Wednesday, May 24, 2017

beginning, and beginning again

“He who climbs never stops going from beginning to beginning, through beginnings that have no end. He never stops desiring what he already knows.” -St. Gregory of Nissa

“This is the very perfection of a man, to find out his own imperfections.” -St. Augustine
“To live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” -Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman

Well well, it seems I will come out of blog-retirement and throw some words at whomever would like to read them.  It has been roughly a year, and I could go all What I Did on my Summer Vacation on you, but don't worry. I don't have the strength.

What has motivated me is simply that I would like to share some of my spiritual journey. It has been quite a year in many respects, and have thought recently that some of my experiences might resonate with -someone- and so if even one person is encouraged, I will be completely happy with that.

I am not even going to attempt to go chronologically. I would drive myself and any reader crazy, and besides, since God exists outside of time, it's all good.

But really, first things first. In the post immediately preceding this one, you will see a precious newborn. Who happens to be my granddaughter. So, following Rule Number One in the Grandparent handbook, I must, under threat of losing my membership, show you updated pictures.

Image may contain: 1 person

Okay! A year in the life of a baby. Every day another milestone! I could go on.

But I mentioned some spiritual growth or some junk, so I will tell you about that.

I want to start with a period of fasting and prayer that I joined in with back in February. It is called Nineveh 90, which is a 90 day program of prayer and fasting. It is similar to a Lenten period, with prescribed prayers and disciplines. The round I joined in actually encompassed Lent and so was interesting to have Lent within a Lent.  The 90 days wrapped up on May 13, the 100th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. There were small groups that one could join online, which I did, and we met each week to check in and see how everyone was doing, what was a struggle, and shared prayer intentions. I got to know some lovely people, and we hope to keep up with each other online. If you follow the link you can read for quite a while on the Nineveh 90 website, there are many articles and prayers.

Those are the nuts and bolts, but it's what comes about on a personal level that is the real point. These sort of groups have many scores of people praying, which is in itself a wonderful thing. But the idea that I am but a cog in a larger movement of prayer, saying prayers here in my South Philadelphia row home; effecting change in the world for the salvation of souls for eternity--that alone gives me a sense of humble awe--and hope for all the many issues of our day and for poor souls. It appeals to my sense of wanting to DO SOMETHING for all the needs in my world and the larger world, that I otherwise would be powerless to address.( I was born on the feast of St. Martha, so--).

This period also helped me in my ability to grow in self-discipline. Out of the prayers, dietary guidelines, fasting days, exercise, limit of internet and TV for entertainment, and regular adoration and confession, I would say that incorporating prayer into my day was the best benefit. I pray at regular times throughout the day, short prayers, and say the Rosary daily, along with some other prayers I say at night. I try to examine my conscience every night, though I have fallen off of that a bit. It does make for a much better confession. Sometimes, especially in the beginning, the prayers did not_feel_very spiritual, as I had to read them until I got them memorized, but as I persevered, I began to see that simply the offering of my time and devotion was producing something in my life. Even if I didn't immediately have pious emotions, my prayers were doing the work in which they were intended. Which, honestly, is not ever to make me feel holy, but to go towards the greater will of God, which I only know but a crumb. My life, my world, my reality, while real, is not the ultimate reality that God sees. but he allows us to participate in his plan anyway. And he makes each person important to the whole, and somehow, every small act contributes, whether for good or for ill. That  is something I want to share with you in a future post.

I also want to tell more about my journey to come to know Mary better. As a convert, I did not always think of her first when I would go looking for an intercessor. Now, I try to give everything to her first. That will be a post unto itself.

Until then, I leave you ,Clementine:


  1. Clementine is beautiful! How sweet. What smile. God bless

    Nice to see you post. You are so disciplined in your devotions. I wish I could be that disciplined. Half the time I fall asleep on the couch with the rosary.

    1. She is a blessing of the highest order! And medicine for what ails us, lol.

      The discipline is at once learned and fought for and also a grace. I have to maintain it and yield to it. I almost always say my Rosary while driving, or on the bus to work. My mind tends to wander if I am sitting. I do like saying it in church when I can. I think you are disciplined in your reading and blogging!