Monday, December 10, 2007

Pray for those who persecute you

During the 40 days for life there were several people who would take the time to slow down or even stop and explain in very kind terms how they felt abortion should be legal and available to all. Ok, who am I kidding, there wasn't a single hour when we weren't cursed, yelled at, had objects thrown at us, or were charged with vehicles (although that did only happened once). There was a reason I loved the 3am hour, it was so quiet and peaceful, perfect for prayer.

One day as I prayed I saw a friend's car pull into the parking lot. I hadn't spoken to him in ages and was thrilled to see him again. It turned out he wasn't so thrilled to see me. He reported that he "flicked us off" every time he drove by and insisted that Planned Parenthood did many good things for poor women. I told him that there were other places that provided these services without doing the abortions. I tried to explain, but he just walked away.

Later, as I thought about my friend I realized that there is no one I know of in his life who is Christian, or if they are, they wouldn't be praying for him. He's got a nice job, a comfortable apartment, and friendly demeanor; you'd never know that he was hurting and in need of prayers. I used to pray for him, but as the years have passed we moved apart, I suppose you could say he "fell off the bottom of my prayer list." The Lord had brought him to my attention a lot lately, but I always felt like I had too many people to pray for. I'm sorry to say that it was easier to say a general prayer for all sinners than to pray for him.

I was reminded of what Christ said to us, "Whatever you do for the least of my brothers you do for me, whatever you fail to do, you fail to do for me." As I listened to the screams and curses of the others I realized that they are like my friend, hurting and suffering and desperately in need of our prayers. For them to feel so much hatred and anger, means they at one point knew love. By refusing to pray for them I'd failed Christ.

The next time someone curses you, consider that you may be the only Christian in their life. There may be no one else petitioning for their conversion. The Lord will pour out his graces in their lives through our prayers. Would you deny them your prayers and the chance to know His Mercy and Love? Will you, in turn, deny our Lord?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ecumenism during 40 Days for Life

When I originally posted the novena for the 40 Days for Life campaign I was not planning on having a major involvement in it outside of prayer. Being extraordinarily shy I didn't feel capable of calling people, going out to the vigil itself or anything else they needed help on. As attested by my Nerd Test, I'm good with computers and books, not with social interactions with large numbers of people.

Well the Lord had plans for getting me very involved with it and I'm still shocked over how much I did. I spent several hours praying outside, with people yelling at me, on a busy street, nearly in tears, shaking like a leaf. I've held debates with people on the streets, called people on the [most certainly evil] phone, petitioned for others to come out, sang and prayed. I was constantly amazed at what the Lord was accomplishing with our [often pathetic] efforts.

Being a part of such a tremendous prayer movement was amazing. I wasn't looking towards the abortion clinic closing or X number of babies being saved, but towards a change in hearts. Such a change cannot be measured in numbers, but is known in the depths of each individual; sometimes not until years later.

One thing I brought away from it was a tremendous respect for non-Catholic Christians. Up until this point most of my contact with other Christians has been either in the form of anti-catholics or Sunday Christians. The Christians I met during those 40 days were neither, but were instead people who loved God deeply and were willing to go the extra mile to communicate that love to others.

There were many things that impressed me and that I wanted to bring into my Catholic life. Like the ability to pick up the Bible and feel comfortable reading it or the ability to just pray whatever is on your heart to pray and not feel self-conscious about it. One day we did a meditation on the Our Father where we "translated" what was being said. Other times they pulled out scriptures and were comfortable just flipping through them. Many different forms of prayers, all brought together in such beautiful ways.

As I was leaving one day I realized that I was terribly weak in prayer life, and pitiful in my knowledge of scriptures. I was amazed at the abilities of these people who were lacking so much in their faith, yet were able to accomplish so much more. I realized that they were like amputees who, having lost their legs, had strengthened their arms to compensate. I realized that I can learn a great deal from them, even as I prayed for their return home.

I also realized that they would probably find offense in that analogy, so I kept my mouth shut and instead just learned from them ways of prayer lost to most modern Catholics. And I pray for them, that they may one day return home, for with the strengths they have gained I can only begin to imagine the great saints they have the potential to be.

The conversion of hearts had happened, and the hardened heart of stone was mine.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

God's sense of humor

I'm sure I've lost all readership I started to build up, something about not posting for several months will do that. Well I've decided to start posting again; we'll see how long this lasts.

Recently my temp job ended and I had to look for a new job. I love looking for jobs; so much so that I avoided it like the plague for several weeks. The Lord will provide right?? You would think that procrastinating like I was I would have posted a lot. No, that would have admitted it, instead I lurked on other blogs and cleaned my apartment.

Well, the Lord took care of me anyway and provided me with another job. I'm scanning scantrons. You know, those little bubble sheets for exams like the SAT and GRE's. YUP! My day is currently filled with seven wonderful hours of fixing sheets for people who don't realize that you're supposed to fill IN the bubble, not circle it.

Wasn't that so nice of Jesus to make sure I had work?

yea...in the past hour I've applied for four REAL jobs and I'm searching frantically for others...

While He looks upon me with laughter.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Movie of the Month Club

This month's movie club movie was a true classic, The Creature from the Haunted Sea. That is it's title right?

Sweet, I remembered it, that's impressive considering I watched it two weeks ago and tried to forget it as much as humanly possible.

Well, the movie started off very cliche and I spent the rest of the movie wondering if it would get worse. Of course it did. I learned a very important lesson from this:

If a something starts of cliche, then moves through bad to worse, don't bother staying for act three in hopes that it will improve.


This lesson turned out to be highly useful. My friends and I recently went to a "religious" conference that started off cliche, moved to bad and then to worse. Remembering my experience from this film I choose not to stay for act three, yet my two friends did. When we got together later that night it was clear from their stories that I made the smart decision in leaving. Infact my friends both wished they had left earlier and really wanted to take showers to feel "clean again".

However, I did stay for act three of the movie and, with that, I should really try to find a religious meaning in it. To my shock, I found that it was truly a religious film with a very deep spiritual message for us all.

Near the end of the film, Mrs Bad turns to Captain Bad and proclaims her undying love for him. As an aside, I refuse to rewatch the film to remember their names; now that some amnesia has set in I refuse to fix it. Right then the monster appears and attacks Mrs Bad while Captain Bad tries to make his cowardly escape, only to meet his doom in the end. This struck me as a beautiful allegory of our first parents' fall into sin.

In the second chapter of Genesis we learn that man was given a commission to cultivate and protect the garden of Eden. Yet, when the serpent came to tempt Eve, he remained suspiciously quiet. He allowed her to take the full brunt of the attack out of cowardice and fear; threw her to the monster, so to speak, in hopes of jumping ship and saving his own skin. Yet in the process, he lost his own life and the lives of all future generations.

Then there is the "animal noise couple", of which "animal noise guy" gave his life so his gal would have a chance to swim to safety. Although I think she dies in the end, it's still a reflection on how Jesus gave his life for us that we may all be saved through baptism.

Afterwards I praised God that it was over and begged that Manos, Hands of Fate and Cave Dwellers were not on public forum. So you could say the movie brought about an increase of prayer in my life.

And thus I learned the second part of that first important lesson:

If a something starts of cliche, then moves through bad to worse, don't bother staying for act three in hopes that it will improve. Yet, all works out for the good for those who love God and he can bring good out of evil...even if you dash your foot against the stone.


Yea, we're still trying to find significance in that conference, the closest I can find at this point is that we'll have plenty to laugh at for weeks to come and I'll have material for several posts and maybe get my blog started again.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Nerd Tests

I've had little time to compose, debug and publish a post, but I did have time to take this nerd test:


NerdTests.com says I'm a Cool Nerd God.  What are you?  Click here!
New Nerd Test


One of the questions was "Did you take the old test?" I had, but decided to retake it. Neat thing is I scored a good deal higher this time :)


I am nerdier than 90% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!


And it said this, "Supreme Nerd. Apply for a professorship at MIT now!!!."

I guess all that science and math education paid off. Now for the rest of my lunch break I'm going to work on an actual post ;)

Monday, October 01, 2007

My first Tag...

Here's a fun quiz made up especially for bloggers. The rules are easy. Just post the quiz on your blog and answer the questions, then pass it on to five other bloggers, and link to them in your post. Be sure to link back to the one who sent it to you.


  1. Do you attend the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo? Novus Ordo at a great Dominican Parish.

  2. If you attend the TLM, how far do you drive to get there? I've never been to a TLM, wouldn't even know where to find one. Before last year I though the TLM was the "regular mass(aka NO) with the prayers in Latin".

  3. If you had to apply a Catholic label to yourself, what would it be? Faithful Romish Minion.

  4. Are you a comment junkie? I like to post comments, but only just figured out how to do so at work (the computer does strange things). I'll probably become more of one as I get used to the blogging world.

  5. Do you go back to read the comments on the blogs you’ve commented on? All the time, even if I don't have time to post a reply to the replies.

  6. Have you ever left an anonymous comment on another blog? Several times, but they weren't mean. For some reason I don't want my friends to know I have a blog, so I post anon on their blogs. Wierd I know. :P

  7. Which blogroll would you most like to be on? What's a blogroll?

  8. Which blog is the first one you check? SOV2, I need the laugh in the morning. Second and Third place go to Adoro Te Devote and Phatcat.

  9. Have you met any other bloggers in person? One, the coordinator for 40 days for life started a blog. I'm not sure if that counts ;)

  10. What are you reading? The Diary of St Faustina (Divine Mercy in My Soul) and the Catechism.

  11. Bonus Question! Has your site been banned by Spirit of Vatican II? If it has, who do you think Father Tim really is? Yes, just recently, but they haven't updated the list of banned blogs yet though. :(

    I believe Fr Tim is a guy named Paul, but not the one you know. :P


Now I have to think of people to tag...hmmm let me see if I can find out who hasn't done this yet (this is why I didn't do the last quiz...)


  1. Phatcat
  2. Adoro
  3. Cure of Ars
  4. And a late addition: Sr Fairah at SOV2


I think I need to work on building up my list of bloggers that I read. :P What's funny is I come across so many that are good, vow to put them on my google homepage, forget and loose the link...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Away for the weekend, Novena and Distractions

I'm going to a wedding this weekend, about 12 hours away. Since I'll be leaving Friday at the wedding on Saturday, coming back Sunday, and recovering Monday, I'll not be around to post or comment.

I was posting a novena for each day before 40 Days for Life began. I'm going to keep up the novena, but decided to post the rest of it in case someone else wanted to pray it as well.

It's actually a beautiful novena. These are wonderful meditation pieces, if I could spend more time in prayer I'm sure I'd benefit from it. Unfortunately I get so distracted that I inevitable cut my prayers short to lessen the wanderings.

I need to find a way to curb the distractions in my prayers. I've had so many suggestions, but none seem to work. What's worse, I'm not even stressing over some event in my life, it's over silliness, like the skirt I'm wearing, or what pizza I like more, or some joke my friend said earlier. I feel like my brain is buzzing full of bees and I can't even begin to contemplate God. I feel like my prayers are all worthless and empty because I've spent the entire time thinking about triffles.

I talked to my spiritual director about this and he suggested making a mental image of placing the distraction into a box and locking it. I've tried that before, I get caught up decorating the box, thinking about boxes I need to unpack, or the conversation I had with Sarah from last week about the boxes her cat loves to play in. You know how cute it is when cats play in boxes, they are adorable! I had a cat once who would stick his paws through the holes and....

You see!!

Does anyone happen to have some good suggestions on how to keep focused while praying?

Novena Days 4-9

Day 4 - Our Lady Will Help You


"How close we must keep to Our Lady who understood what depth of Divine Love was being revealed as she stood at the foot of the Cross and heard Jesus cry out: 'I thirst'"

Ask for the grace to learn from Our Lady how to quench Jesus' thirst as she did.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you allowed the thirsting love of Jesus on the Cross to become a living flame within you, and so became the light of His love to all. Obtain from the Heart of Jesus blessings on this 40 Days for Life and an end to abortion in this country. Teach me to allow Jesus to penetrate and possess my whole being so completely that my life, too, may radiate His light and love to others. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, pray for us.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.


Day 5 - Trust Jesus Blindly

"Confidence in God can do all things. It is our emptiness and lowliness that God needs and not our plenitude."

Ask for the grace to have an unshakeable trust in God's power and love for you and for all.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you allowed the thirsting love of Jesus on the Cross to become a living flame within you, and so became the light of His love to all. Obtain from the Heart of Jesus blessings on this 40 Days for Life and an end to abortion in this country. Teach me to allow Jesus to penetrate and possess my whole being so completely that my life, too, may radiate His light and love to others. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, pray for us.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.


Day 6 - True Love is Surrender

"Allow God to use you without consulting you."

Ask for the grace to surrender your whole life to God.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you allowed the thirsting love of Jesus on the Cross to become a living flame within you, and so became the light of His love to all. Obtain from the Heart of Jesus blessings on this 40 Days for Life and an end to abortion in this country. Teach me to allow Jesus to penetrate and possess my whole being so completely that my life, too, may radiate His light and love to others. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, pray for us.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.

Day 7 - God Loves a Cheerful Giver

"Joy is the sign of union with God, of God's presence. Joy is love, the normal result of a heart burning with love."

Ask for the grace to find joy in loving and to share this joy with all you meet.


Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you allowed the thirsting love of Jesus on the Cross to become a living flame within you, and so became the light of His love to all. Obtain from the Heart of Jesus blessings on this 40 Days for Life and an end to abortion in this country. Teach me to allow Jesus to penetrate and possess my whole being so completely that my life, too, may radiate His light and love to others. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, pray for us.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.


Day 8 - Jesus Made Himself the Bread of Life and the Hungry One

"Believe that He, Jesus, is in the appearance of Bread and that He, Jesus, is in the hungry, naked, sick, lonely, unloved, homeless, helpless, and hopeless."

Ask for the grace of a deep faith to see Jesus in the Bread of Life and to serve Him in the distressing disguise of the poor.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you allowed the thirsting love of Jesus on the Cross to become a living flame within you, and so became the light of His love to all. Obtain from the Heart of Jesus blessings on this 40 Days for Life and an end to abortion in this country. Teach me to allow Jesus to penetrate and possess my whole being so completely that my life, too, may radiate His light and love to others. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, pray for us.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.


Day 9 - Holiness is Jesus Living and Acting in Me

"Charity for each other is the surest way to great holiness."

Ask for the grace to become a saint.


Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you allowed the thirsting love of Jesus on the Cross to become a living flame within you, and so became the light of His love to all. Obtain from the Heart of Jesus blessings on this 40 Days for Life and an end to abortion in this country. Teach me to allow Jesus to penetrate and possess my whole being so completely that my life, too, may radiate His light and love to others. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, pray for us.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Novena Day 3 - Hear Him Say to You: "I Thirst"

"Just think! God is thirsting for you and me to come forward to satiate His thirst."

Ask for the grace to understand Jesus' cry of thirst

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you allowed the thirsting love of Jesus on the Cross to become a living flame within you, and so became the light of His love to all. Obtain from the Heart of Jesus blessings on this 40 Days for Life and an end to abortion in this country. Teach me to allow Jesus to penetrate and possess my whole being so completely that my life, too, may radiate His light and love to others. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, pray for us.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.

Save the world one hat at a time



The Spirit of Vatican II community has this great idea for saving the planet. Mirrored hats! Yup, since global warming is causing the world to spontaneously combust, they decided to look "great" while it happens ;-)

Global warming is one of those hot button topics for me, although creation/evolution is usually hotter. There is something about the whole, "the world is going to end unless we stop using energy now!" idea that just gets under my skin. Probably because they make half baked claims that have no basis in reality...or Science for that matter.


Here are some I've heard recently:
The world is hotter now than it's ever been before!
But don't mention how it was actually a great deal warmer in the time of the dinosaurs.
The temperature is rising faster than it ever has before!
Only in "recorded history" (which they often leave out) and recorded history is actually only the last 100 years - not 3000+ that everyone assumes that it is ;)
Global warming will cause stronger storms!
See next item...
Global warming will cause droughts!
See previous item...
Driving our cars/trucks/suvs causes global warming!
but we must fly in our private jets to proclaim this truth, jets which eat up more fuel in one trip than - oh I forget, but a good deal of cars together.


I could go on and on, the list of items is just to numerous to count. I could also go into the scientific basis against global warming, considering I do have a degree in the field. However, I'm not a published scientist so it wouldn't matter.

Also, because I think global warming is bunk, the next claim is that I don't care at all about the planet. I actually care a great deal about the world the Lord blessed us with, and I feel we should be good stewards; however, I don't think this scare tactic method is going to work. Think about it, since this global warming craze started people are more likely to litter (at least according to my mom's memory of "back in the days") and they are more likely to scoff at anyone who thinks about helping the environment. Why?

Because they are all nuts who tell them to wear shiny hats to save the world. Then they say, what's there to loose? Well, only your dignity and the couple hundred it took to buy that hat which you needed for food.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Novena Day 2 - Jesus Loves You

"Do not be afraid - you are precious to Jesus. He loves you."

Ask for the grace to be convinced of Jesus' unconditional and personal love for you.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you allowed the thirsting love of Jesus on the Cross to become a living flame within you, and so became the light of His love to all. Obtain from the Heart of Jesus blessings on this 40 Days for Life and an end to abortion in this country. Teach me to allow Jesus to penetrate and possess my whole being so completely that my life, too, may radiate His light and love to others. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, pray for us.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.

Monday, September 17, 2007

40 Days for Life

I'm a part of the 40 Days for Life Campaign taking place in my city. I'm just going to quote straight from their website to tell you about it:

This fall, 89 cities in 33 states across the nation will unite for a unique pro-life campaign called 40 Days for Life -- an intensive effort designed to raise awareness, save lives, bring healing, and prepare America for the beginning of the end of abortion.

The campaign will be conducted simultaneously in all locations from September 26 - November 4.

There are three components to 40 Days for Life...


  • Prayer and Fasting

  • Peaceful Vigil

  • Community Outreach



Read more about it on their website. Perhaps there is a city near you that could use your support!

I'll be doing a lot of prayer (since I'm REALLY not a people person). Today is the start of a Novena to Blessed Teresa of Calcutta for this effort. Please join me in this Novena :)
"Don't search for Jesus in far lands; He is not there. He is close to you; He is in you."

Ask for the grace of an intimate knowledge of Jesus

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, you allowed the thirsting love of Jesus on the Cross to become a living flame within you, and so became the light of His love to all. Obtain from the Heart of Jesus blessings on this 40 Days for Life and an end to abortion in this country. Teach me to allow Jesus to penetrate and possess my whole being so completely that my life, too, may radiate His light and love to others. Amen.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, Cause of Our Joy, pray for us.

Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I am Pro-Choice...

...by Robert P. George.

I am personally opposed to killing abortionists. However, inasmuch as my personal opposition to this practice is rooted in a sectarian (Catholic) religious belief in the sanctity of human life, I am unwilling to impose it on others who may, as a matter of conscience, take a different view. Of course, I am entirely in favor of policies aimed at removing the root causes of violence against abortionists. Indeed, I would go so far as to support mandatory one-week waiting periods, and even nonjudgmental counseling, for people who are contemplating the choice of killing an abortionist. I believe in policies that reduce the urgent need some people feel to kill abortionists while, at the same time, respecting the rights of conscience of my fellow citizens who believe that the killing of abortionists is sometimes a tragic necessity-not a good, but a lesser evil. In short, I am moderately pro-choice.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Robert P. George is Professor of Politics at Princeton University and author, most recently, of Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Puppies and RCIA

The other day one of my friends asked me to draw her a picture using this scaled down version of MS Paint. The program had only a a round brush which changed sizes and varied in levels of transparent - not much else. To top it off I was using a mouse, not a pencil. Have you ever tried to draw a picture with a mouse? Well they don't obey you very well. Especially mine since it probably needs to be cleaned. At least I hope that's the reason it jumped all over the screen. It's almost like the mouse had a mind of it's own while I was drawing. Difficult, but I set out to draw a puppy for her, and eventually came up with a picture of a puppy.



I'm really shocked it turned out so well. She loves it, especially since she was just expecting a cartoon image. I was just expecting a cartoon image for that matter; I guess I got a little carried away. So, besides being pleased that she likes it, I'm also amazed that it turned out so well. I can't stop looking at it; it's like an obsession.

After staring at the picture for three days I noticed several small errors in the picture; like the the ears. I got so caught up in trying to control the mouse to do the fine detail in the ears that I didn't notice they were different sizes. How frustrating, if only I'd had better control over the cursor that mistake wouldn't have happened since, of course, I'm the greatest artist there is. Unrelated aside, I need to make sure I need to go to confession tomorrow... ;)

You're probably wondering what all this has to do with RCIA. Tonight was the second RCIA class and the topic was God and His First Revelations. The priest talked about how God had no need to create the Man, but freely choose to in order to bring us into union with him. Quoting the textbook, "By revealing himself God wishes to make [men] capable of responding to him, and of knowing him, and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity." (CCC 52) God wasn't satisfied with just any old creation, he wanted a creation that would freely choose to glorify him.

I realized in class that God sees us as I see that picture. I'm so caught up with the fact that I have the talent to do something like that that I can't stop staring at it. God is so enamored with us, His creation, that He not only couldn't stop staring at us, He choose to become one of us.

While I'm sitting there enjoying how much God loves me another thought occurs to me...I am the dirty mouse. Yup. Filthy, annoying, bobbing all over the place and ruining the Great Artist's painting. I've decided that I know what's best for me and fight His Will. He's pulled out a small brush for detail work and I whip it across the screen in a broad stroke. And there is no undo feature in life.

So tonight, as I take apart my mouse to clean it out, I think about what I need to clean out of my life. What sins are keeping me from letting God do His work? In what ways am I fighting God, trying to get my will done on earth as it should be in heaven?

And as I put the pieces of the mouse back together, I ask God for the Grace to make a honest and full confession tomorrow, so that cleansed from my sins I will be able to give Him complete control over my life. For He is the Great Artist; from whom all my talents come, next to whom I'm nothing and in whom I'm loved.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Confession Time

Salve Regina posted this cool website where you can go to confession online. Ok, so it's not real confession, but it's still fun to play with!

It has these great drop down menus to choose from. Lets see, I've killed someone, premeditated, for the occult sacrifice of course, gluttony, and "borrowed" my roommates milk.

Venial Sins
Recite 184 Hail Marys and 8 Our Fathers.

Mortal Sins
Consider the implications of what you have done. You must take all steps possible to undo what has been done, and make right what you have done wrong.

You should fast for a total of 2 weeks. If this is too much to do at once due to the length of the fast, or infirmity, it is acceptable to break a fast into smaller sections. If you are unsure how long it is safe to fast for, consult a doctor.If your sin also broke the law of the land in which you live, you must confess to the authorities.

I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.


I'd better start praying and stop eating...

On a more serious note, even though this type of confession would never be approved by the church, because it's not valid. The "confessional" does have a pretty good examination of conscious - at least it's better than the ones they have available at the church. Also, they have a virtual rosary, which could be used as a teaching tool.

OH, and they also have this great poem to celebrate the election of his holiness Pope Benedict XVI. It brought tears to my eyes!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

RCIA

Yesterday I crashed the RCIA course at my parish. Even though I've been a Catholic my whole life, I only began learning about the faith five years ago. Even then I learned what I needed to defend the faith in a debate with a Bible Christian, there is so much more I've never heard about. Often I find that there is much to my faith that I just don't know, but others are completely familiar with. As an example, I had never been to adoration until last year, had no clue they even did something like that!

So I decided to crash RCIA and it looks like it's going to be a great course. All the candidates get several free books (the Bible, The Catechism, a missal, and several good apologetics books). Since I'm not a candidate, and in fact was harassed by the priests, I need to pay for any books I take. Over the years I've collected four different catechisms (Schreck, Hardon, Kreeft and a Compendium), but never owned the official catechism, so I decided that I would grab one of those. I was really excited to find cross references and bible references. I'm really excited about this!

The homework (yes there's homework, isn't that great?!) for this week is to read CCC 50-64, 200-227, Genesis 2-4; Exodus 2-4, 12; and Ezekiel 36. I need to find my bible so I can do that part of the homework, I think it's in the linen closet with the other books...sweet, I have three bibles in there!

So I'm off to study, leaving worries and doubts behind for another day.

Settled at last

It's done. The year long lease has been signed and I've finished moving into the apartment. There is enough furniture to get by (bed/desk/table) and I finally can relax. So, as I sit on my floor pillow, the thought comes to mind...

What have I done?

Yup, now that I am no longer concerned about where I'm going to be sleeping tomorrow or what needs to be done to set up the apartment, all the doubts I've been ignoring the past few months have come roaring in. So, now that I've notified the world that I'm completely crazy, I'm going to go to the church and remind the Lord that this is all His fault. He brought me to this place, I was only being obedient, as best I could be.

Well, crazy or not, I'm back online in the evenings now, so I can continue with my blog without having to sneak into computer labs after work. Hopefully you will hear more from me as continue to seek the Lord's Will.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Defending the Faith part 2

So, In my previous post I talked about how Diane is probably at a point where a debate about the benefits of one Christian group over another would harm her. Well, just in case I wasn't sure, the Lord has made sure to keep us separated with widely different schedules. The few times we were in the house at the same time, I was running VERY late and couldn't talk even though I wanted to.

On the other hand, there is Opal. Every morning we are in the kitchen at around the same time. She's learned that I go to daily mass and she has even been to the church I go to, because "it's very beautiful". (side note: it's not really - it looks like a prison, but it's nicer than most protestant churches). She has also asked about what I learned, although in a conversational manner since Christianity is about the only thing we have in common.

Well, it so happened that she asked about this on a day one of the priests had discussed how important confession was. She then asked a question about confession! When I say I was overjoyed it's an understatement. Thank you Lord for this little blessing, I hope I didn't spoil it with an overly enthusiastic response. This is what we discussed, although I'm sure I've written it a lot better than I spoke it. Let me know if I could have said something better!

Why do you go to confession anyway? How does saying five Hail Mary's get your sins forgiven?

Well, let me explain Confession first. We are called to have a relationship with Jesus right? Sin harms that relationship and when you repent you need to do something to show it's sincere. Like any relationship, if it's damaged steps need to be taken to repair it.

Think about your friendship with Diane. Lets say you go and beat her up one day. Later you apologize and Diane, being a good Christian, of course forgives you. The next day you see her and again beat her up, this time breaking her legs. If you keep doing this Diane will stop trusting you. To show you are truly sorry you have to take steps to NOT beat her up and make reparations for doing so, like helping her do things since she can no longer walk.

In confession we need to have three pieces present; we need to be sorry for our sins, decided to avoid doing them in the future, and be willing to make amends. When we go to confession we say "My God I am heartily sorry for my sins...I firmly intend with your help to do penance, to sin no more and to avoid whatever leads me to sin." So the five Hail Mary's are that step towards fixing the relationship after you've said you'd sin no more.

But still, it seems like it would be very awkward to tell a man your sins. I don't want some strange guy knowing everything I've done wrong!

We are not confessing to the priest, we are confessing to Christ. The priest acts "in the person of Christ" during confession. When we go to confession it is under the strictest seal because of that. Just as you should be able to talk to Christ in all confidence, so we can talk to the priest in all confidence. If a priest was to act on what he heard in confession it's an automatic excommunication.

To give an example, lets say you work at the Church and go to confession to tell Father that you stole money from his desk. Once confession is over, he cannot tell the police or even talk to you about it. He cannot even change his behavior and start locking his desk or move the money to another drawer.

So he cannot say anything at all about any sins?

The priest can say "I heard this sin confessed" ONLY IF there is no possibility of it every being associated with the sinner. So if he heard the confession of a murderer who killed six people and buried their bodies behind his house, he would not be able to mention it at all since it could theoretically be connected with the killer once he is arrested.

In the case of a criminal though, wouldn't he be obligated to say something?

First, how many murderers who are still committing the crime actually go to confession? Second, no, he cannot say anything, although he can give a conditional absolution or make their penance such that they must turn themselves in.

Lets say I go to confession a lot, couldn't the priest eventually say "Opal, you're in here every day confessing the same sins, I'm not going to forgive you this time."

While the priest can withhold absolution, it's usually only done in cases where it's clear the person has not repented. Lets say a guy confesses sleeping with his girlfriend whom he lives with. Until he removes himself from the sinful situation (living with the woman) he is technically not repentant and therefore the priest can withhold absolution.

However, if you are just struggling with a sin, the priest will not withhold absolution because we all struggle and fall. That is what makes confession so great, because it helps us to overcome our sins. There have been many sins I've overcome through the sacrament of confession.
Looking back, I think I should have defined the terms for her (confession, absolution, penance, etc), but I'm not sure I could even at this point. Either way, I was thrilled with the small moment of being able to teach someone about the faith. I hope the Lord continues to open her heart and helps her question, but I know that is not my job but his...even as I sit here with bated breath hoping for yet another conversation :)

Defending the Faith part 1

Wow, when I said that God guided my stupidity, I wasn't kidding.

Since my "re-conversion" I have had a love for apologetics. For about a year I haunted Catholic Answers looking to learn more about the faith. Then I drifted over to CARM to try my hand at defending the faith. I did not stay at CARM long; I couldn't handle the range of attacks from rational arguments to mud throwing and decided my charity was taking a hit.

Yet even still, I have a strong desire to defend the faith. I want to go out and tell the world that Catholicism is true, especially those who've been told so many lies about it. However, it seems the Lord kept putting in my path those who have never even considered God an option. You can't really get into a good debate with someone who doesn't care. All you can do is be a witness through your life.

Well, now I'm staying with two women "Diane" and "Opal", who are both Christian. The first time I saw the place Diane asked me if I "had Jesus in my heart." I told her that I tried, but didn't always succeed. She used to be Orthodox and had converted to Baptist. I was really excited about the possibility of talking with her about religion. Finally a person who I could debate with.

Then a couple days later I was talking with Opal and she told me how Diane had been through some hard times and was really clinging to her church. She was just telling me facts, but it's almost like I heard the Lord speaking. This was his daughter and she was at a tenuous point in her life. When I was challenged with the faith, I nearly lost all faith. I was blessed to have a wonderful support system in place outside of the Church that encouraged me to seek the Truth. What does Diane have? All she has is her church community, to challenge her faith would strand her.

So again, I'm called to be a witness through actions alone. If the topic comes up, I'll defend the faith, but I must take care not to go overboard. "Wow to him who causes one of these little ones to stumble."

So I die to my own desire to teach Catholicism to the masses, swallowing my pride and vanity at knowing the answers finally, and instead pray for her on her journey in faith. By the end of week one I'd resigned myself to being but a silent witness yet again...but the Lord had other plans!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Happy Feast of Saint Dominic!

I just wanted to wish everyone a blessed day! My work is celebrating with an ice cream social... Ok, my office just happens to be having an icecream social today. Either way, I can celebrate while obeying my Dominican spiritual director, who ever so wisely told me to eat ice cream. I love the Dominicans and I love Saint Dominic! God is good :-D

Here are a couple prayers to mark this day :)

O Holy Priest of God and glorious Patriarch, St. Dominic, thou who wast the friend, the well-beloved son and confidant of the Queen of Heaven, and didst work so many miracles by the power of the Holy Rosary, have regard for my intercessions. On earth you opened your heart to the miseries of your fellow man, and your hands were strong to help them; now in heaven your charity has not grown less nor has your power waned. Pray for me to the Mother of the Rosary and to her divine Son, for I have great confidence that through your assistance I shall obtain the favor I so much desire: (mention your intentions) . Amen.

And one for Astronomers like me :-D

Wonderful Saintly Founder of the eloquent Order of Preachers and friend of St. Francis of Assisi, you were a fiery defender of the Faith and a fighter against the darkness of heresy. You resembled a great star that shone close to the world and pointed to the Light which was Christ. Help astronomers to study the stars and admire their wonderful Maker, proclaiming: "Give glory to God in the highest!" Amen.



Saint Dominic - Ora Pro Nobis

Saturday, August 04, 2007

God's power over stupidity

As some of you may know from previous posts, I've been looking for a new apartment. Last Friday I gave up on finding a place available by the time my sublet ended on July 31st. Instead signed a lease for a place close to the Church starting on August 28th and began looking for another short term sublet. Cutting it a bit close, but I've still got time. I then started packing up some stuff and came across my sublet agreement...

Well, my sublet didn't end on July 31st, but on the 23 (which, in case you missed it, was the Sunday before). I'd been there 5 days past the end of the sublease and the tenant would probably be coming in the morning to move her stuff out. You want to talk about shock!

About an hour later, after emailing a lengthy apology, I'm frantically packing everything I own and she shows up at the door. I then realized that someone coming from two hours away would probably like to come down the night before to move out. As it was, out of the graciousness of her heart, I was given till the morning to be moved out. So that night I packed everything and dumped it at work and at the church, piling the rest into my car. At 3am I was done and at 7am the next morning the apartment was clean and I was out...without a place to go to.

So Saturday, after mass and praying for a LONG time, and feeling like a complete dork, I started looking for an immediate place to live. One of my friends offered her sofa and, although it eased my mind a great deal, I really didn't want to do that to her again (she was the one I first stayed with when the Lord brought me here in May).

That Saturday, I got a call from someone I'd been trying to contact about an apartment. She had a place available and was willing to sublet it for just a month. She was also able to let me move in that night as long as I don't mind being in a room filled with her stuff.

To make a long story short, the Lord did provide me with a place to stay for the next month, with two women in a townhouse basement apartment. It didn't look very pretty when I accepted it, but it's turned out rather nice. The girls are nice and the apartment is neat (as in moderately clean) and well built.

I thank the Lord that he provided again, I just wish he wouldn't keep waiting until the last minute. Perhaps it was so I would sign the lease for the place at the end of the month. Had I known last weekend that my sublet was up I probably would have taken the place I was looking at then, which was horrid, but available that weekend.

So what were the lessons in all of this chaos? First, I'm completely inept when it comes to remembering dates so I MUST mark on my calendar when my lease ends. The second lesson is that the Lord is able to provide for us, even when we are being complete bumbleheads. It seems we are not powerful enough, even in our stupidity, to trip up the Lord.

Prayer Requests

Adoro is in need of your prayers, since she has had a hard week. Please keep her in your prayers. Also, I'll ask that prayers be offered for the bridge collapse in Minnesota. Adoro has more on that on her page.


I also ask for prayers for three children who were taken from the home by CPS on Friday. The state is so confident that they know what these emotionally disabled kids need, that they have abandoned them with a foster mother who has no clue. Please pray for this mother's safety and that the children will receive the help they so desperately need.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Tantum Ergo

The church I go to has a holy hour every Friday from 4-5pm. It would be fantastic if I could go to all of it, but because of work that is not possible. Still, the Lord has blessed me with being able to make it to the last 10 minutes, where the Tantum Ergo is sung. I love this and feel very blessed to get to sit for 10 minutes with the Lord and then sing my adoration of him.

I decided to add this beautiful piece to my page. It's a shame I don't have a recording of it, but this way you can all sing it yourselves :)

Tantum ergo Sacramentum
Veneremur cernui:
Et antiquum documentum
Novo cedat ritui:
Praestet fides supplementum
Sensuum defectui.

Genitori, Genitoque
Laus et jubilatio,
Salus, honor, virtus quoque
Sit et benedictio:
Procedenti ab utroque
Compar sit laudatio.
Amen.
For those who are curious what this means in English, here is the popular translation. Wiki had the exact translation, but it is similar enough and this is very beautiful:

Down in adoration falling,
Lo! the sacred Host we hail,
Lo! o'er ancient forms departing
Newer rites of grace prevail;
Faith for all defects supplying,
Where the feeble senses fail.
To the everlasting Father,
And the Son Who reigns on high
With the Holy Spirit proceeding
Forth from each eternally,
Be salvation, honor blessing,
Might and endless majesty.
Amen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Mass Explained

As I said in my last post, I've been listening to The Mass Explained by Fr Larry Richards. It's great. There was very little new information, given that I've read the books by Scott Hahn's and Mike Aquilina's. However, he didn't talk as much about why we did the Mass the way we do, but what it meant to God and what it should mean to us.

I'm not going to quote the whole CD (although I have notes from it all), but I would like to share some of the things that really struck home for me.

Abraham was told by God the Father, "Take your son, your only son, whom you love, and give him to me." And Abraham goes and does that. He's walking up the hill and Isaac says to him, "Father, here is the wood and here is the fire, but where is the lamb for sacrifice?" And Abraham pronounces something which is prophecy, "God himself will provide the lamb." ...

At the top of the mountain he ties up his son and goes to offer him up. What is happening at this moment is that all the other Baals and gods of these other people said, "to prove you love me give up your children to me." And they sacrificed their children. When Abraham was told to do that by God he was thinking, "Ok, you're just like all the other gods."

But see what happens, right when Abraham is ready to kill his son, God says, "Don't you dare! Abraham, don't give up your son to prove your love for me. Abraham, I will give up my Son, to prove my love for you!" And that's what happens at every Mass.
I knew this, I really did, but I suppose I'd never really thought about how this was God's Son, His only Son, whom He Loves.
Do you know what it cost Jesus to give us the Mass? It cost Him His life. To give us the Mass it cost Him His life. If we are truly going to enter into any Mass, it must cost us our lives... We don't go to Mass to see what we can get. We go to Mass to die and to rise again...
In the fourth century it was a crime punishable by death to be caught at the Mass...All these Christians are being killed just because they are going to Mass. So finally the Emperor asks some Christians, "Why don't you just stop going to Mass." And this is what they say, "Christians make the Eucharist and the Eucharist makes the Christian. Without the Eucharist, we cannot live."

They're saying, "we can't be alive, we can't live, we can't be Christian without the Eucharist. I would rather die then not receive Christ in the Blessed Sacrament"

...Can we say that ourselves? Can we say, "I cannot live without the Eucharist."?

We must go to every Mass as if it's our first Mass, our last Mass and our only Mass...
Can I say that? The God of the universe gets down, on his hands and knees and to wash us clean and I wonder whether the floor will make my knees dirty. Our Lord has the audacity to humble himself and become food for us, while I have the audacity to be distracted and bored. Lord, grant me the ability to truly know and love you in the Blessed Sacrament. Teach me to love you in the mass.
I offer up my whole life at the offertory so that I may be transformed into Christ...

When you're one with Jesus, you're one with everyone else...You know the person next to you right now? That person, if you make it to heaven, you're going to love that person more than anyone else on this earth. And if they make it their going to love you the same way...Heaven is the place where God will love us, we'll love each other and we'll love him, intimately, forever. Heaven is about love and at every Mass we get to experience that reality.

When he sends you forth, it means "Go forth!" Go forth and be Christ to the world now, go and make disciples of all nations... Go forth and show the reality that you've just received the God of the universe and now you will be the presence of God by being his tabernacle to the world.
How many times have I received Jesus and run out the door? How often I've been afraid to talk to someone, afraid to say hi, afraid to have the wrong words. How often I've been afraid to love, even after seeing how much God loves me. Oh Lord, help me to learn to love as you love so that I may bring your love to the world. Amen.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Heaven on Earth

Lately I've been coming across a so much information on the Mass; it seems the Lord is opening my eyes to the beauty of the Mass and I'm eating it up.

I grew up Catholic and we tended to go every Sunday, but I always thought the Mass was boring, although I did enjoy the songs. I knew that there was a problem when we missed it when we were traveling, but I generally didn't mind. When in college I went because I knew it was necessary, but I also missed it quite frequently, like when I "accidentally" slept in.

For several years now I've been researching the Catholic faith and with that has come, in bits and pieces, knowledge and understanding of the Mass. I learned that the Eucharist was indeed Christ Jesus and to receive him in a state of mortal sin was worse than the sin itself. I learned that we actually read the Bible at Mass, and the Mass is Biblical in nature. I know that sounds silly, but there was a time when I thought the most Biblical thing about the Mass was when we sung On Eagle's Wings.

During this time I remember thinking how I was "finding the Mass." I was learning "so much" about it and I would think there couldn't possibly be more. This past year the Lord has shown me that he was just building the foundation.

First he sent me The Lamb's Supper by Scott Hahn. I knew the Bible was read at Mass and that the Eucharistic Prayers were from the Gospels, but I had no clue how much more was. I was shocked to learn that almost the entire mass was in Revelation, although it seems On Eagle's Wings is missing...

Then the Lord sent The Mass of the Early Christians by Mike Aquilia. I love this book! While Scott Hahn's looks at the Biblical record, this book looked at the Early Christian historical records. Here is a passage from this book that especially struck me,

In the third century, the Cappadocian Bishop Firmilian spoke of regional differences in the liturgy, but also acknowledged a common core that his North African colleague, St. Cyprian, could recognize. In Egypt, St. Clement of Alexandria referred to rules, or "canons," for the proper celebration of Mass. By the middle of that century, disciplinary manuals known as "Church orders," such as the Didascalia, offered copious legislation concerning the liturgy. All the evidence indicates that certain prayers - such as the "Holy, holy, holy" and the dialogue proceeding from "Lift up your hearts" - were almost universal by the middle of the third century, though probably much earlier.
"What's the big deal," you might ask, "you already knew it was from the Bible, which is far earlier." Yes, but many Christians find all kinds of things in the Bible, that doesn't make it necessarily true. Knowing you could support the Mass biblically was fascinating, but no more than an amusing parlor trick to me. Finding out that the part of the Mass I found most robotic and dull was something Christians have been saying every day for 1,800 years or more completely floored me.

I know I must sound like a complete dork by now, but then I came across two wonderful CD's. The first was by Michael Barber called Unlocking the Book of Revelation. It was distributed by Lighthouse Catholic Media. It seemed to be along the same lines as Scott Hahn's book, but somehow hearing it made it more real that reading it, perhaps it's just a psychological effect.

Then today a friend loaned me this wonderful CD by Fr Larry Richards called The Mass Explained. I loved it, not so much because it told me new stuff about the mass, I have that foundation now, but for the spiritual side of it. What is means to be kneeling before Jesus on the altar, to know He is God and you are not.

Since it is getting late, I'll post tomorrow about some of the things Fr Richard's talked about in his talk on the Mass.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Patience

I have this coworker, I'll call him 'Bob'. Bob comes from a family of very smart people, yet this intelligence gene skipped him, as he's told me. Now, my observations of Bob tell me that he is not stupid. He just tends to not think about something before asking, again and again. Up until this week it's been OK, I did learn the material faster and I answered his questions patiently. Lately, however, I've been getting really short with him. Today I was really bad...

Bob: I found this error in the file.
Me: Yes you are looking for errors in the file.
Bob: What do I do with it?
Me: The same thing you've done with all the others.
Bob: But it's in my file.
Me: AND?!? This is the same question you've asked a dozen times!
Bob: whispers apologies and creeps off to his desk with a confused look.

Fast forward to tonight, I go to see my spiritual director and I mention how I'm nervous about finding a new apartment. Will I find a place to live in time? What if I don't realize it's the right place? He tells me to repeat over and over "Jesus, I trust in you." As I'm saying it a dialogue comes to mind...

Me: Jesus I trust in you, but I'm afraid I won't find a new apartment in time.
Jesus: Didn't I provide the place you are currently living in?
Me: Yes, Jesus I trust in you, but what if I'm too picky?
Jesus: You were picky last time, yet I provided you with a place.
Me: Yes, Jesus I trust in you, but what if I don't realize it's the right place?
Jesus: You understood my will with moving down here and with the job you're at now.
Me: Yes, Jesus I trust in you, but what if...
Jesus: How many times will you question me before you trust me?
Me: Probably several dozen or so.
Jesus: You mean a couple dozen or so times more than Bob's asked you about that error?
Me: Oh...

Yes, I've been testing the Lord again and again. Practically every day I question whether or not the Lord will provide for me when he has so many times before. Now I sit here complaining about a coworker who is asking questions. I'm allowed to repeatedly question, but he is not?

If the Lord can show so much patience with me, should I not also be patient with those around me? Lord, please give me the grace to be patient with others as you've been patient with me.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pray, but row to shore

I've heard it said, if you are stuck in a sinking boat you need to pray, but also row to shore. Don't sit in the boat while it sinks, row like mad. But also don't think that you'll get there on your own power, pray like mad too.

I'm still looking for a home. I went to Craigslist, the local newspaper, looked at the local apartment complexes. I even posted a couple ads, I know the Lord has something in mind and I'm trying to do my part; I'm trying to row that boat to shore.

But then I wonder if I am being too picky. I know there is some things I can't budge on (like price), but maybe I shouldn't be as picky about living alone, should I be bringing my cat down, would a basement and mold be so bad? Surely living in the worst part of town wouldn't be that bad...it's not like this is Chicago.

Yet so far, every place I've seen an ad for makes me nervous. When I found my sublet it was immediate "That's the place!" Lord, please give me that same prompting when I come across the ad for the place where you want me.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Trust in the Lord

Why is it so difficult to trust in the Lord, even when he has done so much to provide recently?

When things became difficult at home, He provided me with a friends and a spiritual director who guided me to stay in this town. When I could no longer stay at my friends house, He provided me with a sublet which I could afford. When I began to wonder if I would ever find a job, he provided me with a great one. And when things became hideous at home, He brought back my spiritual director when I needed him most.

Now, as I sit fretting over a permanent home, I keep reminding myself that He has brought me this far and knows what I need to stay, and if it's His will that I stay (as it appears to be) then He will provide. If it's not...then I go where He leads me.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

I've been excommunicated!

The society of St Leo I has official declared me a heretic...although one could hardly hope for a more beautiful and poetic (once the spelling errors were fixed) declaration of heresy.

Wherefore in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the saints, in virtue of the power which has been given us in binding and loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive them and all their accomplices and all their abettors of the Communion of the Body and Blood of Our Lord, we separate them from the society of all Christians, we exclude them from the bosom of our Holy Mother the Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare them excommunicated and anathematized and we judge them condemned to eternal fire with Satan and all his angels and all the reprobate, so long as they will not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the Church; we deliver them to Satan to mortify their bodies, that their souls may be saved on the day of judgment.


I've now been declared anathema along with several other great...I mean evil...bloggers. I definitely recommend reading through their blogs to hear of all the heresies present in the Church today! I'm now required by the group to post the Anathema Sit badge on my blog to show my contrite nature and warn others of the heresy present on this page. It has also been recommended that I find a pillar to take up residence in for penance...although I've been having difficulty finding one in the area.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Storms

My family has been going through some difficult times lately. On Tuesday I received some really bad news that threw me into a emotional tornado. I learned of the news around 2pm and for the rest of the afternoon my emotions ranged from extreme anger, to grief, to numbness. I couldn't think straight at all, in fact every event seemed to come back to my family and bring me to tears.

I got to Church that evening and ran into my spiritual director (a wonderful priest). He'd been on vacation for several weeks and this was the first time I'd seen him since he'd been back. For the entire time he was gone things were going great. I got a good job, my family was plodding along, no real good news or bad, my friends were around me and I felt at peace. Now today, bad news just come, and he sees me a wreck...my first thought was that he's going to think I'm always getting bad news, or that I'm crazy (I think he already knows that one though).

I didn't talk to him right away, I was a bit miffed, but while at mass I could almost hear God saying, "You need a spiritual director now...you didn't need one then." I actually became angry. I didn't want a spiritual director, I wanted the problem solved. I wanted the wrongs righted and everything to be OK now.

Yet that is not the answer He gives. He will not still this storm, but he will give me the grace and support to see me through. It's not the answer I want, I want my family to be safe and happy, but I'm being called to trust the Lord. He loves them far more than I ever could and knows what will bring them healing.

I need to trust His love for them, that he wants them to find healing and peace. He has shown me how much he loves me through my spiritual director, friends, work and the peace He has given me. I cannot bring my family healing, only He can. I must learn to let go and let God do just that.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Good Blogs are Addicting...

So, I haven't posted in a week, but I've been online that whole time (well, except when I was sleeping - I turn off my computer at night...)

What have I been doing? Reading other blogs, of course! I've broken out the popcorn and enjoyed the brewing war between Spirit of Vatican 2 "Catholic" Faith Community and AGainst the Huns - The Society of St Leo I. Apparently there is a picnic being planned which will bring together these two totally divergent communities over penitential brownies. I wait with bated breath for the picnic, the meeting of the hippie church and the traditionalist church should be the event of the millennium.

Now, after reading about all that excitement, I turn to more serious topics. There is a wonderful post on Adoro's page about Christianity and Abortion. Although it is not effective against the non-Christian, it is a good pro-life argument from scriptures that will touch Christians when they hear it.

Then I went over to PhatCatholic's site and saw a great movie on the defense of Pope Pius XII. I'd heard he was called Hitler's Pope unjustly, but hadn't realized the depth of that lie. To think someone could say he was on the side of the Nazi's when he did so much to help the Jews just stunned me. I'm going to wandering to the library and check out The Myth of Hitler's Pope, but I feel I should finish the other 20 books I've already checked out first.

So, while I continue to neglect my poor blog, enjoy the variety and knowledge offered by those who are a great deal more entertaining, interesting and informative. So much so, that I believe I've become addicted!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Repetition, Life and Love

All the towering materialism which dominates the modern mind rests ultimately upon one assumption; a false assumption. It is supposed that if a thing goes on repeating itself it is probably dead; a piece of clockwork. People feel that if the universe was personal it would vary; if the sun were alive it would dance. This is a fallacy even in relation to known fact. For the variation in human affairs is generally brought into them, not by life, but by death; by the dying down or breaking off of their strength or desire. A man varies his movements because of some slight element of failure or fatigue. He gets into an omnibus because he is tired of walking; or he walks because he is tired of sitting still. But if his life and joy were so gigantic that he never tired of going to Islington, he might go to Islington as regularly as the Thames goes to Sheerness. The very speed and Ecstasy of his life would have the stillness of death.

The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. [The sun's] routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE. Heaven may ENCORE the bird who laid an egg. If the human being conceives and brings forth a human child instead of bringing forth a fish, or a bat, or a griffin, the reason may not be that we are fixed in an animal fate without life or purpose. It may be that our little tragedy has touched the gods, that they admire it from their starry galleries, and that at the end of every human drama man is called again and again before the curtain. Repetition may go on for millions of years, by mere choice, and at any instant it may stop. Man may stand on the earth generation after generation, and yet each birth be his positively last appearance.

--Chesterton [Orthodoxy]


I love this quote. The first time I read it I walked outside and a strong wind went by and tousled a line of maple trees. I realized that the Lord could have decided not to make trees this year, or not to make them that beautiful shade of green and silver. Tears came to my eyes and I prayed "Please Lord, do it again!" The wind died to a gentle breeze and I looked to my left, from which it came, and saw a beautiful sunset. Then the wind picked back up again.

I still find myself saying "do it again!" like a little child. I find myself thrilled with little wildflowers and pretty stones, as simple as they are they seem to take on a whole new meaning. They are all alike, but each one is unique and specially created by God.

I have such a difficult time loving people in this way. Lord, give me a heart of flesh so I may recognize that all of us are special creations, loved far more than the wildflowers and more valuable than the most stunning sunset. Teach me to love your children with your love. Amen

Roller Blades

So, my friend and I went around to the yard sales this morning and found a pair of nice roller blades for $5. They happened to fit (a bit small, but still doable). It's been years since I roller bladed, I thought it would be worth $5 to try them out again.

So I get home and decided that I'll wear them to the store, which is right around the corner, buy some groceries. I've decided to record this dialogue I had with myself while doing this, partly for comic value, partly because I do hold conversations with myself. Yes, I know I'm crazy. ;)

***sitting down putting on the blades***
Do you remember the last time you went blading?
Yea sure, I've only been once before, in college.
When you borrowed your sister's roller blades.
Yup.
And went down death hill...
oh...yea, that back flip ending with a severe headache...
yea - are you sure this is a good idea?
Sure, I just need a helmet!
Are you sure?
Yup!
***click***

***heads outside and looks down the stairs***
You aren't going to try walking down those stairs in blades...
***clop clop clop***
Are you even listening to me?
Nope - I'm going to the store - this will be fun!

***starts across the parking lot***
See, it's just like ice skating - I'm good at that.
Ice is flat...
Yea, but these have little breaks on the back so I can stop on a hill.
Perhaps you should see if those work.
Good idea ***eek*** apparently it's only on the right heel.
***snickers***
By the way, talking to myself is ok - laughing is unacceptable.
sorry...
But see, the other break works!
You're going uphill...
I'm sure it'll work going downhill - here's one...
***eek***

Yes, the pinwheeling arms worked well to stop you.
They did steer me into this nice grass where I could regain my balance.

...
Are you going to walk in the grass the whole way?
No, of course not. Here's a nice place to get out.
You realize that is a downhill slope right?
It's very shallow, I'll be fine.

***eases out onto the sidewalk***
See, nice and easy.
You're going a bit fast aren't you?
Yes, but then we apply the break...
...and start pinwheeling?
YUP!
***eek***

...ow...
Well, it's at least a good thing the street was empty when you fell into it.
ow...
Look, your pants are ripped!
ow...
You'd better get yourself out of the road before a car comes.
sniffle...
The crawling is very dignified.
why does my thumb hurt?
Because you landed on it.
oh...

...
What are you doing?
I'm going to walk down the hill on the grass till it levels out...
umm...what about turning around and heading home.
No, I just need more practice!

...
See, it's uphill here, I'll be fine!
Downhills tend to come after up...
I'll be fine.
***eek***
you just fell again.
I know!
are you done yet?
NO!

***wobble wobble wobble***
More level ground, I'll get out here.
um...that is a gentle slope.
Yea, but I can slow by weaving back and forth...
LOOK OUT FOR THE BABY CARRIAGE!
***eek***
Now are you done?
***sniffle*** My tush hurts.
That's because you fell on it three times.
No the first time my thumb broke the fall...
Are you going to take those things off?
Yea...I'll walk back

So now it's several hours and bags of ice later. I'm beginning to think I may not try it tomorrow since it's difficult to sit down. I'm seriously thinking about pawning them off onto a friend, but then again, there's that whole "do unto other's" clause in Christianity...

Either way, I think ice skating is a much more fun, though less amusing activity. As for trips to the store, I think bikes are wonderful don't you?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Blog Decision

After giving it some thought, and discussing it with my spiritual director, I've decided I went a bit crazy last week. I've come to the conclusion that posting is not detrimental to my spiritual welfare because:

First, it may provide some sort of aid to someone in the future.
Second, there is little harm in it as long as I'm talking about advice from other sources (how can I take pride in quoting from Pinckaers?)
Third, very few people read my blog anyway - so it is a lesson in humility. :p

So back to blogging - even if I only post infrequently, I do enjoy it. :-D

Monday, June 04, 2007

Pride and Blogs

I have a dilemma with blogs and how they relate to pride and I'm looking for some suggestions...

I started saying the Litany of Humility about a month ago. The weird thing about that prayer is that as soon as you say it you start seeing the prideful moments very clearly. Now I've been keeping a blog for over a year and just started posting a lot more to it. The other day I realized that I was eagerly looking over the blog to see if anyone had posted any comments. I realized it was pride, I wanted people to be reading my blog and telling me how great it was

So then I removed the comments, ok now I'll never know if someone reads it! Then I thought, well now I'm just posting things - assuming they are right - and giving no one a chance to correct me! Pride!

So then I thought - I should just stop posting totally! But then I kept thinking about all the wonderful words of wisdom on healing I was getting and I wanted someone else to benefit from it. Besides, it would keep with the 12th step "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others"

Perhaps I should just take this to my spiritual director and get his opinion on the whole matter, but I was wondering if there were some wise people out there who might give a suggestion

Saturday, June 02, 2007

The Serenity Prayer

God grant met the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference;

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world, as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Alanon

As part of my "healing treatment" I've been told to attend Alanon meetings. Alanon meetings are for the families and friends of alcoholics. This was hard at first, mostly because I don't know any alcoholics (although there are a few distant relatives who are). What could I gain out of a meeting where I didn't share the most common characteristic?

Well, I was very mistaken. The words of wisdom spoken there can apply to anyone who's suffered or feels like sin has taken over their life. The meeting is for those who've spent years trying to help other people find healing, never realizing how deep their need for healing was.

In the meeting this week the topic was gratitude. They talked about how they made it a point of doing their gratitude list every night and when they didn't how their lives seemed much darker. They talked about how, even when things are at their worst, there is always something to be grateful for. There are even times when you are grateful for the worst.

Then, they talked about the connection between gratitude and letting go. At the time I just wrote it down, mostly because I didn't understand how, but then it hit me later at adoration. It is what Pinckaers was talking about. You are only grateful for a gift, you are not grateful for things not given, for things you earned. If you've accomplished some great goal, all by yourself, who do you have to thank but yourself? Gratitude happens when we realize that it was a gift, it needn't have been given.

When we start telling God thank you for the little things in our lives, we begin to see bigger things he has given us. By acknowledging his gifts we open our hearts and are able to truly appreciate them. Gratitude becomes the means by which we accept his gifts and the fruit of that acceptance.

As an example, I have been blessed with great artistic talent, but for a long time I wouldn't accept it as a gift and refused to use it. I was upset that I didn't have more talent; it wasn't enough. Then the Lord took that talent away by means of a pinched nerve that caused my hand to fall asleep when I held the pencil too long. When I could no longer draw I realized that there was no reason I should have any talent to begin with. When I was able to draw, even the most simple of pictures, it was a great joy and a gift. I learned to thank the Lord for that gift and I am now free to offer it back to him. Where before I would refuse to use the talent because I wanted perfection, I've now learned to let go of my desire for perfection and am free to use it as he wills.

Here are some other words of wisdom from yesterday's meeting:

  • For a more complete Gratitude List, go through the alphabet and list one item for each letter: I'm grateful for Alanon, Butterflies, Colors, Dandelions, The Eucharist, etc...
  • Let go and let God...do HIS job. It's not your job to fix the world ;-)
  • When we stop pleasing people, people are not pleased, but that's OK :)

Comments

I have decided to remove comments from my blog. I realized, as I eagerly looked over to see if anyone had commented, that I was just waiting for someone to say "good job". I wanted someone else to note how wonderful my blog is and that just leads to vanity.

I am not sure it isn't vanity to keep posting, but at least without the comments it's more like a journal. Actually, since I'm going to keep things general from now on, it will be more like a series of meditations that anyone can benefit from.

I hope, with the Lord's grace, that someone will benefit from this blog, but I also hope I never learn about it. I'm having enough trouble with my pride as it is ;)

Lord, bless this blog, may it be an instrument of healing for myself and, if it is your will, for others as well. Amen.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Blessed are the poor...

I've been told to read Pinckaers, Living the Beatitudes. I'm now on chapter 3, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. On page 44 he talks about poverty and love, up until this point I understood, but this gave me cause to stop and reflect...

There is no true love without poverty...Love knows it's own worth and is rightly jealous. It wants to possess our hearts totally, and cannot endure anything else besides, or any comparison. We must therefore become poor and empty, if love would enter and abide with us...Poverty is love's handmaid and companion. It makes us free, supple, and flexible beneath the action of the Holy Spirit, who is the Master of true love.

Furthermore, poverty purifies our love from that instinct of possessiveness which is its most dangerous enemy. Without the help of poverty love becomes possessive and, desiring to monopolize its object, it abases and defiles it until it flees from the lover. In the end, possessive love corrupts and destroys itself.

Perhaps I was just being dense, but for some reason this seemed contradictory. He first speaks of love possessive as a good thing, something natural, then speaks of possessive love as a bad thing, something which "corrupts and destroys itself." How is love possessive good and possessive love bad?

Well I spent three days thinking about this and I still don't understand love possessive, but I think I've begun to understand possessive love. The closest I can come to love possessive is that when we love an object it becomes the focus of our attention. Should our hearts be taken with other objects of affection, we no longer love the primary, or loose it. None of this sounds right though.

Possessive love is a bit easier. Being human, the lover fears the beloved, or rejection by the beloved and tries to protect himself by possessing the beloved instead of loving the beloved.

Pinckaers describes poverty as that "fundamental emptiness which lies at the depths of our being: the consciousness of our condition as creatures...All that we have and are comes from another, and will be taken away from us some day, whether we wish it or not." So a lack of poverty is the lack of acknowledgment that we are helpless, or the belief that we are gods.

Relating this back to our possessive lover, it is difficult for someone who believes himself to be self-sufficient to love for he has no need, or desire for anyone outside of himself. Should he find in himself poverty enough to desire a beloved, it would be for selfish reasons. He would need the beloved to validate the control he has illusioned himself to have.

Since he sees the beloved as a tool to validate his own illusions, he never realizes the depth of the gift given to him by the beloved. The lover, lacking poverty, does not acknowledge control outside of himself and will attempt to force the beloved to truly love. Yet love cannot be manipulated or controlled, it must be freely given. Deep down he knows this and thus will see any affection given as coerced and superficial.

As this cycle continues he will begin to despise the beloved because she represents his failure. His lack of control, which he fears and rejects, is evident in his beloved and thus he seeks to destroy the evidence of that failure. He will begin to attack her in order to regain a semblance of control, if he cannot have the love, he will have power.

In order for the lover to experience true love he must first recognize that he is poor, that everything he has is a gift that can be taken away. Once he accepts his lack of control even the most insignificant goods become precious. Superficial love is a joy and true love a divine blessing, for neither need have been given at all. Furthermore, since all gifts depend upon our acceptance of the gift, or our rejection of it, the lover will cherish the love given by the beloved all the more, knowing that, should he choose to reject it, it may never be offered again.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Humility Prayer

Oh Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me.
- From the desire of being esteemed...Deliver me Jesus
- From the desire of being loved...
- From the desire of being extolled...
- From the desire of being honored...
- From the desire of being praised...
- From the desire of being preferred to others...
- From the desire of being consulted...
- From the desire of being approved...
- From the desire of being humiliated...
- From the fear of being despised...
- From the fear of suffering rebukes...
- From the fear of being calumniated...
- From the fear of being forgotten...
- From the fear of being ridiculed...
- From the fear of being wronged...
- From the fear of being suspected...
- That others may be loved more than I...Jesus grant me the grace to desire it
- That others may be esteemed more than I...
- That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease...
- That others may be chosen and I set aside...
- That others may be praised and I unnoticed...
- That others may be preferred to me in everything...
- That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should...
Dear Lord Jesus, teach me humility

This is a hard prayer. I've been saying it for three weeks now and the Lord has been showing me my pride left and right. It's gotten to the point where every moment I hear a voice saying "that's pride there...and there...and there. Oh, you think you're doing sooo well at pointing out pride! Guess what that is..."

As I was posting this I began to wonder if keeping a blog was a form of pride...of course it is. I think my thoughts are so great that someone might want to read them. Then I thought, no one reads my blog anymore! If anything this is an exercise in humility!

Well, I'll keep posting, perhaps in the future the Lord might guide someone to the site and work through me without my knowledge to help them. :) Not pride right? Of course not ;)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Suffering and Healing

A year ago I left my apartment and town I love to move back to my parent's house. It was mostly to continue my discernment process, but I also wanted to help out with a crisis there. Well now, a year later, I'm back in the town I left. I came down for a visit and the Lord arranged things so that I had to stay another week...then another...and now I live here again. It's strange being back, but a relief and a blessing.

The situation at my parent's house was tough. They are being persecuted and abused by a legal system that is out for blood. I kept thinking how I needed to help them, I needed to save them, I didn't realize the damage that I was doing to myself. I wasn't doing the Lord's will at my parent's house anymore, and I was starting to spiral out of control.

So now I'm seeking healing, for that is what I've been told I need to do. The more I live here the more I see it too. I don't know down what path the Lord is leading me, but I'm learning to trust that Love and Peace is the destination.

I figure a new phase deserves a new color scheme and layout. The header picture is a crop of a larger digital images from www.moodflow.com. Since it's someone else's artwork, I feel it's proper to site it ;)