Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Egotistic World of Catholic Bloggers

Allow me to be up front and say right off the bat that we Catholic bloggers are a puffed-up lot.  It takes a certain amount of hubris to put the things out there that we do for the world to see, and an even bigger amount of hubris to assume anyone reads it or that we're in a position to tell other Catholics what they should and shouldn't do.

Let me be even more up front and say that I don't care much for Patheos.  I have a problem with Catholics who blog for profit.  I know that some of the folks who visit me here are faithful readers of that site and I'm not knocking you, believe me.  It's just that I am not inclined to help lay people profit from that which many fine bloggers do for nothing except their own personal satisfaction and the off chance that a soul may be helped by what they write.  I haven't read a word on Patheos that could hold a candle to the gems one Mr Richard Collins puts forth on an almost-daily basis.

Every so often, there is a dust-up.  It seems to involve a gentleman named Mark Shea quite frequently.  I honestly would not know him if I fell over him.  (Nothing personal Mark, but there are many other fine but less notorious Catholic bloggers and only so many hours in a day.)  Anyway, I saw from a link somewhere that there was something Mark posted about Father Corapi.   But when I read Mark's piece,  it contained no news at all, so why did he go there?  What purpose does it serve, except to fire more potshots at a man who clearly is in need of our prayers?

I don't care for Michael Voris, but I know nothing of what kind of Catholic he is outside of The Vortex.  No one's ever forced me to read or listen to him, so except for mentioning here and there that I personally don't find him useful, what more is there to say?  I don't care for some of Father Z's politics, but so far as I can tell, he's a sound priest in good standing. No one has ever held me at gunpoint and made me read what he writes.  If he and Voris hang out together, why should I care?    Don't we all tend to gravitate toward those with whom we think we have something in common?  And if someone finds what they say and do offensive, like when they look longingly to the day when the biological solution takes out some hippie priests, why go on about it?  Repeating this stuff only gives it credence it may not deserve.

There are clearly bloggers who get under my skin.  That's why you don't see their blogs listed here.  I don't  devote blog posts to them, mock them or otherwise call attention to them. I don't respond to them or their loyal followers when I'm the subject of their derision.   I never understood why people would profess to dislike or be offended by a blogger and then call more attention to them simply by writing a post about them, even if it is denigrating.  For some, negative attention is better than no attention at all.  It boggles my mind.

When I decided to start blogging again, I honestly thought about not allowing comments, lest I become obsessed with stats and the like.  To do so, however, would deprive me of the friendship I enjoy with a small but faithful group who visit here.  I am trying to keep the blog posts down to a minimum.  There are many more things I'd like to write about but then I think there is a danger in making this about me and not about my struggle to do His Will.  Does that make sense?

 I enjoy the insight that other bloggers share about their journey to Heaven.  At Terry Nelson's urging, I have discovered Heather King.  I don't get the artsy part so much but anyone who quotes Matthew Chapter 6 AND spent a year walking the streets with the Little Flower is at least partially simpatico with me.  Far as I can tell, she writes what she does without taking aim at other bloggers.  And Magnificat thinks enough of her writing to have used her work in this month's issue as the reflection on the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul.

That's the kind of achievement more of us should work toward.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

St Cyril Had the Right Idea, Sort Of

Have you seen this prayer which is attributed to St. Cyril?  Not sure what to make of this and to whom it's directed.   I do not advocate reception by hand but I still think this prayer offers valuable reminders of the infinite value contained in the Sacred Host.

In approaching therefore, come not with your wrists extended, or your fingers spread; but make your left hand a throne for the right, as for that which is to receive a King. And having hollowed your palm, receive the Body of Christ, saying over it, Amen. So then after having carefully hallowed your eyes by the touch of the Holy Body, partake of it; giving heed lest you lose any portion thereof  for whatever you lose, is evidently a loss to you as it were from one of your own members. For tell me, if any one gave you grains of gold, would you not hold them with all carefulness, being on your guard against losing any of them, and suffering loss? Will you not then much more carefully keep watch, that not a crumb fall from you of what is more precious than gold and precious stones?"

When receiving Holy Communion at both the Novus Ordo and the TLM, I have a habit of glancing quickly at the altar server to ensure he has properly placed the paten.  I have noticed that the paten always contains more than a few particles of the Body of Christ, even at the TLM where everyone receives on the tongue.  This is why Holy Communion should never be administered without the paten regardless of the form of the Mass.  Whether we receive on the tongue (preferably) or in the hand, particles can still fall to the floor, land on clothing, shoes, etc.A few months back I knelt down to pray before Mass at a parish not my own and found a Host smashed to bits on the floor.  I could still see the outline of the cross embossed on It.   I went back to the sacristy to get the priest to have him address this sacrilege as soon as possible.  The way he chose to handle this was less than optimal.  Instead of using a dampened purifcator, he had the altar server pick up the pieces with a paper towel over my protests.  I don't know what happened once they went back to the sacristy but I really felt it was my duty to perform some act of reparation, not only for the original desecration but for what ensued afterward.  If the Son of God can humble Himself to take the form of a frail piece of bread, the least we can do is protect Him in this most vulnerable state by every means available.

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Cross is Our Lifeline

I was perusing the blogosphere this morning and saw something that caught my eye.  A blogger I like and admire admitted she has been suicidal most of her life.  It was for me a stunning and brave admission.

I can't say I have ever been suicidal.  I have certainly had some very low points in life when I thought I'd be better off in a grave than facing some of life's trials, that much I must confess.  I've been in that kind of mood lately because I'm having trouble seeing my way clear of the debris and because of the cruelty of other people.  Last week, out of the blue, a nurse I supervise went directly to a physician and told him in no uncertain terms what she thinks of me.  As this department is new to me and me to her, I wondered how she could reach such conclusions after only 3 weeks.  The reaction of the rest of the staff has been so positive that the cutting words of this woman were like a sucker punch.  In fact, it was a concerned staff member who brought the matter to my attention.  The admonition was startling for its simplicity.

"I know evil when I see it.  You need to be aware of it, too."

Apparently, this is not the first time the staff has seen this person in action.  They, too, have been on the receiving end of her attacks.

I have two choices when something like this happens. I can ignore the person, feel hurt, and let them continue with their destructiveness, or I can nip things in the bud.  The latter involves some risk. If you think what you've heard to date is bad, it's usually nothing compared to what you're going to hear when you confront the person.  What's more, it does the injurious party no good to let them continue unabated.  I don't know why I've been targeted but I can't help but feel that I am more fortunate than this woman is.  Is this one of God's reminders to us that someone in our midst is in need of His graces?  You may recall sometime back I kept encountering people who spat at me on the street.  It was my conclusion then and it is now that such offensive behavior is the only way someone will notice these folks and intercede for them.

I was not wrong about what I was going to hear once I confronted this person.  The litany was as bad as the gossip that had been repeated to me and completely unfounded.  I realized then and there that this person was resentful of me and she was taking the things that the rest of the staff found so refreshing and twisting them to soothe her jealousy.   What a way to go through life, verbally tearing people down because you feel inadequate, inferior or perhaps even threatened by them.

To complicate matters for me, this person is related to someone in a position of authority, so I may very well find myself in hot water for nothing worse than doing my job in a way a lot of people admire but which this poor soul finds unbearable.  I have to be very careful because while I feel pity, I cannot assume the role of judge and jury.  Judge the actions, not the person, we are reminded.

Needless to say, coming so close on the heels of the other great trial that only ended for me a short while ago, I felt like I wanted to retreat.  Actually, what I wanted to do was crumple up in a corner and give up.  We have an expression that nurses eat their young, but the truth of that matter is, some of them will eat anyone.  It is ironic that a profession dedicated to the care of the sick and helpless is marred by some very ugly characters.  There is even a fancy name for their behavior and it's called horizontal violence.  Most healthcare institutions have zero tolerance for this behavior because it can affect patient safety as well as morale for the rest of the staff.  I certainly have no tolerance for it and have never permitted anyone under my supervision to attack, slander or intimidate other staff members.

I tried to pray for this person, but to be truthful, I prayed more for myself, that God would either find some way to remove me from this situation or grant me His protection from this person.  And while I didn't crumple up in a corner, I found myself unable to go to work today.  What happened actually made me physically ill.  I demanded of God to know when this kind of nonsense is going to come to an end.  Silence.

I spent the day going through old papers and clothes and straightening up.  I found things my children had made for me when they were very young; a Mother's Day card from the youngest with a crudely-made bookmark that I was supposed to use to remind me of her; another Mother's Day card from my son with all the things he likes best about me.  (I was fascinated to see that of all things I can do, he thought running was what I did best. How things have changed).  I found horse show newsletters and announcements and remembered how successful the oldest was on the local circuit.  I remembered how happy I was to watch her ride in the field and to watch the snow fall in the woods and barn cats playing in the hay loft.  I remembered how precarious the youngest daughter's infancy and toddler years were because we had no medical answer for her problems.  I remembered all the heartache of having a son who was different and suffered because of the cruelty of other children and even some teachers.  Then I found his high school program that listed all the awards he won because he was finally among those who could appreciate him for who he is, not what they thought he should have been.

I went through all of these things and realized how quickly their lives and mine have gone by, and here I was, because of a little hurt, wanting my own to speed by quicker than it has.

I realized the only reason I'd made it this far is not because of any personal strength or ability but because of the rope God threw me at the height of each storm.  The realization that each hurtful episode, each trial demanding perseverance I didn't think possible, was a little piece of His Cross.

St Therese, writing to Celine about their father's illness, found this trial a profound gift from God, an affair she thought had been directed by the hand of Jesus, and she remarked that eternity would not be long enough to thank Him for this gift.  

I try to remember this every time I think I can't take another step, which seems to be happening increasingly of late.  Some day, this exile will end, and as Jesus reminded Faustina, with it the opportunity to earn merit for Heaven.  

On Priests, Confession and Perfection

Occasionally, I will encounter someone whose fear of going to confession is all that stands between them and entering the Catholic church.  I don't know why I've never feared confession.  I've certainly come across my share of cantankerous confessors, both in my childhood and in adulthood but I've never really been afraid.  If there is one thing I have learned in life, it's that everything comes with a price.  There is no worse feeling than carrying the burden of sin and I am grateful beyond words to have that cleansing, healing sacrament so readily accessible.  If a little humiliation is involved, it's a small cost and temporary discomfort as compared to the eternal pains of hell.

Be brief, be blunt and be gone.

These were the words imparted to us at a recent retreat and I think they're worth noting.  Confession is not supposed to be spiritual direction, and if the latter is desired, best to make an appointment or perhaps even ask the confessor if he has time to talk about something in length. It's also considerate, before embarking on a spiritual therapy session, to take into account how many other people are waiting in line.  Many is the time I've waited with an exasperated group of penitents for one person to exit the box after what seemed like an eternity.  Human nature being what it is, I've even had the temptation to wonder, upon viewing the person who hogged the box, what on earth they could have done that took that long to confess.  It's none of my business, so when it happens that the line moves slowly, I use the wait as a penance of its own and avert my eyes when the previous person emerges.  Everything has its price.  So what if one person's confession lasts the length of a chaplet or Rosary?

The subject of confession came up with someone who is a lapsed Catholic.  They wanted to know if I had a problem with telling my sins to someone who was not obligated to confess theirs to me.  Bypassing the obvious flaw in that thinking, I reminded the person that in many ways, a priest's "sins" are already "out there" for the parish to see.

Priests are scrutinized for everything - the kind of car that they drive, what they do and how they dress in their leisure, what improvement projects they choose to tackle and which ones they seem to ignore.  I know of one busybody who wrote to the bishop to complain about about a priest cooking on the grill in the  backyard of the rectory.  I guess the grouch would have preferred the priest raking himself over the coals instead.  While it's undeniable that some priests have kept some very dark secrets, the truth is that the vast majority are flawed people just like the rest of us, imperfect but trying.  Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

The following appeared in a nearby parish's bulletin.  I think most of us can relate.

The results of a computerized survey indicate the perfect priest preaches exactly fifteen minutes. He condemns sins but never upsets anyone. He works from 8:00 AM until midnight and is also a janitor. He makes $50 a week, wears good clothes, buys good books, drives a good car, and gives about $50 weekly to the poor. He is 28 years old and has preached 30 years. He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends all of his time with senior citizens.

The perfect priest smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously dedicated to his work. He makes 15 calls daily on parish families, shut-ins and the hospitalized, and is always in his office when needed.
If your priest does not measure up, simply send this letter to six other churches that are tired of their priest, too. Then bundle up your priest and send him to the church on the top of the list. In one week, you will receive 1,643 priests and one of them will be perfect. Have faith in this procedure.

One parish broke the chain and got its old priest back in less than three weeks.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Peace Begins in the Womb

The Nuns on the Bus appear not to have made the journey, but these ladies did.  I even see where board member Sally Montenegro posted some comments over at Father Z's place.  You can visit their website  if you'd like here.  I've had some people question me about whether this group stands for anything that contradicts Catholic teaching on birth control, etc. FFL believes birth control including natural family planning is outside the scope of their mission and take no official stand.  Thus, they take a lot of heat from the other side because they don't advocate making birth control more accessible to women.

FFL is a consistently pro-life organization.  They oppose abortion after rape, euthanasia and suicide.  I recommend going to the FAQ page.  You might be surprised at some of the feminists from American history who spoke out against abortion long before Roe v Wade.

Here are some photos from the March yesterday.

FFL VP Sally Winn hands out hand and foot warmers to a pro-life family at the March

Real Men stand up for life

FFL ran out of placards before the March began!

This pleasant young lady was lucky to get a placard before the supply ran out

A Must-Read From Vultus Christi

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, Conventual Prior of Silverstream Abbey in Ireland, is the best priest blogger.  Every post is like an unforgettable sermon rich with spiritual treasure.  Here, he presents an excellent lesson on judging our brethren and the sinful delight we take in the fall of others from grace.

Last week, the priest reminded us that judging another person's soul is for God and God only.  We are permitted and in charity, sometimes obligated to judge someone's actions, but never their soul.
Sitting on he basket

He Is Out Of His Mind

I confess to doing a double-take when I heard today's Gospel.  Normally, I do not read the Gospel from my Magnificat while the priest proclaims it from the pulpit, but given the priest and my level of  surprise, I found myself quickly thumbing through my little missal just to make sure no liberties were being taken.  None were.  This really was the Gospel from Mark (3:21)

I thought of Bernadette, smearing her face with the dirt from the grotto in Lourdes and eating the plants as she was directed by the Blessed Virgin Mary and being lead home by her distressed mother, mortified by her daughter's actions and the mockery of the crowd.  I thought of Joan of Arc, doing as the voice of God directed, despite much derision from the learned and unlearned alike.  I thought of Magdalene of Nagasaki, turning herself into to civil authorities, knowing it meant a certain and torturous death.

The priest, in his homily, gave the examples of Gandhi urging his countrymen not to fight back as the imperialists mercilessly beat them, and of the young man in Tienanmen Square who stood up the Communist tanks with nothing more than his will and resolve not to submit to evil.  Then he reminded us of Christ, going to His bloody and barbarous death to redeem a lot of ungrateful and unbelieving sinners.

Was He out of His mind?  Are we?

By the world's measure, yes, but it is a good thing in the sight of God.

No one ever changed the world by doing what the world expected.  The most profound and long-lasting impact has always come from the unexpected. A maiden visited by an angel and asked to bear the Messiah.  A King born in a stable.  The Son of God nailed to a cross.  A poor uneducated peasant girl privileged to view with her own eyes the Holy Mother of God.  A teenage girl leading men in battle.  A young woman of only 24 sacrificing her life for love of Him Who died for her and for us.  A man about to go to His death healing the ear of a servant of one of His executioners.

Christ told His apostles in the upper room that He gave them His peace, not as the world gives but as only He can, and He advised them not to let their hearts be troubled or to be afraid.

I have seen recently where some bloggers have used Luke's Gospel (22:35-38)  to justify arming themselves.  There are many interpretations of Christ's admonition to His disciples to buy a sword.  Immediately before this, He asks them if they lacked anything when He sent them out into the world in pairs to preach but forbade them from taking anything with them. Their answer was no, they lacked nothing.   My own interpretation is that He is reminding them here that He has never let them down and always kept His word.  But knowing that they are going to be tested in a way unlike any trial they've experienced to date, He is telling them He understands if they give in to weakness at this time and rely on worldly means of reassurance, given what is about to transpire.  Does He not rebuke Peter for cutting off the servant's ear?

Was Our Lord out of His mind?  Maybe to the world, but certainly not to anyone who takes His words and His teachings to heart.

While doing a Google search of Luke's Holy Thursday Gospel, I came across the following excerpt from a Christmas play written by St. Therese for her Carmelite community in 1894.

Have you forgotten, Jesus, O Beauty supreme, that the sinner

must at last be punished? I will chastise the crime in judgment;

I want to exterminate all the ungrateful. My sword is ready!

Jesus, sweet victim! My sword is ready!! I am set to avenge


And the baby Jesus replies:

O beautiful angel! Put down your sword.

It is not for you to judge the nature that I raise up and that I

wish to redeem.

The one who will judge the world is myself, the one named


The life-giving dew of my Blood will purify all my chosen ones.

Don’t you know that faithful souls always give me consolation

in the face of the blasphemies of the unfaithful by a simple look

of love?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Would a Priest Dedicated to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass Get Away With a Rupture Like This?

I don't know all the specifics of this issue, but at first glance, it's unsettling.  I often worry that something like this might happen in my parish when our current pastor eventually gets transferred.  Bad enough the TLM was relegated to the 1:30pm hour, although I'm sure the faithful who attended would prefer that time slot to nothing at all (Sunday Mass, in my humble opinion, should not be scheduled later than Noon unless it's an evening Mass.  And those devoted to the TLM should not have to wait until evening to attend Sunday Mass).

So, what of it?  What if a Novus Ordo-only parish got a new pastor who decided to do away with the Ordinary Form and sent his parishioners a letter like that one to which I linked?  Can you  imagine the backlash?

The letter might look something like this:

Dear Parishioners:

Two weeks ago I met with Faithful members of the Ordinary Form  Mass to request that we find an alternative parish to host this Mass. This request is based on my observation that both the  parish and the Novus Ordo Mass would be better served at another location given that liturgical appointments in the sanctuary like the original altar rail, the centered tabernacle and the patens  go to waste,  given the number of people who prefer to receive Holy Communion standing and in the hand. Understandably, relocation has caused some anguish among Faithful members of the Ordinary Form  Mass. It may take several weeks if not months to find a suitable home for this Mass, one which can accommodate liturgical dancers, unnecessary ministers of Holy Communion and Oregon Press Hymnals full of sappy hymns written by Protestants.    It is unfortunate that the Sunday coffee hour, which typically begins in the vestibule before the final blessing takes place, has provided the Latin Mass Community with limited opportunity for prayer before the Blessed Sacrament in an appropriately silent and reverential manner.  Given that the Eucharist is the Source and Summit of life in the Church, it is essential that our worship reflect this truth.   Those who do not care for the Traditional Latin Mass are cordially invited to go pound sand.

You get the idea.   Such a thing would never fly.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Choice That Ends in Death is No Choice at All

I have no politician to blame for a decision I made.  For all I know, none of the politicians who advocate for abortion rights were ever personally involved like I was.    I pray for the soul of the doctor as well as for that of the person who accompanied me to his office.  I pray that God holds me alone accountable for the decision that I alone made.

Sometimes, I wonder if things would have been different if just one person within my inner circle said, "Wait, it's not the end of the world.  Let's talk about this and how you can make it work."

That didn't happen, but again, I hold only myself responsible for this.  There would be something wrong with me if I didn't give some thought to how things might have been and what I can do to support any young woman who finds herself in the same situation.

The act that resulted in the child who is no more was coerced and but I can't say it wasn't consensual. To insist otherwise would be delusional and a gross disrespect for women who conceive children as a result of rape.  But after that encounter, I resolved to end that relationship once and for all.  And then the unthinkable happened, through no fault of the innocent growing within.

One day, as the Examination of Conscience in the GIRM reminds me, I will have to answer to God for my actions. I will also have to answer to Him for any way in which I have lead another to commit grave sin.  If God judged me the way I have judged others throughout the course of my life, I wouldn't have a prayer.  It's a good thing for me that His Mercy is unfathomable.

 I have come to love the group Feminists for Life.  I learned of them many years ago when I was still on the wrong side of the issue and one of their members politely engaged me in a debate.  I like to think that woman planted a seed that has now borne fruit.  Every day leading up the 40th anniversary of Roe v Wade, FFL  has posted a different example  of a woman who said yes to life and shut out the voices in society who insist that slavery to sin is freedom of choice.   So it is not just the Catholic church and other religious institutions who fight to counter the culture of death.  Even people with no faith at all know there is something dead wrong about abortion.

On Friday, those who are able will take part in the March for Life.  Sometime later, the other side will also march. That shows you how twisted our world has become.  Otherwise-intelligent women will organize in support of a barbarian practice that is America's holocaust.  Is it this to which we have allowed ourselves to be reduced, pagans rejoicing about a pagan practice?

Hey, look at us.  We were blessed to be born female, as God made us, with the capacity to carry new life.  Now look at us.  We treat this blessing as a curse to be cut out like a malignancy.

And we wonder why the world spins out of control.  One soul at a time, we can change what the law to date has not.  Just like my friend from Feminists for Life.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Why I Would Never Have Made it in a Convent

Although we have not discussed the topic in some months, there was a point when Rebecca told me she did not object if I shared her discernment of a vocation with those close to us who would be supportive.  We both thought it would be a good idea to tell our pastor, privately of course, so that he could both pray for her and perhaps put her in touch with those who could answer some questions.

A few months back, Father introduced us to someone who has an intimate knowledge of women's monastic life.  Much food for thought was provided, and the subject of living in community was raised more than once.

I think for those of us who are married and, in my case, have jobs we do only because we have to and not out of any real love for our work, there is a temptation to daydream a bit about cloistered life.  I often think about what a respite it would be for me to live in a house that didn't have a television blaring from dawn until bedtime, dogs barking, kids bickering, the phone ringing, etc etc.  Then I remember that you are never totally alone with God in a monastery, unless perhaps you are a Carthusian monk.  Your meals are taken in community.  A good deal of your prayer life and your work is performed with others.  Recreation periods are  taken in common with others.  Decisions affecting the community, from how Mass will be celebrated to how Sunday recreational periods will be spent,  are often made by vote.  If you don't like a decision that was made, it's not like you're excused and get to stay in your cell by yourself.  You, too, are expected to participate in whatever exercises the community does.  And just because you may not like it doesn't mean you can sit there and sulk about it in protest.

How would I fare in such a house when I am so frequently annoyed by people who sit too close to me at Mass, sucking their teeth or breathing too loudly; people  who talk too much to me at work;  people who keep me too long on the phone; people  who pester me when I'd rather be left alone?  Just because a man or woman joins a monastic community doesn't mean they stop having irksome habits. At least I get to change venues, from home to work and work to home.  No such opportunity exists when you are walled in with God.

Even St. Therese was sorely tried by another sister who clacked and fidgeted with her Rosary in choir. I think we have safely established that though I dearly love her, I am no Therese.

"Heaven protect us from stupid nuns!" said St. Teresa of Avila.   I imagine that would have been her reaction to me had I presented myself at her monastery.

What Have I Done For Him Lately?

Sister Genevieve of the Holy Face, Celine Martin, was at the bedside of her younger sister when The Little Flower passed from this world to the next.  Celine recalled that seconds before her final breath, a look of concern crossed Therese's face, followed by an expression of surprise and finally one of ecstasy.  Celine believed that those in the room with Sister Therese were privileged to witness the Final Judgment of the soul of a Saint.

About 8 years ago I attended an all-day conference on St. Therese and one of the priests who spoke about her believed that her death ultimately came about because her soul, in his words, "was ripped from her body, so great was her desire to be with Jesus."

That thought left me feeling very inadequate, as often happens when I take into account all that the Little Saint of Lisieux did for her beloved Jesus.

Dear little Céline,

Your letter filled me with consolation. The road on which you are walking is a royal road, it is not a beaten track, but a path traced out by Jesus Himself. The spouse of the Canticles says that, not having found her Beloved in her bed, she arose to look for Him in the city but in vain; after having gone out of the city, she found Him whom her soul loved! . . . Jesus does not will that we find His adorable presence in repose; He hides Himself; He wraps Himself in darkness. It was not thus that He acted with the crowd of Jews, for we see in the Gospel that the people were carried away when He was speaking. Jesus used to charm weak souls with His divine words, He was trying to make them strong for the day of trial . . . But how small was the number of Our Lord's friends when He was silent before His judges! . . . Oh! what a melody for my heart is this silence of Jesus . . . He made Himself poor that we might be able to give Him love. He holds out His hand to us like a beggar so that on the radiant day of judgment when He will appear in His glory, He may have us hear those sweet words: "Come, blessed of my Father, for I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I did not know where to lodge, and you gave me a home. I was in prison, sick, and you helped me." It is Jesus Himself who spoke these words; it is He who wants our love, who begs for it . . . He places Himself, so to speak, at our mercy, He does not want to take anything unless we give it to Him, and the smallest thing is precious in His divine eyes . . .
Dear Céline, let us take delight in our lot, it is so beautiful. Let us give, let us give to Jesus; let us be miserly with others but prodigal with Him . . .
Jesus is a hidden treasure, and inestimable good which few souls are able to find for it is hidden, and the world loves what sparkles. Ah! if Jesus had willed to show Himself to all souls with His ineffable gifts, no doubt there is not one of them that would have despised Him. However, He does not will that we love Him for His gifts, He Himself must be our reward. To find a hidden thing one must hide oneself; our life must then be a mystery. We must be like Jesus, Jesus whose face was hidden. . . . "Do you want to learn something that may be of use to you?" says the Imitation.1 "love to be unknown and accounted for nothing . . . " And elsewhere: "After you have left everything, you must above all leave yourself; let one man boast of one thing, another of something else; as for you, place your joy only in contempt of yourself." What peace these words give to the soul, Céline. You know them, but do you not know all I would like to say to you? . . . Jesus loves you with a love so great that, if you were to see it, you would be in an ecstasy of happiness that would cause your death, but you do not see it, and you are suffering.
Soon Jesus will stand up to save all the meek and humble of the earth!. . .
1. Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis -- the 15th-century spiritual classic that has been companion to so many saints (eg. St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila) and continues to guide souls along the path to Heaven.
* Source: St. Thérèse of Lisieux: General Correspondence. John Clarke, O.C.D., translator. Volume II. Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1988.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tactics for Life

While once again listening to the vile garbage that comes forth from the mouth of Rachel Maddow, I learned  how Mississippi  found a way to shutter its one and only abortion mill.  By requiring that doctors who perform abortions there be ob/gyns who have admitting privileges at area hospitals, the legislature has upped the ante on the infanticide industry.  Admitting privileges are not always so easy for physicians to get and the breed of physician willing to perform abortions is not typically the kind that has anything to offer a hospital in terms of prestige or legitimate patient services.

The Mississippi Health Department visited the Jackson Women's Health Organization last Wednesday unannounced and while it did not yet disclose the findings of its visit, the clinic's director admitted she was going to be unable to meet the law's requirement.

 Now, set aside for just a minute the fact that what happens in that clinic is an intrinsic evil.  Abortion is a procedure that is not without the risk of complication (beyond the obvious of what happens to the baby) for the mother.  Having to transfer clients from outpatient settings to an inpatient facility is something that does happen in legitimate and reputable  free-standing clinics and surgery centers of every ilk* that perform real surgery and is something to be avoided at all cost.  When the unforeseen does happen, the patient deserves the best care in the most expedient manner possible.  That's going to be difficult to provide when the abortionist doesn't have privileges at the nearest hospital.

I was thinking of the showdown between religious institutions and the Obama administration concerning the mandate that employers must offer birth control to its employees in the name of healthcare.  I think those institutions should take a page from Mississippi and offer a more tactical response in terms of something the government and the insurance industry can understand - dollars and cents.  No one needs birth control.  No one needs surgical sterilization or an abortion.  A legal argument could be developed that demonstrates why the Pill and abortion and vasectomies are not healthcare.   They do nothing to correct a broken system or improve quality of life.  I do not advocate abandoning the religious freedom angle, but I do think developing an additional approach that addresses practicality over morality might gain traction.

While listening to the abortion industry workers who were interviewed for Maddow's show last night, I heard one of them talk about how the protesters who stand outside her clinic know her name and how "creepy" it is that they call her by name and say hello to her every day.  Isn't that how Abby Johnson's conversion came about?  She is the author of the book Unplanned that chronicled her journey from a clinic director and abortion advocate to a pro-life convert who found refuge among the witnesses for life who stood outside her clinic every day, hoping to persuade women not to buy into the lie.

I pray that woman will be the next Abby.

(NOTE: I seem to have developed some sort of late-onset dyslexia in my old age.  Please excuse grammatical and typing errors that I seem to be making with more frequency.  When I find them, I correct them.  Thanks)

*The kind of facilities that perform cataract surgeries, minor orthopedic and ENT and pain relief services.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rachel Maddow is Proof The World is Upside Down

I never have and never will condone violence.  Ever.

I cannot stomach Rachel Maddow but part of me is glad I heard her show tonight.  She spoke of the late abortionist George Tiller as though he died a martyr.  Yes, his death was violent.  I do not condone his murder, nor do I agree with tactics used by fanatics  such as sending threatening letters, harassing someone at their home, etc.

But to hear of Maddow speak of the violent death of Tiller while overlooking the violence he committed against helpless and defenseless victims is chilling.  She is elated that a presently-defunct abortion mill in Kansas is being renovated "in the very place Dr. Tiller provided (that) access".

One of the people  interviewed spoke of the "positive good spirit" of the place and how the clinic "embodies love and health and justice".

The description of what will go on in that clinic and trying to paint this abomination as something women "need" as in healthcare is chilling.

Taking an evil and a lie that has been perpetrated on women and disguising it with "positive" language does not change what will take place in that clinic.  Women will acquiesce to the lie that having your own child ripped from the womb is a compassionate response to an unwanted pregnancy.

No one can do to women what we have done to ourselves.

Rachel Maddow used to be Catholic.  She made her First Holy Communion like so many other Catholic children.  She's a wayward sheep out on the ledge - way out on the ledge.   Pray for her conversion and those like her who continue to mislead themselves and others.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

What is Going On?

I won't be posting on this topic again, but I am truly concerned about Father Z and his fascination with guns.  I am getting an increasingly uneasy feeling that makes me wonder what has happened to this man.  Posting the outline of a human form riddled with bullet holes is not something I expect to see on a blog whose motto is "Save the liturgy, save the world."

About a year or so before his fall, I began to have some uneasiness about another priest who was in the same ordination class as Father Z.  Do not think I am implying that a preoccupation with firearms and the Second Amendment in any way approaches that which the other priest is alleged to have done.  I'm simply saying that my gut tells me Father is in need of prayers, and prayers he shall get.

Kudos to those who posted comments on his blog expressing their sadness and disappointment.  I can't imagine that a priest would post not a word of sorrow or lament for the victims of Sandy Hook but instead has dug in his heels about the right to bear arms.

Saint Padre Pio is pictured here with his weapon.   

St. Bernadette of Lourdes revealed that during her apparitions in the grotto, the Blessed Virgin Mary carried a Rosary that she prayed with Bernadette.  Based on Bernadette's recollection of that image, Our Lady of Lourdes is often depicted with a Rosary draped over her arm.

At Fatima, Our Lady beckoned the children to pray her Rosary for world peace.

Get that Father?  Not a machine-gun belt, or, to humor you further, a sword - but a Rosary.

Prayers for Father Z.  

That's all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Last night, I got an intriguing text from the oldest daughter that simply said: "Please stay up, we're going to drop by soon."

By "we" I knew she meant herself and her boyfriend.  And I knew, instinctively, that they had news important enough that they wanted to share it with us and did not want to wait.  My husband goes to bed very early, so it was just my youngest and I waiting on the couch and my middle child doing homework in his room.  When my daughter came in, she was obviously disappointed that her father hadn't stayed up, so I dispatched child #3 upstairs to rouse him.

I knew when I got the text what the news was going to be, but in all honesty, I wasn't sure under what circumstances the happy event was going to take place.  My husband took his place among us and my daughter, with her somewhat-fidgety but nearly giddy boyfriend holding her, told us they were getting married.  And no, they were not going to make us grandparents!

My oldest has been a bit of a free-spirit for awhile now.  She goes camping in the mud, loves outdoor folk-festivals and a few years back,  traveled throughout Peru alone for three weeks when her travel companion decided to return home shortly after they arrived.  She and her fiancee informed us they were going away in March, alone, to get married but would later have a party for close family and friends sometime in the Spring.

Her husband-to-be is very smart and very sweet.  She went out with him for nearly a year before bringing him home because she wanted to be sure before she introduced him to the family.  So what's my obstacle?

He's not Christian and what I might call lukewarm Jewish,  and my daughter has not practiced her Catholic faith with any regularity.  They've decided to get married in a civil ceremony.  The fact that they're doing it privately, with no friends or family, makes it somewhat easier for me. I won't  have to witness or participate in a ritual contrary to my faith.  It's not how I wanted it to be for her, but it's their life and their relationship and there is not much I can do about it but pray for them.  I spoke my piece, telling them both that I would prefer they got married in church, and that I wanted them to bear in mind that if they were insistent on doing it their way now, they could always do something later to sanctify their marriage.  They listened respectfully and said they would think about it.

The wedding will take place in March, when the groom-to-be is on Spring break.  I asked what the hurry was, and the next bit of a bombshell was dropped.

"We're joining the Peace Corps, and we want to do it as a married couple".

I nearly swallowed my teeth.  The Peace Corps is a two-year commitment to places like Ethiopia.  She just graduated from college and he finishes graduate school in May.  They want to go on a mission before they're tied down to jobs, but I can't imagine having a child so far away that I'll likely not see until the commitment ends.

When I shared the news with a dear friend who is a devout Catholic, she was hopeful.

"Sounds like a good intention for St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.  They're on the list!"

Can I ask you to put them on yours?

Monday, January 14, 2013

St. Joseph is the Man for All Reasons

Sometimes, I am just plain embarrassed about how some saints  seem to skate under my radar.  I am particularly chagrined that this has been the case for me with St. Joseph until recently.  When I was in the throes of a trial of faith that I wrote about earlier, my dad sent me a tattered and worn pamphlet with a note saying: "Pray this."  It was the 30-day novena to St. Joseph.

I will post the novena below for those who may not be familiar with it.  Not only was the novena answered, it was answered in triplicate!

Aside from being a powerful prayer, this novena offers a chance to simply contemplate the remarkable saint who God the Father entrusted with the earthly care of His Son and the Virgin Mary.   In fact, I sometimes use these meditations to assist me when praying the Rosary.

 St. Teresa of Jesus strongly advocated that the faithful appeal to St. Joseph in all their needs, especially for progress in all virtue. So devoted to the foster-father of Jesus Christ was Teresa that she named her monastery after him.  In Philadelphia, the Carmel's official name is The Monastery of St Joseph and St. Anne.

From St. Teresa's  Vida:

"I took for my advocate and lord the glorious Saint Joseph and commended myself earnestly to him; and I found that this my father and lord delivered me both from this trouble [a temporary paralysis] and also from other and greater troubles concerning my honor and the loss of my soul, and that he gave me greater blessings than I could ask of him. I do not remember even now that I have ever asked anything of him which he has failed to grant. I am astonished at the great favors which God has bestowed on me through this blessed saint, and at the perils from which He has freed me, both in body and in soul. To other saints the Lord seems to have given grace to succor us in some of our necessities but of this glorious saint my experience is that he succors us in them all and that the Lord wishes to teach us that as He was Himself subject to him on earth (for, being His guardian and being called His father, he could command Him) just so in Heaven He still does all that he asks. This has also been the experience of other persons whom I have advised to commend themselves to him; and even to-day there are many who have great devotion to him through having newly experienced this truth." 
"I wish I could persuade everyone to be devoted to this glorious saint, for I have great experience of the blessings which he can obtain from God. I have never known anyone to be truly devoted to him and render him particular services who did not notably advance in virtue, for he gives very real help to souls who commend themselves to him. For some years now, I think, I have made some request of him every year on his festival and I have always had it granted. If my petition is in any way ill directed, he directs it aright for my greater good." 

There is a very good booklet from Tan Books/St Benedict Press with many wonderful devotions to St. Joseph and prayers for every special intention.   In gratitude toward  him for the assistance he has given me, I have tried to emulate his spouse more so that my spouse might be more apt to respond to life's trials as St. Joseph did.

As a Christmas present to myself this year, purchased with money given to me by my dear parents, I purchased a simple but beautiful statue of St. Joseph and he enjoys a special place in my shrine devoted to Jesus and His Carmelite Saints.  Here is a not-so-hot photo of the statue.  The lights are going to stay up year-round.

The Thirty Days Novena to St. Joseph for Any Special Intention
(Can be prayed during any consecutive 30 days)

Ever blessed and glorious Joseph, kind and loving father, and helpful friend of all in sorrow!  You are the good father and protector of orphans, the defender of the defenseless, the patron of those in need and sorrow.  Look kindly on my request.  My sins have drawn down on me the just displeasure of my God, and so I am surrounded with unhappiness.  To you, loving guardian of the Family of Nazareth, do I go for help and protection.Listen, then, I beg you, with fatherly concern, to my earnest prayers, and obtain for me the favors I ask.
I ask it by the infinite mercy of the eternal Son of God, which moved Him to take our nature and to be born into this world of sorrow.
I ask it by the weariness and suffering you endured when you found no shelter at the inn of Bethlehem for the holy Virgin, nor a house where the Son of God could be born.   Then, being everywhere refused, you had to allow the Queen of Heaven to give birth to the world's Redeemer in a cave.
I ask it by that painful torture you felt at the prophecy of holy Simeon, which declared the Child Jesus and His holy Mother future victims of our sins and of their great love for us.
I ask it through your sorrow and pain of soul when the angel declared to you that the life of the Child Jesus was sought by His enemies.  From their evil plan you had to flee with Him and His Blessed Mother to Egypt.  I ask it by all the suffering, weariness, and labors of that long and dangerous journey.
I ask it by all your care to protect the Sacred Child and His Immaculate Mother during your second journey, when you were ordered to return to your own country.  I ask it by your peaceful life in Nazareth where you met with so many joys and sorrows.
I ask it by your great distress when the adorable Child was lost to you and His Mother for three days.  I ask it by your joy at finding Him in the Temple, and by the comfort you found at Nazareth, while living in the company of the Child Jesus.  I ask it by the wonderful submission He showed in His obedience to you.
I ask it by the perfect love and conformity you showed in accepting the Divine order to depart from this life, and from the company of Jesus and Mary.  I ask it by the joy which filled your soul, when the Redeemer of the world, triumphant over death and hell, entered into the possession of His kingdom and led you into it with special honors.
I ask it through Mary's glorious Assumption, and through that endless happiness you have with her in the presence of God.
O good father!  I beg you, by all your sufferings, sorrows, and joys, to hear me and obtain for me what I ask.

(make your request)
Obtain for all those who have asked my prayers everything that is useful to them in the plan of God.  Finally, my dear patron and father, be with me and all who are dear to me in our last moments, that we may eternally sing the praises of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Our (Fill in the Blank) is Better Than Your (Fill in the Blank)

I know that the subject of guns is a treacherous one to navigate.  The debate is also filled with ironies.  A president who has the most horrific record of any on abortion weeps on national television over the slaughter of innocent school children.  Years ago I read a comment on the site CatholicVote that if someone were lining up five-year-olds for execution, the country would be outraged, but the unborn do not merit such attention.  I thought of that comment when the Sandy Hook tragedy unfolded and so many of my liberal Democrat friends and acquaintances expressed their shock and horror that such a thing could happen.  One, in particular, expressed delight just a scant few days later that the right to kill babies in-utero (choice)  would continue under "her" president.  Wasn't she the same person who days before, was sickened over the loss of so many innocent lives?

Dear friends, I am afraid that too many of us have allowed politics and not our faith to inform our conscience when it comes to these matters.  I have been reading the posts and the comments here and I am wondering what Kool-Aid some of these folks are drinking.  When a priest who so many people admire (including myself)  spends this much of his time in defense of the gun lobby, is it any wonder we're in the state we are?  How can a people of faith be so fearful that we would permit something to continue that takes thousands of innocent lives every year?  And by the same token, how can so-called pro-choice advocates talk with a straight face about protecting children when the platform of one of our major political parties includes a plank that says just the opposite?

There is a comment that was attributed to Gen. George S. Patton during WWII that caused quite a stir.  He is alleged to have said that if he found himself caught between the Russians and the Germans he would shoot in both directions.  I know  how he felt because I have no love of or respect for either political party in this country.  I see so much hypocrisy among my friends of nearly every ilk.  What happened to the truth?  I'll tell you.  It has become a casualty of political wrangling and it's starting to take some of the basic tenets of our faith with it.  We know our guy is a fascist, but he's OUR fascist.  We know our guy is a demagogue, but he's OUR demagogue.  Truth be damned!  So long as our guy is wearing our label, he's free to spout all kinds of hypocrisies and inconsistencies.   The only people who are entitled to redemption are the ones who agree with us.

Next thing you know, we start manipulating the catechism to justify the taking of human life.  We start qualifying when it's OK and when it's not to kill.  Why not just leave it entirely in God's hands?

I hear women talking about the "freedom" they enjoy to choose whether or not to end the life of their own children and the word slavery comes to mind.  Too many of us have been conditioned to believe the lie that abortion frees us from poverty.

On the other hand, I hear people who apparently loathe their government speaking about the "fear" of having their weapons confiscated.  People who are so afraid of what might happen that they feel it's necessary to arm themselves  with lethal weapons are not free.  They are held hostage by fear.

By no means do I compare the gravity of abortion to any other issue in this country,  but the murder of schoolchildren cannot be excused or ignored just because the unborn have been.  It is entirely possible to address both issues without minimizing the intrinsic evil of abortion.  I must be a fool because I think the tragedy in Newtown is an opportunity to talk about the ironies that our so-called freedom guarantees in a way that could really open hearts and minds to the true horror of abortion.  The problem is that some of the folks who like to call themselves pro-life are blindly adamant that there can be no compromise about weapons and ammunition designed to inflict maximum carnage in a very short period of time.  It's hard to win an argument that you enter with little or no credibility.

Some time ago I wrote that it was not lost on me that Roe V Wade happened at the conclusion of the Vietnam War.  Some people might think it's a stretch to connect the two, but I think not. I think both events point to the growing desensitization of Americans to violence.  We're constantly looking ahead to the next battle.  We're still not out of Afghanistan, and some people are itching for a war with Iran. They won't volunteer to fight that war, mind you, they'll just instigate until they get what they want.  They will incite fear because some folks just aren't happy without a boogeyman.  The real one (the devil, that is) isn't enough for them.  As Catholics, we know that the best weapons against him are the sacraments Christ left us and the sacramentals  advocated by His most holy Mother.  But you'd never know it looking at some blogs.

We talk about a war on terror.  Terror, folks, is in the eyes of the beholder.  When we become that which we claim to deplore, what does that make us?  Is a child whose home is bombed by fighter jets any less terrified than one aboard a jet hijacked to ram a building?  Do we only care when we are the recipients of such treatment?

Take a cocktail of increased accessibility to lethal weapons, mix it with some untreated mental illness and throw in a lust for violence.  Light the whole thing with political rancor, cleverly-disguised lies,  paranoia and selfish disregard for others, and you get what we have.  Fifty million children lost to abortion.  Tens of thousands of American lives lost in needless wars and gun violence.

None of it is anything anyone in their right mind should be proud of, especially Catholics.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What You Take Into Your Hands, You Take Into Your Heart

And it doesn't just apply to guns.  Words can kill people, too. A single sentence can rob a person of their reputation.   And just as it is with guns, the one doing the talking/writing is as much at risk as the gun owner is of having their weapon backfire on them.

Anyway, I have always loved this scene from Peter Weir's "Witness".

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I Don't Know Who This Chap Is...

But I like his blog which I stumbled upon by accident. The Q and A was particularly illuminating.

Reminds me of an exchange I had after the Vigil Mass Saturday evening.  One of the parish busy-bodies felt licensed to comment that I'm "never" at Mass anymore.

"I'm hardly ever at this Mass," I told her, "because I  prefer the Latin Mass on Sunday."

"How can you stand that?" she asked, literally turning up her nose.

I asked her if she had been to the TLM and she said no, stating that she wants no part of any Mass where women aren't "included".   This made me wonder if I had missed something:  Are women banned from praying at the TLM?  Are they barred from receiving Holy Communion?  She passed judgment on something with which she has no actual experience based on the destructive belief that lay people, specifically women, must have some "official"  role at Mass.

Mary stood at the foot of Christ's cross, and Blessed Catherine Emereich tells us her eyes were "riveted on the dying Countenance of her Son."   Why does Mary's example not suffice for us?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

St. Magdalene of Nagasaki

Living just down the street from a large Augustinian-staffed church means getting to hear about many saints whose feasts or memorials are not recognized or sometimes even mentioned on the general calendar.  St. Magdalene of Nagasaki is one such saint.

You can read more about her at this  website.

Only 23 when she was put to death in Japan in 1634, Magdalene was an Augustinian tertiary whose parents were martyred while she was still in her teens.  She served as a catechist and interpreter for Augustinian missionaries, risking great peril to herself.  After some of the missionaries she worked with were burned at the stake, Magdalene found herself even more on fire with the faith and sought out other friars who she could serve.  When they, too were put to death, she turned herself in to civil authorities, refusing to renounce Christianity.

Magdalene was sentenced to die by anazuri, whereby the accused are hung upside down by their heels over a pit of offal (animal intestines and other garbage).  On the 13th day of her torture, her executioners filled the pit with water and drowned her.  After her death for Christ, her body was burned and the ashes scattered in the Nagasaki bay to ensure that no relics would be left.

Magdalene was canonized by Blessed John Paul II in 1987.  She is the patroness of evangelists, interpreters, writers and reporters.

May her love for Jesus Christ, her courage and her remarkable commitment to Him be an inspiration to the rest of us.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Model for Rescuing Women and Their Souls From the Ravages of Abortion

I was surprised to see this article on the front page of the New York Times today.  Of course it was not without its obligatory mischaracterization of the pro-life movement while at the same time ignoring the barbarous practices of Planned Parenthood.  Still, when you read about the success that centers like Care Net have had, it's worth taking a good look at their strategy for persuading women not to have an abortion.

It was infuriating to read accusations that Care Net uses deception to draw pregnant women to its services.  Isn't that what PP does?   Does the law require PP to post notices outside its business that read: "babies killed here"?  The irony.

 Sometimes, the best way to direct someone to their destination is to meet them where they are and lead them to where they need to be.  One woman, one baby, one soul at a time.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Liturgy in the Language of Our Lord

A change in work responsibilities, coupled with the fact that I am the sole bread-winner for the foreseeable future, has made daily Mass at the start of my day impossible, at least for the time-being.  Until Lent arrives, my opportunity for a weeknight Mass will be limited to once a week.  Or so I thought.  I discovered that the Maronite-rite church a few blocks away offers evening Mass a few times a week, so long as there is a priest available to celebrate the liturgy.

Few, if any of you know that my maternal grandmother was a Maronite-rite Catholic up until the time she married.  We occasionally went to a Maronite church for Mass, but I could probably count the times on one hand and have fingers left over.  I remember very little except that parts of the Mass were spoken in a foreign language and a good deal of the time I had no idea what was going on, with the exception of the Consecration.

At last night's Mass, I seemed to be the only person outside of the priest and the altar server who bothered to come but at the last minute, a nun in full habit arrived.  While I wish she had sat in front of me, she sat close enough so that I could see out of the corner of my eye what the appropriate posture was.  The Missal provided direction at times but not at others.

The "foreign" language the Maronite-rite is spoken in happens to be Aramaic, the language many historians believe was the language of Our Lord.  My grandmother spoke Aramaic with considerable fluency and my own mother knows a few words but not much.  The Mass last night was spoken mainly in English, except where the rubrics demanded  Aramaic.  The Consecration, for instance, was sung in Aramaic.

I had expected that the Mass would be about 30 minutes in length at most but I was wrong.  It was 50 minutes long and I am not in the least complaining. It could have gone on forever, such was its beauty.   It was a liturgy rich in the kind of  mystery and reverence that is too often lacking in the hit-and-run weekday Masses I encounter on an all too frequent basis.  Despite the fact that only Sister and I were in attendance, a homily was still given.   Incense and chant played an important role in the Holy Sacrifice. The Creed is apparently prayed at every Mass, Sunday or weekday.  The exchange of peace was nothing like the slap-happy yuk-it-up that goes on at the Novus Ordo and takes place, as it rightfully should if it must, before the consecration.  Holy Communion was given under both species by intinction so there was no reception in the hand.   More importantly, the paten was used because reception on the tongue without one is no guarantee of particles not being dropped to the floor  After the dismissal, the nun remained in her pew and chanted a prayer in Aramaic.  It was a beautiful way to offer thanksgiving after the Eucharist.

If I get there again, I will take some photos (with permission) before or after Mass. What's shown above was borrowed.  Although the church itself is a very simple structure, the altar,with an appropriately-placed center Tabernacle, was adorned with a gorgeous nearly life-size Crucifix.   The Creche appeared to be a replica of a shelter hewn out of rock.  Recently, the church installed the kind of traditional stained glass windows that are too seldom seen in contemporary church buildings.

I had to practically tear myself out of the pew to go home and start dinner.   I look forward to going again.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Octave Day of Christmas TLM

As some of you know, I maintain a second blog where we chronicle, in photographs, the Traditional Latin Mass community to which we belong.  If you don't know, please take a look here.  One disclaimer is that this site is maintained completely independent of St Paul's except for the permission we have to take and post photos.  May you find the inspiration you need in these images to either find a TLM in your area or prayerfully persuade your pastor to learn and offer the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

Jesus Christ The Same Yesterday, Today and Forever

"Jesus transforms a white particle into Himself everyday in order to communicate His life to you.  What's more, with a love that is greater still, He wants to transform you into Himself." -St Therese of the Child Jesus

From the Magnificat on Dec. 28th, Feast of the Holy Innocents:  There is perhaps no greater honor than to be mistaken for Christ Himself.   

I'm a long way off, how about you?  My prayer for everyone as we begin a new year in the faith is that we get a little closer with each passing day.