Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year and All . . .

in less than 16 hours it will be a New Year. I'm not really all that fond of resolutions, mostly because historically I am really good at making lists of things I know would be great for me to change about myself or my environment, and then not being able to follow through with those changes because of any number of factors, not the least of which is lack of will power.

So this year I have decided that instead of resolutions I am going to write out a few wishes for the new year:

I wish faithfulness to God's plan for our lives for myself, my husband and my children.

I wish that all of us would be more attentive to our overall health; body, mind and spirit.

I wish that care for the environment were something that everyone took more seriously.

I wish that all the people I loved could achieve at least one of their wildest dreams.

Pax

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lights Please:

And Joseph went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
While they were there, the time came for her to have her child,
and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling
clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock.
The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news
of great joy that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."
and suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying
"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us."
So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had hear and seen,
just as it had been told to them.


Merry Christmas Everyone

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Living Will

Last night, my kids and I were sitting in the living room and I said to them, 'I never want to live in a vegetativestate, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug.'


So, they got up unplugged my Computer and poured out all my wine.

h/t to my friend Diane via email

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It is all about the Birth of Mary, People


This is the one term of Catholic Church doctrine that is misinterpreted by so many people. Miss-used might be a better way to say it. I get really tired when I hear people makings jokes about the Immaculate Conception, when they are really trying to reference the Virgin Birth. I don't mind you making fun of my faith tradition, I just wish you would bother to take the time to get to know a little about it before you go spouting off your big mouth.


This quote below is a wonderful explanation as to why Mary had to be conceived without sin in order to be prepared to be the Theotokos (God bearer). God makes sense if you just take the time to think logically about how this was all set about.


Anyway, Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception.


Had Infinite Purity chosen any other port of entrance into humanity but that of human purity,

it would have created a tremendous difficulty, namely,

how could He be sinless if He was born of sin-laden humanity?

- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

(On the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Pax

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

50 is Really Young


in Bishop Years.


Fr Paul Etienne, Bishop elect of the Diocese of Cheyene WY will be the youngest American Bishop when he is installed next week.


Shhhhhh!

I finally found the perfect Christmas gift for my friends at Korrektiv, but don't tell them. I would hate to spoil the surprise.



Pax

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Where You Lead . . .

I don't have much time. I took a longer walk this morning, and only have a few minutes before I have to dash off (late )to my first session of the day.

I walked through the river park this morning and by the Holocaust memorial (I will post the video later when I get home. ) and then because I was so far down the park I decided to walk back through the French Quarter. That was such an interesting experience. At one point I passed a biker bar that was still really hopping at 7:20 in the morning.

As I turned back toward Canal Street I happened to pass a little Catholic Mission Church that was just beginning 7:30 Mass, Since the bells were ringing and everyone was walking in, I figured that it was a test. I could go in and go to Mass and still make it to most of my morning session. So I did. I am so glad I did.

The congregation was predominately African-American, so needless to say, the music was amazing. The priest was a mission priest who had such a heart for his people, (and The New Orleans Saints apparently as we prayed for them repeatedly throughout the service).

I felt myself welling up with tears at least four times during the service: once because I felt so at home; once because of a touching prayer of the faithful that I felt was directed at my present need in my dark night; once when the entire congregation gathered at the center of the church holding hands to sing an amazing rendition of the Our Father together as One Voice; and once as I walked up to receive communion and got a closer look at all of the beautiful statues surrounding the side altars. (I will post those as well.)

I really believe that God sent me in that direction this morning. My steps were carefully ordered. I could have gone in so many other directions. I had planned to walk toward the Warehouse district to take pictures of some buildings we saw last night on our way to dinner, but at the last minute changed my direction for no reason other than the movement of The Spirit.

I have a lot to be thankful for this trip, and a lot to think about today.

God is so good, all of the time.

Pax

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

untangling the knot

God isn't speaking to me in words.
I may have told you this before.
When I pray I either get great gaping silence:



































or I get images. The problem with the images is that I don't know what they mean. It is like picking up a knitting project only to find that my yarn is all tangled into a huge mess. Where do you start when what you find is this?I know that I am not sure where to begin. I just drop the work in frustration and move on to something else.

I should, I suppose be happy that I am aware that God is close to me. There are those who are in the dark night of the soul who don't have that awareness.

Where I used to feel that I could float forever on the warmth of the ocean of mercy that is my Loving God. Now I feel as though I am being pulled under, and I am struggling, gasping for breath as I submerge, struggling against whatever change is coming. Then today it occurred to me that I should just cooperate.

One of my friends said something though that really gave me pause. I am struggling because I am still trying to do this, whatever it is that is happening, whatever is causing such chaos inside of me. Perhaps my response should be that I should stop doing, and let God take over completely. Maybe that is why it is such a struggle; because I am "trying to help."

If I surrender completely to the change and get out of God's way maybe the change can happen more easily and there won't be as much struggle. Maybe the knot will unravel itself if I just leave it alone instead of trying so hard to untangle the ends.

Something to think about . . . in the silence.

Pax

Monday, November 09, 2009

Apparently, it is only Tolerance if we believe what they want us to believe.

It has begun in Massachusetts.

A Christan gentleman was fired from his job for stating his belief that homosexuality is wrong after being repeatedly pressed on the topic by a manager from another store on the announcement that she was going to "marry her fiance", another woman.

According to the HR department of his company his beliefs amounted to harassment.

You can read the story here.

I agree with this gentleman. If homosexual marriage is passed in more states anyone who feels as though homosexuality is morally wrong will face the dilemma of keeping silent or facing the loss of their job for stating their personal belief.

So much for tolerance, apparently it only goes one way. Keep your job by keeping your beliefs to yourself.

John 15: 18-19

Pax

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Catholic Blues




h/t to my pal Diane from Gradual School via email.

Pax

Friday, November 06, 2009

A Daily Moment Of Grace

For about ten months I have subscribed to an email list that sends a daily message of hope and encouragement to my walk of faith.

Each of these quotes comes from a Saint or other inspirational person who has lived in the world. There have been moments when the message spoke exactly to where my life was at that point in time; as if the Divine Physician were sending a healing balm meant just for me. At other moments the message has been one that has challenged me to be better, stronger, and more radical in my call to follow not only God's will, but the universal call to holiness, peace and sisterhood/brotherhood.


Yesterday, for instance was one of those days when the message hit me like a celestial arrow considering what happened in Texas at Fort Hood. The message was this:


Let us not tire of preaching love;
it is the force that will overcome the world.
- Archbishop Oscar Romero (1917-1980) Martyr




And if that weren't enough balm for a weary soul, We just had to look to Wednesday's message to find our marching orders:


The good we accomplish is not through the action of ourselves, as
much as it is through the spiritual pressure of God's grace. All we have to do
is create a vacuum, to count ourselves as nothing, and immediately God fills our
soul with His power and truth.
- Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen


I just wanted to share something with all of you that has helped me so much and takes such a little moment of my time each day to read and absorb. If you would like for this email to brighten your day just click on the link below give them your email address and hit the subscribe button. .and start receiving a moment of grace each day.

Daily Blessings

GoodNews.net has many other lists that you may join if you like, just go to their main website and you can find many others from which to choose.



Pax

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Gonna Get All Political For a Minute

I have been hearing a lot lately about a treaty that will be signed at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.


This is the first article that I think has begun to unravel exactly what the treaty is really about.

I think you might want to take a look at the treaty for yourself, before December 7th, and decide what your opinion is concerning whether our president should sign such a document which would make it the responsibility of the United States (among other developed countries) to make reparation payments to developing countries for past carbon emissions. (Just one of the ways the US will be made to pay in the treaty).

This will amount to taxation without representation because this "tax" will be levied by the UN and we as a people will not be able to have any say in how this is levied or collected. It seems to me, the last time that happened to us there was a little bit of a revolution.

If this doesn't sound right to you, make your voice heard before our president signs our constitutional right to representation away, because if he does sign this treaty it will supersede our constitution.

(stepping down off my soap box now.)

Pax

Monday, November 02, 2009

Mystic Monday: Take Another Look at The Cloud

Today dear children we are going to take another look at The Cloud of Unknowing.

Mostly because I spent the weekend rereading it for my own benefit, so it is fresh in my mind. I wanted to focus on one little part. It may not make sense to some of you, or it may speak directly to the hearts of some of you. If it does, great. If it doesn't just let it go.

Anyone who aspires to contemplation aught to cultivate Study, Reflection and Prayer or to put it differently, reading, thinking, or praying. . . these three are so interdependent that thinking is impossible without first reading or - what amounts to the same thing- having listened to others read. For reading and listening are really one; the priests learn from reading books and the unschooled learn from the priests who preach the word of God.

Beginners and those a little advanced who do not make the effort to ponder God's word should not be surprised if they are unable to pray. Experience bears this out. God's word, written or spoken is like a mirror. Reason is your spiritual eye and conscience your spiritual reflection.

Pax

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Gentle Reminder

This has adult content, but thanks to Paul and Storm a funny look at the rush to begin the Christmas Season.

Remember kids, we don't decorate until the third Sunday of Advent, the Same Sunday that we begin the O Antiphons. Anticipation is everything.





Pax

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

You Can't Avoid the Dark Night By Redefinition

I went to see my Spiritual Director today. He had some cold hard truths to tell me about where I am in my current spiritual path.

For a while now I have been struggling with a new and for lack of a better term mystifying (interesting coming from someone who has such a fascination with mystics) prayer life. Me, the person who loves words, has been unable to pray with words or receive answer to prayer in words. What I do get when I pray is either great silence, or images. Neither causes me great distress, but neither gives me comfort, because I have no idea what to do with these images.

I am what you might call an idea person. Give me a topic and a sufficient amount of time and I can come up or brainstorm an entire notebook of ideas about that topic, so when I first started getting images in prayer I would immediately go into brainstorm mode and come up with 99 interpretations for what the image might mean. With no one to guide my mind's wandering or to help me sift through the processing (or so I thought) I was left confused most of the time until after the fact when suddenly I could see in hindsight how the image fit into what was going on in my life.

I could feel myself slipping into a lost state, and knew that God was trying to stretch me by this new form of communication in prayer, but somehow I was the one who wasn't getting the message; I was the imperfect receptacle. I kept thinking to myself, If I know that God wants to stretch me, and I know that it has something to do with the images, can I avoid the pain and loneliness of the Dark Night?

It was at this point that my wise Spiritual Director stopped me. "Don't you see," he said to me "that you are already in the dark night, just because you understand what it looks like and want to call it something else doesn't change the fact that your prayer is no longer consoling and life giving, but confused and causing you great pain."

That stopped me short. Here was that amazing mirror that good Spiritual Directors use. He held it up in front of me and helped me to see myself exactly as I am. No matter how rationally I think about where I have been, and where I need to go, there is no denying the pain and loneliness and confusion of where I am at this moment. No matter how many books I try to read on prayer or dreams or divine imagery I can't deny that where I am is in the Darkness.

What I do know is that what used to work for me doesn't any longer. What I need to do is learn to be comfortable where I am; with the images. If there is some meaning that is supposed to be attached to an image, it will come, if not, it isn't my job to try so hard to find it.

Teresa of Avila uses the imagery of prayer as water. You go to the well, and draw water from the well using a bucket. It is labor intensive, but it works. Eventually the well runs dry because God wants you to move to a different kind of prayer.

In the second form of prayer your fields are irrigated by a stream that runs near it, it is much easier to get the water this way, much less labor intensive.

God eventually sends rain onto the fields, and all you have to do for that kind of prayer is be present, and the water falls upon you, no movement on your part is necessary at all in this form of prayer.

And finally there is the water in the stream or ocean that surrounds you; this form of prayer doesn't just touch you, it engulfs you. You can fight against the water or you can rest in it, allowing your own buoyancy to keep you afloat and upright.

My Spiritual Director thinks there might be one more invitation. If God is the ocean. Then perhaps some of us are called to stop just floating, and to learn to totally let go, let God and be open to the total metamorphosis into an ocean dwelling creature who can be content to be totally submerged always and no longer need to breath air. Is that where I am in my prayer life, am I still fighting to breathe air and God is asking me to let go (die to self) and let God become even my breathing apparatus, so that I am totally engulfed in God alone? Am I being called to let my entire life "be prayer"?

This was what my Spiritual Director left me to ponder. This is my dark night, learning to totally die to self, learning how to breathe God alone, so that my life can be prayer. It is a staggeringly humbling thought.

Could it happen?

Pax

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mystic Monday: In a Cloud


Today dear children we are going to enter a deeply spiritual work that is at once simple and layered with complexity. This work is the 14th Century classic The Cloud of Unknowing.


Little is known about the author of this amazing work. It was written for someone, possibly a monk or hermit just starting out on his spiritual journey. Interestingly, the techniques that "the master" offers are ones that are being used today, such as centering prayer and meditation.


We cannot ever fully understand God or penetrate the Cloud that surrounds God, but as we strip away our need to gain knowledge, what we can do says the author is to send “sharp darts” of “longing love” — for while we may never fully know God, at least we are able to the best of our ability to love God.


One of my favorite passages from the book states how God perceives us:


It is not what you are nor what you have been that God sees with his all-merciful eyes, but what you desire to be.


Now that is a God of love that I can learn to love. God already sees us as mystics, we just have to learn to be content being in God's presence whatever that means. Who knew it could be that simple. Oh wait a minute, the author of "The Cloud of Unknowing" did in 1375.


Pax



Thursday, October 22, 2009

This is the Best Week Ever!!!


I am having a very Spongebob week.

Each time I think my week can't get any more surreal, something new happens that makes it just that much more strange and not ordinary. It all started on Saturday when the old adage that a good deed never goes unpunished was proven to be true when I cut my thumb trying to open a box while I was volunteering at the concession stand at the IU game. It was a pretty bad cut, and I thought it needed a butterfly, but the kitchen only had a first aide kit so I put a band aid on it and went back to work, but an hour later after having had to change the band aid twice I finally found the First Aid station in the stadium and the nurse there put a butterfly on it and that was exactly what it needed.

Then by Sunday when I took the gauze off it looked as though it was pretty bruised, and by Tuesday the bruise looked even bigger and I just felt wrong. It turns out that I have a pretty bad infection in the cut. Had the kitchen just sent me to the First Aid station in the first place I probably would have avoided the whole trauma and drama of the infection and antibiotics and all that mess.

Then on Tuesday we found out that my daughter lost her new cell phone. She swears that it has to be somewhere in the house, but she can't remember if it was in the pocket of her coat when we were shopping on Saturday. So we have to deal with that.

In the rush to get to school after spending all the time looking for her phone I forgot to bring a package with me to Indianapolis that I was intending to deliver to my supervisor to save on mailing it. It turns out that she was even at lunch that day and I could have hand delivered it to her. Each day since then I have forgotten to mail it too, so I still have that to do this week before I forget.

Then Tuesday in the middle of the night the same daughter got sick and woke up Wednesday with a sore throat which with all the H1N1 panic, meant she had to stay home from school and she was terrified that it meant that she might have to miss a week or more of school. She was really upset, and I couldn't console her because I didn't know the extent of her illness, because at the time she was just sick, but no fever which was a good thing. Still no fever, and a bit of a cough but I doubt since she has no fever that she has anything approaching H1N1. She doesn't even have the sore throat anymore, so I am thinking if she wants to go back to school tomorrow I will let her since she feels so much better today.

Then on Wednesday, while I was getting ready for my presentation for the RCIA in Terre Haute, the strap of my favorite purse broke. So now I have to go shopping, which is about my least favorite thing to do, so I can replace that purse because the ones I have in the closet are way too big for my needs anymore.

And my dear loving husband only gets to come home for the weekend before he has to fly back out for another meeting in Maryland, so I get to see him for less than 48 hours before he will be gone again. the last two times he has traveled this has happened and he was supposed to be traveling less now.

Oh well, the phone will either be found or we will replace the sym card and she will use her brother's old phone. I am tolerating the mega dose antibiotic pretty well without too awful side effects, and I will get to see my hubby for the weekend, so as the balance sheets go I am doing pretty well.

As my pal Spongebob says: This is the best week ever!.

Pax

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Who Really Creates Peace

Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?


- Saint Gerard Majella (1725-1755)

h/t to daily blessings

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mystic Monday Christ's Hands and Feet Edition

Today dear children we are going to revisit our wonderful friend Teresa of Avila for a little inspiration concerning the job description of a Christian.


Teresa was a 16th century Carmelite nun who wrote the primer on the mystical life called "The Interior Castle" In it she describes the journey one must take to reach an intimate relationship with God.


What I wish to share with you today is a short poem that she wrote to help us to understand our mission as Christians.



"Christ has no body now on earth but yours,

no hands but yours, no feet but yours,

Yours are the eyes through which to look out

Christ's compassion to the world

Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;

Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now."
Pax


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Krazy Mixed up Week of Mine

I have had one strange week. Nothing has been simple or in the right place all week. Sorry I missed a Mystic Monday post, but I didn't even realize I hadn't posted one until this morning when my week got even stranger.

Anyway, to make up for it I am going to offer you today a quote from a man who just may be a mystic, but is most assuredly the only philosopher that I can read without my head feeling as though it will explode: Soren Kierkegaard. This particular quote is on Christians and biblical interpretation and offers a glimpse at the need of the human heart.

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church's prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you?

This is such a Kierkegaardian statement, full of empathy and humor that it breaks your heart to realize that he is actually seeing exactly what you are feeling.

Or is that just me?

h/t to inward/outward for the quote.

Pax

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Not So Radical Obedience

I learned something really interesting about obedience in the last few weeks. It isn't enough to simply be obedient to the will of God if you are doing so grudgingly and letting everyone know how burdensome doing God's will is for you. This kind of obedience isn't true obedience. That kind of obedience never really leads to true peace.

If you grudgingly offer to do God's will. then let everyone know just how burdensome that effort is for you your submission to the will of God borders on back patting and vainglory.

God wants us to surrender, but God wants that surrender to be willing, self giving surrender. We have to make the decision, after looking at whatever situation we are faced with, and decide for ourselves that God's plan is right and follow it willingly, peacefully and humbly. Any other submission on our part really isn't true submission, but to some extent is a way to hold back some control on our part. In a way we are saying "I'll do this, but I won't like it." or "I'll go along with your plan but it is never going to work out." Either of these responses will in some respect have to have a negative effect on the outcome of our submission. At least that is what I have found in my own life.

True obedience takes a few steps: First I have to admit that God has a plan for my life; and whether I like it or not, God's plan may not look at all like the plan I have made for my future.

Next, I have to admit that no matter how much I want my life to work out the way I had it planned, even if what I am planning to do is something that I think might come to a good end or be good in the long run, to stick with my plan would be a form of disobedience to God's will.

I need to be willing to admit that God's plan is the one that I should follow, and follow it willingly, meekly and at least without grumbling to everyone who will listen ( and some who don't even care to listen) that I am grudgingly doing God's will, patting myself on the back the entire time.

When I follow these steps in my life, the obedience doesn't get easier, but the humility makes for a greater sense of peace. I begin to see that maybe God's plan makes sense. Maybe there is a way ahead of me that I couldn't even see because I was so determined to make my life work out exactly as I had it planned. At the same time it no longer matters to me what the world thinks about how my life looks, or how successful I may seem in the eyes of the world, because I know that I am doing God's will, and that is enough for me.

When we surrender to God's will, get that sense of peace that surpasses all understanding, then we can move into areas where we might not have gone on our own. We are more willing to allow God's plan to unfold before us and show us a way to live that is radically dependant upon God, and totally free at the same time.

What a concept.

Pax

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mystic Monday: Out of the Mouths of Babes Edition

Today dear children we will take a detour of sorts from our visits with Christian Mystics to watch a short video about a young boy who understood the ineffable quality of the mystical One.









In later years Einstein wrote quite a bit on the fact that he rejected the anthropomorphication of God (creating God in our own image) but he did firmly believe in a higher power that was intimately involved in the intricate and ineffable design of the universe.

I see him as someone who had a mystical relationship with the creator, because of his scientific exploration. Perhaps he saw science as a way to explore the mysteries of God.

Pax

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Audible you Might have Missed from Monday Night Football



Peyton Manning called an awesome audible Monday night that surprized most of the Colts organization . . .





He contacted Jim Irsay, the owner of the team and asked if his friend Tiger Woods could be granted a sidelines pass for the game against the Dolphins.

It turns out that Tiger wanted to see the game and because of his, well, notariety the best place for that to happen without him being swamped by fans screaming "Tiger, Tiger, Tiger Woods Y'all" (that has to get really old) was going to be from the Colts sidelines.

Good thing that Tiger had a golfing buddy who happened to have some suction with the team and could hook him up.



picture credit IndyStar.com

Pax

Monday, September 21, 2009

It Has to Start Somewhere

I hate to admit it, but I am swiftly approaching that magic number birthday, when I will start to get all that wonderful mail from the old folks organizations. I hate to even mention it, but I will (gritting my teeth and closing my eyes)be 50 on my next birthday.

Wow, look at that, the world didn't even shift a bit, no portend of impending doom. I am just going to be officially one of those old people. I will no longer be able to call myself an "older young adult" and will have to start referring to myself as *gulp* "younger middle aged".

Anyway I have decided that I needed to do something momentous for my birthday. Something fitting the passage of time and something that will help me to feel like I am fully alive. Since I am much to sane to 1) jump out of a moving airplane, or 2) jump off of a stationary bridge, I decided that it would have to be something that would require all of my strength and determination. Some friends at the school where I volunteer are putting together a training team to run in the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini Marathon, so I have decided to join them, only I have no illusions that I will be able to run 13.1 miles by then so I am planning to walk the mini. Mrangelmeg is being so supportive that he signed up to run in it so that we can be there together (we will see each other before it starts and then he will be waiting for hours after he finishes for me to cross the finish line, but that is the kind of supportive spouse I have.)


This race is one that has thousands of participants every year. It is a huge deal around here.

I started training with my initial three-mile walk today. I was hoping for a pace of 18 minutes per mile. What I accomplished was 16.34 minutes per mile! Tomorrow I rest and then I walk again on Wednesday and Thursday. I rest again on Friday and then my longest walks are on Saturdays. By ten weeks I should be up to 13 miles on Saturdays. Then I rest a week and start the whole process over again.

After three rounds of training I will be totally ready for the race. And a natural by-product of all that training will be that I should be in pretty awesome shape in time for my 50th birthday, and then mrangelmeg and my anniversary which is just a few months after my birthday. So my deciding to give myself this mini marathon for my birthday will have benefits that will enhance the rest of our lives.

And it all started with my looking into the inevitable abyss of AARP membership applications.

How cool is that?

Pax

Mystic Monday: Obedience Edition


Hello dear children.

Today we are going to go back and visit with our dear friend Dag Hammarskjold because he has something very important to say about obedience to God's will. I have been wrestling with this exact subject lately. When you have discerned that a certain path is God's will, must you follow that path as quickly as possible? How slowly can one dawdle and still be following the will of God? How long can one delay before it becomes disobedience to the will of God?

I have coined a new term for stepping out in faith even when one feels totally unprepared for what one sees up ahead: I call it moving forward in terrified obedience. God is in control, and must know what is going to happen better than I do, so I will go forth, but it sure doesn't look very promising on this path I am traveling.

Anyway our old pal Dag has something to say on this exact subject and I want to share it with all of you:

When the morning's freshness has been replaced by the weariness of midday, when the leg muscles quiver under the strain, the climb seems endless, and suddenly, nothing will go quite as you wish -- it is then that you must not hesitate.

Smart man, he. Trust in the Lord always and move forward, upward, whichever direction God is pointing.

No hesitation here, just ignore the sound of my knees knocking together with every step. I am sure they will stop soon enough.

Pax

Saturday, September 19, 2009

150 Days With the Psalms: Today is for Deacon John

So some of you may know that I am spending 150 days immersed in a study of the book of Psalms in the bible. Just last night my dear friend Deacon John Simmons posted a note on his blog about some disheartening news he just got from his Insurance Company denying the treatment option that his Dr.'s have decided upon for his best chance at treatment.
You can read about it here:

http://meandpoindexter.blogspot.com/2009/09/i-found-one.html

Then, when I got up this morning, the Psalm was # 28:

To You Lord I call,
My Rock, do not be deaf to me.
Do not drag me off with the wicked,
with those who do wrong,
Who speak peace to their neighbors
though evil is in their hearts.
Repay them for their deeds,
for the evil that they do.
For the work of their hands repay them;
give them what they deserve.
They pay no heed to the LORD'S works,
to the deeds of God's hands.

God will tear them down, never to be rebuilt.
Blessed be the LORD, who has heard the sound of my pleading.
The LORD is my strength and my shield,
in whom my heart trusted and found help.
So my heart rejoices; with my song I praise my God
LORD, you are the strength of your people,
the saving refuge of your anointed king.
Save your people, bless your inheritance;
feed and sustain them forever!


One of my reflection books talked specifically about those who are dealing with Cancer in reference to this psalm. and Of course when I read it, my thoughts immediately went to John and his troubling news from the Insurance Company, who only see the cost of the treatment in dollar signs and not in the loss of his quality or length of life.

The reflection book also had this to add:

Cancer is so limited--
It cannot cripple love,
It cannot shatter hope,
It cannot corrode faith,
It cannot kill friendship,
It cannot suppress memories,
It cannot silence outrage,
It cannot invade the soul,
It cannot steal eternal life,
It cannot conquer the Spirit.
"What Cancer Cannot Do" The Senior Times



My dear friend John, We must not forget that ultimately this corporation is not the one who is control of your life, but our loving heavenly Father is in control. God will make a way where there is no way.


As the psalmist says: My heart rejoices, with my song I praise my God. Lord you are the strength of your people!


Let God be our strength as we wait for God to make the way we cannot yet see .

Pax

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mystic Monday: Again Blessed Hermit Susan


I spent the summer in the desert, did I tell you this story already? It was HOT! I went there to support mrangelmeg who had to go there for work, and because it happened to be the California desert so it was a bit of a vacation, but along with the vacation-y parts of the trip came the discomfort of the HOT sun and the HOT wind and the dust, and did I mention the heat?


Anyway, as I spent my three and a half weeks in the desert I got to thinking about the desert fathers and mothers that we have been talking about on these Mystic Mondays. They lived in the desert and they didn't have the modern conveniences like central air conditioning and automobiles and trains to make travel so convenient as they moved through the desert.


So, today I want to share some wisdom from one of these desert mothers:Blessed Hermit Susan


From the time Susan was a little child in Persia she had dreams of going off and being a hermit. She so wanted to travel to the land of the desert mystics but her family kept her from doing so because of her age; at the time she first asked she was only eight years old. A few years later she ran away, joined a caravan of women and found her way out into the desert. She stayed with them for a long time but when they were ready to return she slipped away and remained in the desert.


She joined a monastic order but she longed for the solitude of a cave away from everyone and every distraction. She found just such a cave and moved herself there and eventually lived out the remainder of her life in that type of seclusion out in the desert, away from all human companionship and distraction. For her, this was what God was calling her to do. (Swan, Laura The Forgotten Desert Mothers, 2001 Paulist Press , p100)


God is probably not calling any of us to give up everyone we know and love and move out into a cave in the desert, but God often calls upon us to do things that others might not understand; like take a lower paying job because the hours are better for the family, or the stress level is better for our health.


How many of us would be willing to give up everything if that is what we know in our hearts is what God is calling us to do? How many of us are willing to live a life of total submission to God's will? Especially when others don't understand what or why we were doing what we were doing?


Pax

Sunday, September 13, 2009

On Suffering

If the Lord should give you power to raise the dead, He would give much less than He does when he bestows suffering. By miracles you would make yourself debtor to Him, while by suffering He may become debtor to you. And even if sufferings had no other reward than being able to bear something for that God who loves you, is not this a great reward and a sufficient remuneration? Whoever loves, understands what I say. - Saint John Chrysostom (347-407)

Suffering is a topic that we, especially in this country don't like to think about or experience. We do everything we can to avoid suffering, from self medication to avoidance to all manner of odd practices. What we have forgotten I think is that suffering is gift.

God sends suffering into our lives for a reason. If we look at it that way then it should change how we encounter the trials and tribulations in our lives. I don't mean that we should all go out looking for pain or living with pain when we do have the ability to medically take the pain away, but we should not look upon suffering as something to be avoided at all costs.

Old St John Chrysostom was wise in that way. There are great rewards for those who learn from the gift of suffering that God sends.

What have you learned from the suffering in your life?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Sorry for the Silence

I realized this week that I have been in relative Blog Silence lately and I apologize. The new school schedules for the girls have been quite hectic, and I am just now finding my rhythm.

There has also been something going on in my spiritual life that I don't quite know how or even whether I should share yet, so I am "pondering it in my heart" and trying to discern what and or how I should share this part of my spiritual journey with you, my faithful readers. Suffice it to say that God has been sharing something very special with me. in a way that I have yet to find a way to describe. For a writer this has caused me no end of dispair, because I would love to share withyou the joy of my newest journey, but words fail.

I fullly intend to continue the Mystic Monday posts beginning next Monday, and hoppefully will be able to post at least three times a week now that our school schedule is a little more setlled into a regular pattern and I am used to it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jim Caviezel: What Fatherhood has taught him. . .

This is an interview with actor Jim Caviezel about how becoming the father of two beautiful children through adoption has radically changed his life in ways he never expected.


Here is an excerpt of his answer concerning why he is so vocally pro-life :

I was listening to Johnny Mathis the other day and I said, “What an amazing voice.” I have yet to hear another person sound like Johnny Mathis. How are we so arrogant to think the 51.5 million babies who have died in this country… Look, I am for helping women. I just don’t see abortion as helping women. And I don’t love my career that much to say, “I’m going to remain silent on this.” I’m defending every single baby who has never been born. And every voice that would have been unique like Johnny Mathis’. How do we know that we didn’t kill the very child who could have created a particular type of medicine that saves other lives?


Read the rest for yourself.

There is a Balance in the Force (at least for now)

Mrangelmeg made it home safely from his sojourn out west; well at least he made it home safely, his bag was a little late in arriving, having missed the connecting flight from ATL. The airline promised that it would be delivered to our doorstep by morning, but there was a bit of a panic because he was without a toothbrush (I found a spare unused one in the bathroom cabinet) razor (I had a few extra that I had purchased in California because I forgot to pack mine) and unfortunately, well unmentionables.

Being the methodical engineer type, and knowing that he was going to be away for over a month, he had packed evrey pair of underwear for his trip. Which meant that when he got home the only pair he had was the pair he was wearing when he walked through the door.

Just in case. before we went to bed last night I did a load of whites, and stayed up to make sure they got into the dryer so that he would have his one pair of undies clean for today. Of course, just my luck, the suitcase was delivered just after I put the white load into the dryer at One-twenty-five A.M.. Lucky for me that I was also watching the replay of Top Chef Los Vegas at the time so I didn't really mind so much that I was dragging a suitcase into the house.

Oh, by the way, his suitcase was four pounds overweight and it cost him $90 extra on Southwest. So be careful how you pack guys. That's how they get ya!

I am so happy to have him home, even if he does have to fly off next week for a quick trip to Pax River for a meeting. At least that one is only over night. Hopefully it will be months before he has to be away for longer than a night or two.

Pax

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

She is Amazing! We Should all See This Clearly

She tore Matt a new one and left him whistling through it!





h/t to my sister Ann for the link.


Pax

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I AM SO THERE!

Teaser from DMW on Vimeo.



Pax

The Myth of Overpopulation

I have always thought that there was something fundamentally wrong with the scare tactic mentality behind the way that population figures have been discussed most of my lifetime. To be perfectly honest I don't like to be bullied into anything and it always felt like those who believe that the world is on track to extreme overpopulation were trying to bully me into their way of thinking, which has the exact opposite effect. I tend to think they must be wrong and seek out facts to prove the other side of the argument just out of spite.

this video (and the linked website) is very interesting because it doesn't use bully tactics, These people just simply want you to "do the math" and make the decision on your own that overpopulation is a myth.



Now if everyone would just work together to assure that the world's resources are being used in an equitable manner, we could erradicate famine as well.

h/t to Fr. Eric Mueller a fellow Alumni of St Meinrad (via Facebook) for the link.

Pax

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Newer Simpler Health Care Plan . . .


So I have became a fan of Mike Pence, who is a Representative (sadly not ours) from Indiana and have been following him on Facebook for about four months now. He keeps me abreast of what is going on in Congress and helps to maneuver the political minefields so that I can understand and get a grip on what is going on in the Obama White House and the Hallowed Halls of Congress.

Today on Facebook he revealed this Organizational Chart for the Democrats' new Health Care Plan: (as soon as one of you guys figure this out please let me know because it makes no sense at all to me) which is probably why they have forbidden it from being mailed out to constituents.

Pax

Monday, July 27, 2009

Everything Has its Proper Place

I love Cardinal Arinze!




This is a man who knows how to teach.

h/t to holycanoli via twitter for the link

Pax

Mystic Monday: Vacation Edition Part II Gerard Manley Hopkins




Today dear children since I am on vacation -- although I had a workout this morning and did laundry and read two chapters of homework, so it doesn't feel much like vacation at this very moment -- I have decided that I can take a little detour from our regular visits with the mystics and branch out a bit. Last week we explored a bit of wisdom from Karl Rahner, and this week I want to share with you this beautiful bit of poetry from my favorite poet Gerard Manley Hopkins who might be considered a mystic, but probably doesn't qualify, but this is my blog and my vacation, so there.




So, here is one of my favorite Hopkins poems.




I Wake and Feel the Fell of Dark, Not Day
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day.
What hours, O what black hours we have spent
This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light's delay.

With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.

I am gall, I am heartburn. God's most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.


Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
the lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves, but worse.



Pax

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Some Closure isn't What You Hope it Will Be

I wrote a few weeks ago about our friend Brayton who died of cancer on July 3rd. That same evening, his father walked out of the nursing home where he had been living and disappeared into the night. There was great hope that Brayton (the father) would be found alive and they had been searching Las Cruces and as far away as El Paso Texas for him ever since.

Today came news that Brayton's (the father) body has been found in an undeveloped area of Las Cruces. The police do not expect foul play in his death and considering the amount of time since he went missing it is more likely that he simply died of exposure.

Please keep this family in your prayers. They have had to deal with so much in such a short time and this will add to their already stressful lives. June (the mother) was recovering from a heart attack when her son died and her husband went missing. I can't imagine what she must be feeling now.

May Our Lord grant both Braytons eternal rest and peace and healing to their family.

Pax

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Will it Never End?


CNN reported that the Taco Bell Dog Died!


Next we will have to endure speculation from "Gidget's" family that her death was not natural causes but she was in fact murdered by her"handlers" who were after her estate.

And then there will be endless stories about the fate of her children.

There will be speculation about whether or not Congress will vote on a proclamation citing Gidget for her worldwide caninitarian efforts to make the world a better place.

And of course there will be endless speculation about the whole female dog with a male voice over controversy.

Will it never end?

Pax

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seeing the Sights in the California Heat


So we drove north from Lancaster today up through Kernville and then along the Kern River toward Bakersfield and saw some of the most beautiful, breathtaking countryside I have ever seen. I really thought it looked like something out of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. One could imagine the fellowship moving along the high ridge above us as we drove between the peaks of the heavily bouldered mountain pass. At one point the Kern river looked just like the stretch of river upon which Boromir is sent to his watery grave.

It was absolutely a stunning drive, and one I am glad we got to take in a nicely air conditioned car and not in a covered wagon or on horseback.

When I get the pictures downloaded (the few we remembered to take) I will post them so that you all can see (or maybe not) what I saw.

Pax

Monday, July 20, 2009

Archdiocese of Los Angeles Prayer for Priests

This was also printed in the Sacred Heart bulletin and will be their prayer for the Year for Priests. I really love this prayer and wanted to share it with all of you. If everyone said this prayer how amazing that would be for all our priests:


Dear Lord we pray that the Blessed Mother wrap her mantle around your priests and through her intercession strengthen them for their ministry. We pray that Mary will guide your priests to follow her words "Do whatever He tells you" (John 2:5) May your priests have the heart of St. Joseph, Mary's most chaste spouse. May the Blessed Mother's pierced heart inspire them to embrace all who suffer at the foot of the cross. May your priests be holy, filled with the fire of your love, seeking nothing but your glory and the salvation of souls. Amen

St. John Vianney pray for us.

Pax

Mystic Monday: Theological Detour: Karl Rahner


I am writing to you from my vacation here in beautiful Landisastercaster California, where we are staying. It's not so bad here, except for the temperature being in the 100's during the daylight hours, and not much to do or see.


Did I tell you that mrangelmeg is on a campaign to get us to go to the Borax museum? I rest my case)


Today for Mystic Monday I would like to take you to visit with a dear friend of mine from Gradual School, Dr Karl Rahner. I realize dear children that Karl Rahner, strictly speaking doesn't qualify as a mystic, but:

a) I am on vacation, and
b) this is my blog and I get to do what I want and
c) this being the year for priests I wanted to share with you something that was printed in the bulletin from Sacred Heart, the parish we are attending out here, which we really love.



Anyway, I have been a fan of Rahner ever since I had to read him in my Intro to Theology class. His theological writings are elegant and easy to understand, and at times border on poetic language, which is a great accomplishment for someone who first wrote in German one would think. The piece I want to share with you is a bit about the men who are called to the vocation of priest:


"The priest is not an angel sent from heaven, he is a man chosen from among men, a member of the Church, a Christian. Remaining man and Christian, he begins to speak to you the word of God. This word is not his won, no, he speaks because God has told him to proclaim His word. Perhaps he has not entirely understood it himself, perhaps he communicates it poorly, but hie believes and despite his fears, he knows that he must communicate God's word to you . For must not someone say something about God, about eternal life, about the majesty of grace in our sanctified being; must not someone speak of sin, of judgement and of the mercy of God? So my dear friends, pray for him. Carry him so that he might be able to sustain others by bringing to them the mystery of God's love revealed in Christ Jesus."


Pax

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Engineers Who Think too much . . .

come up with stuff like this:





We drove down it twice yesterday. Because my husband is an engineer, and we didn't have our cameras the first time.

Pax

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Did Obama Lie to the Pope? Does He Care?

In President Obama's meeting with the Pope Benedict XVI he promised a commitment to "reduce the number of abortions". This week though, as part of his sweeping "Obamacare" health care package is funding for abortions for abortions which will in fact increase the number of abortions across the board.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Rep. Chris Smith said, "Obamacare is the greatest threat ever to the lives and wellness of unborn children and their mothers since Roe v. Wade was rendered in 1973."


Read the rest of the article here.

Pretty soon the most dangerous place in the United States for a child to live will be in a mother's womb. How sad is that?

Pax

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mystic Monday; Travel Edition


This week dear children I am "leaving on a jet plane." The angelbaby and I will be accompanying mrangelmeg on a business trip to the west coast for a few weeks while he does some work. We will have some free time to commune with nature, and if we get up the nerve, we may even take the train into Hollywood and do the whole tourist thing.


Oh, sorry I digress. Anyway in honor of my little trip, I thought we might revisit a friend who knew a bit about travel: Dag Hammarskjold:



Never look down to test the ground before taking your next step; only he who keeps his eye fixed on the far horizon will find the right road.


The longest journey is the journey inward. Of him who has chosen his destiny, Who has started upon his quest for the source of his being.


The more faithfully you listen to the voices within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside.


The more we do, the more we can do; the more busy we are, the more leisure we have.


Time always seems long to the child who is waiting - for Christmas, for next summer, for becoming a grownup: long also when he surrenders his whole soul to each moment of a happy day.
I will continue to post while I am on vacation. Maybe I will even post some pictures.
Have happy travels through your own life.
Pax

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Update:

We spoke with Sally, the wife of our friend who died and Jim, his brother. They still haven't found their dad, but he has been spotted in El Paso TX. There is a full blown Silver Alert out on him, and they are very hopeful that he will be found. They have even contacted the police in the town here in Indiana where they lived before they moved to New Mexico, in case somehow he gets all the way here.



Please keep them in your prayers. As soon as I know something I will let you all know. Hopefully it will all end well, this family can't take much more bad news.

Pax

Sad News

Mrangelemg is dealing with the sad news that his college roommate who also happens to be our beautiful autistic daughter's Godfather, died Friday. He found out by email this morning. Then in an effort to get more information he did what any self respecting engineer would do, he Googled the obituary only to find that on the same day that our friend died, his father, who is suffering from alzheimer's disease went missing.

There was no further report to be found after that, so we don't know as yet if they have found him or not. Please keep this family in your prayers. What poor June must be going through: having her son die and her husband go missing in the same day. We are hoping to get an update soon.

Pax

Important News:

That doesn't involve dead celebrities.

Today was the date upon which Benedict XVI promulgated his newest Encyclical

Caritas in veritate

On integral human development in Charity and Truth.

Too bad the 24 hour News outlets were otherwise engaged showing wall to wall coverage of homage to "the gloved one".

I encourage you to click on the link above and read the encyclical.

If you prefer, Curt Jester has done us all a solid and converted the text to ereader and kindle format. Check that out here.

I am printing out my copy now.

Pax

Monday, July 06, 2009

Is is Really Mystic Monday Again?:


Today dear children I want to revisit our dear friend John of the Cross.


I want to with you something very simple today but something deeply profound. Something I have been meditating upon for the last week concerning my own life situation:


Deny your desires and you will find what your heart longs for.
For how do you know if any desire of yours is according to God?
John believed that the only way for true grace to enter into one's soul was for all other earthly desires to be banished. ' Nada, nada, nada' was his credo. Want nothing, save for God alone and God will give you all you really need.

Unfortunately for me, in the last few weeks I have been indulging in my earthly desires for good food and rest, and entertainment, when my mind should be occupied with other things. So dear children today's visit with our mystical brother was more for me than for the rest of you. A little denial might do me a lot of good.
Pax

Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Myth of Independence


Today is the 4th of July. This is the day we celebrate our Independence as a Nation. The problem is, true Independence is a myth. We are all dependent upon others for everything unless we live in the woods and grow all our own foods and live on wind power.

Even then we have a need for community. There are very few of us who are called to be true hermits.

And now we have proof that even the "self help" programs that have been all the rage since the sixties don't really help. We all need somebody else.

It makes sense theologically. We were created by a Trinitarian God eternally in relationship: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the beginning we were created man and woman together as equals and helpmates.

Even when you look at this day we are celebrating we did not achieve Independence alone, we had help from France, Spain and the Dutch Republic.

We are interdependent upon each other, and totally dependent upon God. These are the truths we are actually celebrating on this day. That is why we gather with family and friends to celebrate. In most Catholic churches we have prayers for the country today because we know that our country needs God's protection and loving care.

Happy 4th of July everyone. Happy Interdependence day.

Pax

Friday, July 03, 2009

This Bill is in Committee . . .

H j 111-5 Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.


but is worth keeping an eye on. Although as mrangelmeg says if you look at the map, even after the last election there are far too many "red states" for the amendment to ever be repealed.

Does anyone find it at all strange that this has flown so far under the radar that no one seems to have even known that this bill even existed?

Pax

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mystic Monday : Amma Syncletica

Dear children, in honor of Sr. Joan I am going to take us to visit with one of the desert mothers. Sr Joan taught me so much about life and exemplified the spirit of the Desert Mothers with her ministry at St Vincent over the 26 years she spent there. So to honor her I have chosen a visit with Amma Syncletica who encouraged self awareness as the pathway to a closer relationship with Christ.


Amma Syncletica was born into a noble family in Alexandria. At a young age she learned hard lessons through the deaths of her two beloved brothers and living with a sister who was blind. When her parents died she sold all her belongings, gave the proceeds to the poor and with her sister went to live in the family tomb in the hills to live as an ascetic.

Many women saw in her an example and teacher and began to come to her. She taught them how to strip away all that was unnecessary except for Christ alone, and to live a very simple holy life.


Here are a few of her sayings to ponder:


Amma Syncletica said: In the beginning there is struggle and a lot of work for those who come near to God. But after that there is indescribable joy. It is just like building a fire: at first it is smoky and your eyes water, but later you get the desired result. Thus we ought to light the divine fire in ourselves with tears and effort.


She also said: Those who put out to sea at first sailed with a favourable wind; then the sails spread, but later the wind becomes adverse. Then the ship is tossed by the waves and is no longer controlled by the rudder. But when in a little while there is calm, and the tempest dies down, then the ship sails on again. So it is with us, when we are driven by the spirits who are against us; we hold to the cross as our sail and so we can set a safe course.

She also said: There is an asceticism which is determined by the enemy and his disciples practise it. So how are we to distinguish between the divine and royal asceticism and the demonic tyranny? Clearly through its quality of balance.”


In other words, if it is worth doing it is worth perservering.

Keep on keeping on but stay balanced and remain focused on the goal.

Have someone you trust watch over you so that you don't do great harm to yourself in your practice of ascetism. Too much privation isn't good for anybody.

Pax

Reconnecting

Yesterday I went to the farewell luncheon for the Pastoral Associate, Sr. Joan Luerman OSF with whom I had worked for the entire six years that I was in Parish Ministry. She is retiring from active ministry to return to her Mother House (She is an Oldenburg Franciscan ). I was a bit intimidated about going back to the parish after so long.

There are some parishioners who were happy to see me leave I would venture to say that that is true of anyone in ministry. Someone once told me when I was having a particularly difficult time with one parishioner, that if you aren't making someone mad, you just aren't doing your job.

It really was a nice day though, in general everyone was pleasant, and there were so many people that I was happy to see again. Some that I hadn't realized how much I missed until I did see them. One woman, Sharon, had been my assistant in the School of Religion program the entire time was a particularly poignant reconnection with a promise of a lunch sometime really soon.

Another couple, are the Confirmation sponsors of my two middle daughters, whom they occasionally get cards from but we no longer talk to or see regularly. The husband has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and is in the early stages. Knowing that I am dealing with it with my mother, the wife thinks of me. He seems to be coping pretty well for now. My prayers are redoubled and very focused for them now.

Another woman, Amy whom I used to chat with often in the last year or so I worked there wasn't a Catholic yet when I was still there. At the time she was a Buddhist, and was being awakened to life as a mystic. I sought her out because in her I saw someone who might understand and be able to put words to my awakening avenue of prayer. We talked about our understanding of prayer as a mystical, often wordless connection to the Transcendent Other. We also talked about Eucharist and Trinity and other theological matters during our discussions. At the time I felt that she was on the road to the Church and some day, when the time was right would join her husband and son at the Table. Just last year I saw her name in the Archdiocesan paper in the list of those who were being welcomed into the Church at the Vigil Mass and my heart sang for joy. Each Monday when I sit down to write my Mystic Monday post I think of Amy, because she helped me to understand that being a mystic was one way God speaks to our hearts, and we can embrace that way and be totally open to it. We promised to get together this week for lunch. I can't wait to have another chat.

The Parish Deacon was on his yearly retreat, but his wife, Kathy, who had been the parish secretary while I was working there was in attendance, and we got to chat. I also got to see her daughter, April who spent a lot of time in the office, and whose wedding I attended while I was working at the parish. They both looked wonderful. And made me really sad that I haven't kept better in touch with them.

A young woman, Elizabeth, whose brother is a seminarian at my Gradual School was there. I have been trying to encourage her to attend St. Meinrad as a lay student every since she graduated from Steubenville. I think it would be an awesome fit for her and she would be an awesome addition to the Lay Degree program. Now that her brother Joshua is there as a seminarian I encouraged her to go down for a visit and get in touch with the Director of the Lay Degree program and have a look around. I may have been a bit of a hard sell, but hey, it was one of the best things I did, and something that good has to be shared.

All in all the reception I got was really great. I did have really sort of sour note, and both of the priests I had worked for were there and between them I didn't get a full sentence of recognition that I was even in attendance, but it wasn't my day, so whatever.

I loved Sr. Joan and I hope her retirement is as wonderful as her ministry was.

Pax

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Movie Festival for Year of the Priest

So Rufus from Korrektiv and I have been tweeting all day about the idea of watching a movie a week that includes or is about a priest for the year of the priest. We came up with a pretty good list to begin. Here are the ones I came up with, you can add more as you think of them or remember ones you have seen.

BTW: I know that Francis of Assisi wasn't a priest, but there are priests in his story, and his story is worth seeing so that is why I have included two versions of his story in my list.


1. Going My Way 1944
2. The Bells of St Mary's 1945
3. Keeping the Faith 2000
4. Sleepers 1996
5. Hoodlum Priest 1961
6. The Keys of the Kingdom 1944
7. The Mission 1986
8. The Scarlet and the Black 1983
9. The Assisi Underground 1985
10. The Massacre in Rome 1973
11. Becket 1964
12 . The Third Miracle 1999
13. The Novice (aka Crossroads) 2006
14. The Exorcist 1973
15. The Shoes of the Fisherman 1968
16. Molokai: The Story of Fr. Damian 1999
17. The Left Hand of God 1955
18. Diary of a Country Priest 1951
19. The Fugitive 1947
20. The Confessor (The Good Shepherd) 2004
21. Black Robe 1991
22. Mass Appeal 1984
23. Angels with Dirty Faces 1938
24. Fighting Father Dunne 1948
25. Boys Town 1938
26. On the Waterfront 1954
27. The Fr. Clements Story 1987
28. The Cardinal 1963
29. I Confess 1953
30. Doubt 2008
31. Miracle of the Bells 1948
32. Gran Torino 2008
33. Seven Cities of Gold 1955
34. Saint Ralph 2004
35. Don Bosco 1988
36. The Devil at 4 O'clock 1961
37. The Fighting 69th 1940
38. San Francisco 1938
39. Francesco 1989
40. Francis of Assisi 1961
41. Zycie za Zycie (Life for Life) 1991 Polish Maximillian Kolbe film
42. Pope John Paul II 2005
43. Karol: The Man Who Became Pope 2005
44. The Miracle of Marcelino 1955
45. Hounds of Notre Dame 1980
46. Jesus of Montreal 1989
47. Monsieur Vincent 1947
48. Nazarin 1959
49. Au Revoir les Enfant 1987
50. Papa Giovanni John XXIII 2002
51. The Reluctant Saint 1962
52. The Exorcism of Emily Rose 2005


Other Options

Stigmata 1999
St. Patrick: The Irish Legend 2000
The Order 2003
Brother Sun Sister Moon 1972
True Confessions 1981
Father Brown 1954
The Prisoner 1955

Television Series
Father Ted 1995
Father Dowling Mysteries
Bless Me Father
Nothing Sacred

If you have any favorites that I missed please add them in the comment box. I purposely didn't include The Thornbirds or the Exorcist sequels, which I probably should have, but I just didn't like them.

Pax

This isn't Choice

This article is extremely hard to read, but you have to know about what is happening in the name of "population control" in other countries with the support of our tax dollars.

How could any sane person look at this story and not see it for what it is. Women are being brutalized in so many ways, and the world turns a blind eye because the end that it is seeking is being met; i.e. population control.

What upsets me is that any woman could back a policy that could do this to another woman.

Pax

Training in Spiritual Direction

I spent four grueling years working towards a Masters of Arts in Catholic Theology because for most of that time the job I had required that I have that degree. Unfortunately for me, because of a pastoral change, the new parish priest decided that the parish didn't need someone with a Master's Degree, and for other personal reasons it became apparent that it was time to move on from that position. It took a year of prayer and discernment for me to come to that decision, but I was able to do so.

After in my final year of Grad School, with the help of my Spiritual Director and more prayer and discernment I tried to determine what I should do next. He was the one who cautioned me not to move until the Spirit moved me, and it wasn't until someone suggested to me that I would make a good Spiritual Director that it even occurred to me that I should even pursue that avenue. Every time I prayed about Spiritual Direction, the Spirit would well up within me and I would feel moved in that direction, while when I prayed about any other vocational choices I would feel no movement of the spirit at all, and believe me, I had been exploring options, even to the point of applying for a job as campus minister at a local university.

I searched for a Spiritual Direction training program and found one that met my needs. While it was an ecumenical program it was at a Catholic institution, and it was grounded in the Catholic faith. It began with the history of spirituality dating back to the desert fathers and leading up to an in depth study of John of the Cross, Ignatius and Teresa of Avilla as Spiritual Masters. Because of the ecumenical nature of the program, it also included a few sessions on Quaker discernment and Praying the Labyrinth.

What I have learned is to take everything in with a discerning heart. The program offers this information for our edification. Considering the fact that when I do begin my career as a spiritual director I will be working with Catholic directees the chance that I will use the Quaker spirituality that I am learning will come into play is probably not very likely. I will be more likely to be guiding my directees toward the historical tradition of the Church. But having said that, I am glad that I have been exposed to the other spiritualities and to the other people in my program who aren't Catholic because I have learned a great deal about spirituality and prayer from them.

I look at it as the same reason as having had to study philosophy when I was in Gradual School. Some of the modern philosophers were for the most part trying to explain the ontological arguments while excluding any reference to God. Studying these philosophers didn't harm my faith, but rather it strengthened it by helping me to understand and define what it is that I do believe. I can be exposed to these things in my training program without accepting them as Big T Truth as I do the tenets of my Catholic faith and Tradition.

Suffice it to say I am not going to emerge from this training program spouting some "new age" spirituality when I have a deep well of two thousand years of Tradition and Spirituality from which to draw.

Pax