Monday, December 29, 2008

You Can't Make This Stuff Up!

Virgin Mary and her husband a carpenter, gave birth to a son on Christmas and named him Jesus.

But this Virgin Mary gave birth this year in Peru.

The mother, Virgen Maria Huarcaya, delivered the 7.7 pound (3.5 kg) boy, Jesus Emanuel, in the early hours of Christmas at the central maternity hospital in Lima, the capital.

You can read the whole story here.

Hat tip to Ironic Catholic for the link.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Warning!

Playing with the buttons on your new Garmin can be really scary!


Case in point:

Tuesday the weather was really bad -- ice storm bad! I had driven up to see my spiritual director (about a 65 mile drive) and had intended to go from there with my sister to see our mom in the nursing home. But when I was done with direction the weather had begun to deteriorate, so I stayed at my sisters for a bit and then headed back home ( a trip that normally takes an hour and a half on a slow day).

about 25 miles into the drive (and an hour of driving due to conditions getting worse by the minute) I encountered stalled traffic on the highway, and a nice gentleman in a truck said that there were two accidents up ahead one of them being a semi blocking both lanes of traffic.

So, since I had my trusty new Garmin in my car, I just hit the nice little detour button figuring it would find me a nice safe way to get around the accident and into the nearby town (which was eight or so miles up the road.)

What the Garmin proceeded to do was take me on a merry chase through the countryside on small country roads and worse. Some were one lane gravel roads. I am sure to the GPS they looked quite passable, and if the weather hadn't been so bad they might not have been so scary. (Although one neighborhood was a banjo shy of Deliverance). At one point I could barely get up a hill it was so iced over and so far out into the country that salt trucks never get there I am sure. I even pulled into a driveway halfway up and called my husband to tell him I didn't think I could get up the hill. He said to just keep trying, which I did and eventually I got up the hill (lucky for me that was the last bad hill before I got back onto a major state road.

When I got to the State Road, I got turned around and the traffic going into the town I intended to go to was totally stopped still, so I went the other direction hoping the Garmin would "recalculate" but no such luck. Beyotce just wanted me to turn around and go back the other way. I kept driving south and ended up in a town about 15 miles south of where I needed to be. That was when I stopped for Gas and asked the nice lady working at the Gas station what I should do.


Come to find out, a major hill on the state road was totally impassable (hence the stopped traffic going in the direction I would have had to go.) She said I could go south another three miles and then turn east for three miles and I would be at a road that would take me to a town that was one county south/west of where I lived. I figured I could get home from there.

Only when I finally got to there I decided that rather than take the shorter but much more curvy route I would take the much longer but straighter route , which added about an hour or so to the drive again. Then I drove right by where mrangelmeg works and where it normally takes him 25 minutes to get home, it took me nearly a hour and a half to travel the same distance. I did find out a salt truck had turned over off the side of the road (actually mrangelmeg saw it and told me about it, ).


Traffic was bumper to bumper in both directions for most of the last part of the drive and I was terrified that I wasn't going to be able to make the left-hand turn into my driveway, so for the last two miles I was praying to every saint I could think of to give me help, and there was just enough of a break in traffic for me to make the turn without having to hold up the traffic coming up the hill behind me (praise God).

The lesson I learned from this was, when weather conditions are dicey, don't mess with the detour button on your GPS system. I probably would have been smarter to head back to my sister's house and wait out the storm and drive back down on Wednesday morning when the ice had all been washed away by constant rain.

I did learn that I can handle a car pretty well in adverse conditions too, which is nice to know.
I just hope I never have to do that again, ever!

Pax

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Message from my brother




"I am on station in Iraq and the free world and democracy are safe (at least for 364 days). The conditions are spartan but adequate. The food is great and plentiful - I will have to watch myself on that point. Everything is provided - food, laundry, housekeeper. I am told there are bicycles for sale at the PX. Everything is so spread out. When we annex a country, we take tend to take a lot of real estate. Check out Air Iraq. This was the flight from Kuwait via a C-130. No drinks or in-flight movie on USAF. Any country that bans alcohol will never be a true friend of the U.S."
Please pray that he stays safe while he is there.
Pax

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Child Shall Lead . . .


This story will break your heart . . . but should also make you stronger.



It is the story of Namrata Nayak, a young girl who was caught up in the inexplicably violent attack on Christians in India by Muslim extremists. Her home was burned and she was horribly disfigured in the fire. And yet she still smiles, because she knows the love of Jesus.



She doesn't hate her tormentors, because she says they were out of their minds because they don't know the love of Jesus. She wants to grow up and study to become an evangelist so that she can spread that message of love throughout the world so what happened to her won't have to happen to other children out of hate.



How can you look at someone like Namrata and not gain strength and hope for the world. In the face of tragedy she sees a mission for her life and a call from her God to share His love.

h/t to the anchoress

Pax





When Good Things Happen by Accident

Last night something really wonderful happened by accident.

The weather around here had been really dicey all day, and being the smart people that they are, the administration of the St. Paul Catholic Center (The Newman Center at IU where I volunteer in the RCIA program) decided to cancel all evening programs.



The only problem being, that they announced it on the closest local television station which is in Indianapolis 65 miles away, and probably on radi. Most of the participants, being college kids don't watch television or listen to local radio, so a lot of them didn't get the message and showed up anyway because there was supposed to be a pitch in dinner. I showed up because I had been driving around town all day and the roads were passable, so I figured that there wouldn't be a problem. I don't watch the news either ( the only news I ever watch I get from this source).



Anyway, when we all arrived at the Catholic Center it was dark, and no one was there to greet us, but we finally found Fr. Bob who said that if we were willing to make do he would turn the lights on in the church so that we could procede with the tour, which was the planned activity and then we could go ahead with our pitch in dinner since we had all brought food anyway.



All in all, it turned out to be a very nice evening in which fellowship and sharing happened and community was forged, even if we weren't supposed to be there. It just goes to show that God can use any opening to create stronger community; even our own mistakes.



Pax

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The History of Western Philosophy in Six Easy Questions


With a tip of the hat to my amazing daughter Katy who found this on the internet and sent it to me via facebook. She knows just how to make me laugh.

Pax

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mystic Monday:

Today dear children we explore the writings of St. Gertrude

This paragraph from her autobiography tells why she felt compelled to share her visions with the world:

Thou knowest, O my God, from whom nothing is hidden, that the reason why I have written these things, so much against my inclination, is that I have profited so little by Thy liberality that I cannot believe they were made known to me for myself alone, since Thine eternal wisdom cannot be deceived. Grant, then, O Giver of gifts, who hast so freely and unreservedly bestowed them on me, that whoever reads these things may be touched with tenderness and compassion for Thee. Knowing that the zeal which Thou hast for the salvation of souls has induced Thee to leave such royal gems so long in my defiled heart, they may praise, adore and extol Thy mercy, saying with their lips and with their hearts, "Praise, honour, glory and benediction be to Thee, O God the Father, from whom all things proceed," thus to supply for my deficiencies.


I love the image of a God who has such zeal for the salvation of souls that he pursues us and uses our friends and neighbors and those who love us to bring us the story of His great love. We can learn a lot if we are willing to listen.


Pax

Sunday, December 14, 2008

RIP Avery Cardinal Dulles SJ

One of the best books I ever read (long before I ever decided to go to Gradual School I might add) was The Assurance of Things Hoped For., By Avery Cardinal Dulles SJ It was the most amazingly clear (but very deep) study of faith I had ever read. I was hooked from that point.

I loved the way Cardinal Dulles could explain the most complex of issues (although I will freely admit that there were times that I had to read certain passages two and even three times to be sure I was comprehending exactly what he was saying).

When I did reach Gradual school I had a professor there who had studied under "Fr. Dulles" at Catholic U in DC. We were treated to many very funny and captivating stories about him.

So I was saddened to hear that he had died this week.

His faith and service to the Church will be greatly rewarded in heaven.

Pax

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Vatican Goes Verdi

The Vatican has spared no expense to position themselves at the forefront of the "green movement" by placing a solar aray on the roof of Nervi Hall. Just goes to show that a church that still has guards that dress like this:


















Can also sport a roof that looks like this:


Because, well, we like being an enigma.
You can read the rest of the story here.
h/t to my old friend Tim (and I mean that in a good way because I have known you since first grade, and am so glad that we are back in touch with each other ) via email.
Pax

Suport the Troops

Not that I haven't always been a strong advocate for suport of our military forces fighting overseas -- valiently giving time away from their families to keep us all safe from the threat of global terrorism -- but I am asking for special prayers for them now because my oldest brother Mike is leaving for duty in Iraq tomorrow.



He will be a communications officer, and hopefully will be in safe zones most of the time, but still please God keep him, and all our men and women safe.



Pax

On the Road Again

I just got back from a quick trip . My sister and I spent that last two days driving to the Quad Cities for the funeral of our aunt Gina.



I really dislike the fact that the only time I have gotten to see my cousins is at this funeral, but that can't be helped. In fact my cousin Marc (the last time I had seen him was at his wedding over 3o years ago) said that us getting to see each other and reconnect was the blessing that came from his mom's death.

I am hoping that I can convince my cousin Chuck, who is the patriarch of our family clan now (hint hint) , to do what he can to try to keep us in contact with each other, but I am guessing that the next time I will see any of them will be at my mom's funeral or at her memorial when we transport her ashes back to the Quad Cities to be interred with my dad who is buried there.

Maybe we will get lucky and one of our generation's kids will get married and some of us can get together for the wedding, that would at least be a happier occasion to reconnect.

Oh well, so goes family dynamics in this society.


That is one of the things I like about Facebook. I have gotten connected to nearly every one of my cousin's in my dad's brother's family through Facebook. I can keep up a bit with what is going on in their lives and at least wish them holiday and birthday greetings.



Maybe after this trip I will be able to do that with mom's brother's family as well. That would be way cool.



The other nice thing about this trip is that I got to road test my Christmas present from mrangelmeg (by the way hon, I absolutely love it). He got me (well I went to the store and picked it out) a Garmin .



This one is a bit nicer than the one my friends had in Chicago a while back when I fell in love with it. On mine,-- I have dubbed her Beyotce (like the singer) because when she tries to send me on a road I don't intend to take I say "Beyotce what? not going that way!"-- actually tells you the name of the street you are supposed to turn onto as well as how soon you are supposed to turn. It also tells you how fast you are going and the speed limit of the road you are traveling on, as well as the estimated time of arrival at your destination; all good things to know.


We didn't get lost once the entire trip, and we even used it to find an IHop for breakfast and the closest one was across the river in Illinois.

Anyway, I am glad to be back home, and I hope I don't have to take any long trips for a while, but at least with Beyotce along I won't get lost.

Pax


Monday, December 08, 2008

Prayers Please

My Cousin Chuck says that my aunt Gina ( my mother's sister-in -law) is very weak but resting comfortably in a hospice at this hour. She has suffered from mini strokes of late and is probably going to die this week.

Please pray for comfort for her and her family as she prepares to join her husband in repose.
My uncle Chuck died a year ago in the late fall.


Update: My cousin Chuck called this evening, my aunt Gina passed away quite peacefully this evening with three of her six children at her bedside. Thanks for your prayers for her family.

Pax

Mysitc Monday

I had planned to post a quote from Bonhoeffer today because I found one over the weekend that I really liked, but in honor of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception I think I should post something from one of our sister mystics instead.



We were discussing St Teresa of Avilla and especially in the context of a picture of the statue of Teresa in ecstasy by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini this weekend, so since she is on my mind as well, I will chose something from her writings:



It is no small pity, and should cause us no little shame that through our own fault, we do not understand ourselves, or know who we are. Would it not be a sign of great ignorance, my daughters, if a person were asked who he was, and could not say, and had no idea who his father or his mother was or from what country he came? Though that is great stupidity, our won is incomparably greater if we make no attempt to discover what we are, and only know that we are living in these bodies, and have a vague idea, because we have heard it and because our Faith tells us so, that we bosess souls. As to what good qualities there may be in our souls, or Who dwells within them , or how precious they are -- those are things which we seldom consider and so we trouble little about carefully preserving the soul's beauty. All our interest is centered in the rough setting of the diamond, and in the outer wall of the castle -- that is to say, in these bodies of ours.
-- Interior Castles , First Mansion


Pax

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Advent and Penance


So I have been thinking.

(waiting for the comments about seeing smoke coming from my ears, and how you hope I don't strain anything. I can take it)

It is the season of Advent. The beginning of our new Church year. A time of great anticipation and preparation for the Season of Christmas (yes, you read that right, Christmas is a season, not just a day.)

The Mass readings leading up to Advent are a bit on the dark and twisty side, filled with doom and gloom. All about what will happen if we aren't prepared when Christ returns.

Then Advent comes and the readings, well they don't really change much. Repent, make straight the path, be changed, prepare the way of the Lord!

Part of that being prepared, is taking a really critically hard look at yourself so that you can smooth out the rough spots and make any course corrections you need to make to "make straight your path". When we do take a critical look at how we have been living, often we find it necessary to avail ourselves of the sacrament of Reconciliation to aide us in getting that path straight. Because while on our own we can't do much correcting, with the help of God's forgiving mercy we have the ability to do the work that is necessary to change.

That is why it is usual for Catholic parishes to have a communal Penance service during the Advent season. To remind us that while we have to do the work to change it might be a good idea to admit that without God's mercy and care we are helpless.

I hope you all find the time to avail yourself of the Sacrament this season.

Pax

Monday, December 01, 2008

Mystic Monday


Today dear children I offer you a short quote from Francis de Sales 1567-1622.

Doctor of the Church

(mrangelmeg says he was the patron saint of shopping, but I reckon probably not).




Do all through love, nothing through constraint.



Think about that one as you pass through this advent season.


Pax

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Yeah Right!

So as promised I took the angelbaby to see Twilight this afternoon. Ever since she became fascinated by the books I have known that they were probably not the best works of fiction around, but I let her read them, and since I promised, I took her to the movie. We did talk about how unrealistic it was as a real love story though.

We also talked about how absolutely stalkery the entire feel of the way this young man in the movie (and books) goes after this young woman is. The angelbaby was still a bit starry eyed even when the movie had begun about how "romantic" it all was, but after seeing it played out on the big screen even she had to admit that when Edward tells Bella that he has been coming into her room at night for a month to watch her sleep that that was a bit stalkery and slightly creepy.

There is something too extreme about the devotion of the protagonists, that is just a bit off for my taste. The best thing I have to say about this movie is it did give my daughter and I a lot to talk about, and there was very little sex which was nice in a teen romance. I somehow just couldn't get past the whole idea that by the end of the movie the beautiful young woman's one ambition was to be as undead as her sparkly suitor.

I suppose it could happen. In some one's imagination, just not mine. Or in reality.

Why can't someone make a realistic love story for teen age girls? Please, I beg you!

Pax

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How Does She Do It?

I just got back from my trainer session. I love my trainer. She is very mild mannered. You might say she is the polar opposite of Jillian Michaels, the woman that screams at those poor people on Biggest Loser on television as they work out on the Biggest Loser Ranch.

My trainer would never consider yelling at me as a way to motivate me to try a little harder, and yet she seems to get 110 % effort every week when I show up for my sessions. Amazing how techniques differ.

Anyway, I went in for my first trainer session after physical therapy, and I explained what has been going on there and showed her my still very bruised thigh, and we talked about what my therapist says I should be doing to strengthen my left leg now that it is on the mend.

My trainer went about running me through my paces while being very respectful of the limitations that the bruising on my thigh presented. She never once asked me to do anything that might have caused undue pain, and still she worked my tail off.

By the end of the session I was totally exhausted and had really gotten a thorough workout.

She is amazing.

Pax

Monday, November 24, 2008

Quiet? Me? Ha!

ISFP - The Artists

The gentle and compassionate type. They are especially attuned their inner values and what other people need. They are not friends of many words and tend to take the worries of the world on their shoulders. They tend to follow the path of least resistance and have to look out not to be taken advantage of.

They often prefer working quietly, behind the scene as a part of a team. They tend to value their friends and family above what they do for a living.

My only comment is ask anyone who knows me and quiet is not the first thing that will come to mind about me. Hmm, curious.

Other than that it pretty much sums up what I am trying to learn and become in my new program, and still trying to be the arsty "type" person creating things with my hands and with my words.




Find out what "type" your blog is here.

h/t to that floozy blog Ironic Catholic


Pax



I Would be Totally Impressed . . .

except there were about three questions per subject, so the odds were seriously in my favor!





There Are 0 Gaps in Your Knowledge



Where you have gaps in your knowledge:



No Gaps!



Where you don't have gaps in your knowledge:



Philosophy

Religion

Economics

Literature

History

Science

Art

It Has To Hurt To Heal

They finally know what is causing the pain in my side. It is a tight band of connective tissue between my ilium and my tibia that affects how I walk, how I sit and just about everything else I do pretty much. And to top it all off I have a way of sitting with my left leg curled up underneath me that is just making the problem that much worse no matter how comfortable I think it feels.

So, I have to take physical therapy twice a week, which means the dreaded Graston Technique which involves scraping my leg and hip with assorted curved steel knives to kneed the tissue and get it all back working the way it should.

I also have to wear this really "interesting" patch on my leg. It is called an iontopheresis delivery system and it basically uses batteries to "shoot" the analgesic right into my hip. The closest sensation I can come up with is if someone tried to yank out your hair follicle by follicle over a period of about nine hours -- so enjoyable.

Then each day I have to do stretches of my leg that are meant to stretch the band of connective tissue back to its original length. OUCH! After I hold the three stretches for 30 seconds each I an in so much pain that I have to sit with ice on my leg for 20 minutes.

I realize that this is all good, and in just a few weeks I will be much better and most of the pain will be gone and I will be on the road to total recovery with only the building up of the muscles to do (which shouldn't hurt nearly as much, one would hope). But getting through the next two weeks will be crazy hard.

So, I am going to offer it up. If anyone has a need , just let me know because I have some serious offering up to do.

Pax


Mystic Monday: Modern Edition


Today children we depart from our ancient mystics to take up the life and writings of a contemporary man whose name used to fascinate me as a child:

Dag Hammarskjold.

Now you might not immediately think that a Swedish economist and statesman who went on to become the second Secretary general of the United Nations would qualify as a mystic. What you can learn from looking at his life is that he was a man who was dedicated to working toward peace and in fact it was on a peace mission to the Congo that he tragically met his death. He as awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize in 1961 for his global peace efforts.


For our purposes though, a small volume of his personal writings entitled Markings which was published after his death, and which he himself called a sort of White Book concerning my negotiations with myself - and with God." is filled with mystical thought and encounters with the divine.

I want to share one with you here today that I love, and have meditated on repeatedly:



Thou takest the pen and the lines dance.

Thou takest the flute-and the notes shimmer.

Thou takest the brush and the colors sing.

So all things have meaning and beauty in that space beyond time where Thou art.

How then can I hold back anything from Thee?




Maybe this quote resonates with me because I write, and I play the flute and while I don't paint I do create colorful things with my knitting needles, and in all these endeavors I am acutely aware and ever humbly grateful that it is not me but the divine spark within me that allows me to create such beauty.


If you get a chance, spend some time reading more of his writings.


Pax

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Little Help

Tonight I have to give a talk at RCIA:



The Ten Commandments NOT The Ten Suggestions


In the eight years that I have done RCIA ministry this is my least favorite talk and one I would never freely choose to do. Out of those eight years, it has fallen upon my shoulders to give this talk . . .



wait for it . . .



eight times!


I guess, God understands better than I do that I have a perspective on sin and the ten commandments that will help those entering the church to see the freedom that they offer as a guide for living one's life.

If you get a chance I would appreciate a prayer (and we all know how God's time works, so if you are reading this on Thursday or Friday or even December 10th, say a prayer for me, it won't go wasted). that my talk goes well and that the young men and women in this RCIA class will have a much better understanding of the freedom of living a moral life after I break open the commandments with them.

I use a very interactive style, and try to engage them as much as possible in the interpretation process, so the Holy Spirit can guide the direction in which the discussion takes. I would hate to go into the evening knowing exactly what I was going to say based upon my faults and failings and not address any of their specific needs. Heaven knows I have enough faults to go around, but my faults are mine and I don't begin to think they would be the same as for a 19 years old college male.

So, again, please send up a prayer that things go well, and that hearts are opened and touched. I would appreciate the back-up.

Pax

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

This Might Turn Out to Be Interesting

So mrangelmeg is away at his final (almost, he actually missed one so he has a make-up one to take in the spring) Masters Class this week in Indianapolis, which happens to be where I have to go for my class today.

Since the older kids are old enough to take care of the angelbaby and have volunteered to make sure she gets on the bus and make sure she gets her homework done and feed her dinner and stuff, I am going to stay over night with mrangelmeg tonight for a little getaway.

Last month I just waited at the place where I had class till he got out of class and I left my car there and he came over and picked me up. This time though I get out of class at noon and he doesn't get done till after 6, so I have to drive down into downtown Indy (which I hate) to the hotel on my own and get a key from the desk and check into the hotel and hang out for the afternoon and wait for him.

I was going to go straight over, but I think I will go visit my mom at her nursing home and then go over to the hotel. I just hope they remember that I am coming. When a woman shows up at the desk and demands a key to her husband's room are they going to be all Yeah Right who does she think she is!

This could be fun.

Pax

Monday, November 17, 2008

Mystic Monday


Today dear children I offer you the gentle words of our sister Jane de Chantal (1572-1641)

She was a married, mother of four, who after being widowed came under the Spiritual Direction of St. Frances de Sales and established a convent of sisters who worked with the poor .
Here is her admonition on how to live ones life:

I see. . . that your soul still agonizes when you feel without grace or when you commit some fault that comes from the rigor with which you would like to make progress. . . Your failings are not worth bothering about. I still think that the best thing is to stop examining yourself and to remain wide open in a holy confidence and joy. . .

- - Letters of Spiritual Direction




Pax

Friday, November 14, 2008

The End Is Near . . . or maybe it is just a resting point . . .

My first Semester is coming swiftly to a close. I have one more reflection assignment where I have to answer some questions about my first semester, and I have a synthesis experience (whatever that means) on Tuesday. Then I will have completed my first grueling semester of my Spirtual Direction Internship.

As I write these words I have just unpacked the box from Amazon which included the books for my second semester:

The Holy Longing by Ronald Rolhieser,
Holy Listening by Margaret Guenther
The Discerning Heart by Maureen Conroy
Interior Castle by Teresa of Avilla
and The Impact of God (John of the Cross) by Iain Matthew

I am actually really excited about the selection of books. They are all very interesting and cover areas of spirituality that will make me a much better director when it comes time next fall to actually take my first directee.

Knowing how this semester went though I have forewarned for next semester and will get a jump start on the reading a bit in November and December so that I can be a bit ahead of the game when it the semester starts.

We also begin to practice "doing direction" next semester with direct supervision. Instead of the five minute mini session we have had in our classroom this semester, next semester we will actually be doing half hour session with feedback from the observers and our supervising instructors. All I can say about this is YIPPEE!!! I want someone to help me to ask the right questions, and help me to help those who come to me. I am a bit scared, but I am ready to try.

In fact I am so willing to try, that I am signed up to be the first Guinea pig ( I am going to be the first directee for the first session when our supervising instructor goes through a session with the class watching. As directee you have to go into the session as if you are really going to direction (this isn't play acting folks -- I have cried every time I have done one of these sessions, so far even for five minute sessions, so I can imagine what a 30 minute session will be like.)

I realize that no matter how much practice I get, that first time I sit down with a directee I am going to think "holy crud, what I am trying to do here." but the more practice I get and the more faithful I am to the process they are putting me through the more carefully the Holy Spirit will be preparing me so that when I do start taking directees I won't feel as though I am wasting their time.

I know this is what God wants me to do. I just have to be faithful to the process so that the work that needs to be done in me can be done to prepare me for the work that needs to happen in others.

I have a lot of things to keep me going before January. Even if there isn't an assignment due every week for a while.

Pax

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Friday Fun: Seriously?




You Are Boggle



You are an incredibly creative and resourceful person.

You're able to dig deep and think outside the box to get things done.

You are a non linear thinker. You don't like following directions

You draw your inspiration from the strangest places sometimes. You're constantly inspired.




I can honestly say I have never played this game in my life, but I suppose I should give it a try, because the explanation is pretty spot on.

Pax

This is The Best Day Ever!



Today's Mass readings were all about being a shining example to the world of the One to whom we belong so the world will know Him and want to be His.

I think I might not be the best shining example today . . . I keep taking two steps forward and one step backward and have done that all day long.

I got up early enough to make it to morning mass, which was good. But was so late that I barely made it to my place in the chapel before Fr. walked in to begin Mass (no prayers to prepare myself before Mass this morning).

I went to visit with my mother-in-law which was a really nice thing, but somehow I forgot the time and missed my physical therapy appointment because I thought I was supposed to be there at a different time and I got there twenty minutes later than I was supposed to, so they had to reschedule me for next week which was the earliest they could get me in again.

I found a receipt I have been looking for for something of my mother's and in my excitement I tore it up. Lucky for me it wasn't into little bits and I could still read it enough so that I could call her nursing home and get the matter of it straightened out.

I'm not sure, but I think my new medication is causing me some really strange side effects, and ones I don't know if I can live with even though the pain in my hip is a lot less severe since I have been wearing it.

It is cold and wet again today. Cold wet weather is the worst.

Oh well, I have to remember that the gospel says that we are supposed to be perfected -- a process of getting better, not a state of being without fault. This is one of those days where God is working on me.

I can really feel it.

Pax

Monday, November 10, 2008

Is The Obama Youth in Our Future?

This article states that only after a web furor was the wording on Obama's official website changed to soften the idea of compulsory service for middle school and high school youth in the "Classroom Corps". Now the site states that the service will be "a goal" in middle and high school.

Further there will be the carrot of a $4000 tax credit for every college student who performs service in the first two years of matriculation. (I wonder where that money is going to come from because that is a heck of a lot of carrots if every kid in the country takes advantage of it).

But in order to receive this carrot, according to Rahm Emanuel there would be mandatory civil service. The following is in his own words:

"It's time for a real Patriot Act that brings out the patriot in all of us. We propose universal civilian service for every young American. Under this plan, all Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 will be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service."

Tuccille comments, "Emanuel and co-author Bruce Reed insist 'this is not a draft,' but go on to write of young men and women, 'the nation will enlist them for three months of civilian service.' They also warn, 'Some Republicans will squeal about individual freedom,' ruling out any likelihood that they would let people opt out of universal citizen service."


Are you going to take into account that our beautiful daughter who is a freshman in college is High Functioning Autistic, a disability which makes it almost impossible for her to fit in with a group of people. She is struggling to find a job even with the help of vocational rehabilitation support. I can't imagine the nightmare that Mr Emanuel's basic training and civil service would be for her. What kind of protections will be put in place to assure that she will not be terrorized by the system?

And another point, I don't know about other parents, but my children do volunteer work, that mrangelmeg and I approve, and only when it doesn't interfere with their first priority, school work. I don't want their school, in an extremely liberal city to determine when and where my child will do community service without my input, thank you very much.

My 13 year old child will not be conscripted into anyone's corps, Mr Obama, she can do her service work alongside her father and myself at our Parish Church outreach or with the Gabriel project which collects items that women in unplanned pregnancies will need so that they won't have to turn to the desperate act of thinking of their precious child as a punishment (Your words Mr Obama). I am not against community service, I am just against conscription to do so.

All I have to say is, be careful what you vote for people.

h/t to adoro to devote for the heads up.

Pax

Procrastination Blues

One would think that the writer in me would love this Spiritual Direction Internship in which I am currently enrolled as a student. Each week practically there is a five page reflection paper on some aspect of our journey of discovery, and along with that I have gotten to read four amazing books and five really good articles.

The problem is that I never quite got over my habit of putting off until the last minute any homework that didn't have a due date absolutely staring me in the face. So while I have kept up admirably with most of the reflection papers and book summaries, I am woefully behind on the article reflections.

Suffice it to say that out of the five articles I have read this semester I have summarized only one. The due date for the summaries is now staring me in the face and I have to kick it into gear and while I am doing laundry today (and driving the girls to class and all the other little chores on my well stocked plate) I have to somehow squeeze in four article summaries.

Maybe I had better rethink my strategy for next semester do you reckon? Yeah right, that's gonna happen!

Lucky for me I am not the designated driver to class tomorrow, so if I have to stay up late to get things done at least I won't be falling asleep at the wheel on my way to Indianapolis in the morning. God takes care of fools, or so I have heard.

Better get to work.

Pax

Mystic Monday


In honor of last week's elections I am posting something from brother Francis:




Those who are placed over others should glory in such an office only as
much as they would were they assigned the task of washing the feet of the
brothers. - 4th Admonition





Not a bad way to think about leadership; as the Pope says of himself be the servant of the servants of God.


We can always hope that our political leaders will think of their office with the same eye to humble service.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I Beg To Differ!

Patrick Madrid is blogging!

His blog header reads: just another guy with a blog, no big whoop.

I would quibble with that. He stands out a bit from your run of the mill bloggers.


I am so glad he is finding the time to grace the blogosphere with his presence.

We need his voice. Trust me when I say you can learn a lot from him.

Pax

Liberal Media Admits Bias

This morning as I was eating my breakfast and watching my morning news show I heard a story in which the Washington Post admitted that it had had an unbalanced editorial slant during the election campaign. The number of stories that were negative toward Obama were fewer than half the number of those that were negative toward McCain.

My response (and that of the newscasters and the expert from the Think Tank they interviewed) was they didn't notice this as it was happening? Seriously? The media drove this election, and anointed Obama for the presidency in many ways.

The first amendment has been trounced upon in the name of "truth in media". Now the liberal media wants to go after any opposition with the "fairness doctrine" and eliminate conservative talk radio. Then all we will have is the Liberal left viewpoint.

No media outlet is completely fair and without bias, but some do a much better job of trying to be balanced than the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times did this election cycle. I will have to admit that our local Paper, the Herald Times did a pretty good job of showing both sides most of the time, but they could have shown some restraint as to what qualified as news and what was just pandering in an election year.

I don't think there is any way to get a fair and balanced picture of what is going on from any news agency anymore. Maybe we are lucky that we have remote control technology, that way we can switch between the five 24-hour news channels on the dial and try to figure it out for ourselves.

Pax

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Top Ten Lists

I have to share these . I wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry, so I did both:


Catholic Top Ten Lists



A tip of the Biretta to Fr. Phillip Neri Powell O.P. for the laughter and tears.


Pax

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Friday Fun: 2nd Grade AP Reading Mid Term

Here is a link that made me laugh out loud.

I am not sure if I laughed because it was funny or because I think I had this exact teacher in elementary school.


2nd Grade AP Reading Mid Term


my favorite answer has to be:

#2 What does Max's wolf mask in Where the Wild Things Are represent?

a) a wolf

Teacher's comment: Wolves symbolize capitalism and the masks are respresentative of slavery; the wolf mask is all about Max's white guilt.


h/t to my son the genius who stumbled across this on the internet and couldn't wait to share it with me.
Pax

Cool patches and PT

The pain is still lingering in my left side, so my Dr. thinks it would be a good idea if I tried some Physical Therapy to see if we can't get my hip joint straightened out. Especially since the joint hurts more after exercise (especially after a visit with my trainer).

She also prescribed some really cool analgesic patches that I can apply directly to my hip rather than having to take yet another pill. This way the pain relief gets right where the pain is. I can't wait to try them, I am going to put one on right after dinner tonight.

She also suggested that I should try adding a Probiotic supplement to my diet for the next few weeks because of all of the trouble I have been having since my bout with food poisoning a week ago. She thinks I need to get back the good stuff my body lost.

It all makes a lot of sense to me. I am all for feeling good for a change. I want to get back on track with workouts and I haven't felt like I can go all out since Florida because of the pain in my hip. I am very hopeful.

Pax

Angelbaby Theology

Overheard bit of a conversation between the angelbaby and her older sister the other day:


Angelbaby: God is perfect, he never makes mistakes


Older sister: That is right.


Angelbaby: Except maybe spiders.


Pax

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Today's Mass Readings November 5, 2008

It is an amazing God-incidence that we got these particular readings after last night's election results:

Father Bill's homily was focused on the fact that if we complain about the outcome of a situation then we are saying that we know better than God how things should work out. True Faith is to be able to accept whatever outcome happens without grumbling.

I wonder if I could get a fifteen minute window for grumbling? Then I think I would be okay.


Reading 1
Phil 2:12-18My beloved, obedient as you have always been,not only when I am present but all the more now when I am absent,work out your salvation with fear and trembling.For God is the one who, for his good purpose,works in you both to desire and to work.Do everything without grumbling or questioning,that you may be blameless and innocent,children of God without blemishin the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,among whom you shine like lights in the world,as you hold on to the word of life,so that my boast for the day of Christ may bethat I did not run in vain or labor in vain.But, even if I am poured out as a libation upon the sacrificial service of your faith,I rejoice and share my joy with all of you.In the same way you also should rejoice and share your joy with me.

Responsorial PsalmPs 27:1, 4, 13-14.
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

The LORD is my light and my salvation;whom should I fear?
RThe LORD is my life’s refuge;of whom should I be afraid?

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

One thing I ask of the LORD;this I seek:
To dwell in the house of the LORDall the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORDand contemplate his temple.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.

I believe that I shall see the bounty of the LORDin the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD with courage;be stouthearted, and wait for the LORD.

R. The Lord is my light and my salvation.


GospelLk 14:25-33
Great crowds were traveling with Jesus,and he turned and addressed them,“If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters,and even his own life,he cannot be my disciple.Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after mecannot be my disciple.Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say,‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away,he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”

Pax

Entertaining Angels

This is my week to be Hospital Minister for my parish. On Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday I have to deliver The Blessed Sacrament to patients at the hospital who are registered as Catholic with the chaplain's office.

I love this ministry even though it always seems to be my week on the busiest week of the month. This week has been no exception. Sunday we went on a hike to take advantage of the beautiful weather and I didn't get to my hospital rounds until late in the evening.

I wrote out my little note about which rooms to visit, loaded up the pyx from the tabernacle in the chapel and headed out. One of the names on the list was the name of an older woman I have known for some time, so I left her room for last and made the rounds of the other rooms. Some of the patients had gone home, (it being the weekend the Chaplain wasn't there to update the book), so it didn't take long at all.

I went to my friend's room last, only it wasn't her at all in that room but another woman. She didn't happen to be Catholic, but we got started talking, and she told me that she was all alone, because she was in from the surrounding county and her daughter didn't drive, so she couldn't come here to be with her. She then told me all about her life there and her love for God and her work with a prayer group at the Nursing home where she lived for a while. She was the most awesome woman I had ever met. She was so happy to have a visitor at all that she was practically in tears.

I told her that I would check back in on her when I came back for my rounds on Tuesday. Sure enough Tuesday was another long day for me and I didn't get to the hospital again till after seven p.m.. I went around and gave out Communion, and then stopped in to see my new friend and she was just as happy this time as before to see me. It seems she had been thinking about something we had discussed on Sunday. We had some further discussion about faith and the importance of community. I told her about my prayer experience at my Internship and my visit with my mother in the nursing home. She told me that she really missed not having a bible with her. I promised to bring her one of mine after Mass today.

So I stopped in this morning on my way home after Mass. She was a little less comfortable this morning, but just as happy to see me. She was really happy to have a bible again. I even gave her an old prayer book that I had picked up at a Daughter's of Isabella rummage sale for a nickle that has prayers for every day of the week based upon the psalms that were written by a monk from Japan. She was really happy to get that as she misses her devotional books that she normally reads "of a morning".

I told her I would check on her again when I did my rounds tomorrow. I am not sure who is getting more out of these visits, her or me. I think perhaps it is me.

Pax

Monday, November 03, 2008

Seeing My Name in Print


no matter how insignificant, is still really cool and very humbling.

I got an advanced copy of God Stories today with a bookmark at page 78, right where my story has been printed. I can't describe the feeling of reading the story of my own dark night experience in a book that will be out there for people to purchase and hopefully gain hope and support from on their own faith journey. It is very humbling indeed.

I haven't had time to read any of the other stories in the book, but I think I will use it as my evening reading for the next few nights. Maybe there is some inspiration in those pages for me too.

Pax

Mystic Monday

Today wee return to our old friend Blaise Pascal. These are excepts that deal with the profoundly transforming mystical experiences he had during his life. They were found after his death, written on a scrap of paper and sewn into his clothing.



Here are a few lines from the text:

Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
...........................................................................................................
I have been seperated from him; I have fled him, renounced
him, crucified him
Let me never be seperated from him
He is preserved only by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Total submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
Eternally in joy for a day's trial on earth.


Citation: Christian Mystics by Usrala King; Hidden Spring Press 2001, p 168-169

Pax

From First Things: An Actor Speaks Out

Actor Tim Kelleher (Independence Day, Operation Dumbo Drop, numerous television appearances) writes an impassioned editorial for First Things on Obama's message of Change!

here is an excerpt:

I wanna, I wanna, I wanna vote Obama. I like Barack and understand the enthusiasm. He seems a personification of the hope we presume is inherent to change. I wish I could get on board. I might even seem as cool as the people around me. Yet, behind the sheer charisma and smooth layers of nuance, compatibility with prophetic gospel imperatives is hard to see. Approval of the death penalty, an announced readiness to act militarily against Pakistan in a move that would make Iraq look like a weekend paint-ball game. These don’t point to consonance with Christian concerns, not in a way that seems truly to distinguish him from his opponents. And, then, there’s his willingness to countenance the fifty million we Americans add to every day and which depletes us on every conceivable level.

read the rest here.


My fear is that too many people have been won over by the slick rhetoric and Obama will get into office, and then the slick talk will fall away and his true intentions will surface and everyone will be left wondering how they were so hoodwinked into believing that anything he said was of substance, or that he had the good of the country at heart. I haven't seen even a hint of that from the beginning of his campaign. He is running for the office, not for the people.

At our house we are still fasting and praying and hoping our votes count for something.

Pax

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Resounding Echo to Prove Personhood

Philosopher Peter Kreeft presents the arguments commonly used to explain why the unborn child is not a human person and then shows clearly and simply why each of these arguments cannot possibly be true.

Read the entire article here.

If we had studied philosophers like him in my modern philosophy class I might have actually learned something.

Pax

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Nature (and motherhood) Abhors a Vacuum

It is Tuesday, a day when I am usually rushing to get to my internship in Indianapolis to spend a day being a Spiritual Direction Intern immersed in talk of God, spirituality and being other centered. But this happens to be the one Tuesday a month that we get off to allow us time to catch up on the paperwork involved in the program.

Well actually I happen to be a bit ahead of the game in terms of paperwork for my internship because I got two papers written this Sunday when my tummy was acting up so I had really intended to take the day off and rejuvenate my spirit by being a bit lazy. But, motherhood like nature abhors the vacuum of unscheduled time.

By early evening yesterday I had been delegated at least four kid related errands to be accomplished today that will eat up my glorious free day. These activities must be accomplished today and will involve my driving all over town (in at least three directions anyway).

Oh well, I can be lazy when I am old and feeble. I can spend today taking care of the needs of my beautiful children. Besides this is more training on being other centered and helping me to see that it isn't all about me, so: It's all good.

Pax.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Understanding Redistribution of Weath

Karen Hall has a really good (and funny) post on the Obama plan for redistribution of wealth.

Read it here.


If that isn't what they mean, then I'll be jiggered, because every time they explain it that is how I understand it.

Pax

Catholics and Voting a Civic and Moral Obligation




Now go vote

Mystic Monday

Today I bring you one of the Desert Mothers: Amma Syncletica



Amma Syncletica said "there are many who live in the mountains and behave as if they were in the town and they are wasting their time. It is possible to be a solitary in one's mind while living in a crowd, and it is possible for one who is solitary to live in a crowd of personal thoughts."

from The Forgotten Desert Mothers


I remember meditating on this once during adoration. There was someone at adoration who seemed so much more still than I was and I was begging God for that kind of stillness. God responded by reminding me that I had a stillness of heart in my busy life that I had gained by learning to listen to that still, small voice,. I shouldn't judge by other's outer stillness because I had no way of knowing what was going on within.

Pax

Fr. Denis Has a Blog

Now you can all see why I love Fr. Denis.

He has a regular blog where he shares his genius with us all.

Read it here.


Pax

Sunday, October 26, 2008

He's Back!

My friend Deacon John who has been recovering from an autologous stem cell transplant and been unable to preach for a while was able to preach at Mass this weekend.

And what a homily it was.

Welcome back to the work God has planned for you my friend.

I still owe you that blanket I was making when I came to see you in Chicago after your transplant. It is completed, I just need to put it in the mail, sorry it has taken so long.

Glad you are feeling better.

Pax

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another Voice

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
-- Martin Luther King Jr.








Wow.

Pax

Faithful Citizenship

Cardinal Justin Rigali wrote a great article in the Catholic Standard and Times.

here are a few quotes:


One aspect of the dignity of the human person is the ability to reason and to know. Another aspect of human dignity is the affirmation of the rights of the individual’s conscience. However, if we fail to acknowledge any natural or revealed norms to guide and properly form our consciences, each of us could wind up justifying almost anything.

The human conscience is always at the service of truth and virtue, but it must be properly formed in order to function properly. We believe that because we are made in God’s image we have within our very nature a fundamental understanding of right and wrong. To us as human persons, this “law of the heart,” as it is sometimes called, requires a responsibility beyond laws enacted by governments.

and later on in the article

The transcending issue of our day is the intentional destruction of innocent human life, as in abortion. We wish with all our hearts that no candidate and no party were advocating this heinous act against the human person. However, since it is a transcending issue, and even supported in its most extreme and horrific forms, we must proclaim time and time again that no intrinsic evil can ever be supported in any way, most especially when it concerns the gravest of all intrinsic evils: the taking of an innocent life.

We bishops of Pennsylvania quoted from the late Pope John Paul II’s Post Synodal Exhortation on the Vocation and Mission of the Lay Faithful and I quote him again here: “The inviolability of the person which is a reflection of the absolute inviolability of God, finds its primary and fundamental expression in the inviolability of human life. Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination” (Christifideles Laici, 38).

At this moment in our country’s history, defense of innocent human life is a moral responsibility for all of us. The same God who thundered from Mount Sinai: “Thou shalt not kill,” thunders still. When life in the womb is destroyed, God thunders: “This is a child!” When by the most barbaric means, unworthy of any civilized people, the brain of a child is sucked out of his or her head by a vacuum, God thunders: “This is a child!” When a baby is left to die of exposure on a shelf because of a failed abortion, and this is considered a “right” by any leader, God, the Source of all law and authority, thunders: “This is a child!” When we are faced with every modern means of education and communication, in addition to the law placed in our hearts at creation, no one, and most especially, no Catholic, can ever say: “I did not know.”

The human dignity that we proclaim works two ways: it affords us a great privilege but it also demands a responsibility. The feeble defense “I did not know” cannot be used by any responsible person in our time when confronted with the reality of abortion. We do know. We know because we can reason and think and see. Along with this position, which is confirmed by modern science, comes a command: “Thou shalt not kill.” It is not a question of politics but a question of the gravest of intrinsic evils; and just as the reality of what it is cannot be explained away, neither can our responsibility.


Read the entire article here.

Pax

h/t to Paul Stokell via Facebook

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Catholics and Obama

Here is an article by George Weigel in Newsweek that gives a pretty reasoned argument as to why "most" Catholics are finding it very difficult to vote for Senator Obama, and why those who are so ardently supporting him should seriously think again.

I am quoting a bit of it here to make the point:


"To suggest—as some Catholics do—that Senator [Barack] Obama is this year's 'real' pro-life candidate requires a peculiar kind of self-hypnosis, or moral confusion, or worse. To portray the 2008 Democratic Party presidential ticket as the preferred 'pro-life' option is to subvert what the word 'pro-life' means."

Why? Because the public record amply demonstrates that Senator Obama is not the abortion moderate of our professors' imagination, but a genuine abortion radical. In the third presidential debate, Obama described Roev. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that obliterated the abortion law of all fifty states, as "rightly decided"—a judgment with which Professors Cafardi, Kaveny, and Kmiec have all disagreed in the past. Moreover, Senator Obama's defense of Roe extends far beyond anyone's "elegant theorizing." Support for Roe was Obama's stated reason for opposing Illinois bills aimed at providing legal protection for children who survived an abortion.


You may read the rest on your own. We aren't single issue candidates by any means, but this one issue is a very serious one and we can't in good conscience vote for someone who is so ardently on the side of those who would sacrifice the life of the most defenseless.

Pax

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mystic Monday

Today has been a morning of making and changing appointments and trying to clean up messes and find lost things. I am in need of some inspiration from a simpler faith . . .


I call upon brother Francis to enlighten us today. He was known for his simplicity and his charity. He once said "Preach the gospel at all times; if necessary, use words."


Here is a wonderful poem that speaks of where my heart is today:
Most High,
glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me true faith,
certain hope,
and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge,
Lord,
that I may carry out
Your holy and true command.
- Francis of Assisi
Pax

Sunday, October 19, 2008

CRASH


My computer had a hardware failure yesterday. Lucky for me it is still under warranty and I can send it back to Dell for a fix. Unhappily I will have to borrow time on the son and heir's computer when he and the angelbaby aren't using it, so I may be a bit Blog-silent for the next few weeks. I will try to continue posting at least on Monday and Wednesday mornings because he works and she is in school so I know I can get computer time then.


I hope this doesn't take long, I may go into withdrawal. Especially since I don't get any chocolate for the next three weeks either.
Pax

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

/wacky Wednesday That's Me . . .

Plain and Simple . . .





You Are Ketchup



You are easy going and very measured in your approach to life.

Popular and well liked, you get along with everyone.

Seriously, everyone loves you!



Your taste tends to be pretty mainstream American.

You go for the classic favorites: burgers, fries, and apple pie.

You get along best with mustard and mayonnaise personalities.





a tip of the condiment tray to IC for the link.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I'm Offering It Up . . .

In a BIG way for the election.

Along with continuing to campaign for my causes, and talking to everyone who will listen, I have decided that in order to show my committment to the outcome of this election I am giving up chocolate until after election day. Mrangelmeg has given up ice cream.

The angelbaby is a bit concerned. I had to promise her that it wouldn't be a bad thing, my giving up chocolate. Those of you who know me well, know that this is a serious sacrifice for me.

Pax

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mystic Monday: Ladies Turn


Our Mystic Today is Mechtild of Magdeburg a Medieval mystic who began experiencing mystical visions as early as age 12.


Here is one of her poems which is a metaphor for the spiritual life:



The Desert Has Twelve Things

You must love nothingness,
You must flee something
You must remain alone
and go to nobody.
You must be very active
and free of all things.
You must deliver the captives
and force those who are free.
You must comfort the sick
and yet have nothing yourself.
YOu must drink the water of suffering
and light the fire of love with the wood of the virtues.
Thus you will live in the true desert.
Pax

Friday, October 10, 2008

Vote!



Pax

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Wisdom from Karen Hall's Mom

U.S. should immediately pull out of Chicago!

Body count: In the last six months 292 killed (murdered) in Chicago; 221 killed in Iraq.

Senators Barack Obama & Dick Durbin, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., Gov. Rod Blogojevich, House leader Mike Madigan, Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan (daughter of Mike), Mayor Richard M. Daley (son of Mayor Richard J. Daley) -- the leadership in Illinois. All Democrats.
Presiding over the combat zone in Chicago.


Of course, they're all blaming each other. (They can't blame Republicans, they're aren't any!!!!)


State pension fund = $44 billion in debt, worst in the country.


Cook County sales tax = 10.25%, highest in country.


Chicago school system = one of the worst in country.

This is the political culture that Obama comes from in Illinois. And he's gonna 'fix' Washington politics?


Thanks Karen's Mom for giving us a new perspective on reality.

a some have hats tip to Karen's mom

Fr. Denis' Remarks


This is a link to Fr. Denis' Inaugural Address.


I wish they would post the video. It is much more impressive when you hear it than when you read it. Although it is pretty powerful even in the reading.



Pax

Vote!




Pax

Is What I Do Who I Am?

What defines us as human persons? This is something I have been pondering quite a bit since this weekend when I sat at both dinner on Friday and lunch on Saturday with a mixed group of young men (seminarians, because my Gradual School is a School of Theology/Seminary) whom I had never previously met. To a man each one of them after politely asking my name and inquiring my connection to the school, asked what was it that I now do!

It got me to thinking; is this a male trait, or has this become a trait of this American Culture in which we live that we are now defined by how we make our living? Is the only good use of my Masters Degree for me to be working somewhere, in some parish ministry or some other pursuit? When I gave them my new favorite response; that I am happily unemployed, a look of puzzlement came over their faces as if I were suddenly speaking in some foreign tongue. They could not imagine that anyone would graduate from a Masters program and not go out and find a job using the skills gained immediately.

In my head I was thinking gee I am a wife and mother with a daughter who is still in elementary school; I have a mother residing in a nursing home for whom I am responsible as Power of Attorney; I do volunteer work one day a week at my daughter's school; I drive my two middle daughters to their college classes two days a week because neither of them drive; I write freelance essays on occasion (not much pay in that yet) ; I volunteer with the RCIA program at the Newman Center Parish in town; I knit; I am an intern in the Spiritual Direction Formation program one day a week and have tons of homework for that; I can barely keep up with the housework in my home (just ask mrangelmeg who is helping take up the slack and I love him for that); yet to these young men I am defined by what I do for pay only.

My Spiritual Director said it is a guy thing. He says men find it hard to imagine not working, so it is easier to define a person by what they do. When I think about it in those terms, I can see some truth to that. Mrangelmeg is an engineer. I have always said that engineer are a species all to themselves. In fact I have talked to other women married to engineers and they will back me up on this, engineers think in a very different way than other men. Maybe they are defined by what they do. I had a wonderful Theology professor in Gradual School and after the first hour of his class I went up and asked him if he had ever wanted to be an engineer because he reminded me so much of mrangelmeg in many ways. He told me that his undergrad degree was in engineering. We laughed about that, because I told him that you can take an engineer out of the discipline, but you can't take engineering out of the man.

I suppose in a similar way, priests are defined by their vocation, and well they should be. I have met some who took their vocation as a job and not as a way of life, and the difference is staggering.

I don't know if I have a point here, except to say I have no idea how to define who I am. I am a Catholic-woman-spiritual-wife-mother-daughter-knitting-student-writer-friend- volunteer-child-of-God. Only that is a little hard to fit on a business card.

Pax

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Recruiting Poster of a Whole Different Kind





Now this is the image of a servant priest. Wow, I am in awe of this poster.

just in case you can't see the website it is



WWW.NYPRIEST.COM

h/t to Godsbody for the link.

Pax

What If . . .

Your burning question was answered. (if, of course that question is What if the Beatles were Irish.) This one made me smile after a very hard day.)





h/t to DarwinCatholic

Monday, October 06, 2008

Thank You Matthew . . .


Now that he has seen and reviewed Bill Maher's new movie Religulous, I don't have to bother going to see it.
h/t to Matthew Lickona for having a stronger stomach than mine.

Mysitc Monday In Honor of Fr. Denis

I am going to bend ( I think it is a bend anyway) my rule on mystics and post something from Fr. Denis' favorite Guy JH Newman. Not to be confused with this guy who was much nicer looking, or this guy who was probably funnier.

I don't know that I would consider Newman a mystic in my sense of the term, but if one were to say that mystics spoke of the divine in a way that expressed a reality that was deeper than most others could fathom, then I suppose in many ways Newman is truly a mystic. There are very few people who actually understand much of what he wrote about God, that is for darn sure.

Anyway, this particular piece happens to be one of my favorite things Newman ever wrote, perhaps because I actually grasp what he means.



Lead Kindly Light
Lead kindly Light, amid th' encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
the night is dark and I am from from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene one step enough for me.
I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I love to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I love the garish day, and spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!
So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O'er moor and fen, o'er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I
have loved long since, and lost awhile!
John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801 -1890)
I wanted to include a video of some confrers of Fr. Denis singing a version of this at his Installation on Sunday but somehow I can't get it to load on blogger. Too bad they sing beautifully.
Pax