Monday, April 25, 2011

Alleluia! He is Risen!

Philippians 3:10-12
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

prayer request

I would kindly ask you to remember my daughter Corrie in your prayers. She was hospitalized last night. I am asking Ven. Solanus Casey's intercession for her complete healing.

Friday, April 15, 2011

7 quick takes; Last- Friday- of- Lent style

1. Confession. Do you like it, love it; or fear and  avoid it?  Why?

I consider myself blessed to have gotten a good start with it. I was not raised Catholic, so I never had any childhood experiences, or any erroneous information regarding it. My approach to the Sacrament as a convert has been to see it as a place of refuge and hope. I definitely have grown in my practice and understanding, and doubtless have a ways to go yet, but to me it is one of the Church's most beautiful gifts.

2. Examination of conscience. Do you do it? When? Ten minutes before confession? I used to, or maybe twenty minutes.One of my Lenten goals was to do this nightly, and write it down, so that when I went to confession, I would not have to rely on my faulty memory, or forget how often I committed certain sins. It made my confessions much more productive, and I wasn't adding another sin by not having proper respect in approaching the sacrament.

3. I recently learned about this method of examination of conscience. It is a Trinitarian examination, given by a Franciscan friar to a friend-

1. Thank God the Father for anything in the day.
2. Tell Jesus about the sins you committed. The previous last of blessings, you may find, will put this in a right perspective, making you able to notice the great proportion of blessings to sins.
3. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you in the next day in the areas of your sins, to rely on Him and to do better.

I like it. Simple, positive and it can be as in depth or brief as the moment allows.

4.Even though I just had confession a few days ago, I hope to go before Easter. It just seems fitting. Also, if you want to partake in the plenary indulgences of Divine Mercy Sunday, (this year being very special with the Beatfication of John Paul II taking place), you need to have confession within an eight day period, either before or after. I may be able to get to confession while in Michigan visiting Meghann and Co. (so excited!) in fact, I hope to, but a good Holy Saturday confession is still in order.

5. Why all the talk of confession? We need it. The Church in Her wisdom and love for us sheep, offers it. It supplies us with the graces we need to grow spiritually. It puts us close to the heart of Jesus. Why would we not?

6. Here comes Holy Week! Love it. I like to clean house, wash windows and curtains, bake ricotta pie and Easter Bread. 

Thursday night we go to the service in which there is a foot washing at our parish. Don't love that. Then my husband, Mother in Law and I visit three churches. It's an Italian thing, I think the traditional number can also be seven. Three is enough for us. It's nice that the churches are open and offer adoration, some all night. Sometimes groups will take turns sitting vigil. We usually are home before midnight.
Friday we go to Veneration of the Cross. Our church has a relic of the True Cross.

7. Easter prep:
 I get out the Easter decorations, dust off the kids Easter baskets ,and go to Nuts for You to find neat and unusual things to put in them. I traditionally include at least one non food thing. The girls get new bath poufs, Ben, something like a ball or yoyo. Bob likes the big filled eggs, I like the little black licorice layered candies. I detest cellophane Easter grass and use either the shredded paper kind or colorful tissue paper.

Have a very special last Friday of Lent! Get to confession if you can, you will be blessed.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

clearing a hurdle

I had  spiritual direction this week, as I do once a month. These are always good, sometimes intense, and have a cleansing effect, as we finish with confession.  There is usually one point that sticks with me about each time. This time it was about self hatred. I didn't bring it up, and we didn't talk about it, really. It was mentioned in passing, and not in reference to me. But a teeny little lightbulb went on and I understood that this was something that runs as an undercurrent in my thinking. With it came the understanding that it was not the same as healthy humility or self discipline, and that at its root there is a lie. Everybody who deals with this may not have the same lie that plays in their mind, but mine is "you are not allowed to be happy." I know when and where it originated and the life I lived at that time is long past, but it has tendrils that reach into the present. It comes into play in all different ways; sometimes in how I approach my examination of conscience and confession, sometimes in the things I do to try and make that message go away or at least get quieter, for a few. But somehow, without really having addressed it specifically, God got a message through.  It was this- " I accept you the way you are right now, today. I know the motivations of your heart; the wounds, the baggage, and the broken places that you suffer with. I am happy with you before you are completely refined. And if I am happy with you, you can be happy with you, too."

All that was just in a moment of understanding, I put the words to it to help convey it better. I could honestly say that I knew all that already, in my intellect. It just needed to sink a little deeper. It is good to be released from such chains, and I think it is only the beginning.

 “Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” 
(NASB) Romans 15:7

“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
Provers 14:26

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 
 Matthew 11:28-30

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” 
Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

some music. it is requiem season, after all

please remember to pause the playlist--or you will have the Requiem Mashup on you hands :)

This could be my all time favorite piece of music. This video is just a small part.

And here are a few shots from last weekends Adventures with Mozart. There is also a video of the first movement, but I am going to wait and see if they record us again this coming weekend, now that we all have had some practice playing together. Some of the string players were _sight reading_ !! Props to them.

Conductor--Paul Kauriga

me--yeah, I don't know.

The clarinet player in front of me is legally blind--a very accomplished player--AND--he wears periscope glasses. Malaika was pretty awed by this.

 Here are the soloists' feet and hands. (Bob forgot his glasses. But he did a pretty good job since the camera batteries were practically dead.)  Next week, we will let you see their faces! Which were pretty nice, and also the sounds coming out of them.

 Anyway, we had fun. This weekend I am looking forward to 1. not having to drive quite so far, though it was lovely out where we were, 2. knowing the piece better. and 3. having a better reed!! The one I was playing on was an unidentifiable age and not reliable. eek.

This has been a wonderful Lenten thing to do. It reminds me about something God gave me that brings a part of me alive and hopefully enriches the lives of others as well. Bob and I hope to be able to do more as the kids get older and more independent. Malaika was offered a saxophone and lessons to go with it, so she made out pretty well also!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sunday with Mozart

 ~to listen to Mozart~please pause the playlist~ :)

This is kind of a weird chopped up version--just bits of the entire thing. But you get the idea. Today is our first performance and next Sunday we do it again at another church. It starts off with a bassoon solo...:)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Father Corapi update from Rev. MIchael Sullivan, J.C.L.

Father Corapi on Administrative Leave - Update from Rev. Michael Sullivan, J.C.L.

  Fr. John Corapi has been suspended from priestly functions because of an accusation against him from a former employee. There seems to be a great deal of speculation and confusion regarding what this entails.

When an accusation arrives at the desk of a Religious Superior or a bishop, the procedure calls for a quick, confidential assessment as to the veracity of the accusation. With the advent of the Dallas Procedural Norms the necessary pieces of information required before imposing administrative leave varies from diocese to diocese and Order to Order. In most cases, if an accuser knows the name of the priest, the location at the time of the alleged incident and the year the priest was serving, the accusation is considered “credible.” The accused is supposed to be provided with the opportunity to respond to the accusations in a face-to-face meeting with his Superior prior to the imposition of suspension or administrative leave. In Father Corapi’s case, this never happened.

When a priest is on administrative leave he is to refrain from any public actions as a priest, such as offering Mass or hearing confessions, or from dressing as a priest in any public forum. The decree from his superiors clearly spells out limitations upon Fr. Corapi, but does not preclude him from speaking publicly provided he does not dress as a cleric and does not offer Mass publicly. Fr. John Corapi has observed these directives. Church bodies are to observe these limitations, though the order does not apply to lay organizations or Church organizations beyond the scope of what has been decreed.

Several Catholic media sources have removed Fr. Corapi from their outlets. This is over and above what is required by canon law and the Dallas Norms. Nothing in the order placing Father Corapi on administrative leave precludes distribution of previously recorded materials. Santa Cruz Media is in full compliance with Canon Law and the administrative leave under which Fr. Corapi is functioning.

Fr. Corapi is doing all in his power to cooperate and work with his Religious Society to see that this allegation is quickly cleared up and he is allowed to return to full ministry. The length of this administrative leave is strictly up to the Society and their process of inquiry before a decision is rendered.

We continue to ask everyone to pray for Fr. Corapi, for the accuser and for a quick resolution to this matter.

God bless you,

Rev. Michael Sullivan, J.C.L.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

learning some Lenten lessons

If Lent is a time to see yourself unmasked, to see a couple layers under the surface; if the disciplines are meant to serve as a stripping agent and get the schmutz off the outer man, so the inner one can be seen more clearly...well, it must be working. I have been blessed enough to get to adoration more this past week or so. I went to a local shrine this morning thankful to have access to a place with daily adoration. As most places, it has its regulars. Most of the time, a wonderful silence was observed, interrupted only by the sounds of someone mouthing their prayers. (The only drawback of silence is that every sound seems amplified). Now, I am not a fan of mouth-noises. The prayer-mouther in the silent room had the odd effect of making me feel as though I was in a fish tank. The smacking, popping and generally wet
sounds were enough to temporarily banish the ever present Mozart Requiem track playing in the background of my mind and replace it with "Under the Sea."  As you may imagine, this made for an interesting time before the Blessed Sacrament. Most of my prayers were punctuated with, "I'm sorrys" and fighting against twisting my face or sighing and then more, "sorry!" Oh what a holy time. Things did eventually quiet down somewhat. Someone else was whispering their prayers, but after the underwater sensation went away, I was able to recollect myself a bit. Only a bit, because the next problem came from my own mind---did my daughter, before leaving for school, unplug her hair appliances and/or completely turn off any burners she may have used?...As you can see, Jesus has a hard time getting a word in edgewise. He did manage to point out that all the skin crawling noises were serving to mortify (in more ways than one) my flesh and expose my innards. What I found there was 1.irritation (no surprise there); 2. fear (a trust thing) and 3. self doubt, (also a trust thing). 

 I picked up some scripture to read during the time I was unable to "hear" my inward prayers. Here is what I read:

Everyone in the crowd sought to touch him because power came forth from him and healed them all.
Luke 6:19

and from The Imitation of Christ:
"A prudent lover considers not so much the gift of the lover, but the love of the giver."
from book Three, Chapter 6.

This reinforced something I have always found, that to be in the presence of Christ, is all by itself, transformative. He is there, and His power is coming forth. To borrow a phrase from Father McG, I don't have to "think real hard" to make it be so. Of course we want to "seek to touch Him", but this is not the same as being in a perfect state of recollection. Sometimes, as much as I want to be still and silent interiorly, I just can't achieve it. But He is still there, and I am still in His presence. If I could see the entire Christ, bodily standing twelve feet in front of me, would I be changed? Ya think?

 I wrote here about how when I first began attending mass, before my conversion, I recognized Jesus' presence. Some of my kids are not Catholic, but I require they attend Sunday mass. I believe, even if they have not yet taken hold of it, that being in Jesus' presence, has the power to touch and change their hearts.
To think on how much He loves me and be simply thankful for the place and season of life He has placed me, is easy. If He never sends me another gift, I will always have Him, and my offerings of love and thanks "count," at the times I cannot offer the utmost in disciplined devotion.

~postscript: Your Mother Wears Combat Boots

Today, there is a group on facebook that suggested posting a picture of Father Corapi and saying a rosary for him. They are calling it, "Your Mother Wears Combat Boots" day. I have done this. If you have a facebook page, you may want to as well.

I have had to restrain myself from becoming entangled in the comboxes of some bloggers who feel the need to say that Father is getting what he deserves for being, among other things; a celebrity, flamboyant, bombastic, lacking humility, I could go on. I wonder of those people have the same problem with the late Fulton Sheen?

As far as I know, Father Corapi's message was spot on and sorely needed in this world. He taught the Catechism for cryin' out loud.!  Yes, he raised his voice sometimes. His message was of the utmost importance and urgency. People scream and yell over sports. How was it not appropriate to raise a voice over the slaughter of innocents and the race toward hell so many are running in?

To go over all his life and pick it apart; Santa Cruz Media, his home in Montana, his money, his traveling ministry, his not having priestly faculties in the Diocese of Helena, his criticism of the Dallas Charter, his recent change of appearance--all this amounts to is a bunch of speculation and using bits of fact to piece together the supposition of guilt. He, and many other accused priests  (because of the same Dallas Charter) are already laboring under the presupposition of guilt.

Those of us who are believing the best about him are doing so because of the great good he has done by his faithful preaching. To me individually, he has imparted strength and resolve to live my faith with integrity. I personally do not mind his style, which is simply an outworking of his message. To say this is a lack of humility is to show that one has not really listened to his words. Humility is not to lie about yourself, not to scrape, whisper and crawl. It is to tell the truth.

Monday, April 4, 2011

a hat day

Today looks as though it is going to shape up to be a day in which I don my "professional mom" hat.  Of course, I never take that one off, after all one never stops being a mom. But when some of the children are in the foothills of adulthood, there are times when the hat has to be downgraded a bit to something less formidable, say, a little doily, lest I quench their growth.

But today it's a hat day. Rachael woke up with what appears to be an abscessed tooth. Our regular dentist does not have hours today (two things one can't do on a Monday; 1. get a haircut, and 2. have a dental emergency). so I am waiting for the 9:00 hour and will start calling around.

 When these kinds of things happen I have that burst of clear thinking and sort of overdrive. I go through this check list of essentials:

1. What do I have on the schedule today? can I clear it/change it?
2. What are all the other people in the house's schedule?
3. How will we pay for the (insert crisis or quasi-crisis here)?
4. Can I get a cup of coffee before we go?

And there are some days that call for a hard hat. Thanks be to God not today.

 Sometimes dads have to do this too. Only they have to get their own hats.

As it turns out I was able to get an appointment with a group my other daughter goes to. So- off to do some of the other errands before the dentist--lets see, where's my hat?---

Friday, April 1, 2011

7 quick takes #5-Lenten Friday style; of Work and Grace

1. First Friday, and  Fourth Friday of Lent~ hope you all are experiencing a fruitful Lent. Or if you are like me, maybe just trying to practice faithfulness in devotion and discipline. It's been a little different for me this year, because I have to watch my fatigue level and not get too overtaxed. So maybe some of the discipline comes in NOT trying to "do" too much. Ah, the age old lesson of "being." If you happen to "be " a mom, like me, or a dad, there is a certain "doing" requirement in our contract.

  --which brings me to---

2. I have been paying a little closer attention to what it means to offer my life to Christ. If I think in terms of point #1 above, I know I can't "work " my way into heaven without an inner conversion of heart. The outward actions alone are not enough if they aren't flowing from inside, from the works the Holy Spirit is doing to conform me to Christ. That said, we parents know that there is an awful lot of work to be done. Which brings me to that place where, as Brother Lawrence talked about in  The Practice the Presence of God, everything I do I can offer as a prayer and sacrifice, especially if I do something "extra" say, iron my husbands shirts. (No, I don't do that regularly; you may know my husband as the Guy With the Rumpled Shirts). Any and all of these I find can draw me closer to God and give me a sense of peace as I go about my day, knowing whatever small tasks I offer Him, He can use them for my continued conversion and His glory.

3. James talks about faith and works in Chapter two of his epistle:

 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 1516 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
   Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 2223 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. 

 The famous quote of Martin Luther, referring to James as "the Epistle of Straw," though he later retracted that statement, speaks to the difficulty people have when viewing how their works affect their spiritual life and salvation. The Little Flower said it best, (thus becoming a Doctor of the Church), I am a very little soul, who can offer only very little things to the Lord".
If she, being a Saint and all, can do this, it stands to reason, so can we.

4. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

“The burden of life is from ourselves, its lightness from the grace of Christ and the love of God.” -William Bernard Ullanthorne (1806-1889)  

"That is the mystery of grace: it never comes too late. -Fran├žois Mauriac (1885-1970)

  “The law detects, grace alone conquers sin.” - Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430) 

“Lord I crawled across the barrenness to you with my empty cup uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known you better I'd have come running with a bucket.” -Nancy Spiegelberg  

“For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.” - Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

5. William Adolphe Borgereau, 
             In Penitence

6.  I think T.S. Elliot was talking about our current weather when he wrote this:

Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and
The winter sun creeps by the snow hills;
The stubborn season has made stand.

(A little excerpt from A Song for Simeon)
How Lenten.

7.  Please remember all those who you have encountered on line who need your prayers, and those who have asked for them.

Venreable Solanus Casey, Pray for us!

Wishing you all a blessed and hopefully, somewhat restful weekend.