Friday, November 27, 2015

Still Here...

It really is pitiful how neglectful I've been of this blog.

In many ways, the lack of activity here mirrors what's been going on in my life outside the blogosphere.  It has been a very challenging year in so many ways, all connected to my children, and I have only survived it through the grace of God.  He carried all of us, at one time or another, on His sturdy shoulders because we would not have made it otherwise.

I've been in a bit of a spiritual rut, not totally of my own doing, and have found it difficult to carry out my usual devotions in any kind of meaningful way.   I trudge onward, hoping some of it "takes".  If nothing else, the sacrifice of giving up some meaningless pleasure to pray, even if distractedly, might be worth more than not making the attempt at all.

The other night, as I was falling asleep, I started to conjecture about something that really is none of my business.  I wanted to stop the thoughts I was having  but I didn't feel like I could until the voice said: "if you want to be worldly, fine; but if you want to win spiritually, you can only do so by filling your mind with things that are above this world. So knock it off already!"

It  was a much needed wake-up call.

Thank God the Lord doesn't give up on us.

Monday, June 15, 2015


I opened  the paper today to all sorts of insanity,  not the least of which was news of a zoo in Georgia in the former Soviet Republic being deluged with flood waters and the animals escaping. Lions and tigers and bears plus a hippo and a crocodile "slithering its way down the street."   The Archbishop of St Paul had to resign over the sex abuse scandal and Archbishop Chaput just announced that 3 more church buildings in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will be closed as worship sites and sold for "profane use."   Two young men in their early 20's died as a result of a murder suicide yesterday.  Sharks are attacking people in waters where sharks aren't normally found.  Two hefty-sized women found cause to pommel each other in a Wal-Mart store in the shampoo aisle with the 6-year-old son of one of the women jumping in the fray.  The president declared June gay pride month and the world is gaga over a man in drag whose heavily air brushed photo appears on a heavily contrived and morally worthless rag.

It really does appear that the gates of Hell have sprung open. I wish I had Terry's sense of humor with which to point these things out but I don't. I just have the feeling God has seen enough of our act and is slowly bringing down the curtain.  I'm grateful for my conversion.  My husband laughed at me last week when I told him the end is near. I reminded him of how he will be begging to borrow one of my. blessed candles when the 3-days darkness arrives. OK no I didn't -  that reference was just to make Terry laugh. But it's true that I do believe we are seeing at least the start of the end times.  That doesn't mean I will necessarily live to see The End. The truth is that no one knows.  It's not something I willing to take lightly.

Last week I was sick with some dreck and woke up in the middle of the night convinced I would soon breathe my last.  That is truly how awful I felt. I said as sincere an Act of Contrition that I could manage and realized if God really did decide to take me that night I wasn't going anywhere near Heaven.  I recovered obviously but decided this episode was a good way to scare me to confession. I normally don't let 2 weeks go by without going.  I was creeping up on 3.  Padre Pio advised no less than once every 8 days. Sounds good to me.

Anyway... The End is closer than some people would like to believe.  God is out and abomination is in, in all its various forms and Lord knows we have no shortage of varieties in this world.  Confusion reigns, but isn't that the devil's specialty?

Like my confessor always says at the end of his advice to me:

Stick with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary and you can't go wrong.

Now, on a purely humorous note, I have concluded that women will spend a shorter time in Purgatory than men, because women spend a good deal of their earth there already.  What other reason could there be for hot flashes, those attacks that sneak up on you day and night and make you feel like you've just plunged your head into a brick oven?  

Somewhere I read that Hell is a combination of searing flames and bitterly cold water, so that there is no relief from the torture.  I have spent some time in such a place so I know God is letting me work off some of my temporal punishment now.  The so-called HVAC system is comprised of two temperatures - bitter cold air that suddenly blasts out of the vents and drops on you like a Polar ice cap,  immediately followed by a Saharan wind that comes blasting out of the same vents with no warning.  Forget about one consistent comfortable temperature.  

Work can be  Hell, and sometimes it is literally.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Quit Messing With the Mass

I could not have said it better myself.  Story here


Someone asked me what I thought the problem is and my response is simply this: poor priestly formation.

And let me remind opponents of traditional sacred liturgy:  It is NOT the language, it is the FORM of the Mass, though certainly language does play a part in enabling abuse.

Someone posted a photo still from the "Passion of the Christ" and asked:  Would you clap and applaud at this sacrifice?  Then why would you think such behavior is permissible and acceptable at Holy Mass?

How quickly we forget what the Mass is and Who it centers upon.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Christ's Agony in the Garden: For Love of the Creature

"He would fain shake off this immense burden that crushes Him - He would fain free Himself of this horrible load which makes Him shudder - His own purity rejects it - the very glance of the avenging Father, Who abandons Him in these muddy, putrid waters of guilt with which He sees Himself covered - all of this rushes to His Spirit, urging Him to draw back from the bitter Passion.  The revulsion of His Divinity against sin  adds to the conflict within His human soul.  All instinct counsels that  He unburden Himself of these infamies, rejecting the very thought of them.  But the consideration of unvindicated justice and the unreconciled sinner predominates in His Heart full of love.  These two forces, these two loves, one more holy than the other, struggle for victory in the Heart of the Saviour.  Which will conquer?  Without doubt He wants to give victory to offended justice.  This gains all over all else and He wants this to triumph.  But what a spectacle must He represent?  That of a man soiled with the filth of humanity.  He, essential sanctity, to see Himself filthy with sin, even if only in outward appearance?  This, No!  This terrifies Him, makes Him tremble, crushes Him.

To find support in this terrible conflict, He gives Himself over to prayer.  Prostrate before the Majesty of His Father, He says:  "Father, take this chalice from Me!"  It is as if He said: My Father, I want  Thy glory, I want Thy justice to be fully satisfied.  I want the human family to be fully reconciled with Thee.  But that I, Who am sanctity itself, should see Myself defiled by sin, Ah!  Not this!  Take away, therefore, take away this chalice, and Thou to Whom all is possible, find in the infinite treasures of Thy Holy Wisdom another means.  But if Thou dost not  want this, "Not My will but Thine be done!"

Because I am such an ignoramus, I have so often overlooked or took for granted the cause of Christ's grief in the Garden.  There is a scene in Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" where the Devil appears and asks Jesus why He thinks he can take on the sins of the world, something no one has ever done.  Satan had a vested interest in Jesus refusing the Cup of Suffering His Father put before Him: Without the ultimate sacrifice, so many souls would fall into despair with no hope of eternal life. 

 Yes, I know Christ was innocence itself, but did I ever stop to think of how defiled He was because of our sins, my sins?  The Scourged Christ, so difficult to look upon, is disfigured by me.  The scourges are just an outward sign of the real wounds inflicted on the Son of God.   Who else will ever love me like this, enough to take on my ugliness, my festering sores oozing with the pus of immorality, blasphemy, neglect, hatred, jealousy, envy, sloth, and more?   I know this and yet it is so hard sometimes to carry the comparatively small crosses I am asked to shoulder.  

This Lent has been full of discouragement.  A priest who preached Therese with remarkable insight was suspended from the Archdiocese for downloading thousands of pornographic images on his computer.  The mother of one of my son's friends took her own life, leaving two teenagers to fend for themselves in this world.  She is the second such mother who has done this in the past year.  A police officer and father of two young boys murdered in a botched robbery attempt.  All those lives ruined.  I could go on, but I won't.  I can't.  It's overwhelming sometimes.  I am reminded of the words "blind faith".   I believe.  But without God's help, I cannot shoulder the load.  And I have no right to complain.  

If I can have one thing this Lent, I beg the Lord for the kind of love that will make me abhor sin because of the pain it causes Him. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Christ's Agony in the Garden: Perfect Conformity to the Father's Will

"Jesus rises and turns His sad and suppliant glance to Heaven.  He raises His arms and prays.  My God, with what deadly pallor that face is suffused!  He prays to that Father Who seems to have turned away His glance and Who appears ready to strike Him with His sword of vengeance.  He prays with all the confidence of a Son, but He fully understands the position He holds.  He realizes that it is He alone, as a victim for the human race, Who bears the odium of having outraged the Divine Majesty.  He realizes that He alone through the sacrifice of His life can satisfy divine justice and reconcile the creature with the Creator.  He wants it, and wants is efficaciously.  But nature is crushed at the sight of His bitter Passion.  Nature revolts against the sacrifice.  But His spirit is ready for the immolation, and He continues the battle with all His strength.  He feels Himself cast down but He perseveres in the oblation of Himself.

My Jesus, how can we obtain strength from Thee, if we see Thee so weak and crushed?

Yes, I understand.  Thou hast taken all our weaknesses upon Thyself.  And to give us Thy strength Thou hast become the scape-got.  It is to teach us that we must place our trust only in Thee in the struggles of life, even when it seems as if Heaven were closed to us."

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Christ's Agony in the Garden: Clothing Himself With the Sins of Humanity

"Jesus has returned to His place of prayer and another picture, more terrible than the first presents itself to Him.  All our sins with their entire ugliness parade before Him in every detail.  He sees all the meanness and the malice of creatures in committing them.  He knows to what extent these sins offend and outrage the Majesty of God.  He sees all infamies, immodesties, blasphemies which proceed from the lips of creatures accompanied by the malice of their hearts, and of those lips which were created to bring forth hymns of praise and benediction to the Creator.  He sees the sacrileges with which priests and the faithful defile themselves, not caring about those Sacraments instituted for our salvation as a means necessary for it; now, instead, made an occasion of sin and damnation of souls...

...Behold Him, before His Father the God of Justice, facing the full penalty of divine justice.  He, the essence of purity, sanctity by nature, in contact with sin! ...Indeed, as if He Himself had become a sinner.  Who can fathom the disgust that He feels in His innermost spirit?  The horror He feels?  The nausea, the contempt He senses so vividly?  And having taken all upon Himself, nothing excepted, He is crushed by this immense weight, oppressed, thrown down, prostrated.  Exhausted, He groans beneath the weight of divine justice, before His Father, Who has permitted His Son to offer Himself as a Victim for sin, as one accursed."

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Christ's Agony in the Garden: Taking on the sins of the world

From St. Pio of Pietrelcina's Meditation on the Agony of Jesus.

"...He, the innocent Lamb, alone, thrown to the wolves, without any refuge...He, the Son of God...the Lamb dedicated voluntarily to be sacrificed for the glory of the same Father Who abandoned Him to the fury of the enemies of God, for the redemption of the human race; forsaken by those very disciples who shamefully flee from Him as from a most dangerous being. He, the Eternal Son of God, has become the laughing-stock of His enemies.

But, will he retreat?...No, from the very beginning He embraces everything without reservation.  Why then and whence this terror? Ah!  He has exposed His humanity as a target to take upon Himself all the blows of divine justice offended by sin.  

Vividly, He feels in His naked spirit all that He must suffer; every single sin He must expiate with each single pain, and He is crushed because He has given over His humanity as a prey to terror, weakness and fear."

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Christ's Agony in the Garden: It Begins

"He is there to begin His dolorous Passion.  Instead of thinking of Himself, He is all anxiety, for you.

Oh, what an immensity of love does this Heart contain!  His face is covered with sadness and, at the same time, with love.  His words proceed from His innermost Heart.  He speaks with a profusion of affection, encouragement, comfort and in comforting gives His promise.  He explains the most profound mysteries of His Passion. 

...He is extremely sad; His soul is a prey of indescribable bitterness.  The night is advanced and bright. The moon shines in the sky, leaving shadows in the Garden.  It seems to throw a sinister brightness, a foreboding of the grave and dreadful events to come, which make the blood tremble and freeze in the veins - it seems as if stained with blood.  A wind, like a forerunner of the coming tempest agitates the olive trees and, together with the rustling of the leaves penetrates to the bones, like a messenger of death, descending into the soul and filling it with deadly grief.  

Night most horrible, like which there will never be another!

What a contrast O Jesus!  How beautiful was the night of Thy birth, when Angels, leaping for joy, announced peace, singing the Gloria.  And now, it seems to me, they surround Thee sadly, keeping at a respectful distance, as if respecting the supreme anguish of Thy spirit."  

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Agony of Jesus: Opening Prayer

By Saint Pio of Pietrelcina, from his meditation on Christ's agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

"Most Divine Spirit, enlighten and inflame in meditating on the Passion of Jesus, help me to penetrate this mystery of love and suffering of a God, Who, clothed with our humanity, suffers, agonizes and dies for love of the creature!...

The Eternal, the Immortal Who debases Himself to undergo an immense martyrdom, the ignominious death of the Cross, amidst insults, contempt and abuse, to save the creature which offended Him, and which wallows in the slime of sin. 

 Man rejoices in his sin and his God is sad because of sin, suffers, sweats blood, amidst terrible agony of spirit.

No, I cannot enter this wide ocean of love and pain unless Thou with Thy grace sustain me.

Oh that I could penetrate to the innermost recesses of the Heart of Jesus to read there the essence of His bitterness, which brought Him to the point of death in the Garden; that I could comfort Him in the abandonment by His Father and His own.  Oh that I could unite myself with Him in order to expiate with Him.

Mary, Mother of Sorrows, may I unite myself with Thee to follow Jesus and share His pains and Thy sufferings.

My Guardian Angel, guard my faculties and keep them recollected on Jesus suffering, so that they will not stray far from Him."

It seems to me this is a good meditation with which to begin any Lenten practice including the Stations of the Cross or the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.  From time to time during Lent, I will post short passages from this meditation with little or no comment from me.  

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Christ's Agony in the Garden: A Meditation From St. Pio of Pietrelcina

Tomorrow being Septuagesima Sunday, I thought it would be a good time to think about what Lenten reflections to offer on the blog this year.  I have decided that as time permits, I will post brief excerpts from St.Padre Pio's  meditations on Christ's agony in the Garden.  I picked this up at Christmas and have been trying to read it during Friday Holy Hours.  I highly recommend it.   Here are two excerpts.

"He most clothe Himself with the this entire unclean mass of human corruption and present Himself before the Sanctity of His Father, to expiate everything with individual pains, to render Him all that glory of which they have robbed Him; to cleanse the human cesspool in which man wallows with contemptible indifference."

"But what a spectacle must He represent?  That of a man soiled with the filth of humanity.  He, essential sanctity, to see Himself filthy with sin, even if only in outward appearance?  This, No!  This terrifies Him, makes Him tremble, crushes 

-The Agony of Jesus:  A meditation on Our Lord's Agony in the Garden by Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, OFM, Cap. (Available from Tan Books).

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Resolve to Love Him More

A happy and blessed New Year in Our Lord to all of you!

I have been enjoying an unusual sense of peace during this Holy Season of Christmas.  It is my gift from the Savior.  It came to me during Adoration one day that instead of asking for individual favors, I should just ask for peace.  When you have that, you have everything.  When I rely on Him entirely, there is nothing to fear.  My immediate world has been falling down around me at times, but I simply walk through it, confident that God will see us through.

For awhile, I have taken a bit of a hiatus from the TLM.  I still love the Mass, but I think 12 Noon is too late for the principal Mass of the day.   I'm also not pleased that after more than a year in our current church building, we're still not permitted to burn incense and our access to the church is very restricted.  So, for the time being, I'm dividing my time on Sundays and Holy Days between the Maronite Rite and an early-morning Novus Ordo, followed by Adoration.  I have gone to the TLM at other churches and plan to continue to do so.  I also pray that our little congregation might finally have a home where the liturgy may be celebrated fully and where we are not subjected to the hostilities of small-minded people.

I don't know if it is because of my interior state or what the reason is, but the churches I have visited this year seem more exquisitely decorated for Christmas than I can ever remember.  The Maronite church in particular is one where you could literally sit all day in wonder at the beautiful Creche and adoring angels that kneel before the Blessed Sacrament.  I have taken great delight in decorating my own home this Christmas and as I was admiring my handiwork - my Carmelite shrine with St. Joseph - a voice reminded me that as lovely as all the scenes are, there is nothing more pleasing to the Infant King  than a soul adorned with His graces.  After all, isn't that the point?  So that is what I resolve to do in the coming year by more frequent reception of the sacraments, especially Reconciliation,  and hopefully a kinder, gentler more patient me.

God bless us everyone!