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


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!


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.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.