Sunday, November 30, 2008

Welcome New Blogger: Karinann of "Daughter of the King"

We have a new Catholic blogger on the block - Karinann of Daughter of the King. She's pretty new and still trying to figure out this "blogging stuff" but seems like she's doing pretty well, so far! Why not give her a visit and welcome her to the Catholic blogosphere?

She also was my first taker for "The Perfect Daybook" entries I'm going to be making sometime over the weekends. My goal is to have at least one perfect day a week. (ha!) Thanks, Karinann for your participation and I'm going to add you on my blogroll. :-)

The Perfect Daybook

I'm aiming to have one perfect day per week. Maybe I'll work myself up to two!

My perfect day happened on... Saturday, November 29, 2008

What made me laugh was ... when Kevin, a recent member of my husband's ukulele group, after hearing about our small half-bathroom said, "Well, I wasn't going to need a full bath, anyway..." He is a pretty funny guy!

I felt really good when ... the ukulele group played my husband's own song, "Blue Waters."

What surprised me was ... one person who brought a six-pack and drank at least four of them. Never would have thought he was a fast drinker!

The reason it was perfect was ... my husband was so happy to finally host the ukulele group. Just watching him laugh and enjoy himself was worth all the hard work of preparing for it.

The part I like to savor is ... my husband coming up to me after the last guest left with this big smile like a little boy who just got what he wanted for Christmas!

I felt like a success when ... everyone enjoyed my appetizers!

I ate ... a wonderful Greek cheese torte ball (feta cheese, cream cheese, spinach, seasoning, sun-dried tomatoes in the middle and then crushed pistachio nuts on top), humus dip, veggies with ranch dip.

I drank ... sweet iced tea and later, a glass of White Merlot.

I enjoyed ... the sound of five people playing their ukuleles and singing...and laughing, then trying again.

I give thanks to God for ... having people in our lives with shared interests and my husband being able to just play and have fun.

My "Kodak" moment. This isn't from Saturday but taken from a photo session Mickey did on his own about two years ago. He has another ukulele, now. (actually two, but who's counting?!):

Add your Perfect Day below. :-)

NOTE: Please copy and paste the URL of your entry -
not the main address of your blog. That way, if people check in later in the week, they'll be directed straight to your Perfect Day entry. Thanks!

Advent Meditation: Week One

Oh, Deliverer, Messiah, Savior of the World - do not delay in bringing us Your Light. Bring Your truth that cuts deep through the lies of world. May it cut the ropes that bind me to this thin place, this world that holds no love for You or Your kind. We who long for the Ultimate Adoption of being called Sons and Daughters of God, await with keen expectation Your holy birth. Let each day be lived in joyous anticipation for the day when God says "I Shall Come." I welcome You, Oh Lord. Come.

November 30, 2008 6:45 AM

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Book Meme

I discovered this on Christine's blog, (Meet Me At The Gates), who is a new visitor. As I read it, I couldn't resist. What bookworm could resist this meme?!! Here it is:

The rules: Pass this on to 5 blogging friends. Open the closest book to you, not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment, to page 56. Write the 5th sentence, as well as two to five sentences following that.

My book: The Mass of the Early Christians by Mike Aquilina

Page 56, 5th sentence and a few after:

The abuses at Corinth might explain why the agape was separated from the Eucharist very early in the Church's history. Paul's account of the Last Supper was likely the first to be set in writing; it corresponds closely to that of Luke, who was Paul's disciple. Note, too, the recurring images of Israel's exodus and Passover, and the contrast of pagan sacrifice with the Christian sacrifice of the Mass.

Aquilina then continues by quoting the entire passages of 1 Corinthians 10:1-22 and 11:17-34.

It's an amazing passage from St. Paul's letter to the Corinthians. I have never before read it with the thought of the Eucharist in mind. Now it is fresh and new, full of life as we ponder the mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Well, that's my book but I'm into Catholic identity and apologetic books at the moment. Here is who I'm tagging:









Carolina Cannonball


Whew! I chose more than five, but I have so many bloggers I read and can't list everyone! If this meme resonates with you, have fun and do it!

Great Article by Father Dwight Longenecker: American Anti-Catholicism

Fr. Longenecker has an interesting history. Brought up in an evangelical home and attending Bob Jones University, he is in a unique position to write about the new American anti-Catholicism that is on the rise. His latest article featured on Inside Catholic, summarizes what he foresees as tougher times ahead for Catholics. A snippet:

In this ecumenical age, such traditional Protestant bigotry is dying out. More and more, Evangelical Christians are coming to realize that the "old old story" of God's love for a dying world and the saving work of Christ on the cross is now most fully and vigorously told by the modern Catholic Church, as so many of their own churches are buying into the secular, morally indifferent agenda of the world around them. Marcus Grodi's Coming Home Network reports an increasing number of Evangelical pastors coming into the Catholic Church; it might not be long before Bob Jones University itself issues a statement apologizing for its anti-Catholicism.

Does this mean that anti-Catholicism is dead? I fear not. While the old-fashioned Protestant variety is dying out, a new and equally virulent form is rising up, evident in three different manifestations.

American Anti-Catholicism, Inside

The three manifestations are 1) Those who claim to be Catholic but are CINO's. (Catholic In Name Only) These are the types who will go from polite disagreement with the Pope to more extreme defiance. 2) Those who are what I call, The New Protestants. They come from both denomination and non-denominational churches who have sold out to the pervasive "culture of death" and promote gay marriage, feminism, and the whole liberal agenda. And 3) In Fr. Longenecker's words, "the secular hedonistic population in the United States."

Quite a trifecta. But if you're a believer in Christ, I would think you know something is up. We're seeing an increase of hatred toward Christianity like I've never seen before. It will come from all sides - both from the world (which we expect) and from within churches (which we usually don't expect).

Read his article prayerfully. I have a feeling it will be a good reminder to us all to prepare ourselves spiritually. No matter what, God is in charge and we are called to remain obedient to Him always. We are not alone.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Month for the Souls in Purgatory

Owen (onionboy), is doing a special devotion this month called A Month For The Souls In Purgatory.

Owen is a special "online" blogger friend I met while visiting other Catholic blogs. He is a convert and sacrificed much by becoming a Catholic. He was a Protestant minister. When Protestant ministers convert, they truly are giving up their livelihood. However, Owen is also a wonderful artist. (You can see his work here along with his charming observations about life.) He is selling his artwork but also will be in search of a job after recuperating from major surgery. Please keep him in your prayers for employment that will use his talents.

It touched me to learn about this devotion. Since I'm still learning about All Things Catholic, I realized the doctrine of Purgatory was an area I needed to learn about. Even as a young girl, I can't remember learning much about it.

So, check out the blog and add the names of your own dearly departed. God is merciful.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What I Love About Catholicism: Gratitude This Day

It is Thanksgiving, and I awoke thinking about my blessings. Both my husband and I had the day off (as opposed to my dear father, who actually had to work today but is getting off at 4 PM...) and we'll be heading soon to his parents for Thanksgiving dinner.

I am grateful for my husband, who loves me like I never thought I'd be loved and brings joy to my life in so many ways. I'm grateful for a new job that utilizes my education and skills. I'm grateful for our new home, which has much more room than our old place. I'm grateful for my family, friends, and fellowship.

But what I am especially grateful for is the fact that God called me back to the Catholic church. I am so deeply grateful for my new church family, which has brought a surprising amount of fellowship. I also am surprised by how rich my Catholic faith truly is, none of this watered-down stuff that I consumed for so many years; but a faith that is complex and filling. We as Catholics have a history that cannot be denied, no matter how much our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ may misunderstand it. Many of them simply don't know our heritage.

When I first started to attend Mass again, I was doing it out of a sense of familiarity. I had just lost my mother and Mass brought back good memories. Plus, I knew she'd approve. In time, I started to become more aware of the liturgy and wanted to investigate the meaning of everything. Little did I know that this search would take me to some very interesting places. My slight suspicion of our Blessed Mother has slowly been growing into respect and admiration. My years of challenging my father on "praying to the saints" has been replaced with a new appreciation of them and a clearer understanding of their role in our lives.

I have fallen in love with the Traditional Latin Mass, which was a huge surprise. But I am so grateful for this beautiful liturgy - for the silence and reverence that is built into it and how it allows me to worship God. I just had so many assumptions throughout the years about the Mass and how it was "boring" or "rote." I never thought it would ever have meaning for me. But it does and I am so grateful.

I hope this day brings you lots of moments to acknowledge how God has blessed you and shown you His great love. He desires for all of us to know Him and know of His love through His Son, Jesus Christ. The Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints do intercede for us to know God more, for they are before His throne, beholding His glory day and night. We are pilgrims, but traveling with our eyes upon our ultimate destination. May God, through the power of His Holy Spirit, lead us safely home.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Advent Update

Thank you for those who responded to my request on how to properly enter into the Advent season. One of my Plurk friends said that "celebrate" may be the wrong word. Advent is to be a time of penitentiary reflection as we anticipate acknowledging the birth of Christ. That makes sense and an important consideration as I head into this season with new eyes.

I found a great site, courtesy of Fr. Z's mention and thought I'd share it:

If you have an iPhone, you can buy the app for .99, which looks to be quite a deal. I like the site. Very rich, artistic-wise.

May we all enter into this holy season with humble hearts as we ponder the magnificence of God's love and provision.

Helen, I Tried to Add You On Twitter... But for Catholic Stuff, I'm Plurking

There was a commenter who asked to be added to my Twitter group and I tried, but the account doesn't seem to exist anymore, which I suppose happens frequently. People join these social networking sites only to find it really doesn't interest them and they move on.

Just for the record, I joined Plurk. My name is CatholicProdigalDaughter. I did this mainly to separate my "social network" activity between my work life and personal life. My boss is on Twitter and I did it mainly to "follow" him. Here are a few thoughts on Twitter vs. Plurk

Twitter strikes me as a big giant room with a crowd talking at the same time. Sort of like a mega-meeting of town criers with the "Here Ye, Here Ye!" announcements. It also seems like everyone is racing to find the coolest headlines/videos/etc. on the net to post them. Many are using it like a marketing tool, which I don't have a problem with since that's why I'm there, too. But it feels sort of cold to me. I have no idea how people "build" relationship on the thing.

Plurk seems more homey. I don't know if it's the interface or what, but Plurk gives the user the ability to comment on someone's original comment and threads responses like a mini-message board - which is the perfect way to connect people. Once you see someone posting quality comments on one of your Plurk buddies, you're more apt to add them as a friend. I like it better.

So - there you go for any of you who are into this who "Twitter" phenomenon. There are more applications coming down the pike, I know. I won't be able to keep up with most of them. To me, many of these type of instant messaging is a distraction from my work or it keeps me from focusing on what I really need to be doing at home. I'm trying to not get too caught up in it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Request: How to Celebrate Advent?

This is my first Advent season in many, many years. My husband is not Catholic, so I'll be celebrating Advent on my own. But I want to really celebrate it as a new "reclaimer" of my Catholic faith. What would you suggest? I'm looking forward to this season but not sure how to properly celebrate it. Thanks for any suggestions!

What I Love About Catholicism: Nuns

This past Sunday, I witnessed something I hadn't seen (or heard) in years. A scolding from a nun.

Who can scold like a nun? Heck, who still scolds, period? Everyone is running around, trying to be "sensitive" to other people's feelings and/or politically correct. It is just so un-PC to scold because really, who am I to tell anyone that what they're doing is wrong?

Enter the ardent nun, clad in her habit and wielding a powerful knowing that can't be denied. After all, this is a woman who has given up an opportunity to marry and have children just so she can pray all the time. She is not a woman to be trifled with.

And so I found myself slightly surprised when I was munching on my chocolate-glazed donut and suddenly witnessed an honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned scolding of a young boy by a nun. He was the altar boy for the Mass we had just attended and according to the nun, was too fidgety and obviously not paying proper respect to his duties. I couldn't help but smile when an adult friend pointed out this young boy wanted to become a priest and the nun snapped back, "Well, I can't imagine you would do well since priests must be very disciplined and you seem to lack that trait."

Wow, eh? What amazed me more was the fact that the young boy's mother came over to chat with me and the family friend notified her of said scolding. Her response? "Good. He needs to hear that. I'm glad she told him." I mean, double wow! Can you imagine if this type of exchange had happened in most schools? Oh, whoever did the scolding would have probably been dragged into an administrator's office to receive a verbal warning, and the parent would have wailed to high heaven that her perfect child was being abused.

The whole scenario was so refreshing but yet so rare that I had to think of what had happened to our culture over the past two decades that made such a scolding uncommon. It doesn't take long to see that when a nation loses its sense of right and wrong, it loses its way. It's no wonder so many young people are disrespectful and willful. When they have no one to tell them what they're doing is wrong, they'll keep doing the wrong thing.

Thank God (and I cannot say this enough) for the old-fashioned nuns who aren't afraid to speak up. I'm tired of the waffling, mamby-pamby type of spiritual coddling that makes up the majority of "spiritual formation" that is going on in churches and schools. Bring back the tough nun! Those glorious women who wear no make-up, don't care a whit about their hair, but are obsessed about their Spouse and will kick our butts hard if we don't straighten up and fly right.

God bless them!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Simple Woman's Daybook

Thank you, Peggy at Simple Woman's Daybook, for this idea. Check today's entry for more daybooks. Now I created my own - "The Perfect Day" daybook. Scroll below to see it and join, if you'd like!

For Today, November 24, 2008
Outside My Window... it is dark and cold. I can feel the cold a little by the window.

I am thinking... about how I can juggle my new job while still trying to reach my ultimate dream of self-employment. I have lots of ideas - but the time to implement those ideas is what I have to figure out.

I am thankful for... privacy. This may sound strange, but Mickey and I are watching the movie, "The Lives of Others," a foreign movie. I had heard about it from Rush Limbaugh and was curious, since he really doesn't talk about movies that much. It's an amazing story set during East Germany's socialist heyday in 1984, complete with their secret police, the Stasi, bugging people's homes and spying on everyone. If anyone was suspected of "betraying" the government by criticizing or questioning it, they were harshly interrogated and sent away to some prison camp.

It's a heavy topic, but I'd highly recommend seeing it. Afterward, you'll be breathing a sigh of relief that we don't have this level of surveillance in our country - yet.

From the kitchen... is hot coffee, which I'm drinking with the ever-popular, Cinnamon Bun creamer, cereal and a banana. Later will be chicken and veggies, although I haven't planned the chicken recipe, yet. I also have a homemade pumpkin pie I had bought from Kroger's for the super-cheap price of $3.99, which Mickey already devoured 1/4. It's his favorite pie. :-)

I am wearing... a long-sleeved cotton nightshirt and barefoot, which really, I shouldn't be since I found an ugly spider around my desk yesterday. (shiver!)

I am creating... nothing! My weekend was spent putting together the bookcase!

I am going... to be leaving for work soon. I am happy this week is a short one! I won't get vacation time for awhile, so it's nice to have a few "built-in" holidays.

I am reading... Mike Aquilina's The Mass of the Early Christians. I am amazed (although I shouldn't be) that the Mass incorporates elements from the Jewish temple worship. This makes perfect sense since Jesus Christ and the Apostles were Jews. But what's really cool is the understanding of the Eucharist (which is what the gathering of believers was originally called). I really love "patterns" and "types" in the Scripture. Manna was a shadow of what was to come in the form of Jesus Christ giving His body as sustenance to His Church. The Old Testament temple had "showbread." There is just a glorious consistency to God's interactions with man, which is confirmed over and over again in Scripture. Very fascinating stuff!

I am hoping... I can videotape another installment for "Castitas" video. I had an excellent suggestion sent to me via email and I'd like to explore the subject in the video. I'm going to aim for tonight.

I am hearing... the soft whoosh of air from the vent. The heat just kicked on. I can feel it with my feet since the vent is right under my desk. Ahhhhh!

Around the house... Less boxes! Woohoo! I am thrilled to finally have emptied a few boxes of books and place them in their new home. I've cleared the living room a little and now need to go through the remaining boxes to see what I can throw out. I know there is junk in those boxes that I truly don't need! If I can't use it, I'm giving it away!

One of my favorite things... getting together with friends and laughing. See my new "The Perfect Day Book" below. I'm starting my own and Saturday really was a perfect day!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Taping a "Castitas" video, playing more with podcasting, going through those boxes and pitching the junk, hunting for good fireplace tools since we don't have any and I'm itching to have our first fire! Thanksgiving will be with Mickey's parents this year. His mother loves the holidays and will be making the traditional dinner with turkey and all the fixings. It will just be Mickey's one brother and that's it. I will miss my family but look forward to seeing them on Christmas day.

Here is picture thought I am sharing... My bookcase! So happy I finally have one! If you're curious about what's on my shelf, you can click the photo to see a larger version. Some of those books were given to me, or inherited. I'm not a big Danielle Steele fan, but my mother was. The last book she was reading is on my shelf on the top. Many books are about relationships and finding a mate (when I was coaching). It's mostly non-fiction books I read and the subject matter ranges from politics to poetry to religion to finding your passion. I do enjoy fiction, I just seem to have fallen out of reading it over the years. Currently, I'm still wading through Tolkien's "Fellowship of the Ring" series!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Introducing: The Perfect Day Book!

Yesterday was the perfect day. I was able to sleep in a little (getting up at 6 AM instead of 4 AM, for instance) and then meet some friends I haven't seen in months. We went to Panera's, which is one of my absolute favorite places to go since they have the best soup & salad combo! (Or soup & sandwich, or salad and sandwich...your choice!) We caught up with one another and I was delighted to discover one of my friends is pregnant! Very exciting!

Then I was able to finally find a shower caddy at Bed, Bath & Beyond. Took my husband's jeans back to Kohl's for an exchange since he bought the wrong size, came home, installed the shower caddy, then tackled putting together the bookcase I had bought last weekend at Ikea. I did laundry earlier in the morning, so that was out of the way. Putting together the bookcase took a bit longer than I anticipated (3 hours!! But I'm thinking I moved carefully because I wanted to make sure I was putting the right pieces in the right places.).

After I was finished, I placed some books in it, but just wanted to clear off the second bed, which before was filled with all sorts of books and "stuff." The bookcase is in our second bedroom, which also serves as my office. I have way too many books. Even after moving, and giving away at least three boxes of 'em, I still have many left that need a home. And so, my need for a larger bookcase was rather strong.

After the bookcase, I decided I wanted to make Spaghetti Carbonara, which is just fantastic! I can't tell you how much I love this dish. It's rather simple (which is often a hallmark of good dishes) but made with the freshest ingredients - just rocks the house. Bacon (or if you can get pancetta, a pork product, that would be the best, but bacon works in a pinch. Just make sure you get plain bacon - no "maple-flavored" since that would ruin the taste.), some onion and garlic sauteed in a little of the bacon drippings plus a little olive oil, and a splash of white wine. Then, stir in the cooked spaghetti and add a few beaten eggs along with some fresh Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley. Mmmmm..... Molto Buono!!!

As we at dinner with a salad, my husband and I watched an old comedy classic, "Throw Momma From the Train" with Danny Devito and Billy Crystal. We have a joke that we live next to "momma." Our next door neighbor sounds exactly like her! I remember when I came with Mickey to show him the place, she asked us through the window screen if we had any cigarettes. We said no. But the rattle in her voice revealed she had been smoking since she was probably two years old. Poor thing. We've not seen her much anymore so I suppose she's getting her cigarettes elsewhere. But that voice... just like "momma's!"

So, that was my perfect day. Productive, filled with connecting with my loved ones, and good food.

I think I'm going to create an online record for perfect days. Post it on your own blog. It's Sunday, and a time to relax and reflect. Here are the questions. Copy them, paste them on your blog with the answers, and then link us to your entry. I've been enjoying Peggy's Simple Woman Daybook idea for awhile and thought it would be fun to do something similar.

So, what has been a recent perfect day for you?

NOTE: Please copy and save "The Perfect Day" button above. When you post your own entry, use it on top and please link to me. I'm going to make this entry the guideline for participating. Thank you so much!


My perfect day happened on...

What made me laugh was ...

I felt really good when ...

What surprised me was ...

The reason it was perfect was ...

The part I like to savor is ...

I felt like a success when ...

I ate ...

I drank ...

I enjoyed ...

I give thanks to God for ...

My "Kodak" moment: (Share a photo or several if you have them)

Here is mine:

My perfect day happened on...Saturday, November 23, 2008. It was a cold, cold, day - but sunny and bright. A gorgeous day, actually!

What made me laugh was ... When Teresa walked in with this kind of goofy smile on her face. I thought she looked a little "softer" than usual. It wasn't until she took off her coat that we saw she was pregnant. Both myself and my other friend Angela were so shocked that we were speechless for a few minutes! (Which is priceless if you know how talkative we can both be!)

I felt really good when ... I finally was able to meet up with my friends. We hadn't seen each other for about six months. We usually would get together once a month, but just couldn't find good times during the summer and then I couldn't meet a few times.

What surprised me was ... Teresa, for sure! At one point, her and her husband sounded like they planned on not having children. I'm so happy for them, though. Teresa is going to make a great mom!

The reason it was perfect was ... because it was a perfect blend of productivity and socializing. I felt like I accomplished a few things I had been wanting to do for awhile and was able to still get some very valuable friendship-building time in, too!

The part I like to savor is ... the laughter of four women catching up with each other's lives.

I felt like a success when ... I was able to put together that bookcase!

I ate ... Mmmm....Spaghetti Carbonara. Delicious! I am also finding fresh parsley does make a difference!

I drank ... White Merlot. Mickey and I have a glass each night and toast each other. We've now been doing this for years.

I enjoyed ... the look of the new bookcase as I envisioned it filled with my books.

I give thanks to God for ... Friends and the joy of connecting. Angela is the funniest out of the bunch and she kept making me laugh with this, "All aboard the crazy train..." then she'd pump her hand in the air like she was sounding the whistle while going, "woooohooooo!!" She is too funny!

My "Kodak" moment: My pictures are in this blog, more hopefully in the future. :-)

Now it's your turn. I think it will be fun to see what others experience as their "perfect day." Enjoy!

NOTE: Please copy and paste the URL of your entry - not the main address of your blog. That way, if people check in later in the week, they'll be directed straight to your Perfect Day entry. Thanks!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Timelessness of the Mass

But what was "this" that Jesus had commanded his apostles to "do" in his remembrance? To understand his action - and the action of the Mass - requires some knowledge of the worship of the Jews in Jesus' time. For the early Christians believed Jesus' Last Supper - and in turn, the Mass - to be the culmination of all the worship of ancient Israel.
- The Mass of the Early Christians, Mikc Aquilina

When I read that word, "worship," I immediately thought about the typical church service today. Worship is a noun that is oftentimes misunderstood. What most churches experience during that time which proceeds the sermon is praise. A few songs are sung (and admittedly, half-heartedly more often than not), then the children are dismissed for "children's church", then announcements and some teaching. What passes as worship for most people is relegated to a few upbeat tunes and if you have a great worship team (or praise team), applause afterward.

So what is worship?

Worship is different from praise. Praise can be easily given to a delicious meal as well as a person. Praise is expressing a favorable judgement of something or as an intransitive verb, glorifies, especially by attribution of perfection. (Source: Merriam-Webster online dictionary.) But worship is something different and I think most people would agree that to worship God as opposed to praising Him, requires one to go much deeper than catchy tunes.

Worship is slowly descending into the hiddeness of the soul, the place where you are the core of who you are, and meeting God. It is the place where you approach His throne "boldly" (according to St. Paul in Ephesians 3:12) but yet with solemn awareness, as you would in approaching Niagara Falls. The roar of those waters - the magnitude of power behind the force - causes everyone to take a slight intake of breath as they contemplate the grandeur and complete audacity of nature, God's handiwork.

That is what I'm reminded of when I think of worship and God. There is a magnitude of His provision in Jesus Christ that is awesome, fearful, and just plain "turns-my-world-inside-outness." To contemplate on His mercy, His divine judgement, and His extreme love would cause any thinking man or woman to fall upon their knees and worship Him.

But how can we contemplate such greatness, such supremacy when there is so much noise? A person here leads the congregation to "practice" a response, a large band there blasts out music at high decibels. Weary spiritual leaders fast-forward through their words in order to get everyone out "on time." There is a constant thrust to it all, as though we had some gigantic hand pressed upon our backs, scooting us through a church service so we can get to the more important things of life - like lunch at the food court inside some crowded mall. (Which, of course, has more noise.)

Worship is reverent. And what is reverence? Honor and respect. I'll go so far as to say reverence is acknowledging that someone exhibits traits that I wished I had but don't. Or I may not have it to the degree to which I desire. For God, it is honoring and respecting His "otherness." He is separate, holy - and we only may approach that holiness upon the bridge Christ has built.

These types of thoughts do not come easily. In fact, there is a great deal of opposition to having such thoughts. Once you sit down for a church service, how many times does your mind start racing to what you need to do after the service? Or during the upcoming week? How many times are you annoyed with the family next to you that can't control their kids or the young people sitting behind you talking incessantly? There are barriers - constant barriers to clear in order to enter into worship of God.

This is one of the reasons I have gravitated toward the Traditional Latin Mass. As I've said often to my family and friends - no one could be more surprised than I that I've come to quickly love this type of Mass. But one of the reasons (and it's a mighty big one, at that) is because there is silence built into the Mass. It gives me time to contemplate God's holiness and His amazing love for us. I can ponder what Christ did for us when He willingly gave Himself up to pay the price of sin. It is in those moments of silence that I can confess to Almighty God my own sin and give Him thanksgiving for forgiveness.

I'll be curious to see what Mike Aquilina has to say about the altar of Israel. There is a great deal of Judaic protocol in the liturgy. After all, Jesus and His disciples were Jewish, so it only stands to reason there would be Jewish elements in the liturgy.

More thoughts on this will follow. I just wanted to share these with you today. May He continue to lead all of us into a deeper understanding of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Focus, Focus, Focus

O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.

Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
For more than conquerors we are!

His Word shall not fail you—He promised; Believe Him, and all will be well:
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!

- "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" Helen H. Lemmel, 1922

(One of my favorite hymns)

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace! the Lord is with thee; blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

It has dawned on me that I've allowed my focus to slip. It is easy to get caught up in the world around us and the crazy antics of those who know not Christ. But is it what I am called to do as a believer? I often find myself torn. On one hand, I loathe bullies and am frustrated by the never-ending onslaught of fascism. But on the other hand, I know I should not be surprised by anything because Jesus Christ said the world would hate the light. We've been forewarned that the times are dark.

This is when I am truly thankful for the rosary. Praying it has helped me focus and brings me back to what is truly important - Jesus Christ. I prayed the rosary today in increments and just finished the Luminous Mysteries. How amazing that God loved us so much that He gave us His only Son! And Jesus walked through this unrepentant world, filled with idolatry and selfishness, cruelty and malice, and still - He loved.

I am humbled and ask God to help me focus on the real priority in life: to follow Jesus, to love God and love my neighbor as myself, and forgive my enemies. It seems so simple but yet is so difficult, especially when I've got a temperament like St. Peter!

If anyone had been praying for me to settle down and fly right - your prayers have been answered. :-)

eHarmony Gets Rolled by the Siggies

It was with great sadness that I read eHarmony, a Christian dating site, has decided to open a separate dating site for gays and lesbians. A gay man had sued eHarmony when they were unable to provide him with a match. From Michelle Malkin's site:

The Pasadena-based dating website, heavily promoted by Christian evangelical leaders when it was founded, has agreed in a civil rights settlement to give up its heterosexuals-only policy and offer same-sex matches.

EHarmony was started by psychologist Neil Clark Warren, who is known for his mild-mannered television and radio advertisements. It must not only implement the new policy by March 31 but also give the first 10,000 same-sex registrants a free six-month subscription.

“That was one of the things I asked for,” said Eric McKinley, 46, who complained to New Jersey’s Division on Civil Rights after being turned down for a subscription in 2005.

My term, "siggies" comes from the realization that we have a growing group of people in this country who have made sexuality their god. (Sexuality Is God = SIG) Everything is rooted in sexuality - their identity and as such, their understanding of either being powerful or powerless. It is a never-ending pursuit of power and control and woe to whoever gets in their way.

Dr. Neil Clark Warren is a decent guy. He wrote the book years ago named, Finding the Love of Your Life. It promptly found a place on my bookshelf when I was single. His advice was extremely sound and wise. One of the principles I remember was his insistence on finding someone who was similar to you in background, education, and values. (There were more categories, but I remember those specifically.) He said shared commonalities were like "money in the bank" and differences were like deductions. I found that advice very interesting and I'm happy to say I put them to work and now have a wonderful husband as a result who shares my values and interests.

I think there was a part of me that saw the proverbial "writing on the wall" when I was a Relationship Coach. I used to give workshops for single women over 40. I also coached women individually, helping them discover different ways to create more opportunities to find love. Early on, I discovered that the Siggies are everywhere. Especially in libraries.

I had been invited to speak to a local library and present my workshop, "Finding a Husband After 40." The assistant library director was really interested in what I had to offer and enthusiastic about the program. Two weeks before I was to speak, I received a phone call from her. The conversation went like this:

"Ummm, Mary Rose, I'm sorry to have to do this but I needed to call you to let you know we can't do the program with you."

"Oh? Why?" I was surprised but also very interested in discovering the reason for getting dumped.

"Well..." The assistant director hesitated. "The board voted against it. In fact, in all the years I've been doing this, and I've been doing it for a very long time, I have never had the board refuse one of my choices for a presentation."

I was now very intrigued and admittedly, a little annoyed. I thought the right channels had been consulted before I was accepted as a speaker. But I felt sorry for the assistant because I felt she was caught between a rock and a hard place. I was right.

I said, "Voted against it? Really?"

She replied, "Yes. As soon as the title of your presentation was read, one woman in the group said, 'Oh, we are not going to have such a program in this library!'"

The picture started to get clearer. "Wow," I said. "Tell me, is this woman single?" The assistant confirmed she was indeed single. I then pointed out that she sounded like a feminist. The assistant chuckled and said, yes she was; and not only that - but a lesbian.

So the board first had not asked for any notes of my presentation. It was dumped simply because some lesbian didn't like the title. I politely reminded this assistant that it was pretty ironic that my presentation wasn't well received when the library was filled with books on dating, relationships, and finding a husband or wife. She laughed and agreed with me.

This was over five years ago, but I tucked the experience into my memory. Because I was just beginning, I didn't want to make an issue out of it. Believe me, I could have if I had wanted. My brother is a lawyer and was outraged when I told him the story. But why spin my wheels with a lawsuit when at that time, I was trying to become established?

As the years passed, I watched with increasing concern the amount of times a gay or lesbian would target a Christian business to harass. All in the name of "equality" but in essence, no issue of equality was really on the table. No one is preventing a gay man from finding love. There are many, many gay publications and online websites that they can use to meet other gays. But what did this guy do? Angry that there is a site for Christians and they couldn't accommodate him, he sues. And won.

I remember talking to someone about the issue, saying that I really had no understanding of the dynamics of gay relationships - hence, I couldn't offer relevant and helpful information. Imagine my surprise when I read these words by Dr. Warren:

Warren had said in past interviews that he didn’t want to feature same-sex services on EHarmony — which matches people based on long questionnaires concerning personality traits, relationship history and interests — because he felt he didn’t know enough about gay relationships.

It would seem that doesn't matter, Dr. Warren. All that matters is that the Siggies are forcing everyone to march in lockstep to their demands. It is getting ridiculous and I'm afraid only more such nonsense is on the horizon. In fact, I won't be surprised if such organizations have to go through a "re-education camp" and Dr. Warren's presence will be mandatory.

I've since quit coaching because it wasn't viable. But all I can think about is all the Christian businesses who are now in the cross hairs of the Siggies.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thank You, Fr. Jay Scott Newman

Fr. Newman has been brought to public attention by emphasizing Catholic tenets of faith. (Voting for a candidate that supports abortion when there is an alternative is not a good idea for Catholics.) Not surprisingly, his words have been twisted. Perhaps more surprising (and disappointing) is the lack of support he has received from his own diocese.

Monsignor Martin Laughlin at first supported Fr. Newman's statements which challenged Catholics who voted for Obama. But then the monsignor turned around and gave a completely opposite response when contacted by the newspaper:

Following the publication of the AP article this past Friday, Monsignor Laughlin did an about-face and issued a public repudiation of Fr. Newman’s statements based off of the inaccurate headline that accompanied the AP story.

In his statement, Msgr. Laughlin wrote that the Catholic Church’s “clear, moral teaching on the evil of abortion” was “pulled into the partisan political arena” by the priest’s letter and that Fr. Newman’s actions have “diverted the focus” from Catholic teaching on abortion and “do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church’s teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are repudiated.”

Do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church's teachings? What part of "human life must be protected" does he not understand? The Pope understands it. Maybe he needs to visit the Vatican website like I do on a regular basis to check on what the Catholic Church teachings are on a particular issue. The search engine works pretty well, from what I can tell.

It's just sad when such division happens, especially when it's regarding an issue that is so clearly stated. There is no confusion, Msgr. Laughlin, except perhaps in your own mind.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Don't Outsource Your Education

This is from a conversation I had with my father on Sunday. I mentioned a book I was reading that included a story about a student who "outsourced" his college writing assignment. Some man in India took him up on the offer and was paid 60 pounds to write the paper. The Indian said it took him about three hours to research and write the paper. I'm sure the student was thrilled to avoid the work, but I pointed out to my father that this Indian was basically paid to learn.

And we wonder why other countries are doing better than the United States in test scores.

If I could say one thing to young people everywhere - it would be this: Never outsource your learning and always take advantage of learning opportunities wherever you can find them, especially on the job. (Okay, that was two things.)

I love to learn new things. First, I'm just curious and enjoy immensely discovering the "why" of life. Secondly, new knowledge expands my horizons and allows me to interact with people who'd otherwise would be inaccessible. And thirdly - it adds to my creative capital. I'm a much more valuable employee if I have a wide and deep skill set than if I only knew a little about not much.

Case in point: When I was in my mid-twenties, I decided to enroll in the infamous "Connecticut School of Broadcasting." I learned how to edit tape, how to interview people, and how to quickly turn around a story into a manageable sound bites. My intent at that time was to eventually become a radio news host. However, once I found out I'd probably have to move to some small rural town and hold down three different jobs while I worked at their radio station, I suddenly didn't want it that badly. I liked my hometown and didn't want to sacrifice that much in order to make it in radio news.

But, I thought, someday I felt my experience would come in handy. I wasn't sure how, but I had complete confidence it would come into play. Fast forward twenty years later and here I am, fooling around with podcasting and soundtracks in my new job. I get to learn more as I've have an Apple Mac at work, my first time working with one. My boss has bought books for me to learn not only the Mac programs, but also WordPress since that's our blog provider. I feel very blessed because like the Indian who wrote a student's paper, I am getting paid to learn. Who knows how that knowledge will be used in the future?

It stunned me when a year ago, I read an article that said some U.S. companies were outsourcing their R&D. Outrageous! I can understand outsourcing maintenance, but a company's research and development of the product or service? It's just plain shameful. If a company doesn't have the commitment to figure out on their own what they're going to provide the public, then they have no business being in business. Business is a transaction of trust. I trust a company to figure out my problems and provide an efficient and economical solution. They are building a relationship with me and if all goes well, they'll have a customer for life.

But if they really don't care enough to take the temperature of their market on their own, then they don't need my business. I work hard enough for my money and the older I get, the less I enjoy being used.

So, that's my two cents on learning, and ignorant business ideas. Nothing Catholic about it but I bet St. Benedict would agree with me.

A Simple Woman's Daybook

Thanks to Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook for this idea. If you'd like to join in, visit her site. Check out the other daybook entries. Enjoy!

For Today, November 17, 2008

Outside My Window... Snow! Honest to goodness snow! I see a fine, white powder sprinkled upon the roof outside my window. There is a fine drizzle of the snow coming down. Wow. This is a surprise!

I am thinking... that I'm glad we have a new home for the winter and with a fireplace, to boot! How fun. We still need to get the logs. This will be the first time I am living with a fireplace in my home. I'm envisioning nice, cuddly evenings with my hubby and having friends over as we fellowship with a nice fire crackling in the background. And s'mores! Gotta have some s'mores!

I am thankful for... my father, yet again! He helped me transport this huge bookcase I bought at Ikea yesterday. His car is pretty long and thankfully, the box fit rather well in his car. We weren't so sure about my little car, but we did get it in there. Then, after driving two hours home, I was thankful for my husband who seemed to magically just reach in and pull out the box (95 lbs!!) with seemingly no problem! Sheesh! My dad and I were both convinced that we're were going to have to take apart the box and bring it in piece by piece!

From the kitchen... coffee with Cinnamon Bun creamer, some cereal. I have to work a little later than usual tonight so I'll probably be picking up dinner from somewhere. Either Subway or a great Asian place we just discovered that is inexpensive AND gives us lots of food! Amazing place... the Kung Pao chicken is one of my favorites. Chicken Teriyaki is my hubby's and I admit it, it's good!

I am wearing... my pink nightgown with purple roses. Barefoot. It is chilly but I'm too lazy to get up and get my nightrobe on. I'll be getting ready for work very soon.

I am creating... nothing, really. I keep wanting to create a digital page (I need to create pages, actually!) and just haven't had the time yet to focus on them.

I am going... to head to work, where I'll be working on some creative ideas for brochures. I have the newsletter to do this week, too.

I am reading... God Is No Delusion: A refutation of Richard Dawkins by Thomas Crean, O.P. Fr. Crean's philosophical response to well-known atheist Dawkins is clear and well-reasoned. Most of us who are believers know that whatever argument we can answer, it will never be enough for one who has decided to not believe in God. But we can try, and must try to communicate the truth.

I am hoping... our roof, which lost a few shingles during the windstorm, doesn't get damaged from the snow. I called to report it to the office, so they know. That storm was over a month ago. Not sure how much longer it will take but those shingles need to be replaced.

I am hearing... Mother Angelica and her sisters recite the rosary. I'm praying and writing...again multi-tasking!

Around the house... the big box from Ikea! I can't wait to get the bookcase assembled so I can finally get rid of the boxes with books. Happy day, indeed!

One of my favorite things... looking out the window to see snow. I feel safe and secure in my warm home. It makes me feel like it's Christmas!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: putting the bookcase together, filling it with books, getting rid of the old hutch that is on the floor of the second bedroom to make room for the new bookcase, attempting to get started on the wedding album I need to do for my stepson and his new wife!

Here is picture thought I am sharing... This is from earlier this year, during our "Blizzard '08" when we had over a foot of snow dumped on us! I was so happy it happened on a Saturday because we didn't have to worry about schools or workplaces being canceled. It was fun to stay home, drink cups of Mint Mocha and watch the snow!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Yes, I'm On Twitter

As you can see from the left, I added a Twitter gadget to my blog. Yes, I'm finally on Twitter but still wondering if this is going to be a good thing or not. I've heard how people have become addicted to it. I like the Facebook updates and usually check in with my friends page as soon as I log in.

Twitter...well, I don't have a cell phone. (Not yet, at any rate.) So I wasn't sure why I should add it to my life. Then Donna-Marie sent me an email saying she is now on Twitter. I know a few others who use it, including my boss. So, I've decided to try it.

Add me and I'll add you, if you're doing it!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Do Religious Conservatives Have Better Things To Do?

A comment from my last post got me wondering about activism. We've all been aware of the protests that usually are born out of some type of aggrieved group of people. The latest craziness from supporters of Proposition 8 in California is one such example.

Part of me would really like to do something, but what? And more importantly, perhaps - when? As I started to think about it, I thought about the tongue-in-cheek barbs that some conservatives had against liberal protestors. "Yeah, they travel all over to protest. We can't. We have these things called jobs..."

I'm beginning to think that most people have too much already to do in their life without adding protest marches on top of it. I've come to a tentative conclusion that many liberals who are unhappy (and this includes many of the older hippies), simply don't know how to be happy anymore. Life in the 60's was one big protest. They were always fighting against one thing or the other. Either it was the Vietnam War, or unfair working conditions for women, or abortion, or gay rights, or... or... or...

You know, I truly think that if the world was a perfect place, they'd be utterly miserable because there would be nothing left to protest.

Most people have families, kids to taxi to and from school and their other activities. There is work, and take-home work. There is church or synagogue or mosque and the various activities that represent one's faith. There are friends to meet, gyms to visit, and movies to watch. In essence, there is a whole big world out there that people are engaged in, and to try to take a moment away can cause all the spinning plates to come crashing down.

But another part of me is reflecting upon the words of our past President John Adams. When he was asked by the French court if he was interested in music, he replied, "I study war and diplomacy so that my sons can study commerce and agriculture…and so that my grandchildren can study the art, literature, music and the humanities."

Perhaps the time has come that we started to study war again.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Keep An Eye On This One: High School Coaches and Prayer

Well, it didn't take long before the ACLU decided it had enough political power to fill the bully pulpit. The ACLU, long the tireless foe of Christianity, is now picking on high school coaches. And to be clear - this coach in particular is not praying with the students. No. He is simply standing silently by as they pray and is bowing his head out of respect.

But the ACLU will have none of this "respect" mumbo-jumbo. I mean, where on earth would this country be if we didn't have to put up with such insanity as respecting the rights of individuals to follow their own conscience? I mean, really. That school should know better.

/Sarcasm Off.

The story:

John Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute says the school's policy would nullify a tradition that has been part of the high school's pre-game routine for the last 25 years.

"But in our case, all Coach Borden wanted to do was to bow his head silently as the students prayed in the locker room -- sometimes what they call 'take an eagle.' They'd go down on one knee, and he's standing outside behind the circle of players," he explains. "He's not influencing them. He's just listening and really just doing what coaches have done -- since Knute Rockne, by the way."

The Institute won on a lower level, but the ACLU convinced the school district to appeal. "It's a very important case. We've had a lot of people file briefs on our behalf," Whitehead adds. "I think the Supreme Court's going to hear this case. It's going to really set the tone for what can be done in public schools." (Yes. If the ACLU succeeds in silencing silent prayer, they have crossed over into The Twilight Zone. It is absolutely beyond the pale to imagine anyone having a problem with someone bowing their head out of respect, but the ACLU proves yet again how they don't mind trampling on the rights of American citizens.)

Whitehead believes this policy, if it stands, will strip high school teachers and coaches across the nation of their First Amendment and academic rights.

I am starting to get really, really angry with these people. Don't be surprised if I suddenly pop up on a TV newscast with my very own protest movement against atheism.

To close on a lighter note - I got a chuckle out of the Catholic News Agency's headline:

Humanist association launches ad campaign for lonely humanists

Yeah, it's a lonely world when you disown God...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I didn't post anything yesterday for Veteran's Day. So here is something a day late, but still very heartfelt. God bless those who serve in the military and God bless the United States!

(Mantilla nod to The Digital Hairshirt. Have some tissues handy when watching)

Being a Faithful Roman Catholic Is Not About Winning Friends

That statement is from my blogger buddy, Stephanie at The Digital Hairshirt, who seems just as feisty as me, if not more - especially when it comes to our faith. She posted recently an excerpt of the current discussion of the U.S. Bishops and their stance toward the new incoming Presidential administration's on abortion.

"We're calling on the bishops to move away from the more vicious language," Whelan said. He said the church needs to act "in a more creative, constructive way," to end abortion.

Catholics United was among the groups that argued in direct mail and TV ads during the campaign that taking the "pro-life" position means more than opposing abortion rights.

Chris Korzen, the group's executive director, said, "we honestly want to move past the deadlock" on abortion. He said church leaders were making that task harder.

"What are the bishops going to do now?" Korzen said. "`They have burned a lot of bridges with the Democrats and the new administration."

Good! What are you going to do, convince Obama to stick us all in re-education camps?!


All I can say is, "Amen, Stephanie. Amen!"

It still shocks me that there are Democrat Catholics who still supported Obama in this past election. I don't have a problem with Democrat Catholics overall; but when your party's candidate is so over-the-top for abortion, even to the point of denying healthcare to a baby who has survived the procedure - then something is loose in the old noggin. There is a major disconnect here - MAJOR, that is preventing a Catholic of any party in seeing the horrific reality of abortion-on-demand.

I'll go even so far as to say such people are not truly Catholic. Yes. I said it. If a person is truly Catholic, they adhere to the teachings of the Bible and the Church. The Roman Catholic Church stands against the "Culture of Death" and is unapologetically Pro-Life.

The tradition of the Church has always held that human life must be protected and favored from the beginning, just as at the various stages of its development. Opposing the morals of the Greco-Roman world, the Church of the first centuries insisted on the difference that exists on this point between those morals and Christian morals. In the Didache it is clearly said: "You shall not kill by abortion the fruit of the womb and you shall not murder the infant already born."[6] Athenagoras emphasizes that Christians consider as murderers those women who take medicines to procure an abortion; he condemns the killers of children, including those still living in their mother's womb, "where they are already the object of the care of divine Providence." Tertullian did not always perhaps use the same language; he nevertheless clearly affirms the essential principle: "To prevent birth is anticipated murder; it makes little difference whether one destroys a life already born or does away with it in its nascent stage. The one who will be a man is already one."[8]

Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith: Declaration on Procured Abortion

I don't understand how anyone who calls themselves Catholic could miss this.

Being a follower of Christ will most likely be more challenging than ever with our new incoming administration. Don't be surprised to see more protests in churches and more blame that "The Church" is backward, hateful, out-of-touch, etc., etc.

We are called to be the salt and light of the world. Just by being His witnesses and for instance, silently praying at an "abortuary," will probably get tougher. Stand firm.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Church and Altzeimer's Disease

Have you ever sat in a church, surrounded by a professional worship band, state-of-the-art technology, a dynamic speaker - and asked yourself, "Is this what the gathering of believers is supposed to be? Is this what we're to be doing?"

I have. Many, many times. I don't know why I analyze church structures, approaches, etc., but I do. Most people, I'm sure, simply go to church, enjoy the worship and teaching, and then go out for a bite to eat with some friends before heading home to watch a football game. However, for me, church has always been deeply important and if it became "just another activity" then I really wasn't interested. It is meant to reflect my beliefs about God and support them. It is meant to join my voice with others in encouraging us all to keep the faith amidst an increasingly dark and wicked world. And perhaps most important of all - it is meant to help me become holy.

I had a feeling this new book I was reading would open my eyes and already it has. On page 10 (barely in the Introduction, no less!), are these powerful words (emphasis mine):

Memory is what tells us who we are. Without memory, I could not complete this sentence, nor could you read it. Without memory, I could not know who I am from one moment to the next. I believe that memory may be what modern psychologists and philosophers are groping toward when they speak of "identity" or "self-conscience."

The soul of the Church also possesses this faculty. The Church has a memory and it's called the liturgy. The liturgy is the memory of the Church.

The Mass of the Early Christians, p10, by Mike Aquilina

When I read the above words, I was just stunned. I laid the book down and thought about what the author had just said. Suddenly, all the years of those questions and thoughts about church made sense. Something within me recognized that an important part of our identity as believers was being overlooked, or forgotten. Little did I know that I would find a satisfying answer in a small Catholic book that is probably largely unknown by most Catholics, let alone other believers.

I believe this is why I felt as though I was on firmer footing when I started to attend Mass again. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass helps us remember and my goodness - how we need to remember! Liturgy keeps us on track. When we start to stray from liturgy and "do our own thing," it gets confusing real fast. The focus shifts away from Jesus Christ and onto the charismatic speaker or the the highly talented worship team.

This is not to say there is no place for excellent oratorical skills or musicianship. However, these two things can never, nor should they be expected to, take the place of liturgy.

Many, including myself when I was away from the Catholic church, saw liturgy as very dry and dull. "For pete's sake," I'd say. "It's the same thing, week, after week, month after month, year after year..." I longed for 'experimentation' and 'newness.' Yes, I did find that, in bucketfuls - but I also lost something I never realized was contained within the liturgy: My memory of the simplicity of our fellowship, the profound act of sacrifice, and how it involved me.

I need to be reminded of this week after week, month after month, and year after year because it is so, so easy to become consumed by the flesh. Our egos are tough old birds. As Christians, we like to echo St. Paul's words to the Galatians and say, "I have been crucified with Christ..." (Gal. 2:20), but have we really been crucified when we spend an hour in church on Sunday to supposedly please God, and then please our egos the rest of the week?

This is why I pray the Rosary daily. Yes, it's repetitious, but you know what? It's another part of my "memory" that I'm reclaiming. I realize that I am in dire need of God's mercy and grace each day. With each decade, I focus on a Mystery, meditating on how Jesus Christ is Everything and I am nothing apart from Him. I need that help in remembering because goodness knows, the world would love for us to forget.

I am hoping for my memory to become stronger and I'm sensing that it is. I love going to Mass in a way that I never, ever thought I would. I look forward to the weekends and attending my Solemn High Mass in Latin. I look forward to my weekly Wednesday morning Mass. I used to attend an evening mid-week service at my non-denominational church, which was pretty much a big Bible study. But I find that I don't need some big, chatty group to connect with God. In fact, the simpler the surroundings, the better. Early morning Mass on Wednesdays helps me remember once again that Jesus loved me so much that He gave His life up for me.

When we as a church really absorb that truth, really chew on it as we take His Body and Blood - it can be more transformative than a hundred Bible teachings by the most accomplished scholar.

Ah, memory. Be restored.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Simple Woman's Daybook

Thanks to Peggy at The Simple Woman for sharing the idea of a daybook. NEW! Peggy created The Simple Woman's Daybook Blog just for us daybook addicts! Woohoo! If you'd like to join in, check out that site. For more entries, check out her page for today!

For Today, November 10, 2008

Outside My Window... It is dark, dark, dark. I still can't believe I'm getting up so early. (4:30 AM, usually), but I am. It just makes it nicer to be able to come home earlier from work and be with my sweet hubby.

I am thinking... about ideas for a writing project, and decorating our bedroom with a Renaissance theme. Checking out various sites. Mickey saw the new curtains for his parent's bedroom and immediately liked them. They definitely had a "Ren" look to them!

I am thankful for... my in-laws. They are truly kind people and care so much for their children. We do need to spend more time with them.

From the kitchen... will be Maple-Apple Chicken with baked Red Potatoes tossed with bacon bits, a little ranch dressing and some Italian cheeses. Salad and for dessert, Pumpkin Pie, one of Mickey's favorites. Right now it's coffee with Cinnamon Bun creamer and cereal!

I am wearing... My long-sleeved pink cotton nightgown with tiny purple heather flowers. It's definitely gotten chilly! I pulled out our fur blanket last night and placed it on top of the comforter. Sigh...nothing like a warm, cozy bed!

I am creating... Oh, believe it or not, I still haven't finished the digital pages I was working on last week and the week before. Plus, I haven't even STARTED to work on the Wedding Album for my stepson and new daughter-in-law that is part of their wedding gift! Eek!

I am going... to be headed to the shower soon and skedaddle to work. I will have a busy week ahead.

I am reading... Found another great Catholic book that I'm sure will show up in more of my posts: The Mass of the Early Christians by Mark Aquilina. Again, during my younger years in Catholic schools, I can't remember learning anything about our Catholic history. It stuns me to think that the Mass we celebrate goes back to the early days of the Church. I'm going to be very interested in what I discover.

I am hoping... that our new President-elect can indeed bring some kind of healing to this country.

I am hearing... Silence and the soft hum of the computer. I miss having my windows open to hear the cheerful little chatter of the birds. I love bird songs!

Around the house... I finally put inside the closet my Pampered Chef paperwork box. I still haven't unloaded it and was tired of seeing it on the floor. There is a part of me that would like to have a few more shows before the end of the year but so many other things have taken up my time.

One of my favorite things... Having dinner with my in-laws and listening to my mother-in-law get excited about the upcoming Christmas season. Oh, Christmas! How special it will be for me this year!

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: Nothing major, just working and coming home, working on digital pages. I will admit I've fallen in love with the Apple Store and especially those ultra-nifty new notebooks. I want one sooo badly but it will have to wait. We visited Best Buy yesterday and they seem to have a little bit of a break on some of those Macs. Mickey already knows this is my ultimate Christmas wish list... I'll be saving toward it and he may contribute as my gift. :-)

Here is picture thought I am sharing... Another one from the Ren Fest. Isn't he gorgeous?! Can't you imagine why women swooned when they saw a man in full armor? Sigh. I love chivalry...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Catholicism As a Humvee

My father has been a GM man for many years. The only non-GM car I can remember was a light blue Volkswagen Beetle that he had in his twenties, amazingly large enough to carry his huge stand-up bass when he played in bands. I still have a fondness for light blue Volkswagen Beetles and the memories of it carrying at one time, the "Big Daddy Bass." (as I named the behemoth when I was around four-years old.)

But Volkswagen Beetles aren't the best cars for weathering a rear-end accident, as my parents discovered. Soon after, my father started to go for the larger cars for his new little family. Buicks and Cadillacs were the preferred models when it came to long-distance traveling for his sales calls and carting us around town. Later, when I was a teenager, I'd point out "cute little sub-compact cars" and my father's response was always the same: "No protection. You get hit in one of those and it's over."

My dad is a pretty smart guy in a lot of ways. Why take chances with your life if you can save a little more money and get a car that is safer?

Which brings me to the image of Catholicism as a Humvee. Actually, there are other images I have when I think of the Catholic church. Tank. Battleship. Basically, a huge, protective, moveable object that can repel an onslaught of attack.

I don't want to offend any of my non-Catholic readers, but I have to say that for me - after years of being involved in non-Catholic churches, I felt as though I was frequently subject to the winds of change. Those "winds" were, in my eyes, too often the "whims" of men. There was no rhyme or reason, only one leader's ego that would usually initiate a particular direction. His vision would either be agreed upon by a small group of leaders or challenged. In time, much like in a game of football, it would be determined that this "strategy" wasn't working, that perhaps the leader didn't hear from God clearly enough the first time, and so another "change" was needed.

There was always the "bigger and better" approaches to church life. What was done one year could always be improved upon, or so they said. And because improvement is worshiped as often as a false idol, more changes would be made so that there was always something "new" installed.

I don't think I'm the only one who has noticed that the Catholic Church doesn't change easily and in fact, moves v e r y, v..e..r..y.., s...l...o...w. I might chalk it up to growing older, but to me, slow feels pretty good right now. I've been on the Wild Carousel of Christianity and I'm dizzy. For what it's worth, I did love the ride when I was younger.

There is security in tradition and we as God's children, were created to need this security. We get pretty skittish when we're faced with the unknown or the new. Sometimes new is good. Sometimes it's the devil whispering in our ear, did God really say...? God created the Law for a reason. The Law kept Israel on the right path. Look what happened when they'd wander off, distracted by some shiny idol of a godless nation who surrounded them.

I am finding so much peace and security in our Feast Days, which are celebrated each year on the same date. My soul finds rest in the liturgy, which follows its own rhythm, established over the centuries. I like the fact that Rome has taken a long time to adapt to the Internet and it's touching to find out that there are real nuns answering the telephone at the Vatican.

I believe that the Church Universal is about to enter a period that will be similar to our forefathers and foremothers of the church. I believe we're going to see more persecution, more attacks on individuals and businesses. As I see it, I don't want to be flying around, laughing with delight on some carousel. I want to be inside a Humvee, navigating the rocky roads carefully while being able to carefully maneuver through nasty weather. Humvees are built to take such abuse.

Carousels aren't.

Friday, November 7, 2008

With All Due Respect to My Darlin' Hubby: I Love Zo!

If you are a conservative and also a Christian, and you don't know about Zo, you're in for a treat! I have just fallen for this guy and finally subscribed to his videos. What spirit! You made my day, Zo! (And your expression when you mentioned Sarah Palin just cracked me up. You're a riot!)My thanks to Laura for introducing me to him. :-)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The True 'Nameless, Faceless' People

I used to hear the phrase, "nameless, faceless generation" often within the prophetic circles. The idea was that God was raising up a generation who would be "nameless and faceless" as they went about, performing miracles and preaching the Gospel. It captured the imagination of the younger people as they pursued a deeper commitment to God.

But I had to wonder how realistic such a proclamation could be, since the very leaders of the prophetic movement were so prominent. Stoking the fires of fame, I saw men and women jockey for positions of greater exposure. Not exactly the poster kids for a "nameless, faceless" generation.

Here's a real example of "nameless, faceless." A group of dedicated Catholic laymen got together to collect and catalogue audio recordings of homilies, available on the site, Audio Sancto. This is good stuff. Really good. It is pure meat and believe me, you'll be chewing on some of the teachings days after hearing them.

But, no names are given. None. The reason? Here is what the website says:
The priests you hear in the recordings on this website are Catholic Priests, in good standing with their local ordinaries and Rome, incardinated with normal faculties and jurisdiction, and serving in North America.

Because they have duties and responsibilities as priests to care for the souls of the Faithful entrusted to them. By remaining unidentified, their attention for their flock won't be divided by folks outside of their parish who might seek them out for questions rather than going to their local priests. (Wow. That is the most excellent reason for remaining anonymous than anything I've ever seen.) Moreover, the message they happen to be preaching -- the Catholic Faith -- is what is important, not the human beings who are preaching it. (!!!)

Some of you may have no idea how utterly radical this is - to have these teachings available for free! Most Evangelicals and Charismatic types would be chomping at the bit to figure out how to make a buck from such recordings. My former ministry is charging for podcasts and many well-known radio personalities do the same, allowing "members" access to their files online for a specific amount of money. And of course there are tantalizing bits strewn throughout a website's home page blaring, "Become a Member Now! Get Access to the Exclusive Babblings of This Person! Only $199 per Year! Whatta Deal!"

As some younger people are into expecting "free" music online, I gravitate toward free teaching. I'm an information junkie but one type of information should not be for sale when it is so easily obtainable online - and that is Christian audio recordings. I don't have a problem with a donation button, but don't make anyone pay to hear the Word of God. I can only imagine what St. Paul would be saying to some of these practices.

So, check out Audio Sancto. And I'm even going to 'brand' them:

Audio Sancto: Real Spiritual Nourishment for Tough Times.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Be Prepared: The Onslaught of the Left

I wish I did not have to write this post, but yet I feel as though I have an obligation to do so. I see things at times in our society, sort of a cultural handwriting-on-the-wall, and I pray - asking God what to do with this information. Is it true? Or am I overreacting?

Ironically, the day that Sen. Barack Obama is announced as our President Elect, I received the following comment to one of my older posts regarding homosexuality:

you people are all hate - hate anything that doesn't fit in your box of normalcy. you don't have to like gay people, but keep your judgmental opinions to yourself.

gay people are born that way. they don't have a choice. no one chooses to be part of a judged group. my cousin and his partner are gay, live in suburbia and are blissfully happy and attend church regularly. so please do not assume that all homosexuals are disgraced and ashamed with themselves.

the reason so many gay people are upset and clinically depressed is because they can't be themselves. they can't be themselves because of people like you

we could all certainly make the same assumptions about good christian soldiers who are closet alcoholics or child molesters and the list goes on.

Jesus doesn't hate. He loves everyone. Judge and ye shall be judged.

I have to admit it was extremely tempting to respond in kind. When people attack, it's natural to react and with just as much passion. But I know this is not the response Jesus would advocate.

Jesus Christ did not hate people. He hated sin. He hated sin so much that He was willing to die an excruciating painful and humiliating death in order to pay the penalty for our sin. He was the perfect sacrificial Lamb, who takes away the sin of the world.

It was also tempting to 'fisk' the comment and respond line by line, but I'm going to refrain in order to point something out. The above comments are a fine example of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, the handbook for leftist activists during the 70's. I am going to point out six of them that have been used in justifying the comments above:

2) Never go outside the experience of your people

Gay activists live in a bubble. It's a constant "Us vs. Them" mentality and there is no middle ground. Either you embrace them - and in doing so, never judge the behavior as being sinful - or name the sin and be labeled a hater. If you notice, most responses to anyone who does not agree with the Gay Agenda is first, a defense of the sinful behavior and then an attack on you for noticing it. It always begins first with their experience. There is no other way they know how to open the dialog. In their eyes, they are being "attacked" when someone simply disagrees with their sexual preferences. When someone disagrees with me by stating the chocolate cake, which I find so divine, is not attractive to them - I don't get mad and yell at them. I say, "to each their own," and move on. Radical gays are obsessed with what people think of them. Disagreement, especially polite and civil disagreement - will not be tolerated.

3) Wherever possible go outside of the experience of the enemy

"You have no idea how difficult it is to live as a gay man in this country!" Or some such. Whatever the outcry, you can be sure it will focus on how you are outside of their own predicament and as such, cannot possibly comprehend how they feel. Gay activists are some of the most dramatically injured people in the U.S. When activists do this, they are trying to get you off point and confuse the issue. The ultimate goal is to make you feel unsure of your argument, your convictions, your values - and in that moment, they will take advantage by pressing on to the next tactic.

4) Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules

How effective this has been with many conservatives and also Christians. How these radicals love to point out how far we have fallen from what the Bible commands us to do. You know what? They're right. I've often told those who ridicule Christianity that I absolutely have fallen short of God's expectations for me. It is why I pray all the time and ask for His mercy and forgiveness. Don't let them trip you up on this one. Agree and move on.

5) Ridicule is man's most potent weapon

Another classic tactic that has been used quite extensively with Christians, especially when Christians stand up for the Culture of Life and against homosexuality. Remember what Jesus said about those who are persecuted. What is interesting is that we've already been told that we would be hated for holding firm to the truths of the Bible. Homosexuals, however, have only been told they are condemned for their behavior. With each word of ridicule that falls upon us, we should pray that God would have mercy upon those who say such things because when it comes down to it, none of us would be here without His mercy.

8) Keep the pressure on

The radicals never tire. This is their "bible" and they believe in it as fervently as we believe in God's Word. As they keep the pressure on, we must resist the attempts to wear us down and persevere in faith.

13) Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it

Ah, this is the most clever of them all. Christians are the target for such hateful words. We will be accused of not loving as Jesus would have us love and that is the polarization point. Keep repeating the truth and repeat it again and again, and again. Jesus loved people. He hated sin. This is as true for the homosexual as it is for the alcoholic and the child molester. Jesus Christ hated sin's hold upon man, how it affected his whole life, his relationships with both himself and others, and the ripple effect it had upon society.

We were created to love and be loved. When we sin, we fall short of God's expectations of us. We choose to think of self first before God. In fact, we get wrapped up in "self" so much that we fail to see the consequences of our behavior.

With sin, there is not only a separation from God, which is devastating enough, but a separation from who we were created to be. If I'm on the floor in a drunken heap, I certainly won't be available to a friend who needs a supportive shoulder to cry upon. I won't be available to work in order to help the company that employs me. I won't be able to function as a productive member of society on any level because I'm stuck in my own mess. That's what sin does. It sticks us so deeply inside ourselves that we miss being a blessing to those around us.

So learn about the Rules for Radicals because I believe they are going to be used in greater measure against us.

But as always: Greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)