Saturday, December 24, 2016

Glory to the Newborn King

Hark, the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

The Birth of the Word Made Flesh
Krisi Keley, Nov 2016

Link to a beautiful reflection by Robert Royal:

A beautiful and blessed Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and Remembrance

Link to a short history of Our Lady of Guadalupe:

My deep gratitude for your answer to my prayers, Our Lady, and thank you for taking one of your suffering children into your comforting arms on your feast day to guide him home to your Son.

In Memoriam
Patrick Joseph Roach
13 September 1934-12 December 2015

We miss you so much, Dad. All our love.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception: Chaire, Kecharitomene

Chaire Kecharitomene, Krisi Keley, 2016 (after the style of the Esquilache Immaculate Conception by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo)

Luke 1:26-34: And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,
To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women.
Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.
And the angel said to her; Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
He shall be be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever.
And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?

(The Holy Bible, Douay-Rheims Version, 2000: Tan Books)

Some links to articles about the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception and the biblical significance of St. Gabriel's unique greeting, Chaire, Kecharitomene (Hail, Full of Grace):

As someone who studied languages and linguistics and who loves words, for me these articles were fascinating in and of themselves, but also, for a reflection on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8), is to note not only the significance in the uniqueness of the words in St. Gabriel's salutation, Hail, Full of Grace, but the way in which Mary received this greeting. Namely, that even before God's angel delivered the, seemingly, more astonishing news that she, a virgin, would bear the Son of the Most High, and without having known man (for no word shall be impossible with God), Mary was already troubled by the words of the greeting itself and over what such an extraordinary salutation might mean.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

A blessing filled feast of the Immaculate Conception to all.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Blessed Thanksgiving

I have much to be grateful for this year, more than can be summed up in a blog post. However, though it can't convey the extent of my gratitude, I would feel remiss not to share my profound thanks for the incredible kindness and generosity of family and friends. Though I don't thank them by name here, for the sake of their privacy, I pray they know who they are, how deep my appreciation, and how much they mean to me. And, above all, my gratitude to the Lord God and His blessed Mother, for giving me the gift of these people in my life, for saving my brother and myself from a truly dire situation, for boundless comfort and strength during a period of deep grief, fear and stress and for countless other blessings this year. No words can express the depth of my thanks. Nonetheless:

Almighty Father,
You are lavish in bestowing all Your gifts,
and we give You thanks for the favors You have given to us.
In Your goodness,
You have favored us and kept us safe in the past.
We ask that you continue to protect us 
and shelter us in the shadow of your wings.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

(Prayer of Thanksgiving, Companion Prayers, from the Companions of St. Anthony, Ellicott City, MD)

Wishing all a beautiful Thanksgiving, filled with love, joy and God's bountiful blessings.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Every Human Life

October 2, 2016 is Respect Life Sunday and October itself, Respect Life month.

After recently losing my father, whom my brother and I cared for in home hospice while he suffered terribly as the result of a stroke and dementia for the last several years of his life, and with the Hyde amendment at risk of being repealed, though it's not much to offer, I still felt called, this year more strongly than ever, to a special remembrance of all life to be respected from conception through natural death.

Before attempting fiction novel writing, from a young age I wrote a lot of poetry, mainly with visions of those writings some day becoming song lyrics. That childhood dream didn't come to pass (my music composition skills are of the quality only a parent could smile indulgently at), but I did keep writing lyric style poetry off and on for many years after. This one, from the year 2000, was an attempt to recognize the preciousness of life.

Wonder Why

I thought I’d be a lot of things
Like children do, I dreamed
Of all of them, just not myself
Was preferable, it seemed
What, one in ten childhoods like that?
Two of those can’t bear the pain
And people mourn the wasted lives
Saying what a crying shame
Wonder why it’s not the same
A child who’d be a lot of things
If his mother’d let him be
Begins the struggle of his life
From day one, the fight, you see
What difference from the child who hurts
The child who will one day?
Why don’t the two have equal right
To overcome life’s pain?

His parents had high hopes for him
This young man gone so astray
Once such a boy, with charms and gifts
Needles have stripped away
But still, you know, they pray for him
In his quest to dull the pain
The system vows to change his life
To kill potential’s such a shame
Wonder why it’s not the same
A child who may or may not be
All his parents dreamed about
Is said to have some handicap
Ultrasound leaves not a doubt
What difference from a wounded mind
A body which must fight
For everything it makes of life
Who’s to judge who’s greater right?

She’d thought she’d be a lot of things
She who’s seen so many years
Some dreams she lived and some have died
Some could not survive her fears
Sometimes she thinks it’s all too much
What has she left but pain?
But her daughter’s girl has asked, “Who’s
Not to tell her’d be a shame
Wonder why it’s not the same
An old man lies alone in bed
No family to forget
His care has cost us quite a sum
I’m a burden, he suspects
No one to tell him differently
Except the nurse who earns her wage
And learns that she and him share much
He dreamed, she dreams; a shame
We don’t cherish all these lives the same
Wonder why
We don’t cherish all these lives the same?

Krisi Keley 2000

Likewise was a painting I did for a pro-life art show at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, PA in November of 2009:

Where Babies Come From, Krisi Keley 2009

As a writer and, even more, a reader, it's difficult not to quote a line from a favorite book that seems to sum up rather succinctly what respecting life from conception through natural death means to a Catholic like myself, even if the quote wasn't originally referring to any particular moral, religious or political position on the matter.

"We're all human, aren't we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving." Kingsley Shacklebolt, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Photo courtesy Heartbeat International via Pinterest

Life is a precious gift, every human life is worth the same and must be cherished in every stage and in every condition of physical, mental and spiritual health. I thank my father, an array of recent difficult life circumstances and the Lord for reminding me of that and for helping me to attempt getting my priorities in order. Though the above meager shares of my own work show my contribution thus far has been much too little, my prayers, today and every day, with all those who dedicate themselves to defending life as well as with the lives they defend.

Picture courtesy of Respect Life Program, copyright 2016, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

No Words, Just Stupid Love and Broken Hearts

"Ah, well, people can be a bit stupid abou' their pets."
Rubeus Hagrid
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

13 November 2005 - 29 July 2016

Please forgive us, my strong gentle boy. If only stupid love and "anything" could have been enough. Despite that you deserve chapter after chapter dedicated to the beauty you brought to the story of our lives, there is simply no prose or poetry, there are no adequate words, to say how much we love you, how much you did for and are to us, and how much we miss you everyday. Give those precious kisses to all the family until we know your luminous hearts again in the Creator. Sweet baby boy, last of our so cherished gifts of God, all our stupid love - always.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Our Dear Boy

Theophilos (Philly)
28 February 2002 - 16 May 2016

My-own-man, proud hound to the core
Our runner supreme, our "sparkle motion"

Still, "Foxweiler (Rotthound?)," whichever - an uncle sure

From accepting brother and constant friend of devotion

Our gratitude for fourteen beyond special years
And for making our lives so much more complete

Of separation, yet sweet remembrance, the tears
'Til in the Creator together, and family joy replete.

We love you and miss you, our dear boy, until we meet again.