Be a Christian, 70-71)

Looking at the world around us, it is apparent that we don’t like to admit our own poverty and frailty, nor do we tolerate well the poverty and frailty of others. Asking for and extending mercy requires that we do both: recognize our human fragility and our profound need for help, while “return(ing) to the basics…to bear the weaknesses and struggles of our brothers and sisters.” (Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, para. 10)

Frankly, we’d rather not. And it shows in the way we live, the values we embrace and the leaders we elect. Which is precisely why Pope Francis, following the lead of St. John Paul II, unceasingly pushes for what he insists is an “urgent” need for the proclamation and witness of mercy in the world.

This article was previously published at Aleteia.

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The Twelve Steps to being a Spiritual Writer

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Step Four – Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves as writers and of our writing.

How many of our actions and mistakes are created by fear? Many think that the opposite of fear is courage, but our Lord tells us that the opposite of fear is love. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…”(1 John 4:18)  As children of the light we are called to live in love. Love of our God, love of our neighbor and love of ourselves. 

It is easy for us as Christians and Catholics to love God. It is possible, with God’s grace, to learn to forgive and love our neighbors. However the hardest love that we struggle with is often the struggle to forgive and love ourselves. We know our sins. We remember our past. We feel unworthy of all the gifts that God has bestowed on us, especially the gift of writing. That fear paralyses us. It holds us back from reaching our full potential.  Let’s face it—it keeps us from using our gift to reach those who need to hear about God’s love. The Bible says a lot about fear. In fact the verse, “Be not afraid” is the most used phrase in the Word of God.

We learn fear as children. Some fears are good. We should be afraid of a hot stove. We should be afraid to run into a busy street without taking the time to look both ways. Unfortunately, we develop fears that limit us or even cause us to sin.  When we look at our defects of character and the sins we have committed, the driving force behind the sin is often fear. We are afraid of people who are different than ourselves. That fear has been the basis of prejudice, war and untold pain in the history of humanity.  We strike out at others as a protection, acting with boldness to cover the fear we truly feel. We may do things to hide who we truly are or lie because we are afraid of being judged. We commit sin because we are afraid that God won’t love and protect us, and then we lie or hide like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden because of the shame we feel.

We need to confront our fears, pulling them out of the darkness and into the light, and the only way to do that is to be honest with ourselves. Think of the fears that have caused you to sin and ask yourself what the true fear was. When you make a list of your past sins and mistakes, ask yourself what the fear really was. Are you afraid of rejection? Or are you afraid of being alone?  Are you afraid of heights, closed spaces or public speaking? Can you remember the first time you felt that fear? What happened?

Are you afraid of illness, death or infirmity? What in your past may have caused that fear? Do you fear being mocked or being laughed at?  Are you afraid of crowds, or the death of loved ones? Do you fear failure or success? Take the time to pray. Ask Jesus to show you your fears. After you have made a list of your most prominent fears, write the times that that fear caused you to sin against God or another person. You will soon find a pattern that links many of your sins to one or two prominent fears. How do we overcome those fears? We have to admit them and then turn those fears over to God. Fear is a matter of control. When we turn that control over to God, we can be healed. We will start to recognize that fear as something familiar when it raises its nasty head. We can turn that anxiety over to God immediately. He will heal us if we ask Him to. 

Fear is often the root of our sins of omission. How often has fear prevented us from reaching out to others? How often have we hidden behind our computer – turning down the chance to share our writing and our beliefs because we were afraid of being rejected, mocked or judged? We have been given a gift that was meant to be opened, not hidden. Fear colors our work and our writing career.  Often as writers, we limit ourselves, unable to take chances because we are afraid of what others may think of us. We give into our fear of public speaking when to do so would promote our work. We limit our dreams and don’t take chances because we are afraid of failure. I was surprised when God revealed that I limited myself because of a fear of success. I was taught to step back, and not ‘stand out’ because others wouldn’t like me if I succeeded. A little bit of success was okay, just not too much.

Eleanor Roosevelt said “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”

If you turn your fears over to God, He will give you opportunities to overcome your fears. He is gentle—taking small steps. For example, once I faced my fear of public speaking and turned that fear over to him, He presented me with opportunities to speak to small groups and led me gently.

So this week, as we continue working step four, let’s recognize, admit and turn our fears over to the One we need never fear. His Love will guide us in our prayer. He will lead us through the dark valley and to the healing waters. Both our spirits and our writing will be refreshed.

Karen Kelly Boyce is a mother of two and grandmother of two who lives on a farm in N.J. with her retired husband. She and her husband love to camp and take ‘road trips’ around the country. She has published four novels and three children’s books. Her website is www.karenkellyboyce.com

 

 

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Why I Freelance

I am scheduled to give a presentation on Freelance Writing at this week’s Catholic Writers Guild Live Conference in Schaumburg, Illinois. I really am pleased to have this opportunity. Part of the presentation deals with why some people choose to be freelance writers.

I want to address this topic from a personal perspective. Perhaps my take on this will resonate with some who read this blog.

I retired in 2011 after a 34-year career working with persons with developmental disabilities. In my early career, I was assigned to deal with the behavior clients. I spent many eight-hour shifts breaking up fights and fending off client attacks on myself. In my twenties, I was able to physically handle the job. The injuries I received healed fast. As my career progressed I was able to work with quieter clients, although no day was ever totally without some kind of issue. The people living in the center had been placed there because their own families could not deal with them. There were some individuals who were without families as well. Anyway, the work was tailor-made for me, as there was plenty of variety in my days. As I neared retirement, I realized I had aches and pains developing that had never been there before. I truly believed that once I retired I could exercise more and get rid of these annoyances.

Now, five years after retirement, I have days when I can barely walk. Standing still is worse. I used to walk five miles a day at work; now walking a half mile is a challenge, not because of a lack of stamina but because of severe leg and back pain. I’m not seeking sympathy by revealing this, merely making a point. At this stage in my life, I physically cannot do the kind of work I did even ten years ago. I need something less taxing.

Sitting at my computer and pounding on a keyboard meets that requirement. Of course, if I sit too long I get a different kind of pain, so I take breaks and stretch and exercise, looking for the balance that works for me.

My physical problems are one of the main reasons I choose to freelance. I still have dreams of getting healthy enough to reopen my judo school, but that’s a story for another blog.

The other reason I choose to freelance is my four youngest sons, all of whom have some type of learning deficit. They range in age from 18 to 22. The two youngest graduated from high school this past June. They, along with their brother Stephen, are all involved with vocational training in the hopes of getting a job.

The job market is tough for anyone, and even more so for persons diagnosed with a disability. Employers are hesitant to even give them a shot. Ken, the oldest of the four, has found a job at the local Kentucky Fried Chicken. He wipes tables, sweeps floors, takes out the trash, washes windows, and so forth. He has worked there now for over a year. I take him to work and bring him home the four days a week he works, as public transportation near us is very limited. Ken and I have a system in place that is currently running smoothly. For his younger brothers, I have periodic meetings with the providers that are required according to federal and state regulations for vocational training. For one person it would not be too hard, but when I have to do everything three different times it starts to become hectic. If I had to be at a job a set number of hours a week, it would not work. Some meetings are in the morning, others in the afternoon or even the evening. But since I basically work for myself I am free to set my schedule as I need to.

When you are a parent of a special-needs child, your responsibilities do not end when they reach adulthood. Each child is different, and some become independent earlier than others, while some will never become independent.

My life now is dedicated to helping my sons reach a point in their life where they no longer need me or their mother. We have journeyed what seems like light years to get where we are now. By choosing to freelance I am able to stay on this journey. I don’t know how much further we will go, but we are not yet done with this pilgrimage.

Freelance writing can be lucrative, but that is far from guaranteed. It can be fulfilling to those who have an absolute need to share the stories in their soul. Freelancing can be a way to establish a name for yourself while you finish your masterpiece.

Freelance writing can also be the answer to a prayer, a way to continue to work when other options have faded; a way of working that also provides the freedom necessary to care for more important matters.

For me, those more important matters are not an obligation but a vocation. It’s a vocation that I happily embrace and thank God for the opportunity to participate in. The success I most dearly strive for is the success of my children, their ability to reach goals that they choose to seek out, and the capability to care for themselves, even if they need some guidance from their older siblings.

Time is what is needed most of all. If I had a regular job, the time I could dedicate to them would be reduced. That is too high a price no matter how sweet the paycheck.

So now you know why I freelance. How about you?

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CWG Prayer Chain Post: July 24, 2016

The CWG Prayer Chain Post is a weekly post for members to include their special intentions by adding a comment.

Gospel, Luke 11:1-13

Now it happened that he was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’ He said to them, ‘When you pray, this is what to say: Father, may your name be held holy, your kingdom come; give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us. And do not put us to the test.’ He also said to them, ‘Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, “My friend, lend me three loaves, because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him;” and the man answers from inside the house, “Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up to give it to you.” I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it to him for friendship’s sake, persistence will make him get up and give his friend all he wants. ‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; everyone who searches finds; everyone who knocks will have the door opened. What father among you, if his son asked for a fish, would hand him a snake? Or if he asked for an egg, hand him a scorpion? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!’

 


The power of prayer and the power of people praying.


JULY INTENTION PRAYER (from Psalms 103)

Bless Yahweh, my soul, from the depths of my being, his holy name;
bless Yahweh, my soul, never forget all his acts of kindness.
He forgives all your offenses, cures all your diseases,
he redeems your life from the abyss, crowns you with faithful love and tenderness;
Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger and rich in faithful love;
his indignation does not last for ever, nor his resentment remains for all time;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor repay us as befits our offenses.
As the height of heaven above earth, so strong is his faithful love for those who fear him.

Please leave a comment with your intention. If you have problems adding an intention, email it to Mike Hays at coachhays(at)gmail(dot)com and I will add it.  God bless.

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Launching the new CatholicWritersGuild.com

We’re just a few days away from launching a brand new CatholicWritersGuild.com website. This is one outward sign, one first step, in what I hope is ongoing growth for our Guild. Our membership is increasing. Our visibility is increasing. And from my own limited perspective – and perhaps with some bias – I see our quality increasing.

These are, of course, the right directions to move in. But steering in the right direction sometimes puts you over a few bumps. They’ll happen, and I have faith in our ability to handle them.

I’m looking forward to speaking to everyone more, both at the live conference and by video, in the coming week. I want to tell you more about the state of the Guild, talk about our current and future projects, and I very much want to hear from you. But for now, I’ll focus on what you need to know about our new site:

For current members:

You should have received an email from me with information about Paypal accounts. When the site launches on Wednesday, you’ll be able to log in with your email address.  The first time you log in, you’ll need to click “Forgot my password” so you can set a new one.

On Wednesday, July 27, you can view a video (or attend live, if you’re at the Catholic Writers Conference) where we’ll launch the new site. Keep an eye on your email and on our Facebook group on Wednesday.

For visitors:

On the new site, you’ll find information about our conferences, awards, and members in a new, easier-to-navigate layout. And we’ll be adding even more in the coming months!

For those joining:

Starting on Wednesday, July 27, you’ll be able to join the Guild through the new website. Just click the Register button on the new site, and it will take you through everything. You can always contact us if you have any questions!

Thank you. I’ll have all of your intentions – our visitors, our readers, our members – in my prayers this coming week at the Catholic Writers Conference.

Christus Vincit!
Joe Wetterling

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But…..It’s Just Me!

Suitcase, Person, Happy, Calm, Young

So we have arrived at the place that Bishop Fulton Sheen, John XXIII and JPII told us was imminent.  We’re there, the society that scoffs at all forms of life, ridicules God and has named every sin as good if it suits your pleasure and “hurts no one”.  Wow.  I don’t know about you but three slayings of black citizens by those who are supposed to protect us and the “reciprocal” slaying and wounding of a dozen police officers in the same week-end has left me feeling helpless, hopeless and just wanting to hide in my closet while permanently wringing  my hands and keening. Even in urban centers like Chicago, this is not a safe place!  Exhausting, confusing!

Almost everyone I know has a similar response:  When is someone going to DO something?  Me too.  We need the system, the politicians, civic leaders, law makers, those in charge to take action and make us feel safe again!  Solutions seem so impossible and far away in this maelstrom of violence gone mad. Can’t God just take charge?  I don’t want to live in this kind of world.

When madness is present people often say things like: How can a supposedly good God allow this?  What good is faith anyway?  All of that “religion stuff” is useless!  In light of that thinking here is a question:  If God gave you the job of cleaning up the mess along with all the skills you would need and twelve (not so able) assistants, what would you say?  No not me, Lord, I can’t, I’m busy, I’m scared!  You know what’s coming next: If not now, when?  If not you, who?  As they say, we are all in the row-boat together.  “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: ‘Whom shall I send?  Who will go for us?.’ ‘Here I am,’ I said; ‘send me!’” (Is 6:8 NAB)

When hate rises, when violence manifests, those are not things that occur “en masse”.  These are things that occur one person at a time and then get passed/taught  from person to person.  Every minute of every day, you have choices.  Even if you are sitting in a location alone, you have choices.  Violence and hate are not things that you’re a powerless victim to, you have choices.  The idea that you and I are powerless in the face of these evils is the lie.  Belief in the lie is what creates powerlessness.

What it comes down to is pretty basic.  Who are you in the world and what do you bring?  When you are confronted with a choice between something that is for God or against God which do you choose? The occasions to make that choice are not as rare as you might think.  They happen in the most sacramental environments of all; the world where you and I function every day. Do you have a prayer discipline that meets God daily as you prepare for the world?  When you are with family do you choose to be helpful and positive or cryptic and negative?  When something does not please, which do you choose: loud complaining or thank you for any favor done?  When you pass a homeless person or beggar, do you judge them in your attitude or are you generous?  Do you ever go out of your way to be inconvenienced in order to help a stranger? Do you recognize your own attitudes of judgement and do your best to “work on them”?  Do you gladly type foul and/or negative things on social media and hide in the anonymity? Do you pray, say grace and give thanks in public places? We all have countless opportunities to “serve God” every day. Acts of kindness and service are cumulative.  Many of them happen when those who know us are not present.  Others, though, observe us, hear us, watch us. Every act that we do, no matter how small, has an effect on the world.  The truth about who will fix the mess that we have arrived at is not complicated.

We know that bread is the simplest food in the world and feeds billions. Did you ever bake bread?  All you need is flour, water, a little salt.  Beat up the dough, bake. No fancy tools, no rare ingredients.  Even nomadic people bake it on the rocks of a camp fire.  There is one additional thing, the yeast which causes the bread to be leavened. The dough literally becomes “polluted” by single-celled organisms which transform the inedible flour into life-sustaining bread.   Even at that level Jesus puts us to the challenge; “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened.” (Mt 13:33)

We are not supposed to be waiting in despair for a super hero to slap down all the bad guys and elevate all the good people.  Look in the mirror, the simplest of truths is right there, looking at you.  Evil is defeated one person at a time. Ridiculous you say? Mmmmmmm, Catholicism, one member at the start, Mary. Today; two billion worldwide!  Wonder how that happened?

©2016, Kathryn M. Cunningham, All Rights Reserved

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CWG Prayer Chain Post: July 17, 2016

The CWG Prayer Chain Post is a weekly post for members to include their special intentions by adding a comment.

Genesis 18:1-10

Yahweh appeared to him at the Oak of Mamre while he was sitting by the entrance of the tent during the hottest part of the day. He looked up, and there he saw three men standing near him. As soon as he saw them he ran from the entrance of the tent to greet them, and bowed to the ground. ‘My lord,’ he said, ‘if I find favour with you, please do not pass your servant by. Let me have a little water brought, and you can wash your feet and have a rest under the tree. Let me fetch a little bread and you can refresh yourselves before going further, now that you have come in your servant’s direction.’ They replied, ‘Do as you say.’ Abraham hurried to the tent and said to Sarah, ‘Quick, knead three measures of best flour and make loaves.’ Then, running to the herd, Abraham took a fine and tender calf and gave it to the servant, who hurried to prepare it. Then taking curds, milk and the calf which had been prepared, he laid all before them, and they ate while he remained standing near them under the tree. ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ they asked him. ‘She is in the tent,’ he replied. Then his guest said, ‘I shall come back to you next year, and then your wife Sarah will have a son.’ Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him.


The power of prayer and the power of people praying.


JULY INTENTION PRAYER (from Psalms 103)

Bless Yahweh, my soul, from the depths of my being, his holy name;
bless Yahweh, my soul, never forget all his acts of kindness.
He forgives all your offenses, cures all your diseases,
he redeems your life from the abyss, crowns you with faithful love and tenderness;
Yahweh is tenderness and pity, slow to anger and rich in faithful love;
his indignation does not last for ever, nor his resentment remains for all time;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor repay us as befits our offenses.
As the height of heaven above earth, so strong is his faithful love for those who fear him.

Please leave a comment with your intention. If you have problems adding an intention, email it to Mike Hays at coachhays(at)gmail(dot)com and I will add it.  God bless.

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Sweet Summer Poems

Ocean, Panorama, Sea, Beach, Sun, Sunny

Summer is such a great month for poetry, it’s easy to laze around and read it on a hammock outside or in a cool air conditioned room. There’s less pressure to ‘do’ things constantly and more of a quote ‘relaxed’ Mediterranean feel to life. One great poem for summer is by Shelley:

A Summer Evening Churchyard, Lechlade, Gloucestershire

THE wind has swept from the wide atmosphere 
Each vapour that obscured the sunset’s ray, 
And pallid Evening twines its beaming hair 
In duskier braids around the languid eyes of Day: 
Silence and Twilight, unbeloved of men, 
Creep hand in hand from yon obscurest glen. 

They breathe their spells towards the departing day, 
Encompassing the earth, air, stars, and sea; 
Light, sound, and motion, own the potent sway, 
Responding to the charm with its own mystery. 
The winds are still, or the dry church-tower grass 
Knows not their gentle motions as they pass. 

Thou too, aerial pile, whose pinnacles 
Point from one shrine like pyramids of fire, 
Obey’st I in silence their sweet solemn spells, 
Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant spire, 
Around whose lessening and invisible height 
Gather among the stars the clouds of night. 

The dead are sleeping in their sepulchres: 
And, mouldering as they sleep, a thrilling sound, 
Half sense half thought, among the darkness stirs, 
Breathed from their wormy beds all living things around, 
And, mingling with the still night and mute sky, 
Its awful hush is felt inaudibly. 

Thus solemnized and softened, death is mild 
And terrorless as this serenest night. 
Here could I hope, like some enquiring child 
Sporting on graves, that death did hide from human sight 
Sweet secrets, or beside its breathless sleep 
That loveliest dreams perpetual watch did keep.

Another great one by him as well is “The Cloud”, it’s very odd and interesting, yet beautiful with great lines:
I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,Clouds, Sky, White, Blue
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.
I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night ’tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
Lightning, my pilot, sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;

Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven’s blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
When the morning star shines dead;
As on the jag of a mountain crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one moment may sit
In the light of its golden wings.
And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
Its ardors of rest and of love,

And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of Heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine aery nest,
As still as a brooding dove.
That orbed maiden with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o’er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent’s thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.

I bind the Sun’s throne with a burning zone,
And the Moon’s with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,–
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
Is the million-colored bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove,
While the moist Earth was laughing below.

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

Posted in Catholic Writing and Publishing | Leave a comment

Fight for Liberty, by Theresa Linden

Fight for Liberty by Theresa Linden, cover art

Fight for Liberty, Book Three in the Liberty trilogy, climbs to a dazzling climax, filled with plot shifts that will tantalize adult, juvenile and young adult readers.

In Book One, Chasing Liberty, an inner voice she calls “My Friend” directs nineteen-year-old Liberty 554-062466-84 of Aldonia to the realization that there is more to existence than a life totally dominated by the Regimen Custodia Terra. With the assistance of Dedrick, a member of the Mosheh, the underground insurgent leadership, she escapes to a remote sylvan colony but not to a life of contentment, as she knows her friends remain trapped in Aldonia.

In Book Two, Testing Liberty, the heroine infiltrates back into Aldonia to rescue her friends and imprisoned colony members, including all of their children, and to undermine the Regimen. She is captured and subjected to Reeducation, a form of video-game brainwashing. Like MacGyver, Liberty becomes more dangerous to the Regimen in captivity than on the loose.

In Fight for Liberty, the now tougher, more accomplished heroine comes into her own as a role model, especially for girls and women, following that inner voice calling them to greatness:

My Friend had never spoken to me as directly as he had these past several weeks. Since Reeducation, He led me to believe I would be instrumental in changing Aldonia, gave me hope that freedom would win out against the all-controlling government, the Regimen Custodia Terra. They controlled every facet of life from population numbers and education to ideologies and individual vocations. Considering all life of equal value, regardless of species, but humans akin to parasites, they had corralled people into cities and forbade entry into the Fully Protected Nature Preserves. We needed to bring them down.

The final push against the Regimen Custodia Terra begins, but instead of an orderly, focused attack against Aldonia, within its electrified fence Liberty, the remnant of the colonists from the Nature Preserves, and their superiors in the Mosheh face a tangle of conflicts.

Liberty’s love interest, Dedrick, doesn’t want her to commit to the Mosheh or participate in the upcoming attacks. The Torva, wild men—a cross between an outlaw biker gang and a Viking raiding party—will join the fray, but they won’t take orders from the Mosheh. They are more interested in owning the young women in the Regimen’s “breeding facility” than in freeing the people of Aldonia.

Previously captured colonial children have escaped from Regimen schools, but they have come under the influence of Guy, a one-armed shadow figure who will follow his own, separate agenda during the upcoming conflict.

Mosheh infiltrators of the Unity Troopers, the army of the Regimen, have found Trooper membership attractive. Silver, the mercenary, has tracked Derek into the Mosheh’s tunnel network. The Regimen would reward her for sharing this information. As dangerous as ever, Dr. Supero has become unpredictable after the treatment of his brain tumor. As the Mosheh subterfuge and subversion begins, no one is sure that their alliance will hold or that the good guys have accounted for all of the Regimen’s resources.

In Fight for Liberty, Theresa Linden has penned her most dramatic and suspenseful dystopian novel yet. The ending is anything but predictable. Although she resolves the many story lines at the end, the reader’s attachment to the characters sparks a hope that a sequel waits in the wings.

It is not necessary to read the series in order, but Liberty fans might prefer to watch the action build to a climax through the earlier volumes.

Posted in Adventure, Book Review, Catholic Fiction, Catholic Theme, Family Life, Fiction, fiction, Hope, Love, Novel, Pro-life, Reviews, suspense, Young Adult Novel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment