St. Basil the Great and St. Gregory of Nazianzus

January 2, 2016 § Leave a comment


St Basil the Great ~  Born 329  Died 379 ~ Feast Day January 2nd.

“Troubles are usually the brooms and shovels that smooth the road to a good man’s fortune; and many a man curses the rain that falls upon his head, and knows not that it brings abundance to drive away hunger.”  + St. Basil the Great



St Gregory of Nazianzus ~  Born 329  Died 390 ~ Feast Day January 2nd.

Let us treasure up in our soul some of those things which are permanent – not of those which will forsake us and be destroyed, and which only tickle our senses for a little while.
+ Gregory of Nazianzus


Mary the Mother of God

January 1, 2016 § Leave a comment

mary mother of god.png

Mary of the Veil ~ Carlo Dolci

Today is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God and a Holy Day of Obligation.

Memorare of St. Bernard
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Nativity PreK and K Packs

December 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

Lizzy calls these her Christmas “specials”:






Christmass Song Guess-o-rama

December 16, 2015 § 1 Comment

a carol - Lady Laura Teresa Alma-Tadema

a carol – Lady Laura Teresa Alma-Tadema

Resurrecting this for my kids:

from: December 15, 2008

I found this bit of fun over at  Stepping Heavenward.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Guess the Original Christmas Song Titles

01. Felicitations for the Season

02. Sterling Carillon

03. Circuitous gambol of Festive Conifer

04.Awesome hibernal acreage

05.Altitudinous celestials acclaim

06. Senior flattened by cloven aviator

07. Covert observation of matriarch’s scandalous osculation

08. Petite birthplace

09. Sprightly venerable benefactor

10.Allegiants proceed

11. Enquiry of mutual auditory perception

12. Hushed darkness

13. Noel – envisage blanched

14. Inaugural Yule

15. Royal Eastern trio

16.Planetary jubilance

17.Theurgical cool guy

18. Matchless season

19. Full-grown enumeration of holiday hopes

20. Commencement of Yuletide complexion

Christmas Carol Game Answers
01. We Wish You a Merry Christmas | 02. Silver Bells | 03. Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree | 04. Winter Wonderland | 05. Angels We Have Heard on High | 06. Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer | 07. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause | 08. O Little Town of Bethlehem | 09. Jolly Old St. Nicolas | 10. O Come All Ye Faithful | 11. Do You Hear What I Hear? | 12. Silent Night | 13. I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas | 14. The First Noel | 15. We Three Kings of Orient Are | 16. Joy to the World | 17. Frosty the Snowman | 18. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year | 19. Grown up Christmas List | 20. It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas

Immaculate Conception

December 8, 2015 § Leave a comment


The Immaculate Conception
Peter Paul Rubens

If You Wish to be Loved, Love.

April 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Hecato, says: “I can show you a philtre, compounded without drugs, herbs, or any witch’s incantation: ‘If you would be loved, love.'”

Seneca ~ Moral Letters to Lucilius IX.6

My dad has cancer.   This is one of those numbingly painful things that has been pulling my heart and peace to shreds.  So I have been going to back to essentials: prayer and Mindfulness,  a heart turned toward simplicity and Stoicism resting in the peace of Christ.     It has also led to some conversations with family.  Most particularly a very insightful moment with my mom.

Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, Caravaggio

Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy, Caravaggio

We were talking about life – that whole messy business and something clicked.  She was expressing how her whole life she had never really felt loved.   My dad and I were assuring her that she was loved but there was the feeling of standing on the edge of a cliff.   I came up with some wholly inarticulate version of “I have been trying to tell you I love you my whole life but you never believe it.”  Which led to her realizing the kind of odd cruelty her own lack of self worth inflicts on everyone who loves her.   No one can ever love you enough that you feel loved unless you have the faith that you are loved.  The only way you feel love is love someone else and have faith that they love you.

With a new appreciation of this truth I see it all around me.  In Seneca’s quote from Hecato. in random articles I read online and in thr Prayer of St Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, the faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

It seems that it is always in pain that we learn more about love.  I hope that my mother can see that the truest path to being loved is to love with no regard for any return but to love wholly and Holy and true.

We are Lions

March 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

Lion in winter

Géza Vastagh ~ A Lion in the Snow

Proverbs 28:1 The wicked flee though none pursue; but the just, like a lion, are confident.

One of my favorite stories from the Gospels is in Mark. Jairus, a synagogue official, whose 12 year old daughter is near death comes to Jesus in hopes that he will heal her. Christ agrees to help but before they can leave there comes the dreaded news. “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” I can feel Jairus’ heart break at the news, his trip was in vain, it would have been better to have stayed at his wife’s side. This child was precious to him, thus his last minute, desperate trip to see this crazy faith healer that most of the religious establishment were already ridiculing and worse. He had risked his position on the outside hope that this person could do something to save his child. And now his child was gone – why trouble the teacher any longer. Just as he is about to leave Jesus puts his hand on Jarius’ shoulder, smiles warmly at him and says almost joyfully – “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” And there was nothing to fear; the child who was dead lived and there was nothing to fear for Christ had entered their lives and their home and all was well – for it could be nothing else with Jesus there.

“Do not be afraid; just have faith.” There is so much contained in that simply statement of Jesus. I can think of nothing more dreadful than the news your child has died and in response to this Jesus simply says “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” What ever evil surrounds us we need not be afraid God wills all things to his end. Even if we suffer, even if we die, even if something precious to us is taken away God is with us and in the end, as long as we have faith, we have nothing to fear. We have every right to walk with confidence in the light of our loving God. We are lions and need fear nothing.

This thought was pressed into my heart in response to prayer for peace with a terrible level of agitation that seemed to be swelling around me. There just seemed to be so much fear. Fear that our children will be lead astray by the world, fear that forces working against the church would be successful, fear of strangers, fear of vaccinations, fear of food additives, fear of pollution, fear of gays, fear of the internet, fear of war, fear of seemingly every thing. I was tired of the fear and it did not feel right, good or even useful.

It felt like we were deer, hiding ourselves in the bushes, watching the wild dogs walk in the meadow. It occurred to me that my children would not want to be the deer, the prey, waiting for the enemy to attack. They would see the enemy with their strong teeth and sharp claws and feel at best weak – at worse they would despise being always afraid and would want to leave. Would they envy the freedom of walking in the sun while I tried to keep them safe in the shadows? And that sweet response from Jesus whispered in. “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” We are lions.

Mother and Cub wikicommons

Mother and Cub wikicommons

We have as children of the King of all Creation the blessed right to roar. We have in our souls the love and joy born of Grace and we walk in the sun. Our children can watch the wild dogs scatter as they know that nothing in the world can touch them for they are not truly of the world. There is nothing in the purveyors of sin and sorrow to admire – a child of God would debase themselves to join them. My older children have begun to wrap themselves in this idea as they walk out into the world. They do not need to worry about those things that would tell them their faith is worthless or a fantasy. Sin with all its temptations is beneath them and when they do stumble it is only a stumble for they belong to Christ – He will recover His own. They need only set aside their sin and return to their place in the sun for they will always be welcomed back. They are lions; they roar.

Yes, there is pain, sorrow, hardship, grief and loss. It is true that sometime there is more comfort in being the lamb than the lion and we are blessed in those moments to be both. But just as Christ is the Lamb of God He is also the Lion of Judah. We are called to be imitators of Christ, we walk in the light of God, we scatter the enemies of Christ to the shadows – we do not dwell in the shadows ourselves. Our natural space is in the sunlight of God’s love. We need not fear anything for our Lord and savior has conquered all that would trouble us. God’s strength makes us lions when the world would have us be frightened and when we are sure that our struggles have overcome us Jesus smiles at us and encourages us – “Do not be afraid; just have faith.”

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