Sunday, December 17, 2006

Another six months later...

Well, it's been another six months, and many are starting to ask what I've been up to. The sad answer is that I've not really gotten much further in my discernment and my family is being torn apart by strife. I've managed to contact a few communities and I've scheduled to visit one of them in January. My main problem has been an inability to deal with the change in plans caused by my potential heart problem this past summer. It took me a long time to let go of that pain and start looking again.

Now with everything that has been going on with my family my discernment has really taken a back seat again. It's been really hard to concentrate on finding out God's will when my faith is being shaken by what my family is going through. As I said in a previous post, my parents took in my abused nieces and nephew. These kids have been through hell and need serious therapy, unfortunately we cannot provide it. In fact, my parents not even sure they'll be able to pay the mortgage next month. It's been horrible because they only have custodial rights, not parental. We also are kin to these kids, and since we are related we obviously had a hand in their abuse and don't deserve help (even though we didn't no they existed two years ago).

We've contacted so many people trying to find a solution for these kids; my mom is on the phone almost every day calling new leads. Unfortunately no one wants to help us; most don't even return her calls. We qualify for no money because my parents are "wealthy", nevermind that my mom has been at half income for a year now so she could be home with the children. We've refinanced the house to pay for the costs so we are now unable to move out of it with the flat market.

Unfortunately the lack of support is wearing us thin more than the kids. Since my mom cannot get support she is starting to snap. Not only are we not getting any support, but we are also getting reported for abuse by the school. These kids know how get the "professionals" to think they are little darlings all the while pulling horrid games. It's wretched to watch children who've come so far backslide because they can't get the therapy they need at home. It's disheartening and stressful that they are encouraged to misbehave and rebel at school. Every little action they do becomes a reminder of how this entire system are failing them and we can do nothing but watch them go down. As far as we can tell the only chance of getting them help will be to put them in foster care, and that system will most likely send them back to their mother who is unequipped and unwilling to help them.

So now I ask for all your prayers, for we need them right now.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Update on Life

So, here is a brief update of the last hectic month. I'm now at my parents house. I've quit my job and moved out of my apartment and back home. I sold or gave away half my stuff, the other half was then packed into a van, pickup and car and carted back to my parents house. I felt like I'd gotten rid of so much, then we barely could fit it all in the vehicles.

That was a very stressful time, I gave away so much, moved away from my job, friends and a town I loved, to move home to a family that never rests. Good news is I haven't had time to rest and feel self-pity.

Since I've gotten home I've been put to work. My parents work in DC with my two sisters, and I stay home with my two nieces and a nephew. The children were abused at one time and are a lot of work. Although they've been living here for almost a year and they are much better than when they first moved up here.

So I've taken on a housewife roll, I clean up the house, take care of the little ones and unpack all my stuff. Also, the basement is a total mess and needs to be redone. So one of my other jobs is cleaning it out and ripping down the walls. Oh, and my parents want to clean out their house as well, get rid of some of the junk. Which means they asked me to do a yardsale.

In the past week I've been to daily mass once, and only yesterday started saying the rosary at 5pm with the children. I also didn't find my copy of the Liturgy of the Hours until this afternoon. Hopefully by next week I'll be into more of a schedule.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Crazy Dream

So, I simply must tell about this crazy dream I had while in Nashville (crazy as in funny-odd).

In the dream I was in a car with another girl talking back and forth while driving to some location. Now I don't remember which one I was (passenger or driver) or who said what, but for the sake of telling I'll just assign roles. I noticed an area off to the side where the trees were cut down and being prepped for shipping and I remarked that it would be a great place. The other replied "Why yes, St Dominic would love living there!" and I get a vision of a great tree cut in two with a gap between the pieces and thinking it would be a great little place for him to live, why? Since it had no bed of course! "Yes," I reply, "You should write to him to let him know about it, I hear he is still living in France." Then this music starts playing and I hear the lyrics "Preacher of Fire, you are my hearts desire-ire-ire-ire..." fading into the ringing of the morning bells.

I believe my first thought that morning was... "whhaa??" and I had those lyrics playing in my head the entire day :P

Sunday, June 04, 2006

It's been a Month??!!

Wow, didn't realize that it's been a month since my last post, and with the two week break before that I wonder if anyone is still reading this :-P I guess this shows that keeping a blog isn't part of my vocation ;)

Oh well, I really need to write this down and try to sort out my thoughts, so if anyone is still reading I wouldn't mind a sounding board :D

Over this past month there have been two events that affected my discernment (and otherwise broke the tide of work and sleep). First I went to a doctors appointment on the 19th, then the next week went to Nashville for their retreat. These two events combined threw my whole discernment process into confusion - I can't wait for my spiritual director to get back.

First the doctor's appointment...and first a little background. In highschool I had a heart issue called SVT (supraventricular tachycardia) and it was finally diagnosed and treated when my Mom insisted that the doctor's look into it. So, before going in to the appointment I said a short prayer to Mary asking her to act as my mother did, making sure to bring to light anything that might need attention and dismissing anything that doesn't. Well, it was a strange appointment and I think that is exactly what happened. The doctor simply dismissed all the little ailments I had and zeroed in on a single recorded (and possibly two others not) of a slight tachycardia again. He insisted that I see a cardiologist, but when they tried to schedule the appointment it wasn't clear they'd get it in before the end of the month. Great ok, so I might have SVT again, fine, but won't that mean a community won't accept me? Not knowing this I headed down to Nashville a few days later...

So the Nashville trip...was horrid and wonderful at the same time. I decided to drive down (9 hours) and managed the trip ok, until Nashville itself. I then decided to spend an hour "touring" Nashville (aka - I got lost). Wonderful arrival, stressed and tired, but was glad to finally be there. The next day I was one of the first ones to talk to the sister in charge of the retreat and she basically implied that I might not have a vocation. I also told her about the doctor's appointment and she basically confirmed that someone with a major condition would probably not be admitted. So I left that meeting upset and confused and the first two days in Nashville were horrid, but I decided that night to make the most of it.

The next three days were wonderful. I loved the community and their life. The talks covered topics like Dominican life, spirituality, Mary, Bioethics, Community life, and their specific apostolate. I loved the sisters and the motherhouse was beautiful. There were a few times where I began to tire over the amount of prayer, but as soon as I got into it I loved it as well. A specific memory was sitting in Adoration (Holy Hour) up in front of the chapel, the sisters sat behind us and at the chanting points they would start singing. It sounded like angels singing in the heavens...it was simply beautiful. I came away knowing one thing for sure, the Dominican order is going to have to beat me back. I'm going to be a Dominican; nun, sister or lay - I don't care!

Anyway, people keep asking me if I felt at home there (is this where you're going? Will you be going back?) I don't know. Everything was so conflicting that I can't get a clear feeling on the place.

What's conflicted? Well, here are all the issues, get ready for a storm: I went to Nashville not expecting to get a cardiologist appointment until August so I went thinking there would be no way I could enter a community this August and didn't worry about it(when they start their new postulants), but then I got back and I had an appointment for this month. Does this mean the heart questions will be resolved before the deadline for applications is done? Will I be waiting a year? I have no idea what to expect - it could either be SVT again or nothing; the doctor may be able to tell right away or it could take several months of testing. I found out about this the day after I submitted my resignation at work, come July 1st I'll have no more insurance...

Does this mean I'm not supposed to go home like planned? Should I be looking to continue my job here? I don't know if they can keep me...I don't even know if I want to stay. Should I go home and hope for another job? Or should I look for other ways of getting insurance? Perhaps this is just the Lord's way of saying "Trust me", but I'm being asked to make decisions now. I'm definitely moving out of my apartment, but should I sell everything, or just the non-essentials? Was I too hasty in deciding to leave Charlottesville? It was a decision made at a point of spiritual giddiness...oh I don't know. Everything is just so crazy! :p

Ah, so that is the craziness that is my life now...fun huh? I think I'll post some more blogs this week (make up for that month missing), besides, I simply must tell that crazy dream I had about St Dominic :D

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Three AM

Three am is the worst time of night for me. In this time before dawn, when things are quiet and cold, I become afraid of the dark and my doubts and fears surface. It is then that I question God's existence, the Church, the Bible and Truth itself. It's such a horrid time.

Last week this happened again, only it was a bit worse than normal. That day I'd been reading different people's call to the religious life and often the person was asked if he or she had considered the religious life...before they had ever begun thinking about it. I began thinking about how this almost never happens to me. Actually it has happened once, but at three am I didn't remember that occasion.

Shaken I walked into the chapel to pray, and sat for an hour asking for a miracle to dispel my doubts and fears. I wanted a big one, an apparition of Mary would have been about what I was looking for. Of course nothing happened, although I did leave with fewer fears than I'd walked in with, I realized that I would probably never receive a miracle like that happen in my life.

As I turned on my car I accepted that, but still longed for something. As I sat there I started listening to the song that was playing, the first line I understood was "Blessed are they who believe and yet have not seen."

I started crying. I was a bit miffed, I wanted a bigger miracle, but I also felt so blessed to know the Lord was listening to my pleas. It could be complete coincidence of course...but I think I'll choose to believe it's a little miracle :)

I cannot find it online (it must be new), but the rest of the lyrics go something like this:

I live among the scoffers and the questioning
"How can you trust a God that you have never seen?"

But I still believe
"Blessed are they who believe and yet have not seen."

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Peace

A few weeks ago I spoke to my boss about my decision to leave work and join a religious order. He commented that it must feel good to finally have a direction in life. I agreed without much thinking about it, but lately I've been considering what he said.

Even in school, when I "knew" what my direction was I was unsatisfied. I was going to become an astrophysist, teach and do research, yet I felt as if I had a purpose that I was not fufilling. Somehow I was in the wrong place doing the wrong things. I felt so much frustration over this nagging feeling that there were nights when I cried myself to sleep because nothing was right and no matter what I tried I still felt "wrong".

I've recently noticed that that horrid feeling is gone. Yet, while I no longer feel as if something is wrong in my life I'm not doing anything different. I still have the same job and do the same work as before, the same friends and the same frustrations. Even more, I no longer have a plan for what exactly I'll be doing in five years, or 5 months for that matter.

But things have changed. I no longer have a direction, but I do have a destination. Before the only destination I had was to be a "good christian" and live a happy life. Now I know what I'm living my life for and where I want to end up at the end. My destination is the Lord, my life is His to do with as He wills. The direction no longer matters. Although I have the desire to join the Dominicans as a religious sister, that is not my goal. My goal is to serve the Lord in whatever way He calls me, even if that means becoming *gasp* a Jesuit. ;)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

"To be any more Trad, you'd have to be Jewish."

The website for the Society of St. Pius I (http://www.ancillapress.com/SSPI/SSPIindex.html) appears to be dead, but this is what I've been able to put together from separate sources around the net. We must keep the TRUE CHURCH ALIVE! (Make sure you read the disclaimer at the end.)

Welcome to the fledgling website of the Society of St. Pius I (SSPI). Unlike other so-called "traditionalist" Roman Catholic groups, we adhere to the ORIGINAL Roman Catholic Mass of A.D. 40-200, and described by St. Justin Martyr and the Apostolic Constitutions, and used by Pope St. Pius I of happy memory.

Don't be fooled by PHONY "Vulgate" neotraditionalists, who claim to protect tradition, and yet still defend the RADICAL and totally UNCATHOLIC reforms of the 4th century A.D.

So-called "trads" pretend to be against the modernism of the last hundred years, but where were they when the original Rite of Rome, the Greek rite USED BY ST. PETER AND THE APOSTLES was being totally gutted and revised by unknown scholars and translated into the vernacular language of Latin?

Unlike other wimpy neotraditionalist groups who attach themselves to various other Piuses, we at the SSPI make absolutely ZERO compromises with modernism. We reject not just one, but BOTH "Novus Ordos"--the Novus Ordo of 1970 promulgated by Paul VI, and the Latin Vulgate Mass of 400 A.D. promulgated by Innocent I and Pope Gregory I, which we call the "Vulgar Mass."

Thanks to the miracle of the internet, we can now spread the TRUTH about the REAL Roman liturgical tradition which is being kept alive only by a brave remnant of faithful Catholics: myself and whoever else wants to join.

Facts everyone NEEDS to know about the "Traditional" Latin Mass

FACT: Even the neotrad “Catholic Encyclopedia” admits the Latin Mass was a radical break with tradition!

The REAL Traditional Roman Mass is the Greek Mass of the first three centuries as described by the Apostolic Constitutions and the Apology of St. Justin Martyr. The “Catholic Encyclopedia” written and published in 1913 by diehard "pre-Vatican II" neotrads, was forced to admit that its oh-so-precious “Latin Mass” was a radical and unprecedented break from tradition unlike any that had ever gone before. Just read these shocking quotes from the article “Liturgy of the Mass”:

“The origin of the Roman Mass, on the other hand, is a most difficult question. We have here two fixed and certain data: the Liturgy in Greek described by St. Justin Martyr (d. c. 165), which is that of the Church of Rome in the second century, and, at the other end of the development, the Liturgy of the first Roman Sacramentaries in Latin, in about the sixth century. The two are very different.” “He [Justin Martyr] describes how the Holy Eucharist was celebrated in Rome in the middle of the second century…we have hardly any knowledge at all of what developments the Roman Rite went through during the third and fourth centuries…By the fifth century, we come back to comparatively firm ground, after a radical change.”

“But between this original Roman Rite (which we can study only in the Apost. Const.) and the Mass as it emerges in the first sacramentaries (sixth to seventh century) there is a great change”

“This brings us back to a most difficult question: Why and when was the Roman Liturgy changed from what we see in Justin Martyr to that of Gregory I? The change is radical, especially as regards the most important element of the Mass, the Canon.”

“at Rome the Eucharistic prayer was fundamentally changed and recast at some uncertain period between the fourth and the sixth and seventh centuries. During the same time the prayers of the faithful before Offertory disappeared, the kiss of peace was trasferred to after the Consecration, and the Epiklesis was omitted or mutilated into our “Supplices” prayer.

Finally, the article quotes the liturgical historian Rauschen as saying:

“We must then admit that between the years 400 and 500 a great transformation was made in the Roman Canon.”

What more proof could anyone POSSIBLY need?! The so-called “Traditional Latin Mass” is NOT traditional at all!!! It’s a drastic change in 200 years of liturgical tradition, and one concocted by unknown scholars and unaccountable liturgical “experts.” It is a dangerous modern innovation that is putting millions of souls in jeopardy!!

FACT: Latin is NOT the original language of the Church!

It’s a VERNACULAR language that was foisted on the Roman church by Pope Victor I (A.D. 190-202), who was an AFRICAN priest--NOT a Roman!!!

The earliest liturgies at Rome as described by St. Justin Martyr were in GREEK. But once Victor made the change in language, that OPENED THE DOOR a century later to a barrage of changes in the rite of Mass itself, from which the Roman Rite has NEVER recovered.

This opening up of vernacular languages has led to the Church becoming a veritable Tower of Babel, full of all sorts of barbarian languages that were NOT SPOKEN BY THE APOSTLES. Was this what Christ intended when he prayed that the church be one? A hodge podge of incomprehensible barbarian tongues that were formerly used to worship fake gods like Jupiter? Die-hard Vulgate Pope John VIII even allowed Cyril and Methodius to translate the liturgy for the Slavs into Old Church Slavonic!!

Wouldn’t you want to use a language that was actually spoken by the Apostles, rather than some barbarian language spoken by goatskin wearing savages? EVERY SINGLE BOOK of the New Testament was written in GREEK. Not Latin. Not Syriac. Not Coptic. Not Old Church Slavonic. And especially not English. This fact alone PROVES that these other languages are inventions of SATAN and CONDEMNED BY GOD.

So whatever later so-called “Popes” may have said about the use of Latin, it IS NOT TRADITIONAL!!!

And even further, linguists have shown that Nero--who is identified by some biblical scholars as the archetype of Antichrist in Revelation--spoke Latin. Do you really think God would want you to be using the Antichrist’s language--IN A CHURCH?????

FACT: The traditional Roman Mass was celebrated in catacombs, NOT churches!!!

Above ground churches are a LATE development in the Roman church which date to the legalization of Christianity by Constantine. They were NEVER part of the original Roman rite!

So what was so wrong with the church going above ground? Above ground is where PAGAN temples were built. And in order to appease and “get along with” their new false-god worshiping neighbors, modernist Romans started to build unholy ecumenical shrines that confirmed and incorporated their wrong and idolatrous ideas. Don’t just take my word for it--just ask a Jehovah’s Witness--even they’ll tell you it’s true!!!

The Pantheon for instance, was a PAGAN Roman temple which was reconsecrated as a church by Pope Boniface in A.D. 609!! Pagan building, Catholic building--what’s the difference, right?? Then in the reign of Pope Zacharias (741-752) another church was built on the ruins of a pagan temple and called “Santa Maria sopra Minerva”. Minerva was a Roman goddess--many Catholics DIED HORRIBLE DEATHS rather than offer a tiny pinch of incense to her. And yet their supposedly Christian descendants NAMED a church after her!!! Even the ecumaniacs at Assisi never did anything like this--put a false goddess’ name ON PAR with the Virgin Mary, Mother of God!!!!

In accord with holy tradition therefore, we must reject any and all above-ground church structures, in accordance with the true traditional practice of the Roman church. Unfortunately, funding issues and zoning laws in our locality have so far prevented us from excavating new catacombs in our area, so we are temporarily headquartered behind the water heater in our basement.

FACT: Pope Gregory the “Great” was a liturgical “reformer”

Neotrads love to say their Mass goes back to Pope Gregory I in the 6th century. But how much do they REALLY know about this ultraliberal legislator who helped solidify the final destruction of the TRUE traditional Roman Rite?

Even a pope firmly entrenched in the Vulgar Mass, Benedict XIV said that “no pope has added to, or changed the Canon since St. Gregory.” He thus ADMITS that St. Gregory changed the Canon!!!

Gregory’s biographer John the Deacon tells us that Gregory “collected the Sacramentary of Gelasius in one book, leaving out much, changing little, adding something for the exposition of the Gospels.”

Gregory also moved the Our Father from the end of the Mass to the Canon. He also added the phrase “Diesque nostros” to the Hanc Igitur prayer. This is the prayer that says “Graciously accept, then, we beseech You, O Lord, this service of our worship and that of all Your household”--it asks God to accept ALL forms of worship!!! Incredibly, Gregory did NOT change this part of the prayer despite its obviously heretical approval of false worship!!!

To make matters worse, in a letter published in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation, Pope Gregory approved a totally untraditional ecumenical “concoction” for use in Britain:

“Your brotherhood knoweth the custom of the Church of Rome…But it pleaseth me, if you have found anything, be it in the Church of Rome, or France or any other…zealously choose and spread in the Church of the English…the things that you have been able to gather from many Churches.” So instead of demanding that Augustine use the traditional Greek Mass to England, Gregory just had him cobble together an “ecumenical” liturgy from every country and “zealously” spread it. Neotrads complain to no end about Cranmer’s Protestant Mass in England, but Gregory started the trend a thousand years before!!! Cranmer just finished the job!! We also have a reliable source from Italy who informs us that a recently excavated mosaic clearly depicts Pope Gregory kissing Vergil’s Aeneid!!!

But to answer the question on everyone’s mind, was Pope Gregory a Freemason? Despite apparently accurate claims that the organization did not even exist back then, the Freemasons THEMSELVES claim otherwise, and say that they date back to Ancient Egypt. It is therefore POSSIBLE that a fifth century pope may have joined the organization. Significtantly, our top researchers at the Society have NOT been able to DISPROVE Gregory’s membership in the Masons, and, most importantly, NEITHER HAS ANYONE ELSE. Prudence therefore DEMANDS that we treat all of his liturgical “reforms” as HIGHLY suspect and potentially heretical.

Pope Gregory was the “Great” all right--the great changer of the Canon and the great ecumaniac to boot!!

Fact: the people behind the “Latin Mass” promoted Dialogue with FALSE RELIGIONS!!!

Neotrad "Saint" Jerome, who imposed his Vulgate Bible on the Latin world, took instruction in Hebrew and Talmud from Jewish scholars, and even followed their opinions (e.g. in his Commentary on Joel iv. 11). Says the Jewish Encyclopedia: “Although other Church Fathers quote Jewish traditions none equal Jerome in the number and faithfulness of their quotations”. He was being “faithful” to Judaism’s traditions, while at the same time ruining Catholic traditions by translating the Bible into the evil language of Nero!

Most shockingly of all, Jerome also wrote a book called “Dialogue with the Luciferians”--LUCIFER????? Is there NO ONE these neotrads won't DIALOGUE with????!!!! At what point do we just say--NO... WE DON'T DIALOGUE WITH LUCIFERIANS??!!!

By the way, some snide sarcastic modernist type pointed out that our hero St. Justin Martyr also wrote a “Dialogue with Trypho the Jew”. Yeah, we knew that. So what?

FACT: St. Paul said to “hold fast to the traditions you have been taught”

Ask yourself--are today’s Novus Ordo neocons and Latin Mass neotrads REALLY holding fast to TRUE ROMAN tradition? DID they hold fast to the Greek liturgy that St. Peter and Paul brought to Rome? Or are they just too happily clueless in their little Gallicanized-Roman Rite and its "ecumenical" combination of Latin and Frankish??

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ANNOUNCEMENT: Real Traditionalist Priests wanted!!

No priest has of yet had the courage to join our brave and heroic movement. So we are currently looking for Greek-speaking priests who may have said the liturgy of St. Justin Martyr in their youth. Candidates must be able to prove Apostolic Succession directly from Popes Peter, Linus, Cletus or Clement. NOTE: Greek Catholic/ Greek Orthodox Rite priests NEED NOT APPLY!!! We have arbitrarily decided not to like you guys either.

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DISCLAIMER: This website is provided for purposes of disinformation only. It does not represent the views of Latin Mass neotrads Claudio and Jamie Salvucci, although it darn well should. All Rites reserved.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Atheism and CS Lewis

One of the things I fear most is apostasy. Knowing what I know about the Catholic church there would be no where for me to go unless I became Atheist. Whenever I start to get pulled in this direction I read CS Lewis. Yes I know he wasn't Catholic, but his arguments against Atheism snap me out of my daze.

You can find these arguments in almost all of his books (which are all wonderful and highly recommended). I found this one hidden in the sixth book of the Narnia Chronicles, The Silver Chair.

At this point the witch has been trying to enchant the children into believing that there is no world but her cave. Strumming on her little harp and burning incense in the fire she tells them that all the things of the Overworld are just extensions of the things in the cave. The sun is no more than a "bigger and better lamp" and Aslan is no more than a bigger cat. Puggleglum then walks up to the fire and, putting his frog-like foot into it, stops the sweet aroma and breaks most of the enchantment.

"One word, Ma'am," [Puddleglum] said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't an Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narina. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for the Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's a small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say."


A friend has often used these same arguments against God. He's said that God is no more than an extension of the things known in this world and that religion is only for the emotionally immature and naive. Furthermore, I shouldn't throw my life away looking for something that doesn't exist. Well I have this to say! (of course, totally in my own words)

I have one thing left to say to you Atheist. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a lass who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things - soul and heaven and God; Father, Son and Spirit. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a existence of yours is all there is in the world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on God's side even if there isn't a God to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Christian as I can even if there isn't any Christ. So, thanking you kindly for our talks, if my fellow Christians are ready, we're leaving you at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for heaven. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's a small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Discerning Elements of Your Personal Vocation

A friend sent me this link on the discernment process and I thought others might find it useful: How to Discern Elements of Your Personal Vocation

Monday, February 27, 2006

Meditation on the Fiat

"Mary, by whose Fiat the Son of God came into the world, pray for us."

The first day of the retreat we were told to draw a piece of paper from an envelope. Each paper contained one line from a litany (I do not know which one). We were then told to pray about this line to determine what the Lord was trying to say to us through it. I drew the line above and below are the notes I made while meditating over it. I was going to rewrite this or just try to summarize it, but I feel the Lord wishes me to give the more or less raw notes (I have edited them to correct for times when my mind jumped ahead of the pen).


Why did the Lord give me this piece? What is He trying to say to me?

What is the Fiat?
- "Let it be done unto me according to thy Word."
- It was her total unconditional acceptance of God's will in her life. She opened her heart, body, life... her entire being up to God. She nourished Him with her life. She accepted His Will, not knowing what would come of it. Not understanding fully how it would come about. Trusting the Lord would guide her when she needed it.

By this acceptance the Son of God came to earth
- She opened her body to His Will, carrying within her the Son of God. She nourished Him, giving her body and blood to Him so that He might one day do the same for us. Nourished Him that He might nourish us.

And we ask this blessed woman to pray for us.
- For it is through her that all graces come. For she brought Christ into the world and brings Him again to us this day. And by honoring her she in turn brings us back to Him.

Oh most blessed Mother of the Eucharist, pray for us.

When I started this I felt it was reminding me to always be doing God's will. To constantly say "yes" to Him, yet there is another meaning for me. Many years ago I was 'attacked' by Bible Christians and, although their attacks against the Catholic faith eventually strengthened me, I was never able to overcome their attacks against Mary. I understood the Catholic position to be right, but I felt awkward honoring her. I feared giving too much to her and not enough to Christ. I've now realize that this isn't possible, for by honoring her we honor Christ. Looking upon the beauty of the gold tabernacle before me I realized that as I must gaze through the glass to see Christ in this physical one, so must I also gaze through Mary, an even more perfect tabernacle, to see Christ. As the ornate gold reminds me of how precious it's contents are, so Mary's purity and grace point back towards her Son.

It has become clear how much I've neglected her over the years. Afraid of insulting our Lord I turned and insulted his mother, the one who brought Him into the world. Finally, by insulting her it turned my heart away from Christ. I've forgotten how precious the Eucharist is, abandoning Him when I should have been serving Him more closely. By turning my back on His mother, I turned my back on Christ.

Is it any wonder I fail to make daily Mass? Any wonder that I rarely make Adoration? Any wonder that, as I gaze upon this tabernacle, I only see a piece of bread? I know it is more, yet I cannot feel it. If I cannot see Christ through Mary because I refuse to look, is it any wonder that I now cannot see Him present through the glass and gold in the small wheat wafer?

Oh Lord how my heart breaks, why have I allowed this to happen? Perhaps You've allowed this so that I might turn again to You and see You afresh. For it was by being challenged in my faith that I learned it's truths and by running from this truth that You've brought me back again.

Oh Mary, blessed mother of our Lord and Savior, help me to see your Son in the Eucharist as I've not allowed myself to see Him before. Teach me to adore Him with all my heart, guide me to Him as I learn to honor you. Mary, by whose fiat the Son of God came into the world, pray for me.

SMME Retreat

So, I went to the retreat at SMME and it was an amazing weekend. Within the first 12 hours I gained a most valuable lesson, a lesson in humility. This lesson opened my heart to see another important lesson. I will speak of the first today, and another day write of the other, for I've yet to figure out how to word it.

Living and working where I do, it seems most of the people I have contact with on a daily basis are very non-religious (though often not flat out atheist). Seeing their lives I've developed the mistaken belief that I'm somehow very pious and religious. I knew that this was wrong, but I still felt it.

Upon arriving at the retreat I immediately met young women who were by far more advanced in their spiritual lives. Women who considered daily mass something they wouldn't think of skipping due to a messy schedule. Who considered saying the rosary as a life line and said it daily, not just when it was "convenient". Who went to adoration and confession more than just once a month. Seeing their devotions I felt very inadequate and realized just how far behind I am in my spiritual life.

Over the weekend I thought about this and considered why it was wrong to always compare myself to others. I realize now that when you are able to see your sins clearly and know what you are supposed to be doing, it's all the more important to do it. Those in darkness (like my agnostic friends) think they are ok. Although they might know deep down what they should be doing it's a vague knowledge. Saints, on the other hand, know exactly what they are to be doing (or fail to do) and, because they know, are required to live accordingly. Since each persons knowledge is different, they will be judged accordingly.

Since I'll never know another's heart, I can never say I'm doing "better than" or "worse than" him. I can only look at my life and consider where I stand and what I know I should be doing and after this weekend I know there are many changes that need to be made.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Guided by the Spirit

The Holy Spirit will work in the least expected ways, sometimes all you'll have to do is take those first steps...

First a little background, it's next to impossible for me to go up and introduce myself to someone new, even going up to people I know can be a challenge at times. Once I get to know people...um really really well, I'm usually fine, but before then I get very nervous and almost always back down.

Last year I was going through some rough times and was very depressed. One week after Sunday Mass I felt a strong urge to talk with someone and was going to try pulling a priest aside; however, as mentioned above, I couldn't quite pull this off and ended up walking out of the Church. As I was walking home the little nagging voice only got worse; I felt that I must turn around and talk with someone. About a half mile out I basically threw up my hands and said "Fine, I'll head back, but I bet no one is there anymore!"

I turned around and headed back to the church and, as predicted, the priests had already left; however, this was the same week that the novitiate friars were visiting the parish. They were gathered in the foyer preparing to take a walking tour of the town and I stood off to the side debating going up and talking to them. I had no clue what I would say, but I still had this powerful voice inside me telling me to talk. Alas, although this voice got me back to the church, it couldn't get me to speak up, I'd gone completely tharn. After what seemed like an eternity one of the brothers walked over and asked if I was ok. I mentioned needing to talk to someone and he immediately changed his plans and pulled me aside. We talked for about three hours and it was during this talk that he mentioned the religious life. At that time I felt it would be running away and promptly dismissed it.

At the time I realized that it was a blessing, but I had no idea of how great. Over the last year we've kept in contact on and off and he's been the most wonderful help. Often he would send an email right when I needed it the most, sometimes with nothing more than his thoughts about life. For example, right before Christmas, when I'd been seriously discerning for a while, but not told him, he sent a letter with this thoughts on his discernment process. Something in it just clicked at the time and helped me to move forward and contact a priest.

So I suppose the moral is that the Holy Spirit will work wonders, you only have to take the first, sometimes painful, steps. I felt that going back to the church that day was like walking into a firing range and once I got there talking was out of the question. But all I had to do was get there, once there the Spirit worked in the heart of this brother and has been continuing to work through him ever since!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Awakening

Several months ago I asked my Mom what she would say if I was considering the religious life, to get the feel of what kind of support (or opposition) she would give. She practically started dancing on the coffee table. It was odd, I hadn't expected her to be overjoyed, but to be more quietly supportive of my decisions. I knew I couldn't let her make the decision for me, so I actually backed down a bit from my discernment. When she scheduled meetings with the priests up in that area, I went but held back somewhat. I felt a bit pushed, but I knew she was trying to be supportive.

So a few months pass with only their occasional questions and my quiet prayers for guidance in this decision. About two weeks ago they scheduled a meeting with a great priest in their parish. After meeting with him I realized I couldn't keep holding off anymore and decided to really begin the discerning process. A week ago I scheduled a meeting with the priest I know here and told him I was discerning. He was very supportive and guided me to a couple websites. He also suggested that I start praying the Divine Office, which I wasn't doing, but I was praying morning and evening so it wasn't that much of a change. I started that (or a simplified version of it until the book I ordered comes in) and have been considering what to do next.

Now, today has been an interesting day. During Mass I was sitting looking across at the Dominican brother on the other side of the church and I suddenly realized that I really wanted to be a sister. As I realized this I started crying and I'm not sure why. I wasn't sad, shocked or even they type of joyous happiness that would bring one to tears. I'd say the feeling would have to be described as giddy, but in the good sort of way; I felt like laughing!

When the brother came up to the pulpit to beg for money he described the Dominican life and listed several parts; unfortunately I do not think I remember them all. Those I do remember are prayer, community, study, and teaching against heresies. Everything he said seemed to click, I realized more and more that I want to become a Dominican sister. I think I practically danced out of Mass.

It's been odd, since I started that whole process I've had times when I could see myself as a sister and other times when I could see myself getting married and having 12 kids. These feelings would often follow right after one another, sometimes quicker than I could take a breath. I didn't feel certain at any point, it was all very vague. One thing that process did do though was show me that I did want (on some level) to get married and have a family. When I first started discerning I thought I was running away from relationships, probably because it was too soon after my last one. Now I know that I would be happy getting married and raising kids, but after today I realize that I would be MORE happy as a sister!

I've tried to insert doubts into this, but there don't appear to be any. After Mass I thought about getting married again (the "wouldn't it be nice to..." thoughts), but it didn't lessen my certainty. Yes it would be nice, but I'd rather give myself entirely to the Lord! "For the unmarried woman is concerned with the affairs of the Lord and how to please the Lord!" Oh Lord, I only wish to please you!

So I've been called...I never expected it to be like this. How odd I should be called first slowly, then so suddenly it takes my breath away! It's exciting! Now I only need to...hmmm...Find a community, get accepted, sell everything and get rid of my college debt. But if the Lord wills this like I feel he does, then I'm sure He'll find a way!