August 6:  It’s the Dog Days of Summer and because my editor says the bulletin is due so early this week, I’m taking a small break and letting the squirrels have a little vacation. 
I hope you’re all having a wonderful doggy summer too!  Love, Maggie Sue

July 30:  The backyard squirrels were discussing the power and effectiveness of prayer.  Prayer is indeed an amazing and most powerful tool.  However understanding prayer can be more difficult. 
A colleague asked C.S. Lewis if he really thought he could change God with his prayer for the cure of his wife’s cancer. Lewis replied: "Prayer doesn't change God; it changes me." William McGill summed it up this way. "The value of persistent prayer is not that God will hear us but that we will finally hear God." Keep in mind that Jesus has taught us to address God as Father.  A loving Father listens to his child, but he does not blindly endorse every request.  Instead, the loving Father provides what is needed, including discipline. Bishop Sheen has this comment on prayer: "The man who thinks only of himself says prayers of petition. He who thinks of his neighbor says prayers of intercession. He who thinks only of loving and serving God says prayers of abandonment to God's will, and that is the prayer of the saints."  And that’s the kind of prayer I pray for you and every one of the squirrels in my Dad’s back yard!! 

July 23:  NOTE:  It’s been quite the summer for my Dad.  I know he was really looking forward to getting away this week for a few days’ vacation with his brothers, but their Dad hasn't been doing too well, so I'm asking all of the squirrels, even the rabbits and you to pray for my Dad's Dad!  And we both thank you!!  In the mean time my Dad's helper, Terry Ratcliff, is editor-in-chief for my column today!! 

Dad says that those of you who grew up in the 1950s & 60s were always told that you should offer up your suffering for the poor souls in Purgatory.  I wonder how many dogs are in God’s “waiting room” in need of my help?     

They would be happy to know that so far my summer has not had many fun “dog days.” I used to run across the lawn to the old school building with Dad and wander around the parking lot.  But with all that building going on, Dad says it’s not safe (he loves me like that).  A few weeks ago he told me that the lawn between the rectory and the cathedral were also “off limits” because of all the scaffolding and men working on the roof.  I was still able to run and chase squirrels in the garden, but wouldn’t you know that last month I surprised a raccoon and he attacked me!

Then there were two big parties in the garden.  I heard the new Bishop was there for both of them, but to keep me safe and calm, Dad thought it best that I stay indoors (he did bring me some yummy hot dogs).
Just when I thought things were back to normal, some people in the neighborhood started setting off fireworks at all hours of the day and night.  It was so bad on the night of July 4th that I couldn’t sleep all night (maybe some of you were awake, too).

I will be really happy when summer is over and the new Diocesan Hall is finished and we have a nice, safe parking lot where I can run and play.  Meanwhile, I am willing to offer all this up to help the poor purgatory puppies.

July 16:  This must be the Sunday for lists! I notice that my Dad has a list of his top 10 things he learned from gardening. Well – I keep trying to tell my Dad he needs to simplify his life! When dogs (I mean people) really keep their lives simple, just how much easier their lives become. These are a few things everyone should consider:

First, buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.
Second, reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
Third, develop a habit of giving things away.
Fourth, refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
Fifth, learn to enjoy things without owning them.
Sixth, develop a deeper appreciation for the creation.
Seventh, look at a healthy skepticism at all “buy now, pay later” schemes.
Eighth, obey Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech.
Ninth, reject anything that will breed the oppression of others (except squirrels!)
Tenth, shun whatever would distract you from your main goals: “Seek first the Kingdom of God!”

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