Sunday, March 31, 2013

I am rich

Front and center since Pope Francis made the scene has been the topic of the poor. The Church's relationship with them , our personal relationship with them, material poverty versus spiritual and moral poverty Et cetera. The poor we will always have with us. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing.

So with this rolling around in my head, off we went to Easter Vigil Mass. We all know the difficulties that we sometimes encounter at big holiday masses as we attempt to pray and enter in to the liturgy, only to be assaulted on every side with one thing or another. This year it was a couple ladies directly behind us who complained about every last thing. If the one said ''oh my God" once, she said it fifty times. I know it is a longer mass, but my children never behaved so poorly as those two. I had to keep saying, to myself, "poor in spirit, poor in spirit, poor in spirit."

Something else that kept getting my attention was a necklace worn by one of the lectors. This woman trained me to lector, and is sweet and soft spoken. But this necklace looked like something you would see in a room by itself, in a thick glass case, with laser beam security alarms. It had cut stones the size of quarters with some other very sparkly stones, possibly diamonds,  strung in between. And folks, it was not fake. I just couldn't stop looking at it. How it caught the light, how elegant and not gaudy, despite its size. Mind you, I didn't want it, it just fascinated me. I do kind of wonder if I was subtly judging her for owning/wearing/wearing it to church. Not really sure. For all I know she gives away more than she keeps.

But what really hit home for me was this.

This is similar to the necklace I wear. If I wasn't so tired, I would take a picture of mine -- it is a nest with the birthstone of each child. Mine has eight stones, seven for my living children, and one representing the two in heaven. It's gorgeous and unique. I receive compliments all the time. I had it on at mass, and I thought, --these are my jewels. There is no price that can be put on them. I am richer than I deserve to be, and more grateful than I have words for.


Wishing everyone a Happy Easter!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy Week


Saturday, March 23, 2013

norovirus and holy week. in that order.

If you are a reader here, you may remember this image:

Yes, folks, the ever popular, knock your socks off, norovirus has come to visit our home.

Started with the youngest, who likely picked it up in school, and resulted in three more of us delivering a veritable symphony of retching and moaning sounds throughout the night.

Even typing this is a challenge, I am dizzy and headachey and alternately shivering and warm.

This thing is no joke. Bleach on the hard surfaces and soap and water on the hands is the best way to keep it away if you are exposed. If you do get it, try to stay hydrated after the initial, um, explosion(s), and wait.
Four out of seven of us got it within two days. We'll see how the other three manage.

I have a list of Easter preparations. Cleaning and (urp) cooking to be done. Can't even think about food. Or watch TV, for some reason. Fun, fun.

From what I read it should all be over in a day or two. Then I can get on with it.

Not, mind you, that I feel sorry for myself. Maybe a little. But whatever suffering wasn't wasted! So, if you happen to be a beneficiary of my sickness-prayers, you're welcome!

I am not going to blog this week. Make up a little for all my Lenten foibles. And get some stuff done.

Wishing you all a happy and holy Easter!



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Happy St. Joseph Day!

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God. I place in you all my interests and desires. Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your devine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.
Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls - Pray for me.
This prayer was found in the fiftienth year of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In 1505 it was sent from the Pope to Emperor Charles when he was going into battle. Whoever shall read this prayer or hear it or keep it about themselves, shall never die a sudden death, or be drowned, not shall posion take effect of them; neither shall they fall into the hands of the enemy; or shall be burned in any fire, or shall be overpowered in battle.
Say for nine mornings for anything you may desire. It has never been known to fail, so be sure you really want what you ask.

I think this depiction is sweet.
 This was the prayer I prayed, for my son Daniel to find work, and now for a dear friend, and for my daughter and son-in-law, and also my brother, who is ill.  The statue of St. Joseph at my church looks a lot like my brother! Or the other way around..

I know I have said this before, but how tough it must have been for him, being the only sinner in the family. :)

I saw a painting in our local St. Jude shop a few years ago, of St. Joseph holding a squirming Jesus and laughing. I loved it but
haven't been able to find it since. It wasn't one of the classics or anything.


I like this one for the light, but poor Jesus looks a bit like a girl. I hate when they do that to him! He does have a cute double chin, though.

Happy St. Joseph's Day!

Monday, March 18, 2013

take a breath!

I have been kind of sitting back watching the blogosphere's response to Pope Francis. Maybe I am just too simple, okay , I know I am, but how on earth can anyone make a judgment about the poor man only days in? I keep thinking, give the guy a chance already!

Of course I must weigh in with my highly sought after humble simple opinion.

I love and trusted Benedict XVI, and I am going to love and trust Pope Francis. I can't tell by the last few days, what he wears, or where he prays, or how many times he mentions the poor, what sort of man he is or will be as pope. I will choose to love and trust him for now. My own preferences are of no importance. Who am I to judge the worthiness of someone elected as pope? Not my job.

Now, observations are fine. My friend Manny wrote a nice piece about him here.

My observations are 1. He seems like a nice, gentle man. 2. He seems like he has been a loving leader.
That's all.

There are lots of other bloggers, much better informed than I, who are giving nice histories and such. There are some other, other bloggers, saying unbelievably nasty things, mostly predicting what Pope Francis will or won't do as pope. If anyone were asking my advice, which they are not, I would tell them to keep going to mass, whichever one they go to and prefer; do everything as they have been; breathe; pray for the new pope and the Pope Emeritus. Breathe again, and Repeat.

Friday, March 8, 2013

7 quick mid-Lent-slump takes


Last week my Lent routine fell apart. I missed daily mass three days, forgot my daily prayers a couple days, and when I finally got to mass on Friday, was provided with an opportunity to pray Stations of the Cross, but didn't get the flyer with the words on it as I entered, and then felt too self conscious to go around looking for it, so I just listened to the collective mumbling of everybody else, and called it "going to Stations." I did kneel and say, "for by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world,"so that made it count.


Our cat, otherwise known as He Who Has Never Left The House, SOMEHOW has gotten fleas. Not a terrible case, but STILL. We have bathed him in Dawn dish soap several times, which he LOVES, and then have to vacuum and wash everything that isn't nailed down. (Which is, everything, because I don't know about you, but we don't nail things down).  Rinse and repeat. And NO TALKING about the fleas or we will all be itching. So, yes, right now, I am itching.


I am reading The Collected Stories, by Isaac Bashevis Singer. I have always loved reading Jewish literature, I read everything by Chaim Potok as a kid/young adult. This book is all short stories, some are folk tales, some set in modern times in New York City, still folk-tale-ish. They all, so far, deal with the presence and effect of evil in the world. What is interesting is how his Jewish perspective is very like the Catholic one.


If you suffer from disappearing socks while doing your laundry at home, try taking your wet laundry to the laundromat. I went from three pairs to none. Now I have to rummage in my 13 year old daughter's drawers whenever I am about to leave the house and don't feel like going sockless in my snow boots. Now I know why she emerges from her room in seventeen seconds after I send her in there to put away her clothes. I also found where my can opener went. Still better than finding food in a dresser drawer. Months-old food. It has happened.


Lent has been very Lent-ish this year. Dear friends and family that really need prayers! Please add my intentions for them to your prayers whenever you think of me going around sockless with no can opener. But there really are some heavy needs, besides mine. We also STILL have not received our tax return, even though it has been the prescribed 21 days. sigh. We just want to pay some bills! And I am beginning to dream about cookies. But those will have to wait till Easter. I would at least like to be able to start gathering the ingredients to do my Easter baking. Then I can see that we are getting closer! Some people read daily Lenten spiritual readings as a count down, I pore over Easter bread and ricotta pie recipes. To each his own.


What do you do for St. Patrick's day?  We have corned beef and cabbage, and some years I make Irish potatoes. My daughter Corrie's birthday is the 17th, so we mash up her birthday with St. P's day. This year, we are including the flea bag cat , as he is a year in March. Malaika figures he is a ginger (he is orange) so he must be Irish. And thankfully it falls on a Sunday, so yes, once again, food.


Well, I am off to the laundromat, with mismatched borrowed socks, in the falling snow, feeling itchy because I brought up THAT subject, feeling a little irritated with the IRS, and a little worried, too. How Lenten. But also thankful for my husband carrying out the 400 pounds of wet laundry in the snow earlier, to save me at least one trip. And that I can go to the novena mass tonight, thereby saving me from missing mass altogether. And for being offered a part time job cooking for the IHM sisters at our parish. Every little bit helps. I will probably have some tales about that!

You friends and loved ones--know that I am praying for you, even as I blunder about. Love you!

Monday, March 4, 2013


From an email I received--

Angels Explained By Children

I only know the names of two angels, Hark and Harold.
Gregory, age 5

Everybody's got it all wrong. Angels don't wear halos anymore. I forget why, but scientists are working on it.
Olive, age 9

It's not easy to become an angel! First, you die.
Then you go to Heaven, and then there's still the flight training to go through. And then you got to agree to wear those angel clothes.
Matthew, age 9

Angels work for God and watch over kids when God has to go do something else.
Mitchell, age 7

My guardian angel helps me with math, but he's not much good for science.
Henry, age 8

Angels don't eat, but they drink milk from Holy Cows!!!
Jack, age 6

Angels talk all the way while they're flying you up to heaven. The main subject is where you went wrong before you got dead.
Daniel, age 9

When an angel gets mad, he takes a deep breath and counts to ten. And when he lets out his breath again, somewhere there's a tornado.
Reagan, age 10

Angels have a lot to do and they keep very busy.  If you lose a tooth, an angel comes in through your window and leaves money under your pillow. Then when it gets cold, angels go south for the winter.
Sara, age 6

Angels live in cloud houses made by God and his son, who's a very good carpenter.
Jared, age 8

All angels are girls because they gotta wear dresses and boys didn't go for it.
Antonio, age 9

My angel is my grandma who died last year. She got a big head start on helping me while she was still down here on earth.
Ashley, age 9

Some of the angels are in charge of helping heal sick animals and pets. And if they don't make the animals get better, they help the child get over it.
Vicki, age 8

What I don't get about angels is why, when someone is in love, they shoot arrows at them.
Sarah, age 7

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Running on empty


Everything I do lately seems to be one step behind. This is my 7-quick-takes-Friday post. It is Saturday afternoon.
I am having a flare up of Epstein-Barr after having some virus IN JANUARY. Boy is it getting old. I can usually only accomplish one larger task a day. Today it was going to the laundromat at 7AM. Which is actually nice, because I am not bumping elbows with anybody. Everything else I do today will be on more or less borrowed time, and I will struggle through whatever it is.

With grace and poise.


While at said laundromat, one of those Saturday morning pseudo-news shows came on, with a panel discussion about the recent  happenings in the Church. I believe they entitled the segment, "The Crisis in the Catholic Church." I don't know about you, but, yes though I am sad to say goodbye to Benedict XVI, I am not undone over it. I am not In Crisis, nor is the Church. We are still firmly rooted in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. To be sure, we  have some difficult work to do, and very grave matters to address; but with our dear Pope Emeritus praying for us, we will continue on.


The aforementioned panel consisted of , a protestant minister, a classic "nun-on-the-bus," and a somewhat traditional -ish lay person.

Why, oh why, pray tell, when a TV show wants to talk about Catholic things, don't they get a  decent representative? The claptrap coming from that television made me want to jump into one of the gigantic washers just to drown it out. I did read earlier this week that Fr. Barron was on another network commenting on the Pope's retirement, and that is good news. Here in Philly, where we have Archbishop Chaput to go to for info, what do we get? Larry, Moe, and Curly, fresh off the bus.

I have even written in to Hannity and O'Reilly, suggesting they find some actual Catholics, assuming they are not intentionally wanting to portray the Church in the worst possible light.


My lenten disciplines have suffered somewhat, I wasn't able to get to daily mass several days this week, or corral myself to do some of my daily prayers. Oh, I still prayed, it was just more along the lines of, "Jesus, help!"  He hears that kind, too. He very much came to our aid. And quickly!

Thank you for your prayers for Chuck. He passed away with his family around him. Today is his funeral.  Charles Lynch, Requiescat in pace.


A very beautiful moment of Benedict XVI,  captured here. (scroll down) I think he was an excellent Pope and is a beautiful soul.  


I heard this song today, and it just resonated. I tend to have spiritual experiences in unexpected places.
It just was a little conversation between God and I, apropos of what's going on with me personally and also the world.

We all have a weakness Some of ours are easier to identify
 Look me in the eye And ask for forgiveness
  We'll make a pact to never speak That word again, yes, you are my friend
We all have something that digs at us At least we dig each other
So when weakness turns my ego up I know you'll count on the me from yesterday
If I turn into another  
Dig me up from under what is covering The better part of me
Sing this song Remind me that we'll always have each other When everything else is gone
We all have a sickness That cleverly attaches and multiplies No matter how we try
We all have someone that digs at us At least we dig each other
So when sickness turns my ego up I know you'll act as a clever medicine
If I turn into another
  Dig me up from under what is covering The better part of me
Sing this song Remind me that we'll always have each other When everything else is gone Oh, each other when everything else is gone
If I turn into another
 Dig me up from under what is covering The better part of me
Sing this song Remind me that we'll always have each other When everything else is gone Oh, each other, sing this song, when everything else is gone Oh, each other, when everything else is gone.

  And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with  persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2Corinthians 12:9-10