Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Day of Retreat on The Spirituality of St. Philomena

When: Saturday April 28, 2012
Where: National Center of the Archconfraternity of St. Philomena, St. Philomena Church, 41 E. Baltimore Ave. Lansdowne, PA. 19050
Retreat Master: Fr. Jason V. Kulczynski, Director of the National Center of the Archconfraternity of St. Philomena, USA.
Cost: $35 which includes continental breakfast and lunch

The day will include Mass, two talks on the life of St. Philomena under her various titles, Benediction and Novena prayers to St. Philomena.  Questions?  Call St.Philomena's Church Office at 610-622-2420 or Deborah Binder at 856-425-5714.

To view photos of the retreat center, visit:  www.stphilomenapa.org.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Thank you Father John Boyle.  I think I'm going to follow Father's example and let my blog go silent for Lent.  If I have some earth-shattering revelation or reflection that I feel I simply must share, I'll write a draft to be published after Lent.  The only exception will be posting of any happenings in the Archdiocese that might be of interest to my local readers.

In the meantime, let's keep each other in prayer.

I wish you all a holy and spiritually profitable Lenten journey.  I'll see you when He's Risen!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Post the Radical Feminists Don't Want You to Read

The fact that I did not always do the right thing in life is well-documented on this blog.  In fact, one of things that motivates me to write publicly about some very personal issues is the hope that it might lead a stray home.

This morning when I came downstairs, the television had been turned on by Mr. Y Chromosome, who must have constant background noise, and it was tuned in to some political  talk show where people were scoffing at Rick Santorum and the backlash about the recent HHS decision.

I heard women talk about birth control and abortion as healthcare issues.  I heard women talk as though killing your offspring is something normal.  I heard smart, educated, sophisticated women discuss the Catholic church's stand on abortion and contraception as some kind of misogynist plot to kill women.

Wouldn't it be nice if someone was permitted to ask these women, point-blank, what is so normal about murdering our own children?  The Big Lie has so permeated our society that we don't even blink about the fact that so many think it's OK to have a baby torn from the womb in so many pieces.  I feel like I'm listening to a political version of the "Stepford Wives" as these sad, misguided ladies perpetrate the lie that abortion is a "right" women should have.  In fact, it's a horror so beneath our dignity as women and human beings that I begin to believe these women are not very smart at all.  All the education, degrees, and experience in the working world mean nothing if you are willing to throw away your greatest gifts as something to be prevented or destroyed, like cancer or heart disease.

I know this is a question a lot of us have been asking these past weeks, but it bears repeating:  When did pregnancy become an illness that needed to be prevented?

I once got into a spat with a columnist at Huffington Post who aborted her child after learning she'd been exposed to a known teratogen.  She talked about how, prior to conceiving, she and her husband decided that they wanted to limit the size of their family so that they did not take more from the earth than they were entitled to have.  I find this is a prevailing belief among many on the left, that somehow we should limit procreation to preserve the earth's resources.

Of all the wonders God created, nothing means so much to Him as His people.  He didn't send His Only Son to save the whales, the trees or the ozone.  He sent Him to save us, His children.  And yet we have this mindset that thinks we should limit His most precious creation - humans - in order to "save" the planet.

Abortion is the only medical procedure performed that intentionally leaves a human being dead at its conclusion. In America, women have the legal freedom to kill their own children.  It's so horrible it is difficult say it.

Those are the cold, hard facts someone needs to remind these intellectuals the next time they want to mock Rick Santorum or anyone else who upholds the sanctity of life.  Abortion is a sick, demeaning, destructive act that is so beneath our dignity as women that no self-respecting feminist should ever talk about it as anything other than what it is - slavery to sin, the wages of which is death.

Thank You Lord

Tomorrow is the annual Flyers' Wives Fight for Lives Carnival at the Wells Fargo Center.  The players' wives founded this charity years ago after the team lost defenseman Barry Ashbee to leukemia.  The carnival has always benefited leukemia research.

For a year now, Rebecca has asked to be able to go to the carnival to meet her favorite player, Danny Briere (who bears a slight resemblance to Paul McCartney).  A family friend bought  her a ticket so that she could not only meet Briere but have a photo taken with him.  She planned to have him autograph her jersey and she even practiced some French since he's from one of the French-speaking provinces.

On Thursday, my heart sank as I watched him take a hit that really jolted his neck.  He left the game and didn't come back.  Since he already suffered one concussion this season, I was worried that he'd had another.  If he did, the team would not have allowed him to participate in the carnival since the lights, music and other sensory stimulation is not helpful to a player battling a concussion.

Rebecca doesn't ask for very much and I hated the idea of her looking forward to this for so long only to be disappointed, so I asked Jesus for one of those frivolous things I wouldn't normally mention.

As it turns out, Danny B did not suffer a concussion.  He had a minor shoulder injury so insignificant he was on the ice today for the game against the Penguins.  God-willing, Rebecca will get her wish tomorrow afternoon.

I know this is a trifle of little significance, but I thank God all the same for His generosity to His little servant.

For Wives and Mothers Wishing to Deepen Their Vocations

If you're like me, teetering on the threshold  of joining a third order, this post from Vultus Christi is for you.  Thanks again to Father Mark.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I Have Given You the Power to Tread Upon Serpents and Scorpions

I had to remind someone of this Gospel today.  They are fearful of the enemy.  I am not.  I am not foolish enough, however, to believe that on my own I have any power over him.  But nonetheless, the only thing I fear is separation from Jesus Christ, who conquered sin and death and will see my friend through this present trial.

Good will always triumph over evil.

New Translation Work-Around

I don't know what the intention was behind this, but it was an interesting way to skirt the new translation of the Mass.  I won't say where this took place because I had not encountered this particular priest before and perhaps this was an anomaly.

Anyway, the responses were "authored" by Dan Schutte and included words that the Agnus Dei does not contain.  We were also instructed to sing a memorial acclamation that was not kept as part of the new translation.

I was cooperative and sang the responses as requested, but I sang the correct responses.  Bad enough they were set to a Dan Schutte melody.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rep. Jackie Speier Is At It Again

We last heard from her when she tried to garner sympathy for herself by trying to compare the evacuation of an already deceased baby from the womb to a partial-birth abortion. No one would take lightly the tragedy that the congress woman endured when she lost a child. With that said, her speech was disingenuous to say the least.   Now, she's making the claim that Catholic institutions provide insurance that pays for vasectomies.  She offered no proof for this accusation as she accuses the Catholic bishops of being hypocrites.

What don't these people get?  Employment at a Catholic institution is an at-will arrangement.  In fact, unless you're in the military or under some other kind of contract, employment anywhere is pretty much at-will.

To paraphrase the favorite motto of pro-aborts, if you don't like the policies of Catholic institutions, don't work for one.

Social Events Should Never Be Scheduled for a Sunday Morning

I am amazed at the number of people, Catholics mind you, who see nothing wrong with scheduling a social event for a Sunday morning.  True, I could go to Mass the evening before, early that morning or even Sunday evening, but that's not what I want to do.  The Sabbath belongs to the Lord, and it is appropriate to honor Him on Sunday morning whenever possible.

Schedule the baby/wedding/engagement showers/parties/whatever for some other time than Sunday morning, particularly if you want me to RSVP yes.  No?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wherein Yours Truly Displays Her Ignorance

My loyal friend Richard Collins of the very fine Linen on the Hedgerow has tagged me for a meme.  Now truth be told, for the longest time, I thought meme was the French word for same.  Funny what things stick in your memory that are of no use.  But anyway, I've been tagged in a meme that originated with Mac at Mulier Fortis. I will tell you of my three favourite religious books that I recommend for Kindle (even though I don't own one, but that's a post for another day).  Next, I have to nominate 5 other bloggers and ask for their three favorite religious books.  I'm sure my readers know how this works better than I do, so here goes.

1. Story of a Soul by St. Therese.  Often dismissed for her sentiment, this autobiography of St. Therese is a road map to Heaven and provides a glimpse of one of the Church's holiest families.

2. The Way of Perfection by St. Teresa of Avila.  While this was written to assist her nuns keep perfectly through prayer the rule of their order, it's of great use to laity as well.  Confession time: I tried, but could not get through Interior Castle.  The Way of  Perfection is a beautiful guide to prayer written in more simple language.  As Teresa of Jesus said as she set out to write this book: "I shall speak of nothing of which I have no experience, either in my own life or in observation of others, or which the Lord has not taught me in prayer."

3. The Royal Way of the Cross by Francois Fenelon.  Written by a French archbishop ( of a much longer proper name than I have revealed here) the "book" is actually a series of letters written presumably for the purpose of spiritual direction for those who sought his help with specific problems.

So, Kelly at a Mom for Life, Caroline at the Bell of the Wanderer, Patricia at I Want to See Jesus,  Allison at Totus Tuus and Daniel at Through Vocation, you're up.

Now, lest I forget completely, my dear friend Kathy at Moving on to the Past awarded this me last week.

I have to return the favor by awarding same to 15 other bloggers.  This will require some thought so stay tuned.  Here are the rules, btw, copied from Kathy's blog.

1. Add the award to your blog. 
2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
3. Mention seven random things about yourself. (see below)
4. List the rules.
5. Award to 15 bloggers.
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.

As you are all well aware, I talk a little too much about myself.  So I might add a twist to this.  If you're interested, send me a random fact about yourself.  I will take seven random revelations and post them and everyone will have to match the fact with the blogger.  

Remember, you have to play to win, or something like that.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Post-SuperBowl Sunday at Home

In winter, we don't go to the grandparents' house every Sunday and since Grandmom will be making a big dinner for someone's 24th birthday next week, we decided to let her take a well-deserved rest today.

One of these days, I am going to make better use of Saturday evening by getting Sunday's dinner ready then so that I, too, can abstain from servile work.  Hey, we have to eat, but that doesn't mean I can't cook it the night before.

Today's dinner is going to be my homemade gnocchi in a Shitake cream sauce.  Some of the ingredients are pictured below where they have been set out to become closer to room temperature.
I really like the ricotta I'm using as it's made locally ( in Chester County, PA where the Shitakes were grown) and it's the closest I've been able to find to genuine homemade ricotta.  I like gnocchi, or cavatelli if you prefer because these are being made with cheese and not potato, because you don't need any special equipment to make them.  I wish I could give you a recipe, but when it comes to cooking, I shoot from the hip, which drives people who want an exact recipe crazy.

Last year I posted some photos of the finished product.  If we haven't devoured them all, I might get around to doing that again.

One of the reasons I have never been able to persuade my husband to move out of this neighborhood is because of our proximity to some of the world's best food.  We have the Italian Market just blocks away as well as Middle Eastern, Indian, Asian and now Mexican fare.

On Sundays, my husband goes to early Mass, and then he visits Sarcone's Bakery, where he gets us our Sunday loaf and picks up bread for the ladies at Isgro's Bakery as well.  We have several excellent bread bakeries in this section of the city and Sarcone's is probably the most renowned.

Last Sunday, there was a bit of confusion when we left for dinner and someone who shall remain nameless forgot the loaf of bread on the dining room table. I can tell you we were quivering in our boots when we knocked at the door at our destination.  My dad doesn't take kindly to us showing up without the bread.

"You have one job on Sunday, you failed at it", he told us, only half-joking.

Not today.  My work, significantly more involved than just remembering a loaf of bread, is waiting for me on the kitchen counter.

A blessed Sunday to all.

My Grace Is Sufficient For You

For Sexagesima Sunday, a timely and must-read from Vultus Christi. For those of you who are not familiar with the Traditional Latin Mass, there are three Sundays that occur immediately before the first Sunday in Lent that are a kind of pre-Lent to help prepare us for the heavy lifting we will soon be doing. As Father Z pointed out on Friday, no part of the Collect for today's Mass survived the changes of Vatican II, which is unfortunate. It refers to St. Paul as the "Doctor of the Gentiles" and implores God for the saint's protection for us.

St. Paul bore an unrevealed thorn, about which he complained to Jesus, Who told him: "My Grace is sufficient for you."

And for us.

Sufficit tibi gratia mea

CUF Sponsors Day of Recollection With Cardinal Burke

Catholics United for the Faith (CUF) is presenting a Day of Recollection on the Sacred Heart of Jesus on Saturday, April 21st at St. Charles Seminary in Overbrook, PA.  His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect, Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, will be the principal speaker.  The day includes several talks by Cardinal Burke, lunch, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass offered by the Cardinal at 4pm in St. Martin's Chapel.  The Boys Choir of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will sing at the Mass.

For more information, visit CUF's website

Saturday, February 11, 2012

What Bernadette Can Teach Us About Perseverance, Suffering, Faith and Judgment

Inspired by Richard Collins' clip, I give you this on the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes.  The Blessed Virgin Mary chose this simple, humble and suffering young girl to foment belief in her Immaculate Conception and to teach the world the value of suffering and perseverance and concern for the sick.

Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us and for all who suffer affliction of body, mind and soul.

St. Bernadette, pray for us that we may persevere as you did as humble models of Christian purity, simplicity and faith.

What Did You to Help Them?

There are a lot of difficult personalities I have to contend with in my job, many more than I have ever encountered elsewhere.  Sometimes, I think God assembled a lifetime of difficult people in this one place where it is permissible to use His Name, display a crucifix and pray.  I'm sure this was by design, just as it is by design when you meet a vile, despicable person on the street who does or says something objectionable thing that makes you want to haul off and slug them.  God expects us to react, but not in that way.  He puts such people in our path so we can pray for them, because it's apparent that nothing is else is working to help them.

I have been fearful of a certain person for some months now.  When I see this person, my inclination is to either want to ignore them or run the other way.  Every encounter with this person is an indictment of my abilities, in her mind, to do my job.  Sometimes, I can literally feel her claw marks in my neck and I seriously consider never coming back so as to escape her.  She's not in a position of authority, and I think this is part of why her attacks are relentless.  In her mind, she has tied being in a leadership position to self-worth, and it's apparent she loathes herself every bit or more than she loathes me and the others whose lives she has made unpleasant.

Yesterday, she did something that really set my blood boiling.  It involved a brand new and very vulnerable employee who just started working with us.  It's one thing to go after me, but attack one of my little lambs, and it's quite another.  After protecting the person and reassuring them that what happened was understandable and not unexpected for a brand-new employee with very little time on the job, I sat down and wrote my boss an email detailing what happened and why she must act, now, to intervene.

The offending person has already caused one person to quit, and another young person with a lot of promise and ability has one foot out the door and the other on a banana peel, so tenuous is this situation on a daily basis.  My email was a brief litany of what just happened and a desperate plea for her to get this resolved before another person walks.  Then it kind of hit me that of all the things I've done to make this situation better, the one thing I hadn't done yet was pray for this person.  Not once.

I prayed about her, for God to protect me from her vicious attacks, but not once had I prayed for her.

I still think my boss needs to do more than she has to correct this problem, but I also realized that the offending person has some deep-rooted issues that are causing her to behave this way.  It cannot be pleasant to be who she is right now.  Whether or not her behavior is by choice or rooted in some pathology is not for me to say.  My obligation is to lift her in prayer.

Whenever I peel off a list of offending personalities to Jesus, His first question is: But what did you do for them?

Good question, Lord.  I didn't do what I should have, but I will now.

Friday, February 10, 2012


I picked a time for Adoration for which no one else had committed.  Suddenly, lots of folks started showing up for "my" Holy Hour, some of them not so quiet.   I spoke to the nun who coordinates the schedule for the chapel and asked what other times are not covered.  10pm was available, so she agreed to let me switch.  Well, guess what?  The folks who were coming earlier are now coming later, with me.

Last week, one of the gentleman sat sideways in the pew directly in front of me, so I could not look at the monstrance without seeing this man's face.  And then, he turned around and started talking to me.  I was ready to scream.

If you want me to cry "uncle" Dear Lord, I am!

Maybe this is God's way of telling me I deserve Purgatory, but in His Mercy, He's letting me have it now.


I had the chapel to myself last night, except for  a couple who stopped in briefly and were very quiet.  What a lovely thing for a couple to do together late on a Friday evening, stop in for a few quiet moments of adoration together.

There is no quiet in my house.  I am married to a drummer, for one thing, and for another, he is one of those people who must always have music or television in the background.  And because of that Y chromosome he was endowed with, whatever he listens to or watches must be turned up to 96 decibels.   Sometimes, I go upstairs to pray because it's not always feasible to get to a chapel, and it's impossible to escape the noise.  I plead for silence, and no matter where I go, I can't go any.

Lately, Mr. Little Way has taken to a particularly grating habit of practicing on his drum pad (which is like listening to water drip very quickly and repeatedly) WHILE he watches the auto auction on the Speed Channel.  Can you imagine having to listen simultaneously to an auctioneer's voice AND water dripping?

I tell you, God is doing everything in His Power to get me to Heaven, making sure I do my time in Purgatory while still on earth.

That's why it's so wonderful when I can have the chapel either to myself or be able to share it with like-minded people who can observe the rule of silence when in the Divine Presence.

That's all.

Something to Think About

photo via Liturgiae Causa

This idea came to us in the daily reflection that we receive at work each day, and that is, that God's mercy and forgiveness are like the dawn, coming over and over again.

You know by reading my profile that I didn't always lead the kind of life that a Catholic wife and mother should, but I want you to know, especially those of you struggling, that I never worry about what I've done.  I concern myself with where I'm going.  There are many people I would never have reached had I not gone down the sinful path that I did, and perhaps the same can be said for you.

To everything, there is a purpose.

Sometimes, that includes the darkest, most horrific places in our lives.

One day, we'll know, so for now, our only recourse is to trust.

God is in control.  Always.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This Year's Lenten Plans

In less than two weeks, our favorite liturgical season will be upon us.  What we will do this year to make our Lenten journey a spiritually profitable one for ourselves and our families?

For one thing, I will not be blogging or reading blogs on Fridays.  I would encourage others to do the same.

Today, a Douay-Rheims edition of the New Testament with a complete set of Psalms arrived in the mail from the friars at Mystic Monk Coffee.  It's a flexible cover edition small enough to tuck inside my handbag.  I don't think I read Scripture enough so I will make a sincere effort this Lent to devote a little time each day to that devotion.  I hope to pray the Psalms more often as well.

As is my routine during Lent, I will try to make the Stations of the Cross each Friday at my own parish, and perhaps on other days during the week if they are offered at other nearby churches.  And I will make a more concerted effort to get some family members other than faithful Rebecca to go with me.

I took the day off on Ash Wednesday.  I like to begin the day with early morning Mass at my own parish, followed by Adoration and hopefully confession later in the day.   Then I will take Matthew to a prayer service at our parish later in the day when he gets home from school.

So far I know of only one retreat for Lent, the silent retreat at the Carmel that I mentioned a few weeks ago.  In lieu of an additional retreat, I will try to spend more time in Adoration, perhaps combined with fasting before-hand.  Who knows what soul might be saved from this effort?  Maybe my own!

The Royal Way of the Cross by Francois Fenelon is one of my favorite picks for Lenten reading.  Does anyone have any others to suggest?  I am a bit of a creature of habit whereby with both spiritual books as well as fiction, I like to go back to that with which I'm familiar, rather than venturing out and trying something new, so I'd like to get out of my comfort zone a bit with something different.

I know some people consider abstaining from certain foods or treats a juvenile way to observe Lent, but I think it's a good thing if you combine it with spiritual practices.  God give me the strength to give up Pepsi for Lent (and  help my poor family during the withdrawal period!).

I Hope That Someday...

.. I will abandon myself unconditionally to God

...I will successfully keep my heart centered and my mind from wandering during Holy Mass

...I will rejoice that others have come to Adore Jesus and not internally react as if they're disrupting my private time

...I will rejoice to be little and unnoticed

...I will not sit in judgment of a priest or others who do not say or do what I think they should

...I will remember the mortification suffered by the Lord on His way to Calvary before I recoil at some small humiliation

And on a lighter note -

I WILL remember to look under the covers before sitting on the bed and nearly crushing my new best friend.  If it wasn't for the growl that came from beneath the sheets, I might have hurt the little guy.  Ah, to be so loved!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Why Can't Romney Close the Deal?

I don't much care, so long as Newt doesn't advance.

I totally did not see last night coming and what a delight it was to wake up and find out how well Rick Santorum fared in yesterday's caucuses.   I am convinced that prayers are what helped little Bella Santorum turn the corner and I'm convinced they're what helped her dad emerge victorious last night.

Keep up the good work!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Why Is Nancy Pelosi Still Calling Herself Catholic?

And why isn't some Bishop calling her on the carpet and instructing her not to present herself for Holy Communion?  Seriously, if the Pope summoned me to Rome for a private audience whereby he forbade photographs, I think it would have been more than enough for me to grasp the fact that I was not living in conformity with church teaching on intrinsic moral issues.

There's hubris, and then there's Pelosi.

BTW, the Church should not be shocked that so many of its members support abortion and contraception.  When the institution of marriage was weakened by the granting of annulments like so many M & M's, everything else rooted in that foundation fell with it, like dominoes.  People make mistakes.  People enter marriages in good faith and suffer betrayal and even abuse and they should have recourse. I am not referring to those people.  But marriage is not something to be entered into lightly, like trying on a pair of shoes to see which ones fit.  Perhaps if there were more stringent requirements before granting the sacrament of matrimony people would be a lot more careful about who they marry and why.


 Also, BTW, I will get around to responding to some comments and requests a bit later.  My daschhund is snuggled on the couch next to me, pulling at my arm.  This usually means he wants me to find some canine videos for him to watch on YouTube.  I kid you not.  Usually, I indulge him by finding something featuring a Bichon Frise which was the kind of dog we had that died a few years back, leaving him heartbroken.  He actually leans in close to sniff the screen to see if it's really him.

What can I tell you? The dog is neurotic and I probably helped to make him that way.  It's entertaining, to say the least.

There's another reason I'm his best friend right now.  When I got up for work this morning, I heard him whimpering on the bed.  Somehow, a string from the quilt went through one of his claws, like thread through the eye of a needle.  I managed to get him to calm down while I went off to find a scissor to cut the string.  His little paws were sweating and his heart was racing and when I cut him loose, he wouldn't stop licking my hand in gratitude.

A loyal dog is one of God's most endearing gifts to us.

Monday, February 6, 2012

God Doesn't Demand Anything, We Do!

Please, especially over the next 24 hours, keep my special intention in your prayers.  It would be most appreciated.

I was raised by a sometimes austere father who did not accept failure of any kind from me.  A valuable lesson he taught me early on was never to take the easy road when I could take the more difficult path.  I can, to this day, hear him tell me: " A quitter never wins and a winner never quits."  Later, when I went to high school and thought that algebra and chemistry were going to be the death of me, he not only encouraged me to hang in there, he expected me to excel.  And when I got to college and could choose my professors, my father, a high-school drop-out, advised me to take the more difficult courses with the more difficult professors.

"What good is an A if it's practically given away?  Better to get a B and have really worked for it and learned something."

My dad, who is still with us and is a lot less austere than he was in those days, has obviously had an impact on my life.  The last year has been a difficult one for me and after some introspection and time before the Blessed Sacrament, I see now that a lot of the demands that have left me exhausted were not of God's doing but my own in a misguided attempt to serve Him.

For reasons that I will one day talk about when the time is right, I have never had the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom except for brief periods of time here and there.  If I could live my life over, I would do it so differently, but we only get one shot, so the best I can do is thank God for leading me where He has and do my best to continue to serve Him without killing myself in the process.  I sometimes heard the words of my dear Father Jim telling me: "Christ does NOT want you running yourself ragged for Him."

What one mother does for 6 children, 6 children will never do for her.   So it is with God.  We can never repay Him and He doesn't expect that of us.  He only asks for our love and our gratitude.  And I can certainly give those to Him without making my life unnecessarily unpleasant and difficult.

I have some work to finish before I move on to my next conquest.  God, in His wisdom, endowed me with a sensitive nature that simultaneously recoils from harsh, cruel people while seeking to protect weaker people from their bullying.   I have achieved such a sense of peace since accepting that God wasn't demanding any of the things from me that I thought He was.

He appreciates everything I do for Him.  As St. Therese reminds us, " God does not look at the greatness of our acts but the love with which we do them."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Gov. Chris Christie's Stock is Rising


He's a Cowboys fan.  That alone is worth a great deal.  Even Roger Staubach told him he's brave, being a Dallas fan in the midst of Giants and Jets territory (their name says New York, but they actually play in New Jersey).

Seriously, although I've had some concerns about his brashness at times, I would rather have a politician who tells you what he thinks, not what he thinks you want to hear.

Right now he's taking a lot of heat for wanting to put the issue of gay marriage to a referendum.  The Democrats in New Jersey have made the issue their number one priority, which gives you some idea of how upside down the world has become.

A Movie That Brings Back Memories

I am the least fashion-conscious person you'd ever want to meet, so I'm a bit embarrassed to tell you that I am watching Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada.  I don't like the movie because of the fashion but because it reminds me so much of my first job right out of college.  Like the protagonist, I too, got a degree in communications and journalism and hoped to get a writing job.  What I found in its place was a position as a go-for in a small advertising agency.  It was owned by a man and a woman who were not married to one another but who had worked together at another agency.  They quit their jobs on a Friday and opened the doors to their new agency  the following Monday, having taken with them most of their former boss's clients.

When I saw the character of Miranda Priestly (played by Streep) I couldn't help but think I had seen the reincarnation of my old boss, complete to the gesture of throwing her coat on my desk and expecting me to hang it up for her.

The man who owned the agency really liked me and demonstrated a lot of confidence in me.  The woman, however, was another story.  I soon learned that she fired every single administrative assistant they had hired for her, and I would be working chiefly for her.  She spoke quickly, didn't like to repeat herself, and expected you to read her mind.  She would also swear she told you to do something when in fact, she hadn't.  This was in the days before email so leaving a paper trail to cover for yourself was virtually impossible.

She had been married three times already and it appeared to me that her current husband was hanging on by even less of a thread than I was.

The agency handled mostly fashion accounts.  What did I know about fashion?  Not much, but I had to learn quickly.  I never knew what I could be asked to do from one day to the next.

"Go out and buy the jewelry for the fashion shoot."

"Call the agent for Spandau Ballet and see if they would be willing to do a photo shoot"

"Take the 7am Amtrak to New York and pick up the clothes from the garment district"

"Come pick up Maggie (her English Sheep Dog) and bring her to the photo shoot"

The last command was one of the most humorous.  Maggie was unruly on the leash and dragged me down Chestnut Street, where the photographer's studio was located.  I remember having to brace myself against a subway alcove to get her to stop dragging me.  The wind was blowing and I had a billowy dress on that nearly traveled with it and by the grace of God I caught it at the last minute without losing my grip on Maggie.

No matter what I did, it was never good enough, fast enough or thorough enough.  The other partner loved me, but he confessed he had been powerless in the past to save anyone he liked from getting fired because eventually, his partner would get around to it.

In August, he came to me and said he was going on vacation and it had been nice having me work for him.  Joan, he explained, had a knack for waiting until he went on vacation to fire people.

"You think she's going to fire me?" I asked incredulously.  I did everything she asked for, including working weekends for special promotions at one of our retail accounts.

"She's done it before, she'll probably do it again."

However, the grace of God was with me again.  While the one boss was away,  the vice president  quit, very suddenly, and there was no one to take his accounts - except me.  So I survived not only that week but the next 7 years.  I went from gopher to senior account executive and got to write copy and even design some ad campaigns.

That partnership was the craziest I'd ever worked for.  After Caitlin was born, I felt I wanted to do something more altruistic with my life, and I made the decision to go to nursing school.  They didn't take the news well and did everything to keep me, including offering me a vice president position and a sizable raise.  Sometimes, when I look back, I think of how uncomplicated my life was when I worked there compared to now.  But it was the right thing to do.  Nothing I did made an impact on anyone's life in a meaningful way.

Anyway, the movie brings back memories of photo shoots in New York, expensive dinners, wining and dining clients and of course, being dragged down the street by a photogenic but ill-behaved dog.  It all seems so shallow and meaningless, because it is, but it's still humorous to remember it all.

Meditation for First Saturday of the BVM

This meditation of the Finding of the Christ Child in the Temple is from Fr. Benedict Groeschel's book Rosary: Chain of Hope.

"Anxiety is a familiar component of human life, and  perhaps it is more common now in more affluent times.  Material comforts and anxiety inexplicably go together.  One often encounters in the poor a certain acceptance of life, with its pain and fear.  The poor live with an inexplicable hope,  born of pain and suffering, that permits them to go on even when disaster has occurred and threatens to strike again.

We all live through anxious moments, and even very dark moments, when our worst fears are realized.  Mary and Joseph were relieved to find the Christ Child in the temple.  In less than half a lifetime Mary would lose her Son at Calvary in the sight of this same temple.  This reminds us that Christianity is very much the religion of a God who suffers."

Friday, February 3, 2012

How to Beat the Father of Lies

Thanks to Richard Collins for linking to this gem at National Catholic Register.  I could not have said this better.

Life's Journey: Can We Compare It To Holy Week?

I missed three days of work this week due to illness which I am sure my own disposition and anxiety helped to bring on. I won't bore you with the details but I have been leaning on the Lord a lot lately. I know He doesn't mind, but I can't help but think of St. Therese who asked her novices if they "would be as the mediocre souls" who, instead of seeking to console Our Lord, sought His consolation instead.

It occurred to me while praying the novena to the Sacred Heart this morning how much life is like Holy Week, at various points.

We have our Passion Sunday, where people smile to our faces and heap praises upon us, almost lulling us into a false sense of security. Just as surely as there is a tomorrow, you can bet that very soon, they'll be trying to nail you to a cross.

Then we go through our passions, which don't amount to a drop in a bucket when compared to what Our Lord endured for us. Here is where the great mystery of the Passion of Jesus Christ strikes me with awe: He didn't have to go through any of what He did, but He chose to do so so that reparation could be made for our sins.

So, He suffered once and for all to conquer sin and death, and I keep going to Him to ask Him to help me carry a load I created of my own free will?

And so we endure our trials and even our mini-passions and then a day of Resurrection happens, where we find solace in prayer and in receiving Jesus in the Eucharist and all seems right with the world, until our personal palm Sunday comes around again and the cycle begins anew.

I was going to complain to Jesus about a betrayal that happened to me in my workplace that has been weighing heavily on me. Then I stopped myself. How do you complain to the Divine Master about some trifle when one of His own disciples betrayed Him with a kiss and 30 coins?

Judas ate with the Lord, journeyed with Him, bore personal witness to the miracles He performed and still, when offered a reward, turned His back on Him and handed Him over to his executors.

I pray and pray and pray for the Lord to give me the grace to endure all suffering gladly for Him and on behalf of sinners and the Holy Souls in Purgatory and then, when He does, I become a weakling and beg for help.

God give me the grace necessary that I may never be as Judas to Your Divine Son.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Is The Tide Starting to Turn?

In the same week that a columnist for the Washington Post told Chris Matthews that the Obama administration "threw Catholics under the bus", it's announced that the Susan G. Komen Foundation has withdrawn financial support of Planned Parenthood. Sure, there's outrage and protest on the part of the crowd that would like us to believe that PP is a benevolent organization, but this is also an encouraging sign. If PP is using this smack-down as a fund-raising mechanism, then it's obvious they don't need our tax dollars or money from the Komen Foundation to fund their nefarious agenda.

What's more, does anyone really believe that PP offers mammograms? If they do offer them, why don't they advertise them? Because this is an organization incapable of telling the truth. Providing a referral for a mammogram is like offering a band-aid to an accident victim and calling yourself a trauma center. And that's all they do - offer referrals that a woman can get from plenty of other sources.

There was a time in my life when I was on the wrong side of the abortion issue, as you well know. Whatever the Komen Foundation did in the past, it deserves our support for the courage demonstrated in telling the merchants of death "no more." I welcome this news and regard this as a victory for the pro-life movement.

Let's pray for more victories like this one.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Even A Columnist From the Washington Post Questions Obama's Mandate

If I didn't hear it with my own ears, I still wouldn't believe it. But I did hear this exchange on Hardball and if THESE people think this was a bad idea, does it possibly stand a chance of survival?
Click on the link to hear how Catholics who supported Obama "were thrown under the bus".

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice ...