Monday, February 28, 2011
It's our regular 5 week visit to the hair salon. We're tag-teaming to make the night feel less long. I arrive first with the "littles" and my husband comes later with the big boys and at the end of it 6 heads are lighter of hair.
It's my turn and I sit at the chair and station of a long time friend. I've known her since before the birth of my "littles", probably 7 years now. We shared the same Catholic school and parish for a while and now she asks about homeschooling and I ask about the old school as she snips away, cutting layers.
It's the women at the station beside us, however and their conversation which brings a different cut. In our pauses in conversation and I am sure without knowing anything about me, (I am a stranger to them both) I hear them talking about homeschooling, stay at home mothers, a woman with 3 young children. I think I detect my sweet and always gracious friend smiling a bit uncomfortably and even though it's not stilted conversation, I feel like she's talking so I don't have to hear them. In her kindness, and perhaps as a warning flare shot over their heads, she asks if I let the kids have the day off the other snow day. No acknowledgement from that camp, they continue.
I'm not angry at their words, rather sad. We all harbor misconceptions of one sort or the other. I am sure I am guilty of some. Someone is surely sad over me and what I think...
These women beside me think that only if a mom is running OUT of the house to various co-ops, "not just one place but a different place for each subject" and enrolled in multiple sports or extra-curriculars is she meeting that concern for socializing her homeschooler....she says, from her side.
On my side I hear...Unless kids are with groups of other kids their exact same age and running here and there at a frenetic pace then they can not be evolving correctly for the working world. Really? Does my husband work with people all his same age? No. Is all the busyness of multiple commitments really good for our kids? Are peers their same age really the only suitable companions and even the ones that will bring out the best in them? Do their classmates have their best interests at heart?
And my bias wonders...Are the children she knows and approves of in her life close to their parents? or their siblings? Do they have time for family dinners all together? Are these kids attached to their electronic devices, detached from their family, eating alone and maybe experimenting with risky and adult behaviors that seem to be taking place earlier and earlier in schools? And there you have it...I've springboarded and jumped off into my own pool of perceptions.
From her side she says.....that she's seen some homeschoolers who are not socialized. Some that "aren't right." She says that she's the type that would go crazy if she didn't work. She could never do it (homeschooling) and she laughs. There's always a laugh after that line.
I hear, on my side.... that she thinks that weird kids or shy kids somehow don't exist in schools! Really? No weirdos or shy kids to ALSO be found in schools or any other microcosm of societal life?! Why would she go crazy being around her own kids, I wonder? What are they like? Sure, at some point even the saints drove their parents crazy but why wouldn't you want to be with your children? Why wouldn't you want to take the effort to guide your own flesh and blood into being the type of person that others would like to be around? Should be rewarding work indeed!
Every homeschooler starts their story off by saying that they didn't think they could do it. Surely there are days that they still find hard. But whose job doesn't have hard days...days when we doubt our abilities? And if everyone has one-of-those-days, then teachers must have them too! When they do they have to recommit, like anyone else, hunkering down and remotivating themself to recommit to the job. The main difference is that when a homeschool mom recommits to homeschooling, she does so because she also loves her children. No teacher can or will ever LOVE a child and commit to a child like a parent will.
And my bias wonders...if she really saying that she is unwilling to and "could never" serve her children/family and their needs ahead of hers? Could she really not find it in her to use the determination or consistency she brings to other areas of her life to overcome any obstacles she may perceive to her being able to homeschool? She needn't worry about feeling under-educated. Studies show that even parents with minimal personal education still homeschool children that test percentages above their public-schooled counterparts on standardized tests!
And in wondering how it could be said that "not everyone can homeschool" in light of the statistics on it's success and parents abilities to make sacrifices elsewhere in their lives I once again springboard and jump off into my own pool of perceptions and judgements.
Perhaps I feel saddest when, as my cut is finishing up and thankfully I'll be missing out on any more observations from their side she says.... (speaking of some other woman) "she has three little children and I've got wonder if she know what she's gotten into. I mean 3...and little. What was she thinkin'?"
On my side I hear....that she doesn't envy this woman. Really? I do. Sure when they're little and needier and there's multiple diapers it's challenging. But I miss that time...the cute, cuddly time that's gone in a flash. Everything they say is funny and they want to hug and kiss you and they look so precious when they sleep... and when they giggle... and when they raise their arms up to you. Someday when I am old I hope they surround me. Because my mother told me that you'll always regret not having more children -you'll never regret having them! My mother always craves us all to be together, she likes our company. My mother in law, who is an only child says she'd never wish that on a child and wishes she had siblings, especially now that her parents are gone...but she does have 4 sons who love her and are a part of her life.
And my bias wonders...the woman talking beside me, was her family life not so happy as mine? Why else would she so devalue motherhood? Did her mother somehow fail her? Did her sister ditch her at school because it was uncool to talk to someone in her grade. Is she projecting some hurt from her family of origin that makes it impossible for her to imagine someone else embracing the miracle of motherhood? Did she cut herself off to love?
Returning home I sit here to sort out my thoughts. The woman beside me spoke her thoughts. I'll never know why she has them. But my inbox tells me, via an email, that her opinions are a prevalent opinion of the world today. Natalie Portman's oscar acceptance speech is criticized because she references her impending motherhood as being her most important role and women...other women...find fault in that making cutting remarks!? Really?
In my sadness my words are unspoken, but written here...perhaps equally cutting. And I am not blind to the fact that my loving friend cutting my hair on my side is a working mother who sends her kids to school and they seem to be turning into fine young men and women, like my own...there is no snipping between us.
Somehow we share sides...swimmingly.
Jump in the pool...the water's fine.
Friday, February 25, 2011
Charlotte was posting about Holy Water Founts in homes and it got me thinking about ours.
We have 3, but only one is in constant use. My husband babysits it dutifully and it is rarely without fresh, blessed, Holy Water. When our gallon jug gets low we invite our dear priest over again for dinner and he blesses new water and salt for our home.
We do this because Holy Water is a sacramental of the Catholic Church.
At Saints.SQPN.com it says....
"Holy water - A sacramental blessed by a priest to invoke God‘s blessing on those who use it.
There are four kinds
* ordinary holy water blessed by the priest for the sprinkling of the people before Mass, for use at the door of the church, for the blessing of persons and things in the church and at home, sometimes used with salt, as a symbol of wisdom and of preservation from corruption
* Baptismal water, in which the oil of catechumens and the holy chrism are mingled, used only in the administration of Baptism
* water of consecration, or Gregorian water
* Easter water
There is an indulgence for using it. Water is the natural element for cleansing; and symbolically it denotes interior purification. It has been used in many religions. The laws of Moses enjoined the sprinkling of the people, the sacrifices, etc. In the Christian Church its use goes back probably to the 2nd century. Holy water is usually blessed just before the principal Mass on Sunday, but may be blessed at any other time. The priest reads several prayers, including an exorcism of the salt and the water, and puts the salt into the water in the form of a threefold cross, in the name of the three Persons of the Blessed Trinity. He then asks God‘s blessing on it."
Holy Water is a reminder of our Baptism. Using it is a good habit as it remits venial sins when we bless ourselves with it and so we instruct our children to always do so before Mass to worthily receive Our Lord in Holy Communion.
It is a protection, too.
St. Teresa of Avila attested to the power of this holy water, and in her autobiography writes:
"From long experience I have learned that there is nothing like holy water to put devils to flight and prevent them from coming back again. They also flee from the Cross, but return; so holy water must have great virtue."
So, our main font is right by the front door of our center hall colonial which means it is right by the staircase.
My heart warms when, without mention, my children "visit" it nightly before heading up for bed. Long ago, for the older ones and still for the younger ones we tell them of how it can help their fears.
Sometimes, I will visit it during the school day when I need to refocus, asking God for forgiveness. We turn to it when we're going out the door and want to take a blessing out into the world. This next one is by the garage door.
And off our master bedroom, in the prayer room approaching our kneeler is the 3rd and final font. I think we'd feel lost without them in our home.
The Devil Hates it
Holy Water is a powerful spiritual armor in times of temptations. St. Teresa of Avila, whose temptations were as terrible as anyone’s, has left us these wise words of counsel:
“I have found by experience that there is nothing from which the devils fly more quickly than from Holy Water. They also fly from the Cross, but they return almost immediately. Certainly, the power of Holy Water must be great; for my part, my soul feels particular comfort in taking it, and very generally a refreshment and interior delight which I cannot express.”
Long before St. Teresa of Avila, Holy Water was a sacramental in the Catholic Church. Water, which as a symbol of purification held a high place in biblical times, has retained its rich symbolism.
According to the Apostolic Constitutions, a document dating back well over 15 centuries, the use of Holy Water is attributed to a recommendation issued by St. Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist.
The lives of the saints are packed with instances of heavenly protection and blessing secured through the reverent use of Holy Water.
Knew it for a Good Thing
The saints knew, as we know by faith, that Holy Water is sanctified by the blessing of the Church, that it benefits the faithful by obtaining actual grace and the remission of temporal punishment; that it is a most effective aid in all conflicts with the powers of Hell.
A calm and reverent tracing of the Sign of the Cross with Holy Water upon oneself will often prove most helpful in subduing a temptation.
In the Home
Take an empty bottle to the parish church, fill it with Holy Water and bring it back home for the spiritual and temporal protection of the family. It should not be tucked away in a remote corner but be made available to all.
Holy Water is a sacramental that helps us to be sorry for our sin. Because of the blessing attached to it, the Holy Church strongly urges its use upon Her children; especially when dangers threaten such as fire, storms, sickness and other calamities. Every home should always have a supply of Holy Water in it.
Holy Water has its great power and efficacy from the prayers of the Church which its Divine Founder always accepts with readiness.
These are some of the petitions the priest makes to God
when he blesses water
May this, your creature, become an agent of divine grace in the service of your mysteries, to drive away evil spirits and dispel sickness, so that everything in the homes and other places where your faithful gather that are sprinkled with this water may be freed of all uncleanness and delivered from every harm (Let no breath of infection, no disease bearing air remain in these places). May the wiles of the lurking enemy prove of no avail. Let whatever might menace the safety and peace of those who live here be put to flight by the sprinkling of this water so that the health obtained by calling on your Holy Name may be made secure against all attack. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Disposes us to be sorry for our sin
Because Holy Water is one of the Church’s sacramentals, it disposes us to be sorry for our sin. Keep your soul beautifully pure in God’ sight by making the Sign of the Cross reverently while saying:
“By this Holy Water and by Thy Precious Blood wash away all my sins, O Lord.”
Dispels the Devil
The devil hates Holy Water because of its power over him. He cannot long abide in a place or near a person that is often sprinkled with this blessed water.
In case after case of possession, both exorcist and onlookers are in complete agreement on this particular point: it is impossible to sprinkle Holy Water on any man or woman in a state of possession without deadly effect on the possessing spirit. “You are burning me, you are burning me!” he cries. There is thus an active power in the Holy Water which cancels out hidden demonic activities.
Do your dear ones live at a distance?
Holy Water, sprinkled with faith and piety, can move the Sacred Heart of Jesus, to bless your loved ones and protect them from all harm of soul and body. When worry and fear take possession of your heart, hasten to your Holy Water font, and give your dear ones the benefit of the Church’s prayers.
The Holy Souls long for it
Only in Purgatory can one understand ardently the poor souls longing for Holy Water. If we desire to make a host of intercessors for ourselves, let us try to realize now some of their yearnings, and never forget them at the Holy Water font.
When sprinkling Holy Water for your loved ones, your friends, etc., do not forget the priests, especially those of your own parish, who have served the sacraments and holy masses. In gratitude, you should give them sprinkling of Holy Water several times daily and have Masses offered up for the repose of their souls.
Sprinkle a few drops of Holy Water and pray fervently: “O God, in Your Mercy multiply these drops into as many drops of Holy Water as there are souls in Purgatory, and allow them not to fear the pains of Purgatory, as long as the moisture of Holy Water is present.”
What some parents do
Some parents make it a regular routine to sprinkle their sleeping children with Holy Water. Others install Holy Water fonts in all the bedrooms and encourage all the members of the family to bless themselves, morning and night and during the day.
Whenever the faithful make the Sign of the Cross devoutly with Holy Water and pray: “ In the Name of the Father, etc.” they gain a partial indulgence.
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Word crafting is an art and I admire an intricate phrase to spark my imagination.
A favorite, from my youth, is William Blake's AUGURIES OF INNOCENCE. Somehow those first few lines have always hauntingly remained with me...memorized with no effort.
Listen and read the words below, the ultimate "do unto others" and rage on innocence lost.
(Auguries means omens or divination and innocence is self explanatory. The poem, by William Blake, is a series of proverbs or paradoxes that tell of innocence and evil things.)
Auguries of Innocence
To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
A robin redbreast in a cage
Puts all heaven in a rage.
A dove-house filled with doves and pigeons
Shudders hell through all its regions.
A dog starved at his master's gate
Predicts the ruin of the state.
A horse misused upon the road
Calls to heaven for human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted hare
A fibre from the brain does tear.
A skylark wounded in the wing,
A cherubim does cease to sing.
The game-cock clipped and armed for fight
Does the rising sun affright.
Every wolf's and lion's howl
Raises from hell a human soul.
The wild deer wandering here and there
Keeps the human soul from care.
The lamb misused breeds public strife,
And yet forgives the butcher's knife.
The bat that flits at close of eve
Has left the brain that won't believe.
The owl that calls upon the night
Speaks the unbeliever's fright.
He who shall hurt the little wren
Shall never be beloved by men.
He who the ox to wrath has moved
Shall never be by woman loved.
The wanton boy that kills the fly
Shall feel the spider's enmity.
He who torments the chafer's sprite
Weaves a bower in endless night.
The caterpillar on the leaf
Repeats to thee thy mother's grief.
Kill not the moth nor butterfly,
For the Last Judgment draweth nigh.
He who shall train the horse to war
Shall never pass the polar bar.
The beggar's dog and widow's cat,
Feed them, and thou wilt grow fat.
The gnat that sings his summer's song
Poison gets from Slander's tongue.
The poison of the snake and newt
Is the sweat of Envy's foot.
The poison of the honey-bee
Is the artist's jealousy.
The prince's robes and beggar's rags
Are toadstools on the miser's bags.
A truth that's told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so:
Man was made for joy and woe;
And when this we rightly know
Through the world we safely go.
Joy and woe are woven fine,
A clothing for the soul divine.
Under every grief and pine
Runs a joy with silken twine.
The babe is more than swaddling bands,
Throughout all these human lands;
Tools were made and born were hands,
Every farmer understands.
Every tear from every eye
Becomes a babe in eternity;
This is caught by females bright
And returned to its own delight.
The bleat, the bark, bellow, and roar
Are waves that beat on heaven's shore.
The babe that weeps the rod beneath
Writes Revenge! in realms of death.
The beggar's rags fluttering in air
Does to rags the heavens tear.
The soldier armed with sword and gun
Palsied strikes the summer's sun.
The poor man's farthing is worth more
Than all the gold on Afric's shore.
One mite wrung from the labourer's hands
Shall buy and sell the miser's lands,
Or if protected from on high
Does that whole nation sell and buy.
He who mocks the infant's faith
Shall be mocked in age and death.
He who shall teach the child to doubt
The rotting grave shall ne'er get out.
He who respects the infant's faith
Triumphs over hell and death.
The child's toys and the old man's reasons
Are the fruits of the two seasons.
The questioner who sits so sly
Shall never know how to reply.
He who replies to words of doubt
Doth put the light of knowledge out.
The strongest poison ever known
Came from Caesar's laurel crown.
Nought can deform the human race
Like to the armour's iron brace.
When gold and gems adorn the plough
To peaceful arts shall Envy bow.
A riddle or the cricket's cry
Is to doubt a fit reply.
The emmet's inch and eagle's mile
Make lame philosophy to smile.
He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne'er believe, do what you please.
If the sun and moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out.
To be in a passion you good may do,
But no good if a passion is in you.
The whore and gambler, by the state
Licensed, build that nation's fate.
The harlot's cry from street to street
Shall weave old England's winding sheet.
The winner's shout, the loser's curse,
Dance before dead England's hearse.
Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born.
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.
We are led to believe a lie
When we see not through the eye
Which was born in a night to perish in a night,
When the soul slept in beams of light.
God appears, and God is light
To those poor souls who dwell in night,
But does a human form display
To those who dwell in realms of day.
"Blake, even more than Milton, is the poet of Righteous Fury: at times,
his indignation with all that is corrupt in his country and his religion
spills unchecked into the pages of his work. Coupled with his vivid,
often hallucinatory imagery and his deceptively simple syntax, this has
resulted in a number of wonderful poems which are unparalleled in their
power and honesty.
The language is simple, yet powerful; the thoughts are direct enough to make an impact, yet subtle enough to avoid being trite moralizings; the poem as a whole is a moral masterpiece."
"The remainder of the poem is basic imagery, each animal representing a different part of the humanized world. Below is a list of a few of the key associations:
Dog – the beggar
Horse – the slave
Cock – the soldier
Singing – an inward, spiritual possession
Lamb’s submission – Jesus’ sacrifice for mankind
Bat – human spectre
Owl – humankind lost in the darkness, fearing an unknown God
Caterpillar – humankind emerging from nature’s womb, the exit from Eden
Pass the polar bar – enter a new world
Waves – the sea of time and space
Emmet and Eagle – perception from close and afar; physical and imaginative perception"
Finding these thoughts on the internet and the religious tone of his work had me wondering about Blake's faith. I found that Chesterton wrote on that.
Post about a favorite poem and poetry books of yours.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
This is a porcelain statue from my Nana. I love the image of Our Lady, with Jesus on her lap, a book open and a bird resting there.
I am thinking of it this week because warmer weather came and my mornings are filled with bird song to wake me.
Somewhere, a while back, I ran across an art site with Marian images and one was called something like Our Lady and the yellow bird or blue bird....I can't remember. But this statue is a depiction of it, I think. I am still searching for the image and the story behind it.
Any ideas, dear readers?
Hoping you are having some signs of Spring, too.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Monday, February 14, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Opening the lid of the bird feeder...
Climbing in for a claustrophobic snack...
Swinging, not from the flying trapeze but rather my clawed screen to bridge his way to the seed!
Crazy squirrels always welcome here.
Joining Barb in 52 weeks of daily life in pictures: trials and celebrations,
the extraordinary and mundane --
whatever is unique to the week.
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
When I made my confirmation, I asked her to be my sponsor. As a gift to me that day she gave me a silver rosary she had blessed by Pope Pius XII. Yet, she struggled with her faith and was honest about that to me.
The day before she died, First Friday our family went to Mass and Confession, praying for her and when the call came that things were worsening it was providential that we were able to use the family rosary to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet for her at the hour of Mercy. The hands of each of her great niece and nephews each held and lead a decade...for her soul for the hour of her death. "Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world. Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world."
Tomorrow the boys will be on the altar serving her funeral Mass and we will pray for her soul again, as we should. The Catholic faith is about death. We believe in the life yet to come, the eternal life. This will be a Catholic homeschooling day. Burying the dead, praying for the dearly departed are Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy and +living+ our faith. What a rich faith we have....
Beyond that we also believe in the tradition of the Gregorian Masses.
GREGORIAN MASSES--WHAT THEY ARE AND WHY WE SHOULD HAVE THEM OFFERED!
By author Susan Tassone
The Mass Heals!
We hear stories of people who have been healed in body and we are in awe! We seldom consider how much Jesus does to heal souls suffering on earth and more so the souls suffering in Purgatory. A place which none of us have seen and to which many of us could go. We are invited to act on what Our Lady and the Saints are telling us!
Our Lady at one of her apparitions has said, "Most souls go to Purgatory, many go to Hell, and only a few go directly to Heaven." She also tells us that we gain "new intercessors" when we pray for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. They become our nearest, sincerest, and dearest friends on earth and in Heaven.
Christ told St. Faustina, "All these souls are greatly loved by Me. They are making retribution to My justice. It is in your power to bring relief. Draw all the indulgences from the treasury of My Church and offer them on their behalf. Oh, if you only know the torments they suffer."
We do not stop to think about the physical and spiritual healing through the Eucharist. Today, many are discovering how the Eucharist for the deceased also heals the living as they come into deeper relationship with Jesus. Dr. Kenneth McCall has over 1000 cases of emotional or physical healing occurring with clients by offering a Mass for their deceased loved ones. The Mass heals the living and the dead!
Our Lady states, "If we get to church early, and if we spend 10-15 minutes with Our Lord instead of leaving quickly like you do, there would be more miracles in your life and fewer sicker people among you." The power of prayer is grabbing the headlines. An Arizona journal reports that "intercessory prayer" produced measurable improvement in the medical outcome of critically ill patients. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the highest act of worship and the highest form of prayer. St. John Chrysostom says, "Christ is the victim that gives solace to the dead."
So what are you doing for our dear deceased loved ones? Who do you miss the most? Who do you wish you could have done more for in their life? Who hurt you? Who helped you the most spiritually or temporally? Have a Mass offered for them! The Council of Trent tells us, "The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Perpetual Sacrifice, is the greatest of all suffrages for the Holy Souls."
A great avenue to have Masses offered is through the Missions. By offering your Masses through the Missions you are providing bread and wine for the Eucharist for a priest in mission countries. These offerings also help with liturgical expenses, books for seminarians, and ministries of the Church. These priests depend on your Masses as their lifeline. Can we help them? Can we help Christ continue His mission on and beyond this earth. And when we do help we are also being merciful to ourselves! Many parish Mass Intention Books are filled years ahead. We have an opportunity to help our deceased loved ones and our missionaries spread the Gospel and bring the Eucharist to God's beloved poor.The Eucharist is the source and summit of all Christian life. Let us be missionaries of the Eucharist for the Holy Souls languishing in Purgatory.
What are Gregorian Masses? The name is derived from Pope St. Gregory the Great who was the first to popularize this pious practice. St. Gregory relates in his Dialogues how, when he had finished the series of thirty Masses for a departed Monk, the monk appeared to tell him he had thus gained entry into glory on completion of the Gregorian Masses. The hallowed tradition has been declared "a pious and reasonable belief of the faithful" on the authority of the Sacred Roman Congregation on indulgences. The Gregorian Masses are offered for ONE DECEASED SOUL...not a couple or family. PUT THEM IN YOUR WILLS!
As you will appreciate, few priests by reason of their work are free and able to offer the 30 consecutive Masses of the Gregorian series without interruption. Hence, it requires extra time to arrange to have the Gregorian Masses scheduled as this cannot be done usually in a place where there are only a few priests. This is why they are usually offered through the "Missions." The customary offering for the uninterrupted series of 30 daily consecutive Masses.
Remember to have Masses offered for yourselves, special occasions, during the Holidays. It is refreshing surprise to give someone the gift of prayer! St. Anselm tells us that those we hear or have offered during life are more profitable than those offered for us after death. In this way we shall not be at the mercy of those who remain behind. There is much truth in the proverb which says: "A candle placed before us gives more light than ten candles placed behind us." Only by the means of the Mass can we nourish the hope of being received into Heaven immediately after death, without having to pass through the cleansing flames of Purgatory.
St. Gregory points out in his story of his life that he was instructed by God in the benefit of these thirty masses. He recommends the practice of this devotion various times.
St. Vincent Ferrer in his writings states that he had thirty consecutive masses celebrated for his deceased sister whom he saw delivered from purgatory.
Pope Benedict XIII praised this practice.
Several religious orders articulate in their rules and constitutions that thirty Gregorian masses be said for every deceased member. Carmelites, Domincans, Nuns of the Visitation, and others follow this observance.
One can find in the Sacred Congregation of Indulgences that Gregorian Masses are good and beneficial. It is the same as one getting a mass for a particular intention and of course one has to have the right spiritual disposition of faith. With regard to Gregorian Masses, it is a series of thirty masses in a row, consecutive for one individual only. It is not something that is magical.
It is approved by the Catholic Church as “speedily efficacious by the Divine Mercy” for the deliverance of a soul from purgatory, a practice that is pious and reasonable.
Please join me in praying for the Holy Souls. We are all on our way to dying. It is inevitable and I pray that we are prepared and strengthened by our faith.
Friday, February 4, 2011
I have often felt the call to pray for priests.
Heavy on my heart lately is the need to do so.
Eventhough my focus of late has been on praying for priests, how they +need+ our prayers....I still became choked up today at the "coincidence" that upon leaving the confessional box the forgiving priest asked me to pray for him!
the extraordinary and mundane --
whatever is unique to the week.
This week, it was trials...
FAITH. It is tested. It is hard to have it, at times. It is necessary!
FAITH is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. ~ Hebrews 11.1
Christ suffered and died. The Church, the Body of Christ suffers. It is crucified too, in many ways. We should expect this. Our faith tells us we and our Church must suffer.
I remember our Pastor saying many a time, "What makes you think you should be comfortable, that you shouldn't suffer? Offer up your suffering. Our Lord will use it." (He would say this anytime a child's voice would annoy some at Mass. And then he would bellow, "Don't silence the children, that's what Planned Parenthood does! It silences the cries of babes.")
And this week, I am reminded of my pastor, of the reality that our faith, our Church suffers and Catholics see value in that...because Christ did. He is THE WAY, the Truth and The Life.
PLEASE, pray for priests.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Please pray for priests, they really do need it! The evil one has a target on their backs and knows exactly how to reach their human weaknesses.I needed to seek this article out today, our Church suffers. It is the Body of Christ and it too will be crucified....
Scandals by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen
Every now and then people come across a counterfeit bill, but I never knew anyone who, because of it, argued that the United States currency was worthless. Astronomers have seen spots on the sun, but I have yet to hear of one who denied that the sun is the light of the world. But I know many who pick out the failings and sins of a few Catholics and then say: “But, my dear, they don’t tell you everything! The Church is really the work of the devil.”
This extreme point of view starts with a fact: There are scandals. For example, some Catholic husbands and wives are unfaithful; some Catholic politicians are more crooked than those who have no religion; some Catholic boys steal; some Catholic girls worship the same saints as pagan girls: movie heroes or band leaders; some Catholic industrialists are selfish and hardhearted and totally indifferent to the rights of workers; some Catholic labor leaders are more interested in keeping their leadership by annual strikes than in cooperating for social justice. Then in the Papacy, there is Alexander VI.
What does all this prove, but that Our Dear Lord has espoused humanity as it is, rather than as we would like it to be! He never expected His Mystical Body the Church to be without scandals because He Himself was the first scandal. It was a terrible scandal for those who knew Him to be God to see Him crucified and go down to seeming defeat, at the moment His enemies challenged Him to prove His Divinity by coming down from the Cross. No wonder He had to beg His followers not to be scandalized by Him. If the human nature of Our Lord could suffer physical defeat and be a scandal, why should there not be scandals in Our Lord’s Mystical Body made up of poor mortals such as we? If He permitted thirst, pain and a death sentence to affect His Physical Body, why should He not permit mystical and moral weaknesses such as loss of faith, sin, scandals, heresies, schisms, and sacrileges to affect His Mystical Body? When these things do happen, it does not prove that the Mystical Body the Church is not Divine in its inmost nature, any more than the Crucifixion of Our Lord proved He is not Divine. Because our hands are dirty, the whole body is not polluted. The scandals of the Mystical Body the Church no more destroy its substantial holiness than the Crucifixion destroyed the substantial wholeness of Christ’s Physical Body. The Old Testament prophecy fulfilled on Calvary was that not a bone of His Body would be broken. His flesh would hang like purple rags about Him, wounds like poor dumb mouths would speak their pain with blood, pierced hands and feet would open up torrents of redemptive life – but His substance, his bones, they would be sound. So with His Mystical Body. Not a bone of it shall ever be broken; the substance of Her doctrines will always be pure, though the flesh of some of her doctors fail; the substance of Her discipline will be sound, though the passion of some of her disciples rebel; the substance of Her faith will always be Divine though the flesh of some of her faithful will be so carnal. Her wounds will never be mortal, for Her Soul is Holy and Immortal, with the Immortality of Love Divine that came to Her Body on the Day of Pentecost as tongues of living fire.
Coming to one of the major scandals, let it be asked: “How could a wicked man like Alexander VI be the infallible Vicar of Christ and head of His Mystical Body the Church?” For an answer, go to the Gospel text where Our Lord changes the name of Simon to Rock, and then made Him the Rock on which He built what He called “My Church.” Our Lord on that very occasion made a distinction very few ever think of: He distinguished between infallibility or immunity from error, and impeccability or immunity from sin. Infallibility is inability to teach what is wrong; impeccability is inability to do wrong. Our Lord made the Rock infallible, but not impeccable.
Immediately after assuring Peter that he had the keys of Heaven and authority to bind and loose, Our Blessed Lord tells His Apostles that He “must go up to Jerusalem,” and “must be put to death” (Matthew 16:21). Poor, weak, human Peter, proud of his authority as the Rock draws Our Lord to his side, and begins rebuking Him, saying: “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to You” (Matthew 16:22). On hearing these words Our Lord “turned around and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an obstacle to Me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do” (Matthew 16:23).
A moment before Peter was called the Rock; now he is called Satan! In so many words Our Lord was telling him: “As a Rock upon which I build My Church, whenever you speak with the assistance of Heaven, you shall be preserved from error; but as Simon, son of Jonah, as a man, you are so frail, so carnal, so apt to be sinful, that you can become even like unto Satan. In your office you, as Peter, are infallible; but as man, Simon, you are peccable. The Power you have as Peter is My Making; the want of morals you have as Simon, is of your making.” Is this distinction between a person and his function hard to grasp? If a policeman directing traffic held up his hand and ordered you to stop, you would do so, even though you knew he beat his wife. And why? Because you make a distinction between his function as a representative of law and his person. I am sure that Our Lord permitted the fall of Peter immediately after the gift of Primacy to remind him and all his successors that infallibility would belong necessarily to his office, but virtue would have to be acquired by his own striving with the help of God’s grace. Whether the voice be sweet, or dull and grating, whether it be spoken with an accent or a flaw in grammar, we consider not the tone but the message. “Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening” (I Samuel 3:9).
It is generally safe to say that those who know everything about the few bad successors of Peter, know nothing at all about the very many good ones. The wickedness of one man in authority is allowed to obscure a million saints. How many who dwell on the Vicars of Christ during the brief period of the Renaissance, ever dwell on their history for the other 1900 years? How many of those who exploit the bad few ever admit that of the first thirty-three successors of Peter, thirty were martyrs for their Faith, and the other three exiled for it? How many of those who concentrate on the bad example of a few know, or ever admit, that of the two hundred and sixty-one successors of St. Peter, eighty-three have been canonized for their heroic virtue, and that over fifty were chosen over the protest of their own unworthiness for such a high office, and that few can match in humility, wisdom and learning our present Holy Father, Pius XII? Anyone who attacks such a long line of martyrs, saints, and scholars must be certain of his own sinlessness to lay his hand on the few who revealed the human side of their office. If the revilers themselves are holy, pure and undefiled, let them pick up their stones. Our Lord said that it is the privilege only of those who are without sin to cast the first stone. But if they are not without sin, then let them leave the judgment to God. If they are without sin, they belong to a different race from you and me, for from deep down in our hearts a cry comes to our lips: “Be merciful to me a sinner.”
Turning to the scandal of bad Catholics, it must be remembered that Our Lord no more expected to have every member of His Church perfect than He expected to have perfect Apostles. That is why He said that on the last day He would throw the bad fish out of His net. Some Catholics may be bad, but that does not prove the Mystical Body is wicked, any more than because a few Americans who sell themselves to Russia, proves that America is a race of traitors. Our Faith increases responsibility, but it does not force obedience; it increases blame but it does not prevent sin. If some Catholics are bad, it is not because they are members of Christ’s Mystical Body, but rather because they are not living up to its Lights and Grace.
The psychology of those who are scandalized as bad Catholics is interesting. It means that they expected something better; if people who themselves are wicked, rejoice in the scandal, it is because they think they have greater authority for sinning than anyone else who fell. One never hears it said: “He is a bad Relativist,” or he is a “scandalous Humanist” or an “adulterous Ethicist,” because they never really expected anything better from them in the beginning. The horror that one feels at those who fall, is the measure of the height of virtue to which they expected to stand. We are grateful for the compliment of their being scandalized at our weak members, and for being intolerant with us about the very things they tolerate in others. They know that there are no other new lights possible if the sun fails! It is intellectually stultifying and morally easy to be a Communist; it is intellectually refreshing and morally hard to be a Catholic.
No ideal is more difficult of attainment. When anyone falls away from a Sun Cult he never has very far to tumble. But when a Catholic falls away, he is apt to be far worse than anyone else. The greater the height from which he falls, the greater the splash. “The corruption of the best is the worst.” No flowers smell worse than the rotted lily.
May we ask those who are scandalized with the failings of the Church, how perfect the Church would have to be before they would become incorporated into it as a living cell? If it were as perfect as they wanted it to be, do they realize that there would be no room for them? Just suppose for a moment, that Christ’s Mystical Body had no moral weaknesses; suppose that no monk ever broke his priestly vows to marry a nun and start a new religion – and this really happened; suppose that no bishop was ever just a business administrator and no priest ever disedifying and no monk ever fat, and no sister ever cross to children, and sanctity was as automatic as a parking meter; and suppose no one ever gave scandal to those who are on the outside to justify the way they were living. Would such a Church be the kind that Our Lord envisaged Who told us that cockle would be sowed with wheat, and that some of the children of the Kingdom would be cast out? If the Mystical Body were as perfect as the scandalized would have it, would not Her very perfection accuse and condemn us who are not saintly? Too high an ideal often repels rather than attracts. She would be so saintly that She would no longer allure ordinary mortals. She might even appear to the struggling souls as terribly Puritan, easily scandalized at our failings, and might even shrink from having Her garments touched by sinners like ourselves. Gone then would be the hope for those who are unholy or in sin. NO! The Mystical Body with none but perfect members would be a stumbling block. Then, instead of us being scandalized by Her, She would be scandalized by us, which would be far worse.
If the life of the Mystical Body had been one triumphant, blazing transfiguration on a mountain top, apart from the woes and ills of man, She would never have been the comforter of the afflicted and the refuge of sinners. She has been called like Her Divine Head, to be a redemptress, lifting men from the shadows of sin to be the tabernacles of grace where saints are made. She is not a far-off, abstract idea, but a Mother, and though She has been stained with dust in Her long journey through the centuries, and though some of her children have nailed Her Body and saddened Her Soul, yet there is joy in her Heart because of the children She has nourished; there is gladness in Her eyes, because of the faith She has preserved; there is understanding in Her soul, for She has understood the frailty of our flesh, and knows how to nourish it back to life. And in these qualities one divines the reason why Our Lord chose, not a saintly man like John, but a weak, fallen man like Peter as His First Vicar, in order that through his weakness he, and the Church of which he is the head, might sympathize with the weakness of his brethren, be their apostle of mercy and, in the truest sense of the term, the vicar of the Savior and the Redeemer of the world, Who came not to save the just but me, a sinner.
Our Lord often punishes His Mystical Body from time to time, by permitting some of the members or cells of that Body to separate themselves from it, but He punishes them still more. On the whole the world is right! We Catholics are not all we ought to be! The world is the way it is, because we Catholics are the way we are. Our Lord said: “If salt loses its taste, what is there left to give taste to it?” (Matthew 5:13). It is not the world we have failed, but Christ, and in failing Christ, we failed the world. But we beg those of you who see our failings to remember how hard it is for us to be everything Our Lord wants us to be. It is so easy to be a Democrat or a Republican or a “Cosmic Unifier,” but it is very hard to be a Catholic! Judge us not by our failings, as you judge not art by the feeble scribbling of a child. Look rather to our artistic masterpieces: the saints, and there are countless armies of them in the world. We have hurt you by our failings, and we beg your pardon, but we hurt Our Dear Lord more, and we shall do penance.
There are many of you who are scandalized by us, who, if you had the same Infallible Truth to guide you, the same Divine Eucharist to nourish you daily, would be a thousand times better than we are. We ought to be better than we are. And here I touch on the only unhappiness that comes to us as Catholics, and believe me, it is very real! We are unhappy because we are not saints. Will you therefore pray for us? Thanks!
God love you!
This item 9424 digitally provided courtesy of CatholicCulture.org