Blogs I Know · Caritas

When I Pray it Changes Me

Over at The Court Jester Jeff Miller writes :  Some time ago I also started to pray for him as I try to do for the priests of the parishes I attend.  A couple of months ago I was surprised to find how my attitude had changed towards Fr. Sullivan. Before seeing him with his idiosyncrasies and casual treatment of the Mass could cause me to get rather heated inside, but instead I started to become more aware of the positive things that he did and the negative ones made less of an impression on me or I could more easily ignore.

I find this is often the case for myself and one reason why I try to remind my children that if someone is really annoying you pray for them.  Prayer helps put you in God’s frame where you can more easily see the good in your fellow human and be more forgiving of the bad.  Christ loved that annoying person enough to die for them; there must be some good in there somewhere.   Even if it is hard to find.  So I try to be slow to give-up on people.  But it is prayer that makes the most difference.  It is very difficult to judge harshly someone for whom you are praying.


Be Still My Soul

 I found this rather by accident while searching for a good version of “This is my song” with the following lyrics.   

This is my song, Oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my sacred shrine.
But other hearts in other lands are beating,
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
Oh hear my song, oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.
The pleasant trees and silver, ripling waters,
the flow’rs and clouds, the un-dimmed, sunlit sky
and bread by thee, our gracious Father, given,
We thankful take of thy so rich supply.
And bread by thee, our gracious Father, given,
We thankful take from thy so rich supply.

Being that I love boys’ choral music I was then swept away into youtube music ecstasy and spent way way too much time listening to the various pieces.  So I thought I would share the joy.

Blogs I Know · Caritas · Fun

Being Catholic is fun.

On Called by Name Fr. Kyle Schnippel shares a story from Whispers in the Loggia  .  This is on of those stories that made my heart happy while bringing tears to my eyes.  Msgr Ed Petty passed away last week.  From the Homily at his funeral mass there was this:

For Ed, Catholicism was thoroughly fun. And real fun is being a part of something greater than yourself. Belonging to the church is fun because it expands beyond the limits of this world. Ed knew the thrill of being a part of something that brings us together with all the angels and saints—the worship of almighty God in spirit and in truth….

I love that thought.  The joy of being part of something so wonderful and magnificent.  We are made for sacrifice and love.  Hope, joy, faith and love.  


Sisters of Reparation of the Sacred Wounds of Jesus

In case you missed the first time I linked to them:

Anima Christi

        Soul of Christ, sanctify me.

        Body of Christ, save  me.

        Blood of Christ, inebriate me.

        Water from the side of Christ, wash me.

        Passion of Christ, strengthen me.

        O good Jesus, hear me.

        Within Thy Wounds, hide me.

        Permit me not to be separated from Thee.

        From the malignant enemy, defend me.

        At the hour of my death, call me

        and bid me come to Thee,

        that with Thy saints I may praise Thee

        forever and ever. Amen.

Caritas · Faith in Action

For my Children

vocationtag1.jpgThis is something I have been working on for quite some time in my head, but I am letting the cat out of the box today.

I feel a very strong call to help foster vocations as much as I can.  To help this I am starting a small endevour online as part of this blog.  Mother’s for Vocations.  It is my firm belief that, while God calls many young people to religious life a good number of them are diswaded from answering this call by their parents.   Sometime it isn’t even the parent’s intention, but it is the result of the way children are commonly raised to view their life goals as educational, family and career oriented… not based on the vocation that God has for them.   But I think many parents want to support their children in their vocation but are somewhat at a loss when it comes to how that should play out in their daily family life.

So here is my tiny offering for now.  I will be expanding this as time and my imagination and God’s will allows.

Mother’s for Vocations.

“Mary, Mother of Vocations, pray for us.”

A while back I posted on vocations and ways I feel that parents can encourage vocations for their children.  You can read those thoughts here.

Caritas · Faith in Action · My world

By His wounds we are healed..

I just received a phone call from Sr Mary Immaculate of the Sisters of Reparation of the Sacred Wounds of Jesus.   Sr Anne Joseph passed away on Sunday Afternoon at 3:15 pm.  The hour of Divine Mercy.


I last saw Sr Anne Joseph at Christmas time while rehearsing for the performance at the Grotto.  A month or so ago  my oldest was at their annual Vocational Retreat and they were able to visit Sr in the hospital.    Her funeral will be on Friday morning and we will attend to say goodbye and pray for the repose of her soul, or ask for her prayers while we struggle on in this life.  I have no doubt that she will be praying for one thing: Vocations.  Both for the Church as a whole and for the small order she leaves behind. 

For now there are two.

 In an article in U.S Catholic  some while back Mother Mary of the Angels said:

“”I am convinced that we will be granted novices,” says Mother Mary in a tone brooking no disagreement. “God has here built a rich treasure, and we have great trust in the Lord. He will provide. We are in his care.“Our work is to offer up each day and walk with him wheresoever he leads. Each minute of your day, each act, each word, is a prayer of immense potential beauty, and our work is to live each minute with him in our hearts and bring him to the sick and the sad and the impoverished. We are charged with helping people toward reparation with God, and such reparation can only lead to joy, so that’s what we do, and we don’t worry about what might happen in the future. We think about it, sure, but it’s not our place to worry. ”

I hope and pray that they are able to increase their numbers in the next few years.  You might look at the pictures of these nuns in their rather modern habits, most of them older, none of them younger and think “Liberal nuns dying off — good riddance”  You would also be completely and utterly wrong.  This is not a liberal group of women, they are loyal to the Magisterial teaching of the Church.  This is a young order, barely 50 years old, but one with a unique and beautiful voice.  It was started by women who love the Church, love God, love music and service.  These are good, active nuns.  I have never known more peace then when I am with them.  I love them.

Mother Mary of the Angels is one of those people who is so demanding so firm in her resolution that it takes a moment to realize that this is a woman who also just loves you.  Sure she can see all your faults, she knows that things aren’t perfect and a bit more effort might have made things better.  But at the same time she is the first to say “We work with what God gives us” and march right on knowing full well that God’s will will be done and that she, I, and everyone else around us are His right through and it will all work out in the end.   I love her so much and wish I could be more like her.  Not be like her in the sense of having her vocation and gifts, but to be more perfectly me as God wants me to be.  To be more of who I really am the way she is who she really is.  Perfectly authentic.

Sr Mary Immaculate is a joy.  I love her grin and the way she and I can just talk.  She reminds me of my great aunt and my grandfather.  Open minded, intelligent and having the pleasant interior peace that comes from being good and doing what you are called to do. 

These are the two women who are the Sisters of Reparation of the Sacred Wounds of Jesus.  It makes me pleased to see the young women at their convent during their vocation retreats.  I hope and pray that some of them will be called to join the Sisters in their work.   I hope some younger women will put on their somewhat modern looking powder blue habits and join them in adoration and prayer.  

Sr Anne Joseph you will be missed.

Blogs I Know · Caritas · Faith in Action

New Habits

I am so happy to see the Anchoress blogging again after her recent health issues slowed her down a bit.  Today we have one of my favorite topics: Religious communities growing.   One of the most beautiful things in the world. 

You can see the communities she links to here: A flourishing of novices, Part I

I suppose like many women not blessed with a call to religious life I find myself somewhat envious at times of those who are so called.   But no matter the reason I love seeing religious communities grow.  It gives me hope that our faith will survive.  

The Anchoress also links to Gerald Augustinus at The Cafeteria Is Closed.  Mr Augustinus has a rather interesting observation that the  Sisters who have kept their habits are growing in numbers while those who switched to modern dress in the sixties and seventies are going the way of the dinosaur.  Fair enough.  This isn’t by any means a unique observation;  I have heard it dozens of times.  — more on that in a minute.

Right now I want to rant for a moment.  There is one little thing that torques me about the site and the discussion there and it isn’t something that I am laying at Mr Augustinus’s feet alone, but it is the main reason that, while I read The Cafeteria Is Closed almost daily, I rarely link to it.   It is the appalling lack of charity and at times even a lack common decency on the part of the commentors especially that just make me shudder.  Yes, I am unfairly picking on this one site at the moment there are many others that are far far worse.  I know that Gerald actually did a good deal a few months ago shutting down some of the more outlandish comments and I applaud the effort… but.     (check here to see the post I am referencing)  I was not really surprised that two pictures were cherry picked to show happy, young smiling nuns in habits and a rather not so happy,  unfortunate picture of a aging nun sans habit at a conference for ((double shudder)) women’s ordination.   Some of the comments that followed were predictable and rather ugly — but it still floored me — what is the point of that?

It really astounds me how often people’s appearance is dragged out when others disagree with their thoughts.  And it is just sad folks  it is really really sad.  First off it is sad because it is demeaning to the creation of God.  We are all in our beauties and uglies His first and foremost with our imperfections intact — we are His as he made us.   To go off on the lack of youth or beauty in the face of a person based on a picture or two is just wrong.  It is poking at the veneer. 

 Second it muddies our real complaint.  By all means roast the heretic for their heresies.  Those of us stepping into middle age have a right to be good and ticked-off at what the baby-boomers handed us.  We have a reason to be angry at a church that taught us the whole “feel good Jesus” with no mention of sin or hell.  We should be none too pleased about our churches being built to look like theaters and all those felt banners, horribly insipid music, a culture that tells us it is a matter of conscious to kill unborn children and that sex is play and poisoning our bodies with decades of hormonal birth control is a good thing.  Yes BE PISSED!  There is a LOT to be pissed about…. but don’t stoop to tossing mud about appearances.  We traditional Catholics should be above that sort of thing.  Leave it to the little children who don’t know better.  

This whole, drag the ugly, aging political woman out and talk about how old and ugly and angry she looks is getting old.  I don’t care if it is Hilary Clinton or Sr Chittister or Susan Sarandon to talk first about the appearance of someone as though that was as important as their message is juvenile.   This goes back to why I normally don’t blog about politics.  The tendency to dehumanize the opponent is too common.  And yes talking about someone’s cankles or wrinkles is just that — a sniggering attempt at mocking a lump of flesh.  If your argument is strong enough you never have a reason to mention the opposition’s age, color, nationality, language, gender or beauty.   A good argument will stand on its own… so stop with the rotten tomatoes and pick at what matters… the ideas.  Face those ideas with what is worthy of respect – better ideas.

Which brings me back to the habit.  Habits are coming back.  I think this is just smashingly wonderful.  Congregations with habits are growing at a rather speedy clip while those who gave it up entire are shrinking.  The reasons for this has no causal relationship to the habit. The real antecedent is that congregations that honor obedience and strive for a traditional expression of Catholic spirituality are speaking louder to the hearts of young men and women who are striving to find a way to live out their God given vocation.  The world is full of Gaia worshiping and/or self indulgent/ feminist/ social worker life style opportunities.  The orders that incorporated the 60s and 70s into their communities and tossed out tradition have nothing to offer those seeking something more than what society has to offer.  That liberal mind-set pollutes society at large so deeply — young people looking at realigious life want more.  The habit is a indicator of a community that holds Catholic tradition more important than the whim of what society says is cool.  For young men and women awash in a transitory world that is very powerful.

A couple years ago I went to the funeral of a nun with whom I taught CCD at my local parish.  She was a wonderful old lady who had spent her entire life educating children.  Sr Jane Francis of the Sisters of St Mary Oregon.  If you look you will see a mix of women with habits including veils and others who aren’t.  The funny thing is you can almost group them by age.  The most humorous thing to me is how many of the youngest members have their veils on. 

 Sr Jane Francis wore a veil — she was quite a bit older.  While at her funeral I met one of the young postulates.  It was one of those really weird times where I had the feeling that only one foot was on earth and the other was closer to heaven.  I saw this young woman in a sweater and veil, her face smiling and me hugely pregnant with my belly sticking out having just said good bye to a friend, but not at all sad because I knew she was home at last.   And this young woman and I face to face and I smiled and said “Thank you.”  It took a small instant for her to realize that I was thanking her for her life.  For listening to her vocation.  But I didn’t have to explain anything, because we were in the same “place” and she grinned at me with all the understanding that sisters have for each other and she said “Oh no thank you!” and she touched my huge belly and we both laughed and loved each other and Sr Jane Francis was no doubt smiling at us right there and loving us both.

So I love nuns.  I love that they have a special gift that they give to God — they give the whole world, their whole lives, all their love and faith.  I am a mother, it is my vocation to bring new little lives into the world and educate them so they understand and love God, the faith and the Church.  Nothing makes me happier than to see pictures of young women in their habits giving their lives to God and pictures of smooshy little baby faces just beginning this wonderful adventure we call life.  There is so much hope and so much love in both.   

Caritas · My world

A New Creation in Christ

I love  the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. 

Each of the five decades is as follows:

“Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.”

“For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole world.”  (repeated 10 times)

The conclusion:

“Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.” (repeated 3 times)

 This is one of those prayers that no matter what I am worried about or how stressed I am I love.  I can cling to it.

A couple years ago my daughter, 11 years old at the time, had a sever seizure.   She has always been our most concerning child; she is severely autistic.  It was the first one she had ever had.  I was unprepared when she stepped off the bus from her summer-school class.  She was pale, dazed and disoriented.  She stumbled on her way into the house and laid on the couch.  I had been called and told that she was not feeling well, but this was beyond not well.  I immediately phoned my pediatrician who must have heard the concern in my voice.  She told me to take her to the hospital.

We got in the car, I gave my older daughter instructions to call her dad and let him know what was going on because… as luck would have it.. my cell phone was completely dead.  I drove away from the house, got about 7 blocks away when my daughter started convulsing in the back seat.  I pulled over at a little mini mart, ran in and called an ambulance.  When I returned to my child she was vomiting then began to shake harder.  Within minutes she stopped.  Her heart was racing, she was white, almost blue.  I was terrified.  I was begging God to make the ambulance arrive.  I was praying that He would hold her soul in his hand.  I feared I was watching my daughter die on the oily asphalt of a mini-mart while the sun shone down and strangers wondered what was going on.

The EMTs arrived in a flurry of tubes and blood pressure cuffs.  Her pulse was out the roof, she had to be intubated there.  Needles, tubes, the lightening-fast questions about when and how long,  the kind but totally no nonsense medical personnel rolling her into the strange mouth-like back of the ambulance — technological medical gadgetry all around and this little girl, with her blond curls all spilling across the white sheet of the gurney looking so small.  I hoped I was saying good bye for just a moment.  Just long enough to get to the hospital.  “Are you ok to drive?” one of the EMTs asked.  “Sure”, I said,  “I am absolutely fine.”

It was only then that I realized that my car keys were in one hand and my rosary in the other.  When I started the ignition I knew it was only a few minutes after three.  “..have mercy on us and on the whole world.” KBVM, the local Catholic Radio station was playing the divine mercy.  A particularly lovely sung version by Donna Cory Gibson.  

I drove carefully, listening to the words wash through me.  Absolute terror being brushed back into the corner of my mind.  Red light, green light.  God knows the suffering of a child, His child.  To watch with helpless sorrow as your child is taken away.  I have never felt closer to Mary.  How she  must have grieved to see her child bruised and beaten, broken for our sins.   The ambulance vanished into the traffic ahead carrying my poor little girl to the emergency room.  “For the sake of His sorrowful passion have mercy on us and on the whole world”  I pulled into the hospital parking lot just as the last decade was completing. 

I hoped my husband would be there, he was.  I prayed that my child would live.  She did.  No damage, no worse, no more seizures.   She was in intensive care for three days and in the hospital for five total.    “Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”  It was Mercy that touched us that day.

Adversity is one way that God uses to bring us closer to Him.  This has always profoundly been the case with me.  Even if for a time I become angry or resentful when faced with some trial I find myself eventually to be the penitent daughter.   Inevitably caught in a realization of my own willfulness and pride and forced to return to God my father, most often with tears, to be embraced by the love that has always been.  It is truth, the thing most real, it is love that is eternal and knowledge of everything without questions.  Every repentance becomes a resurrection.  Each time we touch the divine we become new again.  In Christ we are perfected; in Him we become new creations.

Caritas · My world

Love, trials and those “Oh, crap” moments

This morning I woke up, made my pot of coffee and turned on the computer like any normal Friday.  I have a little bit of shopping to do today, the oil in the car needs changed.  I need to pick up some sunscreen for our beach trip tomorrow.  While the coffee was brewing and the computer was booting I went in to give my sleeping husband a kiss.  He was still in bed, not sick, not having over-slept, but because he didn’t have to go to work today.  You see yesterday he lost his job.

And yes that does suck. And no, I don’t want to go into the whole whys and wherefores.  He had burnt out there a long time ago, he was already looking for something else, this wasn’t a surprise, but it still sucks. 

We took some time last night to gather our wits about us.  This isn’t a horrible time for this to happen.  Over the past year we have been incredibly good about paying off the bit of debt we have.  We have followed sound financial advice; we have everything in order.  I have a little bit of work coming in.  We have a decent amount in the savings.  Our only significant expenses are the house and our insurances.  

But if you could spare a moment to offer a prayer that he find a new position soon it would be appreciated.

While were we sitting in the backyard talking about what is going to happen I got hit by one of those overwhelming impressions:  I love this guy.  I don’t deserve him. I just love him.  The only thing of real value I have that I can give him is my love.  And he deserves every bit of love my heart can find.    As odd as it sounds and as (almost) twisted as it might be, his hurting made me love him all the more. 

You might remember the Gom Jabbar and the pain box in Dune. A test of being human, are you able to handle the pain — to overcome the immidate ache or do you act on instinct and pull your hand out of the box and meet death at the point of the Gom Jabber?  I hate those trials. I understand that I need to be reminded to be human, to put love first… but man I hate those trials.

 For a few moments yesterday the natural fear and stress of knowing that our income had just been greatly altered led to actual anger at my husband.  He could have worked harder, he could have done more, he could have tired harder to find another job sooner.  I was frightened and it was his fault and I was mad at him.  He could easily have taken my anger and turned his own against me.  I should be supporting him, what was done was done and being wretched to him wouldn’t undo it.  We could have turned into two animals scratching and biting each other while the wreckage we both hoped would save us pulled us under.  But grace and mercy prevailed.  Because of his humility and love.  Yes, he failed us – me.  Just him saying that  and how he feels it and how it hurts makes me see how much I love him.  That killed any trace of anger I might have had and turned it into just gratefulness that he loves me.  Even when I am not my best self he still loves me.