Saturday, March 8, 2014
In yesterday's daily reading in the Marion Consecration, 33 Days to Morning Glory, is Mother Teresa's letter to her Missionaries of Charity. She wrote it on March 25th, 1993, after hearing Pope John Paul II's Lenten message on Jesus' words, "I thirst."
Jesus wants me to tell you again...how much love He has for each one of you--beyond all you can imagine. I worry some of you still have not really met Jesus -- one to one -- you and Jesus alone. We may spend time in chapel -- but have you seen with the eyes of your soul how He looks at you with love? Do you really know the living Jesus -- not from books but from being with Him in your heart? Have you heard the loving words He speaks to you? Ask for the grace, He is longing to give it. Until you can hear Jesus in the silence of your own heart, you will not be able to hear Him saying, "I thirst" in the hearts of the poor. Never give up this daily intimate contact with Jesus as the real living person -- not just the idea. How can we last even one day without hearing Jesus say, "I love you"--impossible. Our soul needs that as much as the body needs to breathe air. If not, prayer is dead--meditation only thinking. Jesus wants you each to hear Him -- speaking in the silence of your heart.
Be careful of all that can block that personal contact with the living Jesus. The Devil may try to use the hurts of life, and sometimes our own mistakes -- to make you feel it is impossible that Jesus really loves you, is really cleaving to you. This is a danger for all of us. And so sad, because it is completely the opposite of what Jesus is really wanting, waiting to tell you. Not only that He loves you, but even more -- He longs for you. He misses you when you don't come close. He thirsts for you. He loves you always, even when you don't feel worthy. When not accepted by others, even by yourself sometimes -- He is the one who always accepts you. My children, you don't have to be different for Jesus to love you. Only believe -- you are precious to Him. Bring all you are suffering to His feet -- only open your heart to be loved by Him as you are. He will do the rest.
Friday, March 7, 2014
1.Welcome to the first Friday in Lent! By the grace of God, I was able to make it to early mass. It was a blessing.
2. How are your Lenten practices going. Off to a good start? This was the first year since I've been Catholic that I didn't get ashes. The day was just long and busy, and by the time 7:00 rolled around, I was done. Plus, the fasting made me tired. I have no right to complain, though, as my poor husband had a medical test that required no food at all that day. Everything turned out well, thank God.
3. I did wake up in the middle of the night last night, and used the insomnia as a good time to say a Rosary.
4. Today has a few service activities, so I have that going for me. I always say, if you have kids, you have lots of built in opportunities for service and sometimes even penance.
5.One additional thing I am doing is listening to Father Z's Lentcasts. He puts them out daily, and they are short but meaty. (acceptable sort of meat, even on Fridays) They are posted to his blog each morning. He also posted several versions of audio Stations of the Cross.
6. Yuk. Turning clocks ahead this weekend. Takes me two weeks to adjust. Oh well. Penance!
7. If you have any prayer requests, I would be happy to add them to my Lenten prayers.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
(roughly the fiftieth day before Easter)
To we who are not used to the pre-Conciliar Mass, this word sounds like something that would require the use of an antacid.
However, this being my first time attending the TLM during pre Lent, I am finding it beautiful. I feel more tuned in and prepared for Lent this year, not by way of my own ideas, rather that my soul has been prepared.
Here is the music we were blessed to hear while we received Holy Communion today:
My hope is to share my Lent with you via this blog. But we all know about human plans.
Friday, February 28, 2014
1. Sorry about missing yesterday! Long day+having gotten back to working out after a week or two off while trying to get the dang pinched nerve in my neck sorted out+another laundromat day=eyelids at half mast by dinnertime.
2. Plus I knew we were going to a funeral the next morning (today), and wanted to sleep off the funk.
3. The funeral. More a memorial service, but very nice. It's been quite a while since I have been at anything other than a Catholic um, anything, and I remember some of the nice things about it. The nuts and bolts preaching, the worship music. I like to see what we have in common. I do see, as well, what is missing. But this was where the parents of my *cousin, who passed away, attend church, so this was the right place for them to hold the service.
*My father was at the younger end of a large family (11, I think), so the cousins are legion in number, and all, in-laws, children, close friends, are simply called cousin. Sometimes we trace back to which Biehl sibling we are offspring of, just to get our bearings.
4. Although it is for sad reasons, we all enjoy seeing one another. We always say, "wish it was under better circumstances". But, I find comfort in seeing my extended family. My parents have both been gone for over 30 years, and to see the people that carry their traits, and remember them from before I was born, is something that makes me feel a part of something wonderful.
5. And tonight, I am sitting in my comfy sweats, with one of the last beers until after Easter, with some kids around me, and this is All Right.
6. Another Lenten resolve that really should not take Lent to make happen is that I want to keep in much better contact with these people. I want to get as many of our butts down to North Carolina to see my brother ASAP. Dang it!
7. And so, with only the doings of yesterday evening and today having been chronicled for you, I am off to finish reading CS Lewis' space trilogy, and just to be sure I leave you with something pithy, here is a favorite quote from Perelandra:
We have learned of evil, though not as the Evil One wished us to learn. We have learned better than that, and know it more, for it is waking that understands sleep and not sleep that understands waking. There is an ignorance of evil that comes from being young: there is a darker ignorance that comes from doing it, as men by sleeping lose the knowledge of sleep.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
So, in yesterday's post I mentioned the things I would like to change and improve during Lent. I know full well that when I make up my mind to make a change for the better, in any area, I will encounter resistance. Whether it is from within or without, from the material world or the spiritual, making changes to my body, my mind, or my spirit involves warfare against the comfortable inertia I am currently enjoying.
Which got me to remembering how I agree with Jen Fulweiler's statements about how one experiences resistance in the context of trying to lose weight.
18. If you’re approaching it the right way, trying to lose weight will involve major spiritual warfare — not because holiness has anything to do with a number on a scale, but because you’re attempting to free yourself from attachments that drag you down. We Christians call the force behind this phenomenon evil, Steven Pressfield calls it Resistance. Whatever label you want to use, know that it is real and it is going to try to stop you.
From her entire excellent post,The lazy nerd's guide to weight loss.
So, if we accept that as a given, what do we do when we're in the thick of it?
Here is some decidedly unprofessional advice from my own mind and experience. You're welcome.
1. Trust that what I am doing is a good thing. It doesn't have to be Nobel Prize Winning Good, just something that adds to yours or others' lives. Then when you go to do it, you don't have to keep revisiting it's "rightness." I like what Mother Angelica says:
“Faith is one foot on the ground, one foot in the air, and a queasy feeling in the stomach.”
“Unless you are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous. When you have God, you don’t have to know everything about it; you just do it.”
“Never put a lid on God. You can give God a thimble and ask for a quart. It won't work. Your plans, your projects, your dreams have to always be bigger than you, so God has room to operate. I want you to get good ideas, crazy ideas, extravagant ideas. Nothing is too much for The Lord to do - accent on 'The Lord'.”
2. Expect the roadblocks, deal with them and keep going.
I wear the brown scapular. When I was struggling with consistency in my prayer life, I thought perhaps I should stop wearing it until I get back on track. A wise priest told me to just make some small prayer offering to Mary rather than stop wearing the scapular.
After all the evil one would like nothing more than to see me give up my devotion to the Blessed Mother, who crushes his head beneath her heel.
Don't give points to the wrong team. Don't give up.
3. Don't be surprised at the weakness of your own flesh. (Boy, this one rings true when I am working out). But really, we ALL sin and fall short of the glory of God. We ALL are sitting squarely in the
So, when I don't feel like doing my workout, I apply what I know about inertia, and just put my sneakers on, start the video and make the motions. Sometimes I get into it part way, as I get warmed up, and it gets easier. Not every time, but the results, ahh. The benefits help me in so many areas.
4. Don't be surprised at the way your old thought patterns try to drag you down. Especially if you have an inner critic, as I do. In these instances, you have to recognize the lies and tell yourself the truth. Example: I want to say a Rosary on a given day, but have a bunch of stuff I also need to do around the house. The Critic says, "Praying while doing tasks does not show proper reverence." If I listen to the Critic, guess what? I don't pray. So I tell myself the truth, that God would rather I pray.
Be clear and honest with yourself.
5. Do expect grace. In my experience, any time we make a move toward God, whatever resistance we may encounter pales in comparison with the grace we receive. If we stay the course with our eyes on Him, He truly does pave the way and vanquish the foes, even if the foes come from our minds.
So, I say this to myself and to you, go and be bold, be Catholic, let Him fill, energize and encourage you.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
If you are anything like me, you have approximately sixty seven things you want to do or not do, not eat, read, pray, attend, or avoid. The house suddenly looks too dirty and cluttered to be a haven for we Lenten Pilgrims to
Incidentally, most of the books I wanted to read from last year are still in a pile near my bed.
My husband bought all the Tastykakes and cookies, ice cream, whipped cream, we could possibly hold. I added some mint Oreos, Mom added biscotti and Torrone. And I plan to hit up Federal Donuts, and bake some red velvet cupcakes. All this before next Wednesday. As you may note, we get nervous about saying goodbye to our sweets. And I am voraciously reading all the novels I can find.
We do have a March birthday that almost coincides with St. Patrick's Day, and there is St. Joseph's Day. And Sundays. On those special days we can eat some desserts, or have a bigger meal, so it isn't as dire as it might be, looking through the lens of Ash Wednesday.
Typically our usual thing for Lent is:
1. No sweets
2. No between meal snacks
3. Of course meatless Fridays, and we try to go meatless at least one other night for dinner
4. Frugal meals, with the idea that we donate what we save, but I'm not sure if that actually happens.
5.We do put money in the Rice Bowl. We have sometimes needed to fish some back out.
6. Bob and I try to get to some daily masses. He goes on his lunch hour and I try to go in the mornings.
I like to unplug to some degree, I go off of Facebook and don't watch much TV. (oddly, every year during Lent the Food Network runs good shows which I will watch on Sunday nights). I wouldn't insist other people stop watching TV, so sometimes I end up watching things others have on. But I can read with the TV on and it doesn't bother me. As I mentioned, I have a lot of material I like to or want to read during Lent.
Here are some:
Introduction to the Devout Life, DeSales
33 days to Morning Glory (A Marian Consecration) Fr. Michael E. Gaitley
He Leadeth Me, Fr. Walter Ciszek
Imitation of Christ and assorted other daily readings
My goal this year is to make gains in the area of personal discipline, especially spiritually, but also physically and practically, such as in scheduling, shopping, planning. I am praying for grace to overcome some of the emotional and mental clutter that holds me back in life. I love that grace seems especially available during Lent.
I really, really want to pray the Rosary every single day, and make that stick for always.
I want to make a difference in the course of my journey with Christ, and gain a more heavenly perspective on my time here.
I know I go into Lent with a barrage of ideas, and have accepted that I might not carry it all out perfectly. In fact I know I won't. But it's okay as long as I make some kind of progress.
I am interested to know what other people like to do (or try to do)? What are your lenten goals?
Monday, February 24, 2014
We have been without a dryer now for about a year, so twice a week, I haul fifty pounds of wet laundry to the laundromat, and bring back the same, only greatly reduced in weight. It is cheaper than buying a dryer, at least in dollars. The area we live in has narrow homes with even narrower basement doors, so the only dryer (singular) we can get is one that can be largely assembled once in the basement. Which adds $$$ to the whole deal.
Anyways, I get my exercise.
The laundromat, I find, has it's own culture. Everyone has their own system of doing things. Some bring in gigantic bags to dump on the floor in front of a washer and then meticulously load in one piece at a time. After they are washed, they put it all in a rolling cart, wheel it over to the dryers, and again, meticulously shake out each piece before tossing it in.
There are single men, who also have their own ways, some seem pretty adept. Except the occasional guy that like to wash and dry his sneakers, which continually kick open the doors of the dryers, spilling everything out. These guys usually have gone to McDonalds or something while this occurs. Some of us will pick up the stuff and restart the dryer, but only until about the third time, in which we will then leave the shoe out, sitting artfully in some prominent place for him to find.
One very busy Sunday, a day which I usually try to avoid, I went there to find a virtual flood from a malfunctioned washer. I had to roll up the bottoms of my pants and dodge the multitudes, trying not to have to scatter my clothes between too many areas so I wouldn't forget where some were*. I finally managed to get most of them loaded in an area near the back corner. I put my baskets on one side of a large double table nearby. I went to get change, and as I returned, a rather formidable looking woman asked if those were my baskets. I confirmed that they were, and she crisply informed me that she used both sides of the table, indicating I was to remove my baskets. Understand, the place was a zoo, but something about the way she commanded me to move made me not want to have any confrontation. So I found a spot and managed, but it did involve trundling my clothes all over the place, through the puddles and around the running, sliding children. I have since renewed my resolve to avoid weekends there if at all possible.
* I once left an entire dryer full of clothes behind. At home, we discovered it one missing item at a time. "Mom, where are my grey jeans?" "Mom, have you seen my purple shirt?"And so on. Until it dawned on me. By the time we got over there to look, there was a moldy mountain in one corner of the laundromat, piled in several carts. Many people had left things in washers that never got dried, and those, mixed with the rest of the left-behinds, became a mildewed, stinky pile that I was not excited to go near, much less touch. I tried sending Malaika over to see if she saw any of our things while I loaded dryers, but she wasn't buying it. So I went over, not too close, and tried to search with my long range x-ray vision, for any of our clothes. Lo and behold, I did see a few things, and gingerly Jenga-d them out, but nobody was game to really dig in, so we decided nothing that was missing was really all that important.
I do count my dryers now.
Most days are not so very busy there, and most people are not hell bent on having everything about their laundry experience tailored exactly to their taste. The noise is usually just a quiet cacophony of the washers, dryers and TVs. It smells of bleach, fabric softener and people's fast food. I really don't mind going there, or being there. I know most of the women that work there, and the repairman. I don't mind the kids dashing around, it reminds me of the days I used to go with my small children.
I am told that warm weather may return someday**, and then I will begin hanging everything outside again and the laundromat days will recede until next fall.
**My theory is that the White Witch has returned and needs to be dethroned.
***Photos are my actual-factual laundromat. Twenty-four hour, baby! ( I would not be caught dead there in the wee hours).
So what's the point, you may ask? I don't really know, I may answer. Just a slice of my life. A twice a week slice. My observation is that it is not a bad thing to go and do this chore alongside people having their slices of life in this place. I have always found a certain pleasure and comfort in doing tasks like this. It adds a certain rhythm and comfort.
See you tomorrow for more thrills! Hang on to your hats!