Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 30

I just went to Mass in the town where I am staying for the race tomorrow.  It is a beautiful old church, and I was impressed that the church was full, and almost silent prior to the beginning of Mass.  It was lovely.  I was disappointed that nothing was said of Pope John Paul II's beatification today.  And Divine Mercy Sunday was only mentioned in passing.  

In my parish, Divine Mercy Sunday is a BIG deal.  And I like it that way.

I was disappointed - But I know what is in my heart and so does God.  

Half marathon tomorrow.  And the weather is supposed to be horrible.  28 degrees and snow.  Oh well.  In 16 more hours it will be over - good , bad, or indifferent - it will be history.  

And for now, I am going to the hotel dining room for their "special" for runners.... a $17. plate of pasta.  I am too tired and lazy to go try to find something more reasonable.  I need to get a meal in my belly and put my feet up and relax before getting to bed really, really early.  

God bless you all.

Friday, April 29, 2011


I was so upset about my plants being killed.  And then I saw what just happened to the thousands, if not millions, of people in the south.  One of my brothers among them.  I can plant new plants, or I can decide to not do that.  It is not that important.  

I have a race on Sunday that I feel ill prepared for.  It is supposed to be 28º Fahrenheit on Sunday morning, and maybe raining/snowing.  I will be outside running / walking 13.1 miles.  But the reality is, I am in my 60th year on this earth, and I have the ability to stay upright for 13.1 miles - and I will likely enjoy myself regardless of the weather.  That is something not many my age could say.  I am grateful for that.  

My family is scattered to the four winds (and this is probably what is really behind my sour disposition lately).  My son is in Iraq.  My daughter-in-law is in a month long training in another state.  My baby granddaughter is with her "other" grandparents in Nebraska for the month.  I drove by my son's house last night and it hurt me physically to think of the little family all split up all over the place.   In my opinion it just isn't right what a young family has to go through just to stay afloat.  When I was that age, it wasn't so difficult.  But it is now not then, and it doesn't help to dwell on the past....

I have an exciting weekend ahead.  I will stay in a hotel tomorrow night.  I will go to Mass in another town on Saturday evening.  And then get ready for a race.

I must focus on what is good.  And there is plenty.  And I must thank God for it.  

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prayers Please

In the devastation of the tornadoes in Alabama is my brother and his wife.  I heard from his daughter, my niece, that a tornado hit 600 yards from their house.  There was a tree across their driveway, someone's roof in their backyard, and debris everywhere.   They had no power, water, or telephone.  

First I was grateful that they are OK.  Then I started to consider the fact that they are both in poor health, a day in that situation could be more than either of them could physically or emotionally take.  I asked my niece for an update, via facebook.  

Her latest update said they ate lunch, and at which restaurant (seriously?), and that they have a game plan.  No details about whether they are staying in the house or whether they have power, water, and telephone back.  I hope I will find out soon.  

I am so worried about my beloved older brother and his wife.  My sister-in-law since 1967.  

I know there are others in much worse situations and I am praying for them.  But I can't help but be worried about my brother.  

Prayers are appreciated.  

Thank you and God bless you.

Easter Thursday

When I place a photo on my blog, I go to my iPhoto collection - and look through the last year of photos.  Sometimes it prompts me to remember things - such as today.  This photo was taken a little over a year ago. It was a birthday gift for a friend.  But before I gave it to her, I took a picture of the blue hydrangea sitting on my desk in my office.

There's no good reason to post it today except it is pretty.

I remain in a testy mood.

Yesterday I wanted to start cussing at someone, but instead sat in my office smiling and praying.  One of my co-workers walked by and asked me "what that smirk was about" - so I told her I am trying to smile instead of swear.  She was satisfied with that answer.

I have a half marathon on Sunday - maybe the anxiety about that is causing me to be off balance.  Maybe it is this cold weather and intermittent snow.  Maybe it is at least partially the realization that a lot of my beloved shrubs and plants have been killed by my neighbor and aren't coming back.

I need to put my faith in God.  Faith and Trust.  And once I have done that, there should be little room for this kind of self-centeredness.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Or so says Robert Frost.  I think.

I moved into my home almost 10 years ago.  It was the thrill of a lifetime for me.  I was nearly 50 years old.  I had gone from homeless to renting an apartment, to renting a house, to purchasing a townhouse, and then finally to buying my own single family home in less than 10 years.  To say I was thrilled really doesn't touch the way I felt about it.  

When I was looking at it, I made sure I had an outdoor space to sit and read... that was the deck in the back of the house.  I thought it would be splendid.  I looked at the yard and planned where I would plant flowers instead of the rocks that were there.  

When I moved in, it was late September - 2001 - which was an odd time to put it mildly.  I never sat out on the deck that year.  I did, however, plant tulip bulbs all over the place in joyful anticipation of the spring.  

That Thanksgiving, I planned to stay home alone since I was working on my master's thesis and I was exhausted.  I had planned to do nothing that day.  But, as is the case every year, turkeys were on sale for like $3. a piece, so I bought one.  I love to cook, so I opted to make myself some mashed potatoes, stuffing, and the rest of the traditional fare.  I sat down, alone at my dining room table, and looked out the window at my neighbors gawking at me.  The whole family, the grandparents, the parents, the kids, the grandkids, the whole shootin' match, looking out their dining room window at me.  Loser, sitting at the dining room table, alone on Thanksgiving, eating a whole dinner - alone.  So, I got up and closed the blinds.  And suddenly felt like there was something terribly wrong with me.   

By spring, I had noticed that the neighbors behind me were really "in my face."  When I tried to sit on the deck, I felt like I was invading their personal space and so I stopped doing that.  My yard is small, theirs is large.  My deck goes half way to the property line, and sits above the fence, so we are almost eyeball to eyeball.  

I came to really really dislike these folks.   The nice neighbor who lives next door to me and is also in their backyard dislikes them even more than I did.  They have big gatherings in the back yard late into the nights in the summer.  I don't really care because my bedroom is in the front of the house, but hers is in the back, so it is an issue for her.  One time she yelled at the man "Shut up, you old bastard!"  Which I think is the only time I have ever heard of her using bad language or being anything less than loving.  She is the type of person who mows lawns that aren't even hers (like mine for example).  

Then one Sunday, I visited a church I didn't normally go to.  (It is now my parish, but it wasn't then.)  I nearly fainted when I saw my much hated neighbor marching up the aisle in his deacon's apparel.  He gave the homily that day and I saw the little jolt of recognition when his eye caught mine.  I decided I really had to stop hating him and his family.  

It has been a long process.  I started attending "his" church.  I introduced myself to him and told him "I live in your backyard."  He didn't argue with me.  I met his wife when I was on the welcoming committee with her.  I met their son, who is a lovely young man.  We are on first name basis now.  


They have a gardener who takes care of their lawn and garden.  They also work on it quite a bit.  It is beautiful.  They have a rock fountain as the centerpiece of it - I enjoy listening to it in the summer.  So, last summer, they apparently sprayed herbicide all over the fence because anything I had within 3 feet or so of the fence died.  This includes my ornamental grass that used to be gorgeous.  My honeysuckle.  Half of my lilac bush.  Two aspen trees.  One rose bush.  Various lilies and iris. 

I had hoped they would come back this spring.  I go out and check them every day.  Dead.  Dead.  Dead.  

I look over at their beautiful lush garden and I can't describe to you how very unchristian I feel about it.  Now when I see him at church, I think about how badly he has impacted my life and how he probably has never given a thought about me.  

I think I have to talk to him about it, but I don't know how I can without crying.  I have been crying just writing this.  

Some people just seem to get everything and they can't seem to stop there.  They have to destroy the little bit that other people might have.  

Sorry, I am not over my cold yet , and I am sure it is coloring my world in a dark, dark way.  

I will pray for him and me.  And I would ask for your prayers too if you would be so kind.

Thank you.  

Monday, April 25, 2011

Divine Mercy Novena

I know it is late in the game if you aren't already aware of this Novena.   But I wanted to post it anyway.  The prayer for the fourth day, today, is particularly meaningful to me, as I have friends who seemingly (to me) refuse to believe in God...

Fourth Day
"Today bring to Me those who do not believe in God and those who do not know Me, 

I was thinking also of them during My bitter Passion, and their future zeal comforted My Heart. Immerse them in the ocean of My mercy."  
Most compassionate Jesus, You are the Light of the whole world. Receive into the abode of Your Most Compassionate Heart the souls of those who do not believe in God and of those who as yet do not know You. Let the rays of Your grace enlighten them that they, too, together with us, may extol Your wonderful mercy; and do not let them escape from the abode which is Your Most Compassionate Heart.

Eternal Father, turn Your merciful gaze upon the souls of those who do not believe in You, and of those who as yet do not know You, but who are enclosed in the Most Compassionate Heart of Jesus. Draw them to the light of the Gospel. These souls do not know what great happiness it is to love You. Grant that they, too, may extol the generosity of Your mercy for endless ages. Amen.

*Our Lord's original words here were "the pagans." Since the pontificate of Pope John XXIII, the Church has seen fit to replace this term with clearer and more appropriate terminology.

Read more:

This Divine Mercy Sunday is going to be a very special day, as it will be the day Pope John Paul II is beatified.  And I love Divine Mercy Sunday.

I will be in another town, for a half marathon the next day.  Hopefully I will be feeling better by then, because I am certainly not feeling well now.  And it has been eleven days since I have worked out.  I don't think I do "sick" well, this has been difficult for me.  I still made Easter dinner yesterday and we all enjoyed it.  But I am still sad over the people I am missing this year.  

But there is God's mercy for me too.  Even though I have enough self-pity to go around.  

Thank you Lord Jesus.  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Resurrection of Jesus

Mary stood weeping outside of the tomb, and as she wept she stopped to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.  They said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him."  Saying this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom do you seek?"  Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, "Sir if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away."  Jesus said to her, "Mary."  She turned and said to him in Hebrew, "Rabboni!" (which means teacher).  Jesus said to her, "Do not hold me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."  -- The Gospel according to John 20:11-17

Have a Happy and Blessed Easter everyone.

Stabat Mater Dolorosa

STABAT Mater dolorosa
iuxta Crucem lacrimosa,
dum pendebat Filius.
AT, the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to Jesus to the last.
Cuius animam gementem,
contristatam et dolentem
pertransivit gladius.
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing,
all His bitter anguish bearing,
now at length the sword has passed.
O quam tristis et afflicta
fuit illa benedicta,
mater Unigeniti!
O how sad and sore distressed
was that Mother, highly blest,
of the sole-begotten One.
Quae maerebat et dolebat,
pia Mater, dum videbat
nati poenas inclyti.
Christ above in torment hangs,
she beneath beholds the pangs
of her dying glorious Son.
Quis est homo qui non fleret,
matrem Christi si videret
in tanto supplicio?
Is there one who would not weep,
whelmed in miseries so deep,
Christ's dear Mother to behold?
Quis non posset contristari
Christi Matrem contemplari
dolentem cum Filio?
Can the human heart refrain
from partaking in her pain,
in that Mother's pain untold?
Pro peccatis suae gentis
vidit Iesum in tormentis,
et flagellis subditum.
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,
she beheld her tender Child
All with scourges rent:
Vidit suum dulcem Natum
moriendo desolatum,
dum emisit spiritum.
For the sins of His own nation,
saw Him hang in desolation,
Till His spirit forth He sent.
Eia, Mater, fons amoris
me sentire vim doloris
fac, ut tecum lugeam.
O thou Mother! fount of love!
Touch my spirit from above,
make my heart with thine accord:
Fac, ut ardeat cor meum
in amando Christum Deum
ut sibi complaceam.
Make me feel as thou hast felt;
make my soul to glow and melt
with the love of Christ my Lord.
Sancta Mater, istud agas,
crucifixi fige plagas
cordi meo valide.
Holy Mother! pierce me through,
in my heart each wound renew
of my Savior crucified:
Tui Nati vulnerati,
tam dignati pro me pati,
poenas mecum divide.
Let me share with thee His pain,
who for all my sins was slain,
who for me in torments died.
Fac me tecum pie flere,
crucifixo condolere,
donec ego vixero.
Let me mingle tears with thee,
mourning Him who mourned for me,
all the days that I may live:
Iuxta Crucem tecum stare,
et me tibi sociare
in planctu desidero.
By the Cross with thee to stay,
there with thee to weep and pray,
is all I ask of thee to give.
Virgo virginum praeclara,
mihi iam non sis amara,
fac me tecum plangere.
Virgin of all virgins blest!,
Listen to my fond request:
let me share thy grief divine;
Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
passionis fac consortem,
et plagas recolere.
Let me, to my latest breath,
in my body bear the death
of that dying Son of thine.
Fac me plagis vulnerari,
fac me Cruce inebriari,
et cruore Filii.
Wounded with His every wound,
steep my soul till it hath swooned,
in His very Blood away;
Flammis ne urar succensus,
per te, Virgo, sim defensus
in die iudicii.
Be to me, O Virgin, nigh,
lest in flames I burn and die,
in His awful Judgment Day.
Christe, cum sit hinc exire,
da per Matrem me venire
ad palmam victoriae.
Christ, when Thou shalt call me hence,
by Thy Mother my defense,
by Thy Cross my victory;
Quando corpus morietur,
fac, ut animae donetur
paradisi gloria. Amen.
While my body here decays,
may my soul Thy goodness praise,
safe in paradise with Thee. Amen.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

From the Letter to the Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9
Brothers and sisters:  Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.  So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.
In the days when Jesus was in the flesh, he offered prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.  Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered; and when he was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
Thank you Jesus.  May everything I think, say, and do give glory to you.  

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In an unholy world

southwest plaza bomb FBI Identifies Person Of Interest In Southwest Plaza Mall Pipe Bomb
I have shared here before that I live very near Columbine High School.  I think this area has a bit of collective PTSD.  Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of the massacre.  There was a fire at the mall less than a mile from the school.  When they found the fire, they found bombs.  It is just so macabre.  

How well I remember that day.  We all have our own stories.  Mine is not particularly interesting I think. I sat down at lunch to write a letter (to a priest), and checked the internet news first.  Then I saw this horror unfolding just a couple miles to the south.  I realized that one of my employees had two children at that school that day.  I realized I had to go tell her what was going on.  Thank God her kids were OK. As were the kids of the other employees who went tearing out of there that day.  Other parents from other places had other stories.  

Later I dated a man who had played a key role in the investigation of what happened that day 12 years ago.  His career had ended in disgrace, very public disgrace.  The story of his decline was all over the internet.    But I will never forget something he said.  One of our favorite things to do was to watch TV together - over the phone.  It was fun.  One day we watched an event taking place at Columbine.  President Clinton was visiting.  I don't remember what the event was, but he was sitting on a dais outdoors.  In the pouring rain.  There was lightening.  My friend said it would not surprise him if lightening hit the president and he died.  It would be consistent with the ruin that had tainted everyone connected with that tragedy.    My friend was later found dead in his own home.  I believe he was a victim of alcoholism, but I will never know what really happened.  I only know he died alone.  After years of a stellar career and a shining life, it all ended in disgrace.  

I have got a cold, a bit of a fever, and a constantly dripping nose.  It is pouring rain outside.  I need to be at work soon.  And I need to look good because I will likely meet a state dignitary today.  Might not too, but if I went to work dressed in jeans (as I sometimes do on days like this), I would be assured a meeting.   So I shall dress as nice as I can and try to be presentable and pleasant.  

I hope to be able to go to Mass tonight.  But if I need to come home and go to bed, I will.

God bless you all on this Holy Thursday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Holy Wednesday

It is Holy Wednesday.
I will go to Mass tonight.

Yesterday I sat at a meeting at work, surrounded by people coughing.  I woke this morning with a sore throat and stuffed up head.  I don't want to be sick.  But if that is what is to be, I will offer it up.  It is such a small thing.

"The Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed.  It would be better for that man if he had never been born."  Matthew 26:24

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Monday

That's a photo of the church where the wedding was held on Saturday.  No, it is not a Catholic Church.  It is a church built in 1897 - and still standing.  On top of a mesa where no one has lived for probably a hundred years.  It was a beautiful day for a wedding.  

I got to spend a few days with my daughters.  They were kind to one another the whole time.  

But I got to see myself and realize something.  My eldest brother gets on my last nerve.  I love him.  I know he loves me.    But he gets on my nerves.  I try to smile, but I know it is phony and forced and I am sure he knows it too.

So, this morning I checked the Archdiocese's website and found confession from 7:05 to 8:15 at a nearby church.  I went there on my way to work.

When I got into my car to leave the church, I thanked God from the bottom of my heart for his forgiveness and mercy.  And I also thanked him that I am a Catholic and I can avail myself of this wonderfully healing sacrament - any day of the week.  

It is more effective than therapy.  It not only makes you FEEL better, but it truly makes you BE better.  The price is right too.  

Friday, April 15, 2011

Heading to the Land of Enchantment

My daughters and I will head out first thing tomorrow morning for New Mexico.  My niece is getting married there.  We will stay just Saturday night and head home on Sunday afternoon.  I will get to see a passel of nieces and nephews, and their kids.  I will see my eldest brother and the sister-in-law who has been in my life since I was 13 years old.  She is a sister to me.  

I lived in this town for 6 years when I was a young mother.  Unfortunately, those are not good memories for me since I was an active alcoholic at that time.  

Praise God!  I am not now.  And haven't been for a very long time.  26 years and 9 months to be precise since a drop of alcohol has passed these lips.  

I love the dry desert mesas and clear blue sky of New Mexico.  I love my family.  I have a chance to be with both of my daughters (which can sometimes be torture) for many hours.  We do all have our own rooms at the hotel though.  So there will be escape if necessary.  

Have a beautiful Palm Sunday weekend everyone.  I'll be back on Sunday night or Monday morning.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

In Earnest Gratitude

I looked out the window this morning and saw the world covered in snow.  Spontaneously, "Thank you God!" sprang forth from my mouth.  No gardening today.  I am off work, can't garden, I guess I should nap!  I loved reading about Paul's garden today - an English garden is quite a different thing from a Colorado yard.

I did spend the majority of my morning putting the final touches on my taxes (due tomorrow) and was able to electronically submit my State taxes.  I will mail my check to the feds tomorrow.  I don't much like paying taxes at the end of the year, but I see no sense in having them hold MY money throughout the year so that I can get a "refund" (of my own money) at the end of the year.  Some years I get it just about perfect, some years I miss the mark by a few hundred dollars, as I did last year.

There is a Reconciliation service at my old church tonight.  I think I may go.  I wouldn't have considered it prior to reading about one at The Crescat.  I have always enjoyed the Saturday afternoon forays into the confessional.  I particularly like standing in line.  I frequently reflect on all the churches, and all the confessionals, and all the penitents standing in line, all around the world. I wonder at any time on a Saturday afternoon how many people the world over are saying The Act of Contrition at the same time.  In the midst of all the mayhem going on in the world, there is still this huge community of people who are doing this thing that runs so counter to our culture.  It encourages me greatly.  I have to think it pleases the Lord.

Holy Week is just around the corner!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hard Labor

I took 2 days of vacation in the middle of this week so that I could work on my yard (garden for those of you from across the sea).  I purchased a new wheelbarrow for the occasion!  The wheelbarrow is now covered with filth, I am recently bathed with wet hair, and I am sore and tired.  I need to make some admissions and some concessions to my age - and I believe that in the future I am either going to have to hire someone to help me, beg my kids to help, move to a condo, or stop training for a marathon every summer so that I actually have some energy with which to do this.  I know for most people the last item would make the most sense, but it doesn't to me.  But I am going to have to do something different. 

This afternoon, I get to go to Adoration and Mass.  One of the local churches has added a 5:45 on Weds. Mass during lent.  I wish more churches would have Masses that working people could get to.  

I think I am too tired to be very spiritual right now, so I think I shall take a nap.  

Have a lovely day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Being Appropriately Unkind

Tonight I went to my third to the last class of Biblical School.  The lectures are absolutely riveting.  Imagine someone making Revelation make sense!  It is a Revelation!  

There is a woman in my class who sits next to me every week.  She is older than me and appears to me to be lonely.  I have spent the greater part of the year being "nice" to her.  Even though she mumbles throughout the class and when I have tried to find out what she is saying, it is usually something negative about the instructor or the Bible (WHY is she in the class?) or something political.  She also whispers questions during the lecture and tries to conduct conversations.  During prayer, she is usually banging her books shut or open, slamming pencils and pens, and groaning!  Oh, and always breathing loudly.  

At the Peter Kreeft presentation, I actively avoided sitting next to her.  I expressed my guilty feelings to another friend who told me that it is not required that I be nice to everyone.  I have the right to go to a class or a seminar and listen to the person I have paid good money to see and hear, not someone mumbling and complaining to me.  

So for the last month or so, I have ignored her questions and conversation attempts during the lectures.  She has turned to the woman on the other side of her and they conduct conversations during the instructors lectures.  I turn to the front of the class and focus, like a laser, on these last morsels of wisdom from these four years.   Just like Ezekiel who ate the scrolls and found they tasted sweet as honey!  

You know, now that I think of it, I don't even think that IS unkind.  She would be better served if NO ONE talked to her while she should be listening to someone who can teach her something.   But it is difficult to do something we have been trained from birth to believe is "rude."  

I can't believe I have only two more of these lectures.  And then a dinner, then a day long retreat, then a graduation ceremony.  And I think I will buy a new dress for it!  

And to think I started this just to impress a man!  God truly can write straight with crooked lines!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Recognizing the Pharisee Within

I've been thinking so much about how we behave as Catholic Christians.  How do we appear to people who may be looking at us as representatives of the Catholic Church?   

As I have spent the last four years studying the Bible (which is a very short time to study the Bible), I have sometimes seen glimpses of myself in the Pharisees who were attacking Jesus and eventually had him killed.   I brought this up with my fellow students at school.  I asked them if they thought they would recognize Jesus if he were to arrive today.  One other woman expressed doubt that she would recognize Jesus, that she is so focused on adherence to the law (as were the Pharisees), that if Jesus were to deviate in any way from what we expect (as he did when he came the first time), she would not be able to see him.  I expressed the same concern about myself.  

There was one woman in my group who is absolutely sure that she would recognize Christ, and was equally sure all of our group would.  I asked her why she is so sure.  She said that we spend a lot of time studying the Bible, so that means that we would know.  

I tried to remind her that the Pharisees knew the scripture backward and forward.  They knew all of the laws and adhered to them without deviation.  Jesus did not fit into their idea of what the Messiah should look like.  They were terribly threatened by Him, and with good reason.  He had little use for their legalistic approach.  

I do want to be a real Catholic Christian.  It has taken years, but I finally can accept all that involves.  I am willing to make the sacrifices of my desires to live in adherence with what the Church demands.   I hope this doesn't make me a sour faced old woman wagging my finger at those who aren't living as I think they should.  Or those who aren't worshiping the way they "should" at Mass.  

I pray my eyes are open to Jesus, no matter how He should appear to me.  

Friday, April 8, 2011

Fish Fry

I made this picture extra large so that you can see it is on a Knights of Columbus placemat!  You know that HAD to be at church.  It was.  A lovely $9. fish fry with a friend.

At my old church.  The one I left 4 years ago.  After having been a member for 10 years.  

After 4 years at my new church, I haven't a soul to even say "hello" to.  And I don't mean the Chatty Cathy stuff at Mass that drives more than one of us nuts.  I mean there is a pancake breakfast there this weekend and there is a perverse part of me who wants to go just so I can see that once again, no one will speak to me.  

I know where I belong if I am going there for the Sacrament of the Mass.  If I care that it be something that is about Jesus and not about the priest who has a lovely singing voice and loves to sing - sometimes even the whole homily.  

If I want to have fun at the fish fry, I can go to one church.  If I want to go to Mass and have that be something other than a social event, I can go to my current church.

I know where I belong.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My New Rosary

When I got home from work and Mass tonight, there was a package on my front porch.  I prayed that it would be my new rosary.  And I made myself do all my tasks before I opened the package.  And before I opened it, I told myself, you will be disappointed.  It is not going to be beautiful.

But I opened the box, and in it was the most beautiful rosary I have ever seen.  It is heavy.  It is large.  The crucifix is silver, and the center (the miraculous medal) is too.  

It feels like the rosary I will pray every day for the year my son is gone.  Oh yes, I know I will still pray after he returns, but this feels like the right one to have in my hands for the hundreds of rosaries I will pray while he is gone.  

Oh, I could beat myself up for loving beautiful things.  But I have to be happy that I am excited about a beautiful rosary instead of a new piece of jewelry or other less "worthy" thing.  

I have to go to another funeral tomorrow.  A friend who drank himself to death.  He was much too smart for AA.  He didn't like coming to those "stupid meetings."  I will have to shake the hands of his sons and tell them I am sorry.  And I truly am sorry.  What a waste.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Mass as Heaven on Earth

I drove all over the city tonight to purchase the last book I will need for Biblical School.  I have an entire bookcase full of the books I have purchased over the last four years.  They are some of my most precious possessions.  I think this book is likely to be one of my favorites.  It explains the Book of Revelation and how it relates to the Mass.  I hope that after I have finished it, I will be able to be more articulate about this.  

So, again, it is late, I have just gotten home after being gone all day, and I am exhausted.  I cannot write anything sensible when I am in this state.  

All day long today, I have been mulling something over.  In June, an icon class, given by world class iconographers, will be held in Denver.  Over the course of the six day class, each student is taught to write an icon.  It is not called "painting" because it is not a creative process... it is more of a sacred transcription.  It is done in prayerful silence.  The icons are made completely with 13th century methodology.  The paints are egg tempura, made on the spot, with eggs and pure pigments.  The gold haloes are made of gold leaf, and then burnished for hours - which is a very tricky process.  The lectures are part technique, but mostly sermon.   I participated in this class 5 years ago.  All beginners were to do the St. Michael the Archangel icon , and so I did.  It is my one and only icon.  I would dearly love to do another.  I would dearly love to take this class and spend another week in this incredible way.  

What's the hitch?  The cost.  $750.  That probably doesn't sound like much, but believe me, it IS much.  I have got a million expensive things coming up this year.  

I think I might have just answered my own question.  I will still prayerfully consider.... 

And I will go to bed.  

God Bless You all.  

Monday, April 4, 2011


Tonight we started the first of four weeks of study of the Book of Revelation.  It is my last four weeks of the four years of Biblical School.  And it feels like the Book of Revelation is the culmination of the four years and all of the books of the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament.  

It is the mass.  

There from the mouth of Our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ.  

Sunday, April 3, 2011

April Sunday

Yesterday the sun shone so splendidly.  Several of my tulips flowered.  Many of the leaves on the trees have burst forth.  And today it snows.  We need moisture of any form desperately, so I shan't complain, not even if it freezes my lilacs.  

I am extremely out of sorts today.  I have withdrawn to my home.  I made a pot of soup, and it is bubbling away on the stove.  I will nap in a minute.  I have two weeks of Bible School homework to complete before class tomorrow night.  Including  the first part of Revelation. 

My son left the US on Friday morning.  Heading for Kuwait, and from there, they will send him where they need him.  Likely Afghanistan or Iraq.  Or maybe even Kuwait.  I could live with that.  Iraq would be my second choice. When my son called to tell me he was about to get on the plane, I actually acted the fool and told him there was still time to change his mind.  It is not like when he was in active duty and that would have constituted desertion.  But he is a man, and a good man,  and he is going off to support his family and provide for their future in the best way he could find.  And I need say no more.  

I feel like I am treading water... trying as hard as I can to stay above.  My fear would like to drag me under.  Thank God I have prayer.  Thank God I have an entire church with something to do every single day.  Last night I went to adoration at an hour that is way past my normal bedtime.  But I needed to be in the presence of the Lord. and I needed to pray a rosary.  

I can no longer watch television.  I tried on Friday night and started yelling at the television when they reported on the UN workers beheaded because of the attention whore in Florida and the media who acted as his "johns".  So, I flipped channels and watched a TV show I had never seen before - Celebrity Apprentice.  I think I will get to be a lot more familiar with EWTN programming in these months.  

This morning at mass, I guess we rolled out our parish "mission."  We have a guest priest from anther state who will be here all week and gave today's homily.  It was so full of references to TV shows, I was totally lost.  I think it is sad when you need to understand the premise for "Two and a Half Men" to understand the homily at mass.  I have never watched that show and I am certain I never will.   And I have a bias against priests who stroll around the church with their cordless microphones.  

And out of  control children who are not expected to at least TRY to sit still and shut up.  I know most four year olds are not likely to (although my grandchildren can sit perfectly still and quiet for an hour because I prepare them in advance that it is the expectation and amazingly enough, they do it).  I was taught from the time I was an infant that you just were quiet and still at mass... I got hauled out a few times and spanked for deviating from that.  

I had one in front of me today, just chattering and running up and down the seat of the pew in front of me throughout the whole mass.  At one point, I covered my face with my hands in an effort to block out the distraction and focus on the consecration at the altar.    

I will take a nap now and hope that my mood will lift.  I am not sleeping well and I am feeling very alone.  Despite a day full of friends and family yesterday.  I think I am just desolate over my son being gone.

I meditated for a while on an icon in the adoration chapel yesterday.  The Virgin Mary, holding the infant Jesus, with a mournful look on her face.  Almost all icons of Mary and baby Jesus look like that.  I wish there were one that had Mary with a peaceful smile on her face, enjoying her baby.  Before he grew and was brutally killed.  

Enough out of me!  Enjoy your Sunday everyone and may God bless you.