April 21 (Easter):  So Easter is all about new life. Catholics believe that in death life is changed, not ended – and changed in a more beautiful way anyone could ever imagine. Those who have died are united with the Communion of Saints (which we all hope to belong) in heaven. At the Easter Vigil we sing the beautiful Litany of Saints, remembering and commemorating their lives and models of living.
                             At the Vigil we pray “God of our ancestors who set their hearts on you, of those who fell asleep
                             in peace, and of those who won the martyrs’ violent crown: We are surrounded by these
                             witnesses as by clouds of fragrant incense. In this age, we would be counted in this communion
                             of all the saints;  keep us always in their god and blessed company. In their midst, we make every
                             prayer through Christ who is our Lord forever and ever, Amen!”
I doubt there are many squirrels in that realm of special people, but you can bet the Saints would all love to have Shelties with them. I hope I get to join them – and all of you as well!!! 

April 14:  Have you ever wondered why we carry Palms on this Sunday before Easter?  Palms were symbols of life among the nomadic tribes, who, when crossing the desert, rejoiced at seeing the palm tree as it indicated an oasis with life-giving water was near. Palms have long been a sign of victory, success and glory. Victorious armies or leaders returning from the battlefield or a long military campaign were welcomed by the populace jubilantly waving palm branches. Despite Jesus’ peaceful manner, when the Jews waved the palms at Him and spread their clothing over which He rode, they were affording Him the honors of a conquering hero and simultaneously defying the Roman occupiers.

On Palm Sunday, we still go out to meet Him, carry the blessed palms, joyfully sing out
our hosanna and join in His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem. But soon our joy turns
to somberness as, clutching our palm, we hear the narrative of Christ’s passion. We
realize, once again, that His triumph, His true victory, will come through the cross. We
know, as Jesus did, how Holy Week will end. We know that joy will turn to sorrow and
back to joy. We know that through the horror of His suffering, followed by the glory of
His resurrection, good will trump evil and life will trump death.

The palms we take home and put in a special place serve to remind us that Palm Sunday is not lost to the ages, but that by Christ’s victory we, too, can achieve everlasting life. “For us too, they [palms] must be symbols of triumph, indicative of the victory to be won in our battle against the evil in ourselves and against the evil which roams about us. As we receive the blessed palm, let us renew our pledge to conquer with Jesus, but let us not forget that it was on the cross that He conquered”

April 7:  So I’ve been asked the question regarding the Lord ’s Prayer why we pray “Lead us not into temptation” and the squirrels wondered why God would ever lead anyone into temptation! Well, the line, “and lead us not into temptation” appears as “and do not subject us to the final test,” in Matthew 6:13.  The catechism explains that some of the confusion lies in the translation.  The Greek words mean that we want God to keep us from “entering” into temptation and to keep us from “yielding” to temptation.  So God isn’t tempting anyone; we’re asking for his help to keep us from ever even going there in the first place. Through this prayer we ask God to keep us from the temptations that are bound to find us because it is way too easy to succumb to those pesky sins!

                             The last line of the Our Father, “…but deliver us from evil,” is a reference specifically to Satan.
                              We are not invoking God’s help against any generic evil here.  Here we are talking about the Evil
                              and all of the inherent evil that comes with him.  This line, on the heels of asking for help against
                              temptation, further solidifies the petition to God for his help and protection from the things that
                              keep us from him and his kingdom.

March 31:  “They say dogs are man’s best friends…. That’s because we wag our tails instead of our tongues!”  That was a quote I saw on my Dad’s desk once. Since we’re all in this Lenten Season sometimes it’s worth one’s while to think of how we wag our tongues and say things we really shouldn’t say, or don’t say things we should say?  Another reason why that wonderful thing you call RECONCILIATION is important.
So, I’m wondering, while we’re thinking of our need for reconciliation, can you name the 7 deadly sins? Sometimes they’re called the ‘capital sins’ and are very serious. They are: PRIDE, an excessive love of self or desire to be better or more important than others. LUST, an intense desire, usually for sexual pleasure, but also money, power, or fame. GLUTTONY, overconsumption of food or drink. GREED, the desire for and love of possessions. SLOTH, physical laziness, also disinterest in spiritual matters or neglect of spiritual growth. ANGER, uncontrolled feelings of hatred. ENVY, sadness or desire for the possessions, happiness, talents or abilities of another.
I have to say I’m working on the gluttony one… trying to resist all those treats Ms. Kendall keeps giving me. I’m glad my Dad’s leaving the light on for everyone, even me. That’s why I’m his best friend!! 
Next week – my squirrel friends want to know the difference between a mortal sin and a venial sin!  Tune in and soon you’ll find out!! 

For more of Maggie's musings, see our online bulletin archives.  Maggie's column appears on page 3