Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Visitors From Angelqueen

I was mildly surprised to find that Angelqueen.org picked up my threads on those who can't stand to refer to God as "Him".  The comments that followed were slightly amusing.  Since I can't respond over there, I will respond to their questions/observations here.

1.  Yes, I attend a daily Novus Ordo.  There is not a daily TLM offered that I can attend.

2.  The translation provided here is not from the Missal I use at the TLM.  I wanted a translation more closely matched to the current responses at the Novus Ordo.

3.  The Missal I use at the Sunday TLM  is a St. Joseph's Daily Missal, was published in 1957 and belonged to my mother.

4. You could be right - things could get worse with the new translation, with some stubbornly clinging to the lame-duck version.

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's Not Easy Because It Wasn't Meant To Be

One of my favorite commenters at Abbey Roads left the following comment in response to questions on Purgatory.  He then left me the link to the clip at the bottom, which I share with you now for something a little different.

"A Padre once asked me if I loved my wife.

“When?” was my reply.

He was taken aback by my response.

I told him anybody that loves their spouse always is in need of treatment.

We marry promising to love, honor, and obey.

Doesn’t always happen.

I knew a couple that fought like two cats in a bag.

They had a dozen kids, and those little punks were a handful.

Their house was always noisy, and the dinner table was every man for himself.

They went to Mass, and always prayed before meals.

When the wife died, the husband gave her a Christian burial.

The Padre that said the Mass was sad to see her go; she was like his second mother.

When he died, his kids buried him.

There were so many children and grandchildren and great grand kids at the Funeral, some of us had to stand in the back of a pretty big Church.

Being Catholic doesn’t so much depend on you loving each other all the time (even pagans love each other), loving God always is the most important thing.

It bears much fruit."

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Brilliantly Scathing Idea for Those Offended by God's Masculinity

Nothing gets under my skin like having to hear someone sitting near me at Mass replace the word "Him" with "God".  Not that I find anything offensive about the name "God".  I just find it offensive that people do not wish to refer to Him with a male pronoun.  And I must say I am especially apt to get ticked if the offending party is a gray-haired woman, which I must say, it usually is..

Today, many of the regulars were absent from our TLM because of the weather.  I shocked myself by sitting up front (well, up front for me at least) which meant if I stood, sat or knelt at the wrong time, a good part of the congregation would follow me.  The fact that the schola was also missing meant that any responses I made would be heard more audibly than usual.  I did my best and hopefully, didn't throw anyone else off track.

As I was walking home amid the wind and the raindrops, I had a brilliantly scathing idea.  The next time the grey-haired lady who sits near me at weekday Mass makes  her gender-neutral responses, I could make mine in Latin.  Then she will be thrown off instead of me.

Of course, I would not do such a thing, but the thought of it is tempting.  I hope when we bid farewell to the lame-duck translation, this annoying habit some women have will go with it.

The Day After

We're still here and intact, thanks be to God.  No damage, no loss of electricity, no flooding. The Emergency Broadcast System broke into news coverage very often last night with tornado warnings, but nothing touched down here.  Not every one was so lucky.  But we're still here. Even had the TLM with skeleton altar crew, organist but no schola.  

Time to think about Sunday dinner.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

On The Path of the Little Way

I saw these two stories in the paper today.  They have nothing to do with each other or even anything to do with the Catholic faith, but I still thought they merited a place on my lowly little blog.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Gary Shoap.  Mr. Shoap, 58 years of age, was killed early Thursday morning in a car crash as he was on his way to work.  Mr. Shoap, who was Jewish, worked for the Philadelphia Inquirer as a circulation manager.  Every year, Mr. Shoap volunteered to work on Christmas Day so his Christian employees could spend the holiday with their families.  At first glance, that's perhaps not so unusual, as many kind-hearted Jewish folks go to work in hospitals and other places so their Christian friends can celebrate Christmas.  Mr. Shoap's situation was a little different.  His birthday was December 25.

Gary Shoap, 58, was pronounced dead on the scene of car crash in Bucks County

The new kicker for the San Francisco 49ers, former Philadelphia Eagle, is a class act, more so than the team for which he played for 12 seasons.  Last year, when Akers struggled in the Eagles' lone playoff game, no one knew the personal hell he and his family were experiencing.  His young daughter was being treated at Children's Hospital for ovarian cancer.  He never made excuses and no one knew of the family's crisis until well after the season ended.  David Akers, who wore the #2 during his time with the team,  was kicked to the curb by the Eagles organization like yesterday's trash.  (That's my opinion.  Mr. Akers has too much class to respond in such a way.)

As fans on I-95 approach the home of the Eagles, Lincoln Financial Field, they are now greeted by a billboard left by Akers in appreciation of his time in Philadelphia.  Here it is.

Not too many professional athletes would spend money out of their own pockets to leave such a beautiful gesture behind.  Please keep David Akers and his family in your prayers.  His little daughter is doing well and is cancer-free and we all pray that she will enjoy a long and healthy life.

Friday, August 26, 2011


What a week.  First an earthquake, now a hurricane.  I have a feeling by the time it packs its wallop over the City of Brotherly Love, it will be reduced to a tropical storm, but given the amount of rain we've had this month, any amount of water is a  big problem .

Our hospital is bracing for the worst as I'm sure many others are as well.  The management team is going to cover the hospital in shifts and thanks be to God, I'm not due there until Monday, assuming I don't need a boat to get there.  I really don't know what to expect.  In one of our emergency planning meetings, our director of spiritual life reminded everyone about Mass in the chapel.  I don't know how many people attended the late morning Mass, but we had our usual complement at the early Eucharist.

Being surrounded as I am of constant reminders of Christ, I worry sometimes that I don't think about Him often enough during the day.  And the words of St. Therese come to mind, where she observes how a simple gesture like a smile can bring Jesus such joy.

Some of the people we serve are suffering like few I've seen before.  The gym where they go for daily physical therapy is down the hall from one of my departments.  As they struggle to take every step, I notice that no matter how difficult their journey down the hall seems, they never fail to return a smile.
I can't help but go back to my thought that we are seeing the beginning of the end.  The Last Day may not happen in my lifetime, but I'm struggling to live as though it will and encouraging others to do the same as well.

Before I left for the day, I helped my nurses move all any equipment we have near windows to safer places.  We unplugged all our computers and covered them in plastic bags.  Not sure if that will help or not, but the process gave me a chance to talk to them about praying the Rosary.  I reminded them of the house of Jesuits that survived the bombing of Hiroshima because they heeded Our Lady's request.

I hope and pray all of you in this storm's path will come out unscathed.  May God's Will  be done.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ah, Women!

The debate on female altar servers continue.  Some people are able to make their case very well without resorting to stereotypes and insults and others - well, let's just say they perpetuate the assertion some hold that the Catholic Church is rife with misogynists.

One priest said if female altar servers have been drawn to religious vocations, he's unaware of it.  Then there are the claims that the reason parents can't get their sons to serve is because they don't want to serve with girls.

I'm not going to re-hash the reasons why I permitted my daughter to serve at the Novus Ordo until this past year.  They had nothing to do with equality and everything to do with the boys in our parish not being willing to step forward.  We have, as we should, an all-male crew at the TLM.  Do you know how many parishioners have stepped forward to join them?  None.  Zippo.  Our servers all come from different parishes and the ones who are members became members AFTER they became servers.

To the credit of the priest who inadvertently started this latest firestorm, he did not merely seek to "get rid" of female servers.  He gave them an opportunity to serve the Lord as sacristans.  If a priest does not wish to have female servers, he should not have them, just as he should not feel forced to permit the optional exchange of peace when he celebrates Mass.

To be sure, there are women who believe they have a right to ordination and that serving at the altar is the first step toward that heresy.  But by and large, most of the young ladies I know who serve or have served come from faithful Catholic families and they do not have an agenda except love for the Lord and His Holy Church.

Unfortunately, I passed the copy on to a priest friend who does not want girls on the altar with him, but I saw an interesting letter in a recent copy of The Adoremus Bulletin.  An elderly priest, ordained sixty-something years ago, wrote to say that there were parishes he served that forbade girls at the altar that didn't have a single vocation to the priesthood, while the parish that did allow them had a substantial number of vocations to the religious life.

I couldn't care less whether girls are allowed to serve or not.  I'm just offering my two cents worth that not every little girl who serves has aspirations of crashing the seminary.  That's as ridiculous an assertion as the one forwarded by those women who believe they have a "right" to become priests.

“Ah! Poor women, how they are misunderstood! And yet they love God in much larger numbers than men do and during the Passion of Our Lord, women had more courage than the apostles since they braved the insults of the soldiers and dared to dry the adorable Face of Jesus. It is undoubtedly because of this that He allows misunderstanding to be their lot on earth, since He chose it for Himself. In heaven, He will show that His thoughts are not men’s thoughts, for then the last will be first”.  St. Therese of Lisieux

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shaking Things Up a Bit

I suppose it did not go over very well when Our Lord called the Pharisees out.  It had to be unnerving to be compared to white sepulchers  "full of corruption and dead men's bones."   Jesus had no problem shaking up the establishment.

The East Coast got a shaking up of its own today.

I have to tell you, in a moment of brief digression, that when I was 12 or so, I discovered a book my mother was reading called "The Exorcist".  I did not quite understand what it was about, nor did I let on that I was reading it. I terrified myself in secret and it was years before I was "right" again.  If you're familiar with the horror movie based on the book, you know that part of the harassment stage of the possession involved a violent shaking of the young's girl's bed at night.

One night while in my teens, I woke up to find  my bed violently shaking and I bolted from it, only to realize we were having an earthquake.  Whew!

Fast forward to this afternoon.  I was sitting in a borrowed chair in a borrowed office at a borrowed computer when the chair began to tremble.  I wheeled around to see who the prankster was who was shaking the chair, and soon realized there was no one there. I leaped out of the chair.   Do you know that for an hysterical moment, I flashed back to "The Exorcist"?  Am I ridiculous or what?

I shot  across the hall, where everyone else was in a similar state of disbelief.  By then the quaking had ceased, but the ladies sitting by the pretty picture window told me they had seen the parking garage rattling.

This has been quite a year for unusual happenings.  Extreme heat followed by torrential rains and floods, now this.  Was it part of the wake-up call?  If I was still a lapsed Catholic, I wouldn't be taking any chances.

Everyone remarked how similar this day was in weather to 9/11.  Then we got back to work.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Sacred Heart and the Little Flower

I wrote a few months ago about noticing statues of the Sacred Heart and St. Therese in my neighbor's house.  What's so unusual about that, you say?  My neighbors aren't at all religious.  I mentioned the statues to the husband once and he mentioned that he found them in one of his properties that he recently bought and that they had no meaning to him except he thought they were neat "art deco".

This same neighbor informed us that he will be having major work done on his house and he and his wife will be moving out for a awhile until the demo and reconstruction is complete.  I mentioned to him that I would like to make him an offer for the statue of St. Therese and he told me they weren't separate statues, they were all one piece.

"Let me talk to my wife and I'll let you know what she says."

That was last night.

Tonight, I came home from work,  had a little snack, got dinner on its way, and sat down on the couch next to Rebecca, discussing her day.  I glanced up at the book shelf and did a double take.  There they were - Our Lord, pointing to His Sacred Heart, and St. Therese, embracing her crucifix and roses.

This morning, there was a knock at the door around 9am and my husband happened to be home, working on estimates.  There was my neighbor holding the statues.  He and his wife decided I should have them and they would not take any money for them.  They mentioned that the man whose home they had been in prayed in front of them every day.

Here is a photo.  To be sure, the figures are in need of some work.  Our Lord looks like He has a cut on His nose and St. Therese's facial features have faded a bit, but a little TLC will quickly restore them both.  There is a holy water font between them and there is a place on the base of the statue for a candle.

I have never, even once, seen an image of Jesus and Therese together like this.  I cannot believe I have this in my home.  I called my neighbor and assured him that he and his wife will be in my prayers.

I consider this a rose of sorts.  Shortly before I left work, I received an email that my ailing former co-worker, who had suffered a serious setback at the end of last week, was now extubated and sitting up in a chair.  I stopped by the chapel on my way home to say a special thanks.

Friends, I cannot tell you what a joy it is to be able to bask in the Lord's Presence in the chapel before I head home every day.  I felt like I should pinch myself to be sure it's all real.

Now, as for St. Therese...God-willing, if the day comes when I meet her face to face, I want her to explain why every Theresa who has ever worked for me has been such a problem.  You'd think someone named after the greatest saint of modern times would own up to the name.  Nope.  Every Theresa who has worked for me has been a problem child.    Only one thing to do with such people - lift them up in prayer to their namesake and let her do the rest.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Pope of Catholic Unity?

Four things Pope Benedict XVI can do right away to restore unity in the Church he leads.

1.  Do away with Holy Communion in the hand.  Not everyone can kneel.  But they can receive Our Lord directly from the hands of the ordained priest or bishop onto their tongue.

2. Celebrate Mass publicly in the Extraordinary Form.  This may happen sooner than we think.  Keep those prayers coming.

3. Re-do the liturgical calendar so that one faction isn't celebrating one feast while the other faction celebrates another.

4.  Require all seminaries to teach our future priests how to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Grateful for a Good Confession and Other Joys of Being Catholic

Although I have the benefit of two daily Masses at my workplace, confessions are not offered to employees. Oh, I'm sure I could speak to the priest after Mass and make arrangements to have my confession heard, but with the large number of patients the priest has to see on a daily basis, I don't want to take up his valuable time for my convenience.  It's a good lesson in patience for me to have to wait until Saturday to be able to get to confession.

Today I was fortunate to have a priest who did more than listen, absolve and send me on my way.  He knew that I was bothered at having to confess something that I find particularly difficult to overcome.  Progress has been made, for sure, but I'm still in search of a cure.  I am very grateful to this priest for not simply glossing over my sins but for taking the time to talk things over, discuss any extenuating circumstances and offer some encouraging words.  Unfortunately, it's clear I'm still have some bouts with scrupulosity, but that, too, is improving.

In the post I put up yesterday about ex-communication, the canon lawyer who wrote the piece noted that excommunication is not meant to be punitive, but medicinal.  The same can and should be said for confession.
I have to say that I never felt lighter and more relieved than I did after receiving this sacrament today.

I wish more people availed themselves of this sacrament.  I know there are people who believe their sins are a matter between themselves and God.  They are, and that's why He provides the priest, acting in His place, to listen, counsel and dispense absolution.

For His Infinite Mercy, is that too much  to ask?

Something strange has happened since I started my new job. I'm actually quite happy at work.  I don't have an office, a computer or a phone yet due to a combination of on-going construction and summer vacations, but I am managing quite nicely.  Something else strange is happening.  For the first time in a very long time, I'm in a workplace where I don't feel like I have to search  for the Presence of God.  He is everywhere I look, in more ways than one.

Aside from the chapel and the statues of the saints and the sisters and the crucifixes, there are the people who genuinely take their mission to serve in the name of Christ to heart.  If a person is so unfortunate as to need to be in the hospital, they couldn't ask for a more pleasant and healing environment.

The other refreshing change is that we can open each meeting with a prayer, and we can have crucifixes and other sacramentals prominently displayed in our offices.  As soon as my new office is ready (I'm told as early as this week), I have a brand-new crucifix with a beautiful depiction of the suffering Christ, a statue of St. Therese and a beautiful triptych of St. Teresa of Avila to display.  We are also looking to rename one of our centers, and I have my boss considering making St. Raphael our patron saint. Of course, this is not simply up to us, but she is in a position to put this idea forward with the higher-ups.  We'll see.

God blessed us in another way today.  My husband's car, a marvel on snow and ice, died of natural causes a month or so ago.  He's managed by borrowing our daughter's car during the week when she doesn't need it, but I was worried I'd have to find another car for myself, an all-wheel drive for the winter days ahead when snow and ice take the place of the heat and the humidity.  We stumbled across a nice little Toyota 4WD today that will be perfect for him to transport his painting equipment and perfect for me in the winter weather. So I don't have to go out and find a new ride, which is especially good news since I'm only a few months away from paying my car off.  In exchange for driving him to the dealership and helping him with the haggling to get the price down, I have earned the right to drive it when I need it.

Now, if the Phils can just put the Nationals away tonight, it will be a fitting end to a beautiful day.

God is good.

Gift of St. Bernard of Clairvaux

There were many Gregorian versions of this beautiful hymn, but I liked this one best. so here it is.  Thanks to the folks at Fisheaters, the words are below in both Latin and English.

Jesu, dúlcis memória,
Dans véra córdis gáudia:
Sed super mel et ómnia
Ejus dúlcis præséntia.

Nil cánitur suávius,
Nil audítur jucúndius,
Nil cogitátur dúlcius,
Quam Jésus Déi Fílius.

Jésu, spes pæniténtibus,
Quan píus es peténtibus!
Quan bónus te quæréntibus!
Sed quid inveniéntibus?

Nec língua válet dícere,
Nec líttera exprímere:
Expértus pótest crédere,
Quid sit Jésum dilígere.

Sis, Jésu, nóstrum gáudium,
Qui est futúrus praémium
Sit nóstra in te glória,
Per cúncta semper saécula.
   Jesus, the very thought of Thee
With sweetness fills the breast!
Yet sweeter far Thy face to see
And in Thy Presence rest.

No voice can sing, no heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find,
A sweeter sound than Jesus' Name,
The Savior of mankind.

O hope of every contrite heart!
O joy of all the meek!
To those who fall, how kind Thou art!
How good to those who seek!

But what to those who find? Ah! this
Nor tongue nor pen can show
The love of Jesus, what it is,
None but His loved ones know.

Jesus! our only hope be Thou,
As Thou our prize shalt be;
In Thee be all our glory now,
And through eternity. Amen.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Update On Ex-Communication

To all concerned about the link I posted yesterday about ex-communication, take a look at this   Hopefully, it will answer some of our questions and allay some of our fears.   I went back and read some of the additional comments on Father Z's blog and one poor woman is left wondering whether or not her marriage is valid.  It doesn't matter what I think, as I am subject to obedience, but I do have some concern that a person could read that post and decide they're in a hopeless situation when in fact, they're not.  That's the danger with dangling information on the internet without benefit of having questions answered in a like manner.  Hopefully, those with such questions have access to a priest in whom they can confide so they can, if they're not already there, get on the right path.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I found this to be an especially sobering read.  I think it is abundantly obvious to anyone even vaguely familiar with my blog that I am not a Canon lawyer.  But this raises all kinds of questions for me.  Father makes reference to a 1983 Code of Canon Law. What if the sin took place before 1983 and the penitent made a good confession, was truly repentant,  and received absolution?  Needless to say, I'm a little confused.

I have been only peripherally involved in the pro-life movement but have heard Father Pavone speak many times.  I can't say I can recall having heard that a woman must not only go to confession but to a confessor with the faculties to lift excommunication.  How many of you knew that?

BTW, I'd ask for clarification from the source, but my past questions to Father Z have gone ignored and unanswered, so I needn't bother.  Maybe some other brave soul he finds worthy of his response will fare better.

Fair Wages

Shortly before I left the house this morning, I received a text that I needed to be at a meeting immediately after Mass, so I planned to say my Rosary and other devotions after work.  And shortly before I headed down to the chapel, I received word that my former co-worker has taken some major steps backward.  I also saw on my  personal cell phone, which I do not carry on my person at work,  that I had several text messages from other former co-workers begging me to pray.

"We're desperate" someone wrote.

As happy as I am that people are turning to prayer, how I wish they would pray themselves.  I have no power to do anything for anyone. None of us do.  What I have is a strong faith and a willingness to rely on some very powerful intercessors.  That's a lot, but it's also nothing, as in on my own, I can do nothing.

Today's Gospel dovetails perfectly (for me at least) with some of the comments I got in return when I assured people I am praying but that they should do some praying of their own.

"You pray all the time.  God will listen to you because you're a practicing Catholic and I'm not."

"God is more likely to listen to you than to me because I haven't prayed for a long time."

As much as I loathe these comments, they provide an opportunity, the chance to assure people of God's infinite love and mercy for all of us.  He doesn't play by the same rules we do.  There is no getting even.  There is no conditional concession to our prayers.  There is no "well, you were mean to Me and ignored Me for years, so you don't deserve the same reward as those who have been faithful to Me from the start."  He is as delighted to see my Caitlin, who can't be bothered to go to Mass anymore (again!) as He is to see Rebecca, who is faithful to Him in all things.  It matters not how late we arrive.

Sometimes, I bypass the intercessors and go straight to the Source.

After my Rosary and chaplets, I decided to speak heart to Heart with Jesus.

"Dear Lord, please restore this man to good health.  So many people are pulling for him.  I am afraid they will turn away from You if you do not spare his life."

"Then you must pray that they will have the grace necessary to accept what I will".

The crucifix in the chapel is very prominent, with the Lord's arms in full extension on the cross.  When I'm feeling low, I like to think His arms are extended in an embrace of love meant to console us in our suffering.  And when I contemplate His posture on the cross, I know I am speaking to a compassionate God Who knows first-hand the value of suffering.  May He allow others to realize it as well.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mea Culpa

I know I have some comments I have not responded to, as well as having left comments on other blogs that brought about more comments.  I'm having a hard time adjusting to my new schedule, plus I've had another nasty headache for the past three days.  I'm hoping when the weather breaks it will take the headache with it.  We just got back from a beautiful TLM in honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so I promise to catch up on everyone's most recent blog posts (welcome back, Kelly!) as well as the comments left here as soon I feel up to it.

BTW, thank you for your prayers for Gary. Still in very serious condition, but making little improvements every day.  You are all the best!

Now I'm headed to bed to say the last day of my novena to St. Therese.  I am remembering all the intentions for which you have asked me to pray as well and I know St. Therese will bring them before her Divine Spouse.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

TLM on the Feast of the Assumption

Tomorrow evening at 7pm St. Paul Church will observe the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary with Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  St. Paul's is located on Christian Street between 9th and 10th Streets and is within walking distance of Center City Philadelphia.

Rock Bottom

Stealing something that doesn't belong to you is bad enough. Stealing from a church is another story altogether.  Someone stole the collection from Mass during Holy Communion.  A depraved and desperate soul for sure.  Unfortunately, the first thought that crossed my mind when this disturbing news was delivered to the congregation was "Oh, no, now I have to call my bank and change all my account information."  It was the words of another parishioner that slapped me back to reality.  "Send out your guardian angel, as we did, to find that poor soul and bring him back to conversion."  A little girl who does not normally attend the TLM saw what happened and was able to give the police a description.  I did pray to my guardian angel for the man, but not until after I  appealed to St. Anthony to find him and the money and then spent a half hour on the phone with my bank.   I wasn't upset about possibly losing the money, but I didn't want the thief to have my account and routing numbers.  From now on, I'm going to put an empty envelope in the basket to verify my presence at Mass and drop off my offertory donation to the rectory during business hours.

A few years ago, someone ripped the candle box right out of the floor between the time when the previous Mass ended and the next one began.  The result was that the church was no longer left open for prayer between Masses.    I often debate whether or not I'm going to bring my handbag with me to the altar for Holy Communion.  Usually I leave it in the pew.  After today, I will end that practice.  I try not to bring anything of value to Mass with me anyway, but it would be a major hassle to have my car keys ripped off.

I never refuse anyone who asks for my help.  I know the pastor would have reached into his own pocket to help a person in need.   However, none of us is going to knowingly fork over cash to support someone's substance addiction.   The person who did this is in bondage.  Pray for his freedom from the slavery of addiction.


"Pick up a pin from a motive of love and you may save a soul." - St. Therese

St. Therese denied herself food and water and made other sacrifices to win salvation for Henri Pranzini.  She called him her first child.

She hadn't yet entered a monastery when she did this.

You and I don't have to enter a monastery to make little sacrifices to help win salvation for a lost soul.

The graces dispensed by Our Lord are so immeasurable that even thought we don't deserve them, He showers them on us nonetheless.

St. Therese often spoke of the ingratitude and ceaseless complaining of "His friends in the world".

When a novice confided in her that she would save her tears for the Lord, St. Therese asked her: "Would you be as the ordinary souls?"

Our Lord does not demand of us the heroic virtue practiced by St. Therese.  There are times when I worry that adding a penance to my prayers would appear to make them conditional, like expecting extra credit for answering a bonus question on an exam.  But when you realize how little most of the world does for Christ, I don't think it's asking too much to do all we can for Him while we have the chance, if we are able.


Today Rebecca and I spent a very pleasant afternoon with a former co-worker who invited us to her development to play tennis, swim and cook out for lunch.  Shortly before I left the job, this co-worker and I and my two girls were going to a baseball game together.  The weather forecast was not at all promising and it looked like a giant "if" whether or not the game would be played.

My friend is a lapsed Catholic.  We have all encountered the kind.  You ask them to consider going back to church and they tell you God doesn't need them to come to Mass to know they love Him and that being a good person should be sufficient for a benevolent God to allow them into Heaven.

My friend was so looking forward to the game and she talked for a days prior about her concern for the weather.  That Friday, I brought her a little satchel with a card tucked inside it.  Within the satchel was a Rosary I had gotten as a gift in the mail.  The card was a simple "how to pray the Rosary" guide.  I told my friend if she really wanted to see the game she should consider praying and she laughed and asked me if I wanted God to send a monsoon.

Well, you know how it is.  You plant a seed and then you try to have the patience to see it develop.

At lunch today, we talked at length about the man we worked with who had fallen ill.  As we speak, he is still in very critical condition.  My friend told me that everyone at work was so happy to hear that I was praying for him.  Then she pulled me aside, out of Rebecca's hearing, and a bit awkwardly, asked me on what bead she should pray the doxology.  At first, I didn't quite grasp what she was telling me.  But then I realized that she had been trying to pray the Rosary I gave her.

Is this earth-shattering news? No, but it is edifying.  It is why I feel compelled to go above and beyond, even if it subjects me to ridicule.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Judge Gets What He Deserves for Selling Kids for Cash

A former juvenile court judge in Luzerne County, PA got 28 years for sentencing kids to a for-profit juvenile detention center from which he personally profited.  I was sick when I read about some of the lives this greedy judge, the now disbarred Mark Ciavarella Jr., attempted to ruin in an effort to line his pockets and help out his cronies.  The sentence may be the longest ever given in a U.S. political corruption case.

When adults in a position of power poison the lives of the young people entrusted to their authority, whether those adults be priests or judges,  justice must be served.  And if it's not served in this life,  it's going to be served in the next.  To borrow a line from Hollywood,  the latter option will take place in an un-air conditioned room with no doors or windows, not counting days and weeks or even months or years, but millenniums.  A sentence of 28 years is bargain by comparison!

There are nearly 30 other officials charged in this scandal.  Prosecutors have made an example of Ciavarella that others contemplating similar corruption would do well to observe.

Another Blown Save

The chapel is always very quiet.  Maybe it's because people are still half asleep or, because folks serious enough to get up for such an early Mass are not likely to cause a disturbance.  This being August, people tend to go on vacation, so I have the feeling that some of the regulars are missing because they're away.  At the same time, I'm slowly recognizing who works there, who comes solely for Mass, and who the Sisters are.  So when a kind of shabbily dressed gentleman showed up yesterday, I noticed.  I try to pray for those around me not only in case they need it ( who doesn't?) but especially if they are in the chapel to pray for a sick loved one.  For the past few days I've noticed a mother and a teen-aged girl coming in to pray for someone I imagine is not doing well, based on their demeanor.

Anyway, at the conclusion of Mass, having time to say a Rosary before heading to work,  I am the last one in the chapel when the priest locks up the sacristy, turns out the lights and leaves.  Today, although there were plenty of other places to sit, the gentleman chose to sit next to me, and when Mass ended, he, too stayed behind.  I thought of changing my seat because when I would look up at the crucifix behind the altar, I could tell he was looking at me and truthfully, it made me a little nervous.  But, being the sado-masochist that I am, I decided to stay put.  And I was totally caught off-guard when the man slid closer to me in the pew, pointing to his Rosary.

"Excuse me, would you like to say a decade of the Rosary with me?."

I don't know why, but this was as awkward as the time the class nerd asked me to go to his senior prom - a week beforehand!.  I quietly said I preferred to pray by myself and then he went on to say that he was new to the area and didn't know anyone.  I told him I, too, was new and I wasn't sure if people prayed out loud or not.  I told him I preferred to maintain the silence in the chapel until I knew better.  In all honesty, if someone had a few minutes to steal away from the bedside of a sick person desiring to speak to the Lord, shouldn't they have that opportunity?

Then again, would anyone really be disturbed if the sounds they heard were people praying, the Rosary?

And he went away sad.  Not really, he continued to sit next to me, but now I was feeling like an evil ogre.  It's not the first time a man has approached me in a church or chapel.  Had a woman approached me, would I have reacted the same?  If one of the sisters approached me to pray with her, would I have reacted the same?  I have to say that when it men approach me, it always feels like they're not just interested in praying.  A lonely person is a lonely person regardless, but as a married woman, I am uncomfortable with being approached, whatever the reason.

I shared this experience with Rebecca at dinner tonight and she shook her head.

"Mom, that was mean.  You should have prayed with him."

That's what I thought.

I'm just not a touchy-feelie person, but I thought it would have been just the kind of sacrifice St. Therese would gladly have made.

I blew it again.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Holy Mother Clare

“I need to be absolved from my sins, but I do not wish to be absolved from the obligation of following Jesus Christ.”

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday Hit and Hurry

You may not see much in the way of original posts from me for awhile as I adjust to my new schedule.  I was going to call this thread Hit and Run, but out of respect to innocent victims who are left for dead by heartless motorists, I opted for Hit and Hurry.  A hit and hurry is an equine event for open jumpers where speed is the determining factor of who wins the class.  And away we go...

Shane Victorino is the poster child for professional athletes with impulsive behavior.  He's a fast base-runner, but not always the most sensible base stealer.  When I see him stepping off first, I want to hide my eyes from the impending doom.  He doesn't have the sense to steal bases without explicit instructions.  Hence the Daily News headline last year when his failed attempt to steal second cost the Phils a play-off game:  DON'T GO SHANE!

Shane is an exciting ball player.  He's a strong outfielder and an excellent slugger, but common sense isn't one of his strong points.  That's why out of the melee that happened Friday night between the Phils and the Giants, only Victorino got a suspension.  The low-life pitcher who beaned him got fined an unspecified amount, as did the Ali-wannabe catcher, Eli Whiteside.  Meanwhile, unless Victorino can successfully appeal his suspension, he sits for 3 games.  Why?

Because when he left the batter's box to challenge Ramon Ramirez, he didn't go right for the pitcher or second base.  His indecisiveness resulted in the bench-clearing brawl even more than the dirty tactics of Bruce Bochy and Ramirez.  Had he made his point without shoving an umpire out of the way, chances are Ramirez would be the only one looking at a suspension.  Now we'll never know.

So Michelle Bachmann is being hunted again, this time by Newsweek Magazine.  An unflattering headline is accompanied by an even more unflattering photo of the Minnesota congresswoman.  A few weeks ago, you may recall she was under scrutiny for daring to suffer from migraine headaches.   Love her or hate her, you have to say one thing for her: She hangs tough and is probably the only Tea Party pol who can garner the sympathy of the National Association of Women.    Remember, politics makes strange bedfellows.

Mayor Michael Nutter had the nerve to tell like it is when it comes to the flash mob violence that some black teenagers have committed in random and shockingly violent attacks in Center City.  This columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer has a problem with that.  My advice to her? Get over it.  Yes, I agree, there is disparity in the way police and politicians will react to violence committed in some areas vs others.  There could be a few reasons for this.  First, if people grow up with little or no hope, they tend to accept the bad things that happen to them as inevitable, and they don't react the same way that people who are not living in a culture of violence and doom react, hence part of the reason for the disparity in treatment.  Second, we have too many people in Philadelphia who think that young people beating each other up is a normal way of life.  It's not, and the sooner we stop treating it like it is and teach young people a better way to settle their differences, the better.  As I have said before, if you raise a child with violence by beating the tar out of them before they know how to talk, you risk the chance of that child thinking this is normal.  No one should be surprised when that child tries to settle his differences the same way his mother did with him - with a pounding.  Third, the mayor was spot on in his comments about fathers who are nothing more than sperm donors and leave society to do their jobs for them.  At some point, the chickens are going to come home to roost, and a combination of paternal neglect and random reproduction results in sudden terror unleashed by a few bad kids. An area of the city where people are spending their hard-earned money to enjoy themselves and relax on a Friday night turns into a nightmare.

Who among us thinks it's "normal" to knock someone's teeth out or beat a man so badly he has to have his jaw wired?  One of the thugs was overheard laughing, saying: "It's not our fault you don't know how to fight."

Whose fault will it be when someone's idea of fighting back is shooting one of these miscreants?

Decent people of any race or color should be offended by the violent flash-mob behavior that has put Philadelphia in the shame headlines.  There are no good reasons for this disgusting behavior, only poor excuses that will do nothing but perpetuate the problem by failing to admit it.

Enough of the secular world.  I was a little disappointed when the priest exited the sacristy for Mass in green vestments.  I knew right away it meant no mention of St. Edith Stein.  Well, I might have to give him a pass.  He is a Franciscan, after all.  I look forward to Thursday's Mass, on the feast of St. Clare.  Don't know if I mentioned this already but  the Monastery of St. Clare is just a few clicks down the road.  I hope to visit it some day.  Meanwhile, as soon as I have an office, I will hang a San Damiano crucifix, and then I will make sure the Carmelites are well-represented in Franciscan territory.   It's all good.

See you next time.

One Who Gave All For Her Divine Spouse

"And that is doubtless the surest way to maintain constant union with God, to grow each day more firmly and deeply into the mystical Body of Christ. I am well aware that for many that is an all too radical request. In a practical sense, it will mean for most--when they first start--a complete change in their external and internal life. But that's exactly what it is supposed to be! To make room in our life for the Eucharistic Lord, so that he can change our life into His, is that asking too much? One has time for so many useless things: all sorts of stupid stuff gathered from books, newspapers and magazines; sitting around in bars and gabbling on the street for a quarter-or half-hour; all these are diversions which waste time and energy like crumbs. As a challenge to the whole day, should it not be possible to put aside a morning hour in which one is not distracted but recollected, in which energy is not wasted but gained? "But, of course, this requires more than just one hour. From one such hour to the next, one must so live that it may come again. It is no longer possible to 'let yourself go', even if only for a time. One cannot escape the judgment of those with whom one daily associates. Even if no word is spoken, one senses how the others feel towards him."- St. Edith Stein (Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Urgent Prayer Request

One of my former co-workers wrote just now and asked me to pray with fervor for another former co-worker, Gary,  who is gravely ill. I do not know much except the family has been told the prognosis is poor.  Gary is the father of 3 small children and this illness struck him with the same suddenness that an accident would.  If you would be so kind as to remember him and his family in your prayers, your generosity will not be forgotten.

Thank you and God bless you.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Little Levity

I saw this over at Making Things Visible.  Jon Stewart takes on the idiot atheists who are threatened by the cross-shaped structure at Ground Zero, as only he can.

Adoremus: Society for the Renewal of the Sacred Liturgy

A few years ago I was watching a re-run of "The Journey Home" on EWTN following Father Corapi's now-defunct show and Helen Hull Hitchcock was the guest.  It was then that I learned about the Adoremus Society and the Adoremus Hymnal.  I began subscribing to the newsletter shortly after that episode of TJH and have been receiving it ever since.

The most lively part of the newsletter is the readers' forum and this month's  makes the combox on some of the most radically traditional blogs look tame in comparison.  It is the mission of the Adoration Society to
" rediscover and restore the beauty, the holiness, the power of the Church's rich liturgical tradition while remaining faithful to an organic, living process of renewal. The purpose of such a renewal cannot be stated more eloquently than this statement by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger:

Christian Liturgy is cosmic Liturgy, as Saint Paul tells us in the Letter to the Philippians. It must never renounce this dignity, however attractive it may seem to work with small groups and construct homemade liturgies. What is exciting about Christian Liturgy is that it lifts us up out of our narrow sphere and lets us share in the Truth. The aim of all liturgical renewal must be to bring to light this liberating greatness.-- Feast of Faith  
( From the Adoration Society's Mission Statement)

One of this month's contributors to the Adoremus Bulletin informed the editors that there would be no need for their publication if the Novus Ordo did not exist.  Another said they were canceling their subscription, all because the editors will not condemn the Novus Ordo.  Wisely, the editors will not presume to know better than Pope Benedict XVI about the sacred liturgy.  Apparently, a gentleman sent them a letter last month informing them that he could not contribute to their organization because they "support" the Novus Ordo which, in his mind, is not a real Mass.    This month's edition included letters of support for that same gentleman.  One writer in particular certainly did not hold back:

"Long after we are all gone, the Novus Ordo will be recognized for what it was: a moment in time when the faithful tried to pull God down to their level and ushered 90% of Church into hell, under the 'spirit of Vatican II.' "

Wow.  As much as I detest guitars at Mass, hugging at the sign of peace and the attitude that the primary objective of the Holy Sacrifice is social contact, I wouldn't dare go so far.

I extracted the following statements from the lengthy response provided by the editors:

"We do find it disturbing that some otherwise serious Catholics feel free to decide for themselves what constitutes authentic Catholic liturgy, and to reject the decisions and the example of the Church's highest authority - the popes and an ecumenical council.  Can rejecting Church authority on so crucial and essential a matter as the Mass ever be a Catholic response?" (Adoremus Bulletin Vol. XVII No. 5)

Anyway, whatever Form you prefer, if you are of the mind that silence and appropriate reverence are sadly missing from our Churches, I would urge you to consider subscribing to the Adoremus Bulletin.  It is an excellent resource containing news, commentary and instruction as well as the afore-mentioned letters' section.  You can visit their site online at .http://www.adoremus.org/index.html

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Few Moments With the Lord

I have been trying to make a habit of visiting the Blessed Sacrament on Saturday nights.  I wasn't quite in the mood to get up off the couch this evening, but I didn't spend the First Saturday as I should have, and wanted to set aside a little quiet time for prayer.  To the surprise of my hubby falling asleep in the armchair, I headed out the door a little after 9 with the promise I'd be back shortly.

No one was in the chapel, but after about 15 minutes, I heard some voices outside the door, speaking in higher volumes than I'm accustomed to hearing from regulars at the chapel.  The next thing I heard were a lot of footsteps coming in the door, voices in hushed tones and the sounds of cell phones being turned off.  It sounded like a pretty big group and they weren't as quiet as people normally are in the small chapel. One of the adorers knelt down directly behind me. He/she was chewing wildly, like a cow with a cud, and I could smell the scent of the bubble gum.  Then when he/she got up they banged the kneeler loudly.  I tried to shrug it all off because I had the feeling the group wouldn't be staying long.  I was right.

When they approached the Blessed Sacrament to say goodbye, I was taken aback to see that it was a group of teen-aged boys, probably no more than 16 or 17.  The knelt down on the floor before the monstrance  and said a prayer together.

Although it was a little disruptive, it was also quite charming.  I don't personally know any teen-aged boys that would take the time on a Saturday night to pay the Lord a visit.  They looked like angels kneeling in front of the monstrance.  Then, the same way they came in, they left.

I hope they become regular visitors.

"Keep Me Company for a Quarter of an Hour"

This is one of the requests the Virgin of Fatima made of Sister Lucia in asking that the First Saturday of the month be spent in her honor in a particular way for the purpose of consoling her Immaculate Heart and in reparation for the offenses committed by man.

Imagine a person of great importance imploring me to keep them company for 15 minutes once a month.  Would I not dress in my best?  Would my attention not be riveted upon them, listening intently to everything they had to say to me?  Would I dare allow my mind to wander as they dispensed their wisdom, or the mere pleasure of their company?  Almost certainly not.

So why on earth is it so difficult to honor a simple request of the Mother of God in a manner befitting of her?

(I direct this question to no one in particular - just me talking out loud to myself again)

The Illumination of the Evils of Mankind

Evil is evil.  Whether it's committed at the hands of Nazis intent on ridding the world of anyone they considered undesirable or Somalian war-lords callously starving children to death, not too much has changed.  On this Feast of the Transfiguration, where Christ's Divinity was illumined for the few, a painful reminder of the cruelty of men toward one another.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Part of the Plan

The late Dan Fogelberg had a song by the same name.  I'm one of those people who badly mangles lyrics and the words to songs often turn out to be something quite different from what I thought I heard.  I thought I heard him singing "One day Lord we'll understand".   That's not quite what he was singing but I think it would have been accurate.

Today concluded my first week at the new hospital.  My apologies for not posting a photo of the Madonna but there is a bench in front of the statue and every time I've visited Mary to take her picture, someone was sitting in the bench, so I will have to try again.

I have been very worried, as I always am starting a new venture, of whether I'll be competent and successful.  I feel what's especially at stake here is not wanting to let someone I love very much down by not performing up to snuff. I was excused from the orientation class a little early today, so I had a chance to visit with my boss and review the plan for when I do come on board next week.  I confided my worries to her.

"You are a delight to work with and you are fabulous at what you do and you will be fabulous here.  Don't forget Who's watching over us here."

Oh, yeah.  HIM.  I began my day in the little chapel with Him and later, as I had occasion walk past the sanctuary within the hospital where the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass takes place, I thought how sad it was that so many people walked past the chapel without even a nod.  My elderly priest friend would always genuflect when passing the chapel in his retirement home, and I thought that it's fitting to give some kind of acknowledgment of the Lord's Presence when walking past any structure that houses Him.  At some point, I might suggest a little sign that calls people's attention to the fact that the Blessed Sacrament is reserved within those walls, walls that sit right in a busy lobby, and that people should feel free to acknowledge His Presence by some small gesture, even if it's refraining from conversation for a few seconds to offer some brief words of praise.

Getting back to the plan:  My boss and I suffered through some very trying times together.  A person who was making our lives Hell brought us together, in a way.  All throughout these trials, I wondered why God couldn't make the right thing happen.  My boss felt she had no alternative but to leave because the person above us both was maddeningly inept and vindictive on top of it.  My boss had to report directly to this woman while I had it slightly better.  Our complaints fell on deaf ears and it was a very sad day when my boss departed. Why Lord, why is the good person being driven out of here and the not-so-good person being allowed to continue down her destructive path?   I so wished I could go with my friend, especially since she was going to a Catholic hospital.  She told me to keep the faith because she felt we would one day work together again.  The opportunity came in December, but my family gave me fits because of the distance and the impending miserable winter weather, so I took another job feeling like I had settled for second best.

Today, as I strolled through the beautiful grounds of this facility, where deer graze in the grass and birds and flowers of every variety are in view, I thought of how God had it all under control the whole time. I could almost hear Him saying: "Silly thing.  You always wanted to work in a Catholic hospital.  You wanted to work for your friend.  If I had done for you what you begged of Me a year ago, none of this would have been possible for you, oh ye of so little faith."

What's more, my brief stint at the other facility gave me so many trying experiences that I will be better equipped to handle problems now. I always joked that I'd seen everything short of someone bringing a farm animal to the waiting room. I'm convinced if I had stayed there long enough, it would have happened!

To be sure, this is not without cost.  I am accustomed to early mornings, but not quite this early.  I have to be in bed by 9:30 or I cannot get enough sleep to be up and out the door by 5:40.  This means no baseball during the week.  Is that such a bad thing?  No. I don't think the Lord would demand so many sacrifices of me at one time, but it certainly won't hurt to offer it to Him.  This presents some other opportunities, also.  My son is entering his senior year of high school. I have been talking to him about considering culinary school after graduation.   He has a great interest in cooking.  I asked him to consider getting dinner started for me a few nights a week as a way of helping around the house and getting acclimated to the kitchen. He is willing to give it a try and excited about learning some new things and earning a little more allowance.   He has been making breakfasts for some time now and is very neat and careful, more so than his sister.  (Rebecca can pray the Rosary in Latin, but I wouldn't trust her to boil water, at least not yet).   I am going to get some dishes started for him and then I'll leave instructions for him about how to finish up.  We'll see how it goes.

Next week, I have to be interviewed as part of succession planning and will have to give my view of where I want to be in 5 years.  I have a tough time with these questions.  How do I know where I'll be, IF I'll even be here, in 5 years?  I may have to tell them to take the matter up with the Lord.  He seldom lets me in on where He's sending me, so it remains to be seen.

  Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not upon thy own prudence. (Proverbs 3:5)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fitting Reflection

“May prayer and sacrifice be your whole strength; these are invincible arms; they, far better than words, can move hearts, I know it by experience.” - St. Therese of Lisieux

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Inspiring Quote

This was Day 3 of Nursing Orientation, a mandatory program that every hospital requires its new nurses, no matter how seasoned, to sit through.  Today we were presented with an interesting quote from Dr. Martin Luther King and I thought how helpful it would be for me to apply this to my own profession.

"If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michaelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well." 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fools For Christ?

Thanks to Caroline for prompting me to use this phrase.

On another blog, a comment I left prompted someone to ask how wearing a veil could possibly make any reparation to Christ.  The offending questioner doesn't read my blog, but here is my answer anyway.  I am an extremely self-conscious person.  When you walk into a Novus Ordo Mass where people are talking about their air conditioners and their bunions at 96 decibels before Mass begins, oblivious to the Divine Presence in the tabernacle, you bet your bippy you're gonna get some looks when you walk in with a veil on your head.  I offer the discomfort up.  It's not important for anyone to appreciate that gesture except The One for Whom it is intended.  And by the way, I don't wear a veil to garner looks, I wear it because I grew up wearing one, before the Mass was blown up and the world followed suit.

There is a reason this blog is called "The Little Way", and that is because I am a client of St. Therese and wish to follow in her footsteps by offering up every sacrifice, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant.   I wish to abandon my own will and adhere to His.  There has been a lot of conversation of late, much of it uncharitable and selfish, about factions in the Catholic Church.   I've been thinking that it's not so much about trads versus progressives or Novus Ordos versus Extraordinary Forms as it is those who wish to make the faith about themselves and those who wish to center it around Jesus Christ, the Cornerstone of the Church.

One thing is very clear to me and that is that there are some converts and reverts with chips on their shoulders.  It's as though they want to make up for lost time by going overboard now.  I can relate, as I felt somewhat the same way when I first came back to the Church. I felt woefully inadequate and sinful around the well-dressed families with eight children who home-schooled, prayed the Rosary together every night and wouldn't be caught dead voting for a Democrat.  Eventually, I came to see how selfish this obsession with my perceived short-comings really was.  The only Person I need to impress is Divine.  It matters not what anyone  else thinks and the minute I start to care, I'm missing the point.  Not so with some others.  They don't "measure up", so instead of embracing where they are and ignoring the superfluous stuff, they denigrate and condemn to the point where it consumes them.

How much of the Catholic blogosphere is made up of people who are more interested in making their point, at the risk of setting the Lord aside entirely?  Why call yourself a Catholic blogger?   Anyway, I've learned my lesson and I will not be engaging these people anymore.

Some time ago, I engaged in a "conversation" with a traditional Catholic who seldom updates his blog.  He is one of the few people I know who is articulate enough to disagree with Father Z and not incur the wrath of his red pen.  One day, he asked me to consider how much time bloggers spend wrangling over issues that may not even be of peripheral interest to Our Lord.

His advice?  Instead of spending hours staring at a computer screen, typing away to have the last word, oremus!  Good advice for us all!

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1st

Today is the Boy's 17th birthday.  We officially celebrated yesterday with a cook-out with the grandparents and his aunt and uncle.  He was born on a  Monday evening at 8:01 after a labor so brief, I was sure I would give birth to him in the car.  At least on "my side" of the family, we finally had our boy.    Happy Birthday, Matthew!

Today was also the first day of the new job that I sincerely hope will be my last until I retire.  I can tell you there is a quite a bit of difference between getting to a 6:30 am Mass that is 10 minutes from my house compared to one that is 40 minutes away.  Between nerves about the new start and a disobedient little pug-mix who decided to get in bed with us last night, I didn't get very much sleep and felt quite bleary-eyed.  The most amazing sight brought me into focus, the view of the sun rising in the early-morning sky.

Mass was appropriately reverent and quiet.  I couldn't tell if most of the folks work for the hospital or live near-by. Doesn't much matter.  They will be my new silent companions on my journey of faith, God-willing, and I felt very fortunate to have this opportunity, not only to work for my friend but in such a beautiful unabashedly Catholic setting.  I had plenty of time between when the Mass ended and when my orientation program began, so by 7:30am, I prayed all my usual rote prayers, plus some.  It was a peaceful way to start the day.

Tomorrow I will have to try to get a photo of the statue of Mary with the Infant Jesus in her arms that sits in the center of the campus, surrounded by beautiful summer flowers.  I found it a bit unusual from other usual depictions in that the Holy Infant seems to be slightly fussy, kicking in His mother's arms and tugging at her veil.  She has an almost amused expression on her face as she looks at Him.  It still fills with me awe that God the Father chose a woman to bear His Son and that this Son of God needed Mary for His humanity.

My own son has had his share of suffering already in his short life.  He's in a good place right now, but it wasn't always that way, thanks to the cruelty of other children and sadly, some adults.   Sometimes, it's too much to think about all that he has to bear;  but I have only to look to Mary and ask why God would think so much of a lowly wretch like me to give me a small sample of what it is to bring a child into the world and then see his goodness outright rejected.

Prayer for Pope Benedict XVI to Celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form

At the request of fellow-blogger Richard Collins who authors the fantastic Linen on the Hedgerow, here is a petition to Our Lady asking for her intercession so that the Holy Father will celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
O Mary, Virgin most powerful and Mother of mercy, Queen of Heaven and Refuge of sinners, we consecrate ourselves to thine immaculate heart.
We consecrate to thee our very being and our whole life; all that we have, all that we love, all that we are. To thee we give our bodies, our hearts, and our souls; to thee we give our homes, our families, our country. We desire that all that is in us and around us may belong to thee, and may share in the benefits of thy motherly benediction. And that this act of consecration may be truly efficacious and lasting, we renew this day at thy feet the promises of our Baptism and our first Holy Communion. We pledge ourselves to profess courageously and at all times the truths of our holy Faith, and to live as befits Catholics who are duly submissive to all the directions of the Pope and the Bishops in communions with him. We pledge ourselves to keep the commandments of God and His Church, in particular to keep holy the Lord's Day. We likewise pledge ourselves to make the consoling practices of the Christian religion, and above all, Holy Communion, an integral part of our lives, insofar as we shall be able so to do. Finally, we promise thee, O glorious Mother of God and loving Mother of men, to devote ourselves wholeheartedly to the service of thy blessed cult, in order to hasten and assure, through the sovereignty of thine immaculate heart, the coming of the kingdom of the Sacred Heart of thine adorable Son, in our own hearts and in those of all men, in our country and in all the world, as in heaven, so on earth. Amen.