"THEN Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God." Matthew 4:1-4

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tridentine Mass:Let's Change Just One Thing

Every time I read an article about the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite - aka the Old Mass, the Latin Mass, or Tridentine Mass - there seems to be an emphasis about how the priest turns his back to the people.
Let's just understand this: the priest is NOT turning his back on the people, he IS turning his own face to the Lord with the rest of us poor sinners, begging the Lord's mercy and favor with us and for us.

There's this kind of presumption that the Mass is a spectator sport and that we need to see the priest's performance. A priest should not perform the Mass. He should offer it, to the Lord. "Lord, accept this sacrifice," he prays and then holds the gifts up to us. Hmmm.

See the reasoning behind the priest offering the Mass ad orientem?  Towards the Lord does not necessarily mean away from the people. Let's lose the negative connotations.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Christina!

My, we were young! We were clueless newlyweds - married 9 months and five days when our honeymoon baby was born.
It was a fairly easy birth. About 13 hours start to finish. We had quite a ride to the hospital, though. It was a two hour drive. And the car broke down. We left it with a note somewhere between home and Montgomery.
Fortunately my in-laws were behind us. That time is pretty blurry for me. I know I laughed and Buddy was a wreck.

There she was all 9 pounds and a couple ounces of blonde, blue-eyed, floppy blueness. Oh, no, floppy blueness is not a good thing. So she was suctioned and whisked away and poked and prodded and given oxygen. She hates when I say what was wrong, so I won't - those of you who know, know. Those of you who don't - well, she had a lung infection.

It's strange to see a giant baby like that in a NICU. The other babies are so tiny and fragile. Our girl sure didn't look like she should be there and she didn't act sickly. Her white blood count was dangerously high, though. She was adorable. White peach fuzz, inquisitive, alert blue eye. A screech that could be heard three floors away. She had reason to scream - her little feet looked like pin cushions. There was an IV attached to her head because she was strong enough to remove them from her feet and arms. We were there all the time. And finally a week later, we were allowed to take our little Christina Marie home. We named her after our grandmothers - both strong, faith-filled women.
She was a terror. Never slept. Really the child slept maybe 6 hours a day. I don't think that's changed much. We found out when she was about a year old that she had some serious food allergies.  She outgrew them about age 7 but they have come back of late.
Christina didn't love school, but she did well in grade school. She liked spelling and we took her to the Alabama State Spelling Bee finals. That was fun. She homeschooled through high school. And then went to community college because she was bored. We should have known something was strange about this kid when she decided to take automotive mechanics.
She was the best female automotive mechanic student in Alabama. No, she really was. Skills USA Alabama winner. She did OK in Kansas City at the finals, too.
Then she left us and went away to Ave Maria University. She was awarded a full tuition and room and board scholarship. She told us she was going to take Econ or something mathematical so she could be an engineer. Something practical. But she fell in love with the Greeks and I have always told my kids to do what they love. And so that is what she majored in. Ave is a tough school and Classics is a tough major. She did reasonably well and graduated this past December. (although the ceremony didn't happen until last weekend.) And, I guess, if she ever has to, she can fall back on the automotive skills.
In the meantime, she met a nice young man.  RC Gibson. Local boy. Very kind. And determined. After a very rocky start, upon which College-In-A-Camper expounds here, they decided to get married.  
So for her graduation we gave her a wedding. And then last week, we gave her a cool key ring. To go with the keys of her new Beemer. We had no idea she was getting a car cool enough to go with the keyring. Oh. Just a joke, huh? OK. Still her keys look stunning on the new key ring. LOL
Since I am a thousand miles from home, I just don't have access to the pictures of Nin as a little girl in her spinning dresses, or her head IV or her basketball uniform or under the hood of a car. But I have this one:

Nin and RC and the Artium Baccalaureus  

Congratulations and Happy Birthday, Darling Girl. We're so glad you were sent to us and we're so proud of you!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Huff Post on Bishop Olmsted, Catholic Hospitals and Abortion

I'm not a regular reader of The Huffington Post, but from time to time I peruse the ramblings of those with whom I seriously disagree. There are other liberal discourses which are more moderate in nature and I tend to read these as they still make sense to me.
Today I read Jacob M. Appel's After St Joseph's: Are Women Still Safe in Catholic Hospitals. (I'm not linking to it, if you wanna read it, it's there. I don't want to drive traffic to their site, frankly.) There are things in this article that are just wrong.

The article decries Bishop Olmsted's (of Phoenix) dreadful treatment of an altruistic Irish sister who flagrantly ignored Church teaching and authorized by right of membership on a hospital board, an abortion for a young woman struggling with heart failure.
There are several serious problems here. As Catholics, we do not kill someone to save someone else's life. There are at times things are done that result in the death of an unborn baby, but a direct abortion is not one of them. For instance, it is permissible to take drug therapy for cancer (or any other disease) even though the treatment might result in the death of an unborn child. The drugs are not taken to cause the death of the child. (I believe in military terms that would be considered collateral damage - something which the Left stridently opposes.)

The thing that glares at me from this post, though, is that Appel writes:
"In contrast, the right of a woman to choose her own life over that of a fetus or embryo has not been seriously questioned in the United States and, except in a handful of cases involving women in comas, no American court or legislature has challenged this principle in recent memory."

That is emphatically not true. He's just wrong. Louise Marie Roth of The Huffington Post (there's only one, isn't there?) wrote about the obliteration of the pregnant woman as a person with rights in July of last year. All over this country, women are being forced to give birth by C-section by judicial order. They are not allowed to preserve their right to bodily integrity because some doctor has determined that he wants to operate. The risk of death and disease is far greater for women who give birth surgically than for women who give birth vaginally. That's a medical fact. If a doctor said I needed a C-section and I refused because I prefer to save my own life, there's a definite possibility that a court order could be handed down forcing me to risk my life in surgery.

Can't have it both ways.

The National Advocates for Pregnant Women

Even the ACLU thinks that women should retain their rights over their body.

From a spiritual perspective, my heart breaks for mothers who have to make heroic choices.I don't say this lightly having been pregnant many times. But that is what our faith is - not our Catholic religion - our faith in the Lord. Hope that He will heal our infirmities, prayers that we will be strengthened and trust that He has worked all things out for our good way before the beginning of us. This is indeed what I what I would counsel my own daughters: "Trust in the Lord, for He is good. His ways are not our ways. Trust and gather the joy from this day. If He calls you home, He had a reason. Rejoice and trust."
Hard, damn straight, that would be hard, and I hope and pray that I never have to face that. But they know and we know that to kill a tiny baby to live one's life is a desecration of the gift that is life. God is in the miracle business and I have seen enough miracles to know that He is still about that everyday.

Death is not the worst thing.

Today's bread

Since the boys have done a superb job of providing fish dinners for Friday, we haven't had pizza lately. Unless you count a quick trip to Little Caesar's the other day which everyone agreed was a waste of time and money. It's never been a favorite, but it is cheap and quick. And when you need pizza for 7 or 8 or 9 pizza-eaters, cheap is good.
But tonight, pizza is on the menu. Real pizza from our own oven stone, with a little olive oil brushed on the crust, maybe some mozzarella stuffed in the crust, some corn meal on the bottom and semolina flour (finally found a little tiny package for a large price. LOL) a little Italian sausage, some peppers, fresh tomatoes and more cheese on top.
People are wishing the day away here, drooling at the mere suggestion that pizza is forthcoming this evening.

Pictures tomorrow.

We'll make some sandwich bread, too, now that we've replenished the yeast and flour supply. 

Friday, May 14, 2010

Novena to the Holy Spirit

It's that time of year - the days between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost - there are nine. We remember the days that the Apostles spent locked in a room, feeling bereftly hopeful or hopefully bereft, praying for the Return of the King. Or for the Promised Paraclete or for anything. They are like us, and you know how we get when the Lord  does not answer in the manner we desire immediately upon hearing our Amen. Thankfully the Lord only allowed them to linger for nine days before sending the Most. Amazing. Gift. His own Holy Spirit, the Lord of Creation and inspiration and love. So the Church has a prayer for that. How cool is that? (Yes, yes, I know, the Church has a prayer for everything. Good thing, too, 'cause I have need almost all them so far...) This Novena in honor of the Holy begs Him to fill our hearts, renew our spirits, draw us closer to the Father and the Son and pour His Gifts out upon us as in the days of old. The world needs us to use these gifts, to live in the Light of the Fruits that they bear.

You can find the novena here in daily format (at least I think it will post each day) or  all in one gulp at EWTN.

  The Holy Father speaks about the days between Ascension and Pentecost.

I love the Iris in the picture above. My daughter, Cymberley, took it. I think it looks like a tongue of fire. So I think I'll leave it there until Holy Trinity Sunday. (And if you haven't made your Easter Duty, you're running out of season...LOL)

The Pope Speaks

Really the USCCB ought to do an E.F. Hutton sort of commercial...

From Pope Benedict's address to the Bishops of Portugal:

"In truth, the times in which we live demand a new missionary vigour on the part of Christians, who are called to form a mature laity, identified with the Church and sensitive to the complex transformations taking place in our world. Authentic witnesses to Jesus Christ are needed, above all in those human situations where the silence of the faith is most widely and deeply felt: among politicians, intellectuals, communications professionals who profess and who promote a monocultural ideal, with disdain for the religious and contemplative dimension of life. In such circles are found some believers who are ashamed of their beliefs and who even give a helping hand to this type of secularism, which builds barriers before Christian inspiration."

So there ya go, give up tepidity and get yourself on fire for the Gospel. It is the lukewarm for whom Jesus has the most contempt - so don't be vomited from His mouth. Love Him or hate Him, but get off the fence.

I love when the Holy Father exhorts the Bishops (and us) to holiness:

"In fact, when, in the view of many people, the Catholic faith is no longer the common patrimony of society and, often, seen as seed threatened and obscured by the "gods" and masters of this world, only with great difficulty can the faith touch the hearts of people by means of simple speeches or moral appeals, and even less by a general appeal to Christian values. The courageous and integral appeal to principles is essential and indispensable; yet simply proclaiming the message does not penetrate to the depths of people's hearts, it does not touch their freedom, it does not change their lives. What attracts is, above all, the encounter with believing persons who, through their faith, draw others to the grace of Christ by bearing witness to him. The words of Pope John Paul II come to mind: "The Church needs above all great currents, movements and witnesses of holiness among the ‘Christifideles' [faithful of Christ] because it is from holiness that is born every authentic renewal of the Church, all intelligent enrichment of the faith and of the Christian life, the vital and fecund reactualization of Christianity with the needs of man, a renewed form of presence in the heart of human existence and of the culture of nations (Address for the XX Anniversary of the Promulgation of the Conciliar Decree "Apostolicam Actuositatem", 18 November 1985). One could say, "the Church has need of these great currents, movements and witnesses of holiness..., but there are none!"

In this regard, I confess to you the pleasant surprise that I had in making contact with the movements and the new ecclesial communities. Watching them, I had the joy and the grace to see how, at a moment of weariness in the Church, at a time when we were hearing about "the winter of the Church", the Holy Spirit was creating a new springtime, awakening in young people and adults alike the joy of being Christian, of living in the Church, which is the living Body of Christ."

The whole address is here: Whispers in the Loggia.  Read it twice, the Pope uses word in the tradition of Chaucer - each word is packed with meaning.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The People on the River

Hum it with me (my kids don't let me sing...LOL) "rollin', rollin' rollin' on the river..."
This weekend we landed in Granite City, Illinois. We tossed a coin - fishing or the attractions of downtown St Louis. With my boys, fishing always wins. This time, I am also glad. The area we're in is definitely the outskirts of an urban area, but it's still reasonably *safe* and secluded. The campground is old. But the lake is well-stocked! We've seen some serious catfish come out of there and caught a couple and a stringer of little blue gills ("Shark bait, oooohaha").
And the full-time folks here are really special. Generous, welcoming, sharing hard-working folks. The boys have had fishing lessons and played football and had a bang-up time. We're here one, maybe two, more days as we chose to wait out the tornadoes predicted for western Missouri today and wait for Bud to get back from Mississippi.It's been a relaxing and fun couple days. We were honored to be invited to a fish fry. Yummy.

We did see a very tiny bit of downtown St Louis. We went to early Mass at the gorgeous and stately Old Cathedral.  It is such a beautiful church and home of a massive and magnificent pipe organ - I am sure it is some ancient piece of historic significance. I cried at the end because they recessional was "Let There be Peace on Earth" and I have not heard that accompanied by a spectacular pipe organ since my dad's funeral in 1984. It was a stunning rendition - proving that a pipe organ improves almost anything. "Peace is Flowing like a River" still sounds hokey even with a grand instrument and a well-trained, probably professional,  mezzo-soprano. It is a shame the song selections did not enhance the either the voices or the instrument.
Anyway, check out this photo of the Church. We didn't know that this was in the backyard until we got there.
We walked around it and saw The River and the riverboats. Bud had to get back and get to Tupelo, MS, so not enough day to explore it thoroughly. Perhaps tomorrow if I can determine the availability/accesibilty of RV parking in one of the most harrowing places I have to drive. (It's about 5th on the list, Kansas City is first, then the Twin Cities. I am sure this will change when I have to drive through Jersey. LOL)
If you are a mom, I hope your special day, was well, special.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Lovely, Quiet Dilemma

Oh, what to do? My whole bunch of race fans has abandoned me to go to the races.
I could spend the entire evening:
reading (Don't Know Much About the Civil War (trying to keep a step ahead of David), Jesus of Nazareth, something lighter? Understood Betsy I think Dom would enjoy this story.)
sewing - I have a skirt cut out and two shirts that I'd like to make.
sleeping - we've been getting up at 4:00 every morning for the past two weeks. Yuk.
Or I could watch one of the movies on my instant Netflix queue. 
Or read blogs.
No lovely Calgon-take-me-away-bath - there's no tub in the motorhome. Or this campground.

Hello, self, what would you like to do with these three hours?
Prayers, movie, story.
Sounds restful. ZZZZZZ

Sophie's Choice revisited

A couple thousand years ago or so, a young unmarried lady finding herself in - shall we say - the family way, could look forward to ostracism at best, stoning-until-dead at worst. Now we would all agree that a woman shouldn't be stoned to death if she has compromised her virginity.
(This does still happen in certain "free and peaceful" parts of the world. You knew that, right?)
But whaddya think oughtta happen really?
Should a young woman be transported by the Department of Human Services against her will to another state for a late term abortion? (24 weeks! Babies born at 24 weeks regularly survive with lots of medical intervention.) Now why the state which legally must support a woman's right to choose, do such a thing? They told this girl it's because she already has a toddler. Obviously she had her first child at a very young age. So?
So kill the second one or take the toddler away was her option from her social worker. Oh, yeah that's choice. Like Sophie's Choice  (Be warned - if you have never read this book it is very graphic, tragic and horrific).  And what chance does a child who is herself in foster care have against a government?
Your reaction is just wrong if you think the state was acting within its power or has a right to terminate pregnancies at will. No government has the right to do such a thing.
And you didn't really think this: well, the little chit probably couldn't take care of another one, you did not.
Or think that that is just one more welfare baby *you*  don't have to pay for.
I hope not.

It is important, no, it is imperative that we never come to place where we feel justified in thinking in such a vein. "An injustice done to one is an injustice to all."
Thinking like this, we become less fully human, we degrade ourselves and allow a *force,* an *it,* to have control of our lives and our society. 

I am going to pray that the Lord sends this girl a mentor, that she sues the state of Pennsylvania, wins millions of dollars and has a wonderful, happy life. I am going to pray that the trauma of this doesn't snap her mind and render her unable to care for her child and further unable to care for herself.
You do what you can, too. It could happen to you.

Should the Pope go to England?

A friend asked me this question this morning. Some one had asked her, based on this article by Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.
Here's what I think. Please remember, I am totally inadequate to armchair quarterback the Vatican. Bill Donohue probably is, too. (Since neither one of us has been elected Supreme Pontiff...)

From St John's Gospel:
"When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."

"He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." (Jesus) said to him, "Feed my sheep.  Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."

He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, "Follow me.""
From St. Luke:
"All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way."
I think he should go - I think he will go unless the Lord intervenes. Jesus would go. From those who know him personally, he is a very humble, holy and gentle man. Like the Lord. But I do wonder if he doesn't kneel in front of the Lord and say "I am an old man, Lord, I have done all you have asked. Fiat voluntas tua." I bet he's shed some tears for those of us in the world who have turned away. That these persons are so adamant is a manifestation that the Holy Father is indeed Holy.
Pray for our Papa. We may be at one of those terrible crossroads in history and he may be the most visible casualty.
The Queen will not arrest the Pope - good heavens, can you imagine!? But the barbarians may be at the gate and they will demonstrate and fuss and carry on. The children of Moloch demand a blood offering, it seems, and so in His wisdom, we may see things we cannot imagine and be asked to do things we think we cannot do.
We may be called to live this:
"Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."
It is awful. Just awful. That guy running Iran is not so badly treated. Mankind is merely passing through one of its phases of lunacy (brought on, no doubt, by the climatic changes we have caused) and we have the good or ill fortune to witness it. We can do so actively by praying and proclaiming the Good News anyway, by being salt and light, by loving those who hate us and blessing those who curse us.

About Me

Welcome! The most important bread is the Bread of Life. I am Catholic and do my best to know, understand and live what that means that I might "know Him, love Him and serve Him." My husband, Bud, and I have been married for 24 years and we have seven children. Because of his job, we travel the country in an RV with five of them, learning as we go.