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Showing posts from October, 2011

Faith tested in fire

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time. In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,as you attain the goal of [your] faith, the salvation of your souls.  - I Peter 1:3-9

This was what I heard last night as I gathered with friends for Vespers - Catholic pray…

Mary Cassatt Monday

Sacred Place of the Day

Trust in God

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make our paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

What are you willing to do to save another?

If you're a little squeamish, or you just don't like reptiles, don't watch this.

Gecko Saves Friend From Snake On Wall - Watch MoreFunny Videos
I found it really fascinating, though.  It made me wonder:  what are you willing to do to save another person - from sin, from addiction, from whatever it is that is the person has found themselves wrapped up in?

I have had to be tenacious in getting help for my kids from time to time.  It seems the state adoption 'system' is often so concerned with saving money, that the people in charge just keep saying "no", with the hopes that most parents will just give up and go away.  I do not.

I wonder if we're really that tenacious about sin, though.  It seems that for me, sometimes being wrapped up in the snake is...okay, even comfortable.  We all need someone to recognize that we are stuck in bad patterns and evil ways, and get us the heck out of there.

I now have a huge battle on my hands for Dark-Haired Daughter.  …

Don't know whether to laugh or cry....

It's been a long week, and...

I need a little something.  If I ever make it to Ireland, I'm dancing with my darlin' to this one:

Don't be jealous of God's mercy

From St. Augustine of Hippo:

And who's the sort of person who perishes from hope?  I'll sketch  you his portrait:  the kid of person who says to himself,  "Now God has promised to pardon all who turn away from their sins - the very day they are converted he will forget all their iniquities.  So I will do whatever I want, and whenever I want to I will have a conversion, and what I have done will be blotted out."  What are we to say to that?  That God does NOT heal the repentant whenever they turn back to him?  God does forgive everything that has gone before.  If we deny it, we contradict the divine indulgence, we clash head on with the words of the prophets, and we are struggling against the utterances of God.

Reminds me of Matthew 20, where the workers hired at the end of the day are paid the same wage as those hired at the beginning of the day.  Let us not be jealous of God's mercy, lest we struggle against God himself.

Occupying Greed

In Catholic teaching, we have a much fancier name for greed:  avarice.  The Catholic Encyclopedia says this:  Avarice (from Latin avarus, "greedy"; "to crave") is the inordinate love for riches. Its special malice, broadly speaking, lies in that it makes the getting and keeping of money, possessions, and the like, a purpose in itself to live for. It does not see that these things are valuable only as instruments for the conduct of a rational and harmonious life, due regard being paid of course to the special social condition in which one is placed. It is called a capital vice because it has as its object that for the gaining or holding of which many other sins are committed. It is more to be dreaded in that it often cloaks itself as a virtue, or insinuates itself under the pretext of making a decent provision for the future. In so far as avarice is an incentive to injustice in acquiring and retaining of wealth, it is frequently a grievous sin. In itself, how…

Edge of Autumn

We are at the edge of autumn here in Michigan, and it is a long season.  My birthday is in November, and I always find it a dreary time - all greys and browns, dim light and short days.  Edna St. Vincent Millay sums it up nicely:

THE DEATH OF AUTUMN
When reeds are dead and a straw to thatch the marshes,
And feathered pampas-grass rides into the wind
Like aged warriors westward, tragic, thinned
Of half their tribe, and over the flattened rushes,
Stripped of its secret, open, stark and bleak,
Blackens afar the half-forgotten creek,--
Then leans on me the weight of the year, and crushes
My heart.  I know that Beauty must ail and die,
And will be born again,--but ah, to see
Beauty stiffened, staring up at the sky!
Oh, Autumn!  Autumn!--What is the Spring to me?

Missing a kid who isn't really gone

I just can't believe it's so
And though it seems strange to say
I never been laid so low
In such a mysterious way
And the course of a lifetime runs
Over and over again.

But I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away
Oh the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away.

 - "Mother and Child Reunion", Paul Simon

I was sitting on the couch the other night next to Curly-Haired Daughter.  We were doing our nails and trying to decide if the TV show we were watching was really cool or really stupid.  It suddenly struck me that she was going to be gone, very, very soon:  off to college, a new and exciting part of her life.  And a little piece of my heart fell out.

Dark-Haired Daughter, as regular readers know, has been gone for months, living in a treatment facility for bi-polar illness.  It's a different absence with her:  her presence at home was so tumultuous that having her gone has been a ble…

Sacred Place of the Day

Not sure where this mosque is, but it is lovely.  I saw on TV last night that TLC is planning a series on being Muslim in America....should be interesting.

Total Rip-off Tuesday

Wherein I "rip-off" another writer.  Today's choice is John Zmirak, whom I find both hilarious, creative, and rather in-your-face...and I like that:

The prudential arguments Catholics have on subjects such as immigration, welfare programs, and government spending all too often descend into mutual, willed incomprehension — in which each side holds fast to its caricature of the other and insulates itself against learning a scintilla from the “enemy.” While this is counterproductive, it’s also kind of fun. So I’m not suggesting that we stop. Or not precisely. As long as we’re pelting each other with lemons, I’d simply like to step in and make some sorbet.
First, to my favorite art form — public detraction. A tea-party Catholic like me is tempted to begin and end an argument suspecting that “social-justice” Catholics:
resent not just the rich, but even the middle class;don’t so much love the poor as they fetishize poverty, wrapping what is objectively evil (involuntary…

No, thanks. I'd rather have a boy.

Yesterday, I posted a story that alluded to gender-selection abortions in India.  If you think this is something that happens only in "other places", think again.  In fact, four US states have enacted laws to guard against gender-selection abortions.  However, since the Supreme Court has upheld a woman's right to abortion, the question is:  is this ban constitutional?

Are such bans constitutional, under the Supreme Court’s decisions creating a right to abortion? The question such laws present is a dramatic one, challenging the underpinnings of Roe v. Wade in the most fundamental and direct of ways: Does the U.S. Constitution create a right to abortion, even when the woman’s reason for abortion is that she does not like the sex of her unborn child?
Sadly, the answer, under the Supreme Court’s absurd, through-the-looking-glass constitutional law of abortion, is yes. Under Roe and the Court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey,a woman has a constitutional righ…

Mary Cassatt Monday

From "unwanted" to "rock solid"

More than 200 Indian girls whose names mean "unwanted" in Hindi have chosen new names for a fresh start in life. A central Indian district held a renaming ceremony Saturday that it hopes will give the girls new dignity and help fight widespread gender discrimination that gives India a skewed gender ratio, with far more boys than girls.

and...
"Now in school, my classmates and friends will be calling me this new name, and that makes me very happy," said a 15-year-old girl who had been named Nakusa by a grandfather disappointed by her birth. She chose the new name "Ashmita," which means "very tough" or "rock hard" in Hindi.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/10/22/hundreds-indian-girls-named-unwanted-choose-new-names/?test=latestnews#ixzz1beIfmC10
There is a lot going on in this story:  cultural mores, gender discrimination and the horror of abortion.  However, it is good to remember that God's grace is abundant, and th…

This is why I love being Catholic...

'Cause you get a church like this:
This is Notre Dame du Rugby.  Apparently, the Catholics in the south of France are so rugby-crazed, they built this chapel.  Check it out:

Yes, that IS Baby Jesus with a rugby ball, and Mary over-seeing the scrum.  Gotta love the Universal Church!

Big bully!

Bullying is when a person or group repeatedly tries to harm someone who is weaker or who they think is weaker. - from MedlinePlus

Bullying begins in the womb. There, in the first home of the human race, children are brutally bullied to death. An entire class of persons relegated to the status of personal property can be disposed of for any reason by those more powerful. Mother Teresa was right, "Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. ...I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child."

- Deacon Keith Fournier


Hard to imagine that our country will make much progress in stopping bullying in schools unless we address the worst bullying of all: abortion.

Birthday of Blessed John Paul II

Clearly, the life of Blessed John Paul II gives us much to ponder.  Here is my favorite story, from George Weigel's Witness to Hope:

Wojtyła disciplined young priests in a distinctive way. He once had to call in an assistant pastor who had committed what the priest later recalled as a “serious misdemeanor.” In a lengthy session in his office, Wojtyła told the curate in no uncertain terms about the gravity of the offense and reprimanded him severely. The cardinal then led the young priest into his chapel so they could pray. The older man knelt so long that the curate became nervous. His train was scheduled to leave shortly to take him back to his parish. Finally, Cardinal Wojtyła stood up, looked at the young man he had just chastised, and
said, “Would you please hear my confession now?” Stunned, the assistant pastor went to the confessional, where Wojtyła confessed before him.


Oh, sweet humility?

Humility does not disturb or disquiet or agitate, however great it may be; it comes with peace, delight, and calm. . . . The pain of genuine humility doesn’t agitate or afflict the soul; rather, this humility expands it and enables it to serve God more.
--St. Teresa of Avila 
It is clear that I am no St. Teresa of Avila. You remember, in middle or high school, when you knew that everyone was waiting for you to leave the room so they could talk about you?  Or that time when you got reprimanded (warranted or not), in a most ungentle way, in front of others?  That was my day yesterday.
And I gotta admit that, unlike St. Teresa, this agitates and afflicts me.  It feels more like humiliation than humility.  I'm not saying it was - that is just how it feels.
The great Fr. John Hardon, S.J., says this:    The moral virtue (humility) that keeps a person from reaching beyond himself. It is the virtue that restrains the unruly desire for personal greatness and leads people to an orderly lo…

How can we make it easier to have a strong family?

Strong families make for strong, healthy societies - no argument about that.  What are some "real-world" ways to help families be better, stronger, healthier in the coming decades?

10 Policies for renewing family life has some ideas.

Yeah, it's my life!

Light blogging for a few days - I actually have a full social life through the weekend!

Artist Ran Hwang

Thought Ran Hwang's work was quite lovely.

But protesting is so much FUN!

Why is a month-long slumber party in a public park more heroic or newsworthy than getting up daily and going to work? “I’ve been here a week and I’m lovin’ every minute of it,” a jagged-toothed, self-described vet leaning against a planter in Zuccotti Park told me on Sunday. One of the biggest decisions that he and his fellow occupiers have to make each day is whether to eat vegan or to scarf down some saturated animal fats in the Dunkin’ Donuts that regularly make the rounds, thanks to the bounteous food donations that pour into the park on an hourly basis. (The most critical decision, of course, is which local establishment to invade for your sanitary needs.)

Read the whole article here at City Journal.



Feast of St. John de Brebeuf, St. Isaac Jogues and companions

Jesus Christ is our true greatness;  it is he alone and his crosses that should be sought in ministering....If we seek for anything else, we will find nothing but bodily and spiritual afflictions.  But if we have found Jesus Christ in his cross, we have found the roses among the thorns, sweetness in bitterness, all in nothing. - St. John de Brebeuf

There's name-calling, and then there is NAME-calling

So, Susan Sarandon called the Pope a Nazi.  Probably get a little press, a little buzz, and then it will go away.  After all, she's an elite Hollywood actress and he's just a Catholic pontiff.  "Nazi-schmazi", right?

Let's go back a few months, when Dior's John Galliano ranted "I love Hitler" on video.  What happened then?  The lovely Natalie Portman, a Jew and the face of one of Dior's fragrances, publicly dismissed him and refused to have anything to do with Dior.  Applause, applause!  Cheering and kudos for Ms. Portman!

Something stinks in Hollywood.

A laugh from across the pond.....

From Linen on the Hedgerow, a chuckle this morning:

Can an atheist get insurance against 'acts of God'?

and

There are 3 religious truths:

Jews do not recognise Jesus Christ as the Messiah
Protestants do not recognise the Pope as head of the Christian faith
Baptists and Methodists do not recognise each other in the off licence (liquor store)

Total rip-off Tuesday

Wherein I totally rip-off another writer.  Today's choice is Blessed John Paul the Great, and his apostolic letter, "Salvific Suffering":

In the Paschal Mystery Christ began the union with man in the community of the Church. The mystery of the Church is expressed in this: that already in the act of Baptism, which brings about a configuration with Christ, and then through his Sacrifice—sacramentally through the Eucharist—the Church is continually being built up spiritually as the Body of Christ. In this Body, Christ wishes to be united with every individual, and in a special way he is united with those who suffer. The words quoted above from the Letter to the Colossians bear witness to the exceptional nature of this union. For, whoever suffers in union with Christ— just as the Apostle Paul bears his "tribulations" in union with Christ— not only receives from Christ that strength already referred to but also "completes" by his suffering…

The rosary and art

Thought this was lovely - from Crisis Magazine.


Storming the castle with the Green-eyed Monster

I've really been trying to figure out the whole "occupy Wall Street" thing.  I can't for the life of me figure out what this sit-in is supposed to accomplish - but that may just be because I'm more about action than sitting around crying about a problem.

Then I started thinking that this really isn't a new problem;  it's a really, really old problem.  It's called Envy.

I know it when I see it:  because I suffer from it.  I'd love to be able buy really expensive (REALLY expensive) shoes.  You know those women who have house-sized closets?  I want to be one of 'em.  I drool over designer fashions, shiny magazine ads, expensive makeup, and glittery jewels.

I shop at Goodwill.

That's reality.  I deal with it.  I have a nice wardrobe, and consider myself quite well-dressed.  What I wish I had is not going to happen, so I get what I want within the realm of my reality.

Is that what is going on with the folks occupying Wall Street, and all the o…

Mary Cassatt Monday

The yin and the yang, the bitter and sweet

TwocomplementaryprinciplesofChinesephilosophy:Yinisnegative,dark,andfeminine,Yangpositive,bright,andmasculine.Theirinteractionisthoughttomaintaintheharmonyoftheuniverseandtoinfluenceeverythingwithinit
[fromChinese(Peking)yindark + yangbright]
World English Dictionary
Despite the fact that multitudes of twenty-somethings now have this tattooed on some part of their bodies, I have always liked the yin-yang symbol - it resonates with me.  (And please, don't say "ying"-yang;  it makes Dear Husband's ears bleed.)  I don't think it's a perfect symbol, as it breaks down when stretched too far (God is good; He is all good.  There is no darkness in Him.)  However,  the symbol does work.

There seems to be a lot of this yin-yang going on around the house right now.  Curly-haired daughter is enjoying her senior year of high school, but almost lamenting the fact that she didn't enjoy the first two years, when she chose to be a bit of a social recluse.

We just sent Young…

The end of the work week, and I'm thankful, God!

A good problem to have!

The order of Franciscan Sisters that I am associated with has a good problem:  lots of new, young sisters....but not enough room at the Mother House.  They are starting a campaign to add on to the House.

If you are in a position to make a donation, large or small, I can assure you this group of vital, orthodox Sisters will put it to good use.  Please contact me if you would like more information!

Sacred Destination of the Day

Lone Ranger joins the team

No matter the job, when it's new, there is going to be a learning curve.  And I've been sliding up and down the damn thing for the past few months.

I'm working in an environment and in a job that are completely different from anything I've ever done.  The biggest challenge for me is that I've always been used to having a lot of autonomy:  I make decisions and execute them.  With this job, I'm part of a team, and I can't do that.  I have to ask a lot of questions, check and re-check things and consider how my actions bounce around with the rest of the team.  Even though I've had to learn a TON of new material and topics, this part of the job has been the hardest thing for me.  I have to really keep my natural tendencies to take charge in check.

There has never been a team sport that I wished to participate in.  I hated group projects in school.  While Dear Husband belonged to a fraternity in college, I never had any desire to join a sorority.  I am not …

A thought for the middle of the work day

Labore meo caritatem aparere facio. Through my work I make love visible.

Protesting Capitalism

I'm not really sure what to think about the Wall Street protesters.  I understand the fury of money being mis-used by anyone, but especially those in power.  However, I really don't get the idea that capitalism is somehow at fault for our economic woes, nor how sitting in on Wall Street is going to fix a darn thing.  (I keep wanting to tell those people to go volunteer somewhere if they can't get a job...)

Then, I heard last night that the protestors were going to march in front of the homes of the NY wealthy.  Huh?  What's inherently wrong with being wealthy?  Why does that need to be protested?  Which one of us wouldn't want to be wealthy?

And why, if being wealthy is such a sin, aren't these folks picketing the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker and Conan O'Brien?  They're rich.  They've made money "off of" people.  Isn't the entertainment industry greedy?? Grab your sign and let's go....

Or is that not cool?  Is there a pecking orde…

Book Review: "The Pope and the CEO"

Let's face it:  sometimes our spiritual reading is a bit like eating our vegetables.  We do it because we know we should, it's good for us, and we might even like it.  We even acknowledge,  "I like peas" and really mean it.  But it's still veggies;  it's not a plate of warm chocolate chips cookies.

The Pope and the CEO, by Andreas Widmer, IS a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies.  It's a true delight and still good for you - what could be better?  Widmer, a former Swiss Guard and now co-founder of the Seven Fund, offers up tasty lessons learned at the service of Blessed John Paul II.  Each lesson is bolstered with insights from inside the Vatican along with Widmer's own extensive business experience.  The lessons are both practical and spiritual:  meant to be used by those in leadership position, but also designed to deepen one's relationship with God.  In fact, Widmer insists that one without the other will leave both personal and business lives …

Irish Beauty

I was visiting St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Blog, and I couldn't keep this eye candy to myself.  Click over there to see the full posting, but here's a preview of what you'll see:



I'm doing my part...

Did you know:  dry white wines should be consumed within one to three years of its production year and inexpensive red wines should be consumed in the first 1 to 2 years?  No more saving that stuff!

Total rip-off Tuesday

Wherein I "rip-off" another writer on the web.  Today's choice:  Matthew Hanley at Crisis Magazine about the down-side of all the breast cancer awareness funding.  Betcha didn't know....

Most pink campaigns avoid any hint of these factors like the plague; the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a prominent advocacy and fundraising group, vehemently and unequivocally denies the link between abortion and breast cancer, citing Beral’s shady “study”. Komen is evidently content to ignore mounting epidemiological evidence along with current knowledge of breast physiology which makes such a link all the more creditable.

Curiously, Komen also funnels millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood — already a recipient of considerable governmental largesse. By doling out tons of contraceptives and providing for more abortion than any other outfit in the country, Planned Parenthood virtually ensures that the breast cancer epidemic will persist, not shrink.

You don’t have to be a cyni…

There are cults and then there are CULTS....

The word "cult" is getting tossed around a bit these days - Mitt Romney's Mormon faith is being called into question as a "cult".  It might do us a bit of good to step back from the word for a minute and see what it means.

"Cult", in our society, is a pejorative term, bringing to mind images of drinking the Kool-Aid and Charles Manson.  However, it is a perfectly fine academic word, and is used to describe religious organizations of almost any ilk.

Here is Merriam-Webster on the topic:

1 : formal religious veneration :worship 2 : a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also: its body of adherents 3 : a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also: its body of adherents 4 : a system for the cure of disease based on dogma set forth by its promulgator cults> 5 a: great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially: such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b: the object of such devotion c: a usuall…

Autumn Haiku

In my own thoughts
a sudden shower of leaves
realizing the season.
haiku author unknown

Mary Cassatt Monday

Chocolate hallucinations: I have them....

Busy - BRB

"Dying women don't need contraception"

This post from Simcha Fischer is so great, I'm just gonna post the whole thing for you to read:

According to The New York Times, a new study shows that injectable contraceptives popular in Africa are making HIV infection rates rise.The most popular contraceptive for women in eastern and southern Africa, a hormone shot given every three months [probably a generic version of Depo Provera], appears to double the risk the women will become infected with H.I.V., according to a large study published Monday. And when it is used by H.I.V.-positive women, their male partners are twice as likely to become infected than if the women had used no contraception.You may think that the rise in rates of HIV transmission comes because couples using hormonal contraception are less likely to be using condoms also, but this is not the case:
The researchers recorded condom use, essentially excluding the possibility that increased infection occurred because couples using contraceptives were less…

Come and follow me, (not like THAT...)

It seems as if I've been picking up some new readers here and there.  If you'd be so kind as to officially "follow" me, I'd really appreciate it!  Just scroll down until you see the box on the right that says "followers" and click the "join this site" button.

"Home is a place...."

In Robert Frost's brilliant poem, "Death of a Hired Man", he writes:  "Home is a place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in."  In the poem, a farmer and his wife are struggling with what to do about a broken-down hired man, who's returned to their farm to die.  The farmer doesn't want the responsibility, and his wife reminds him that their farm is this man's home, despite the fact that he has family close by.

Is this true?  Do we HAVE to take someone in, if it's home?  Dear Husband and I are struggling with this very thing right now.  Dark-Haired Daughter, who has bi-polar and a host of cognitive disabilities, has been out of the house since January.  It was then she assaulted me and two of our other children in a manic episode.  She was in detention for quite awhile, and now has been living in residential treatment, which has been very good for her.

The thing is, Dark-Haired Daughter does REALLY well in a highly-structure…

Mental Health Awareness Week

Regular readers know that mental health issues, especially as they affect young people and families, are near and dear to my heart.

October 2-8 is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the following is just a bit of information from the National Association of Mental Illness: 

Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW) takes place October 2-8 and is an opportunity to learn more about serious mental illnesses such as major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Mental illnesses are medical illnesses. One in four adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year. One in 17 lives with serious, chronic illness.
On average, people living with serious mental illness live 25 years less than the rest of the population. One reason is that less than one-third of adults and less than one-half of children with a diagnosed illness receive treatment.
When mental health care isn’t available in a community, the results often are lost jobs and careers, broken families, more homelessness, more…

Sacred Place of the Day

Germigny-Des-Pres Oratory, Centre, France

I kinda wish it was Lent...

This is how you know you're really Catholic:  you start wishing it was Lent, just so you can get some stuff done. (And  yes, I know that is not the point of Lent...)

I've been feeling badly lately about how little reading I've been doing, and I know I could get caught up if the penitence of Lent were forcing me into better time management.   It seems I can hardly keep up with the mail, let alone the stack of books, magazines, and articles I've got piled next to my bed.

My time hardly seems my own right now:  work, kids, chores, exercise, grab some sleep and start it all over again.  I try to keep a handle on it, but I either end up feeling like a sloth, or a hamster on that little squeaky wheel.  Where's the balance?

Okay, so Lent is months away, and I'm gonna have to impose some regulations on myself.  I'll let you know how it goes.

From the mystery of nothing
we come by the breath of God.
From a valley of darkness walking,
yearning for Christ wit…