Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Five Most Pathetic Words A Catholic can Utter . . .

I am a Pro-Choice Catholic

Follow the above link to read Patrick Madrid's response to Kate Child Graham's article.

Again Pat hits exactly the point when he says:

It’s not necessary to explain here what St. Thomas actually said about man’s duty to follow his conscience in observing the commandments and teachings of the Church, as that would simply be piling on and would be a further cause of embarrassment for Ms. Childs Graham. So it will suffice to simply read the above statements from the Catechism about conscience in light of this other statement:

“Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law: ‘You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish.’ ‘God, the Lord of life, has entrusted to men the noble mission of safeguarding life, and men must carry it out in a manner worthy of themselves. Life must be protected with the utmost care from the moment of conception: abortion and infanticide are abominable crimes’” (CCC 2271).

I am praying that some day (and I hope it is soon) she comes to see the truth of what her church really teaches and believes about the dignity and sanctity of all human life and will again believe that abortion is evil and goes back to working to make it unnecessary.


Another Weekend; Another Daughter; Another Retreat

Middle daughter (the saintly one) just left for an overnight retreat at which she will be acting as host/team member for a group of high school students from our parish. This is the second time she has participated in a retreat as a member of a team since she graduated from High School herself last June, and we are really happy that she enjoys this ministry, because she is a relatively quiet young woman.

Please say a prayer that the team does a good job. That the kids on the retreat get what they need from the Holy Spirit, and that our Saintly daughter can get at least a little sleep in her sleeping bag on the floor of the gym tonight. She is on epilepsy medicine, and sleep is very important to her.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

What Are You Doing For Lent?

Maybe it is because I am influenced by their close proximity, and I spend time with them each week, but I am not the least bit ashamed to tell you that I have become quite the Dominican groupie over the past few years. So it is with great delight although a bit of sadness that I came a day late to this site, that I present to you this wonderful treat for lent:

Click on the poster to link to the British OP website.

Each day is a short reflection based on the daily mass readings, with a slightly longer one for Sunday. So far they have been quite probing and as I have come to know the Domincan charism, true to form.

I hope this will help some of you to have a productive and meaningful lent.

h/t to Fr.Phillip for the link.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Remember Child That You Are Dust . . .

and unto dust you shall return.
Today is the day that we enter Lent by reminding ourselves that there is no way to get out of this place alive, so everything we have here is transient. As John of the Cross reminds us repeatedly in his writings; what gets in the way of our purest love must be removed (nada,. nada, nada) Everything is up for review during this holy season as we pare back our lives to the most basic essentials and discover what it is that we really need to live as God has asked us to live:
To fast from everything that isn't essential. To pray as one who is speaking to a beloved. To give of one's first fruits and not of one's excess.
Bear your lent proudly and with grace, and smile when well meaning folk stop to tell you that you have dirt on your face.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Just Another Mystic Monday: Teresa of Avila

Today dear children we are going to explore the Interior Castle with St. Teresa of Avila, because I have to read this book for my internship and if I have to go into that scary place you might as well come with me and keep me company.

Here is a little snippet from the first chapter concerning the First Mansion. This bit is about self awareness, and I think is very true for all of us at one time or another (but less so about some of us who are very self aware, or more self aware than I am anyway):

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 own 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 possess 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 centred in the rough setting of the diamond, and in the outer wall of the castle -- that is to say, in these bodies of ours.

After this bit she goes on to begin to talk about the interior castle as the place where our soul resides and seeks to find and come into communion with "that which is at the center" which is God; which takes many, many, deep chapters. I may post more as I get further and further along in my study.

As I stated in an earlier post it is no coincidence that I am reading this particular book during this particular lent.

God is good, all the time. Even when we don't want him to be so good to us.


Saturday, February 21, 2009

What Are You Dong For Lent?: Confession

Lent is another great time to avail ones self of the sacrament of reconciliation or good old confession for those of us who haven't been in a while.

We are called to examine ourselves and root out what isn't working, as well as what is getting in the way of our relationship with God. Confession is how we accomplish this.

Busted Halo:An Online Magazine for Spiritual Seekers, which is dedicated to helping the young and fallen away find their way in this media saturated world. They have a wonderful series on Confession that I would like to share with you.

Why Should I go to confession

Confession 101 part- one

Confession 101 part-two

Avail yourself of the grace of the sacrament this Lenten season. You won't regret a trip "into the box".

h/t to my pals at Korrektiv for the link


Big Day

The angelbaby is going on her very first retreat today. She is really excited as are we for her.

Please say a prayer that she is filled with the Holy Spirit and meets some new friends (especially ones she will be going to school with next year when she switches to the Catholic School for middle school).

Thanks for the prayers.


Temple Census

We have entered Mardi Gras weekend. . . that last little bit of Ordinary time just before Ash Wednesday. Why is it that every year I get the sense that I should indulge to my hearts content in these days? I think it is partly because of that ROR_2">Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) attitude that we have to use up all the indulgent stuff in the house so it won't tempt us during the long season of lent.

Amazingly for me, this Mardi Gras season has come at a time when I am in a good place both mentally and spiritually to get my temple (aka body) in order. Not so coincidentally, I will be reading Interior Castle by Teresa of Avilla, so the spiritual reflection is set in motion. I have been working out with the Wii for over a month now so the physical exercise component is in place, now I just have to wrap my brain around the eating as fuel and what is the best fuel to heat this particular temple and everything will start working together.

I have decided to make changes in my diet because it is the healthy thing to do, and I need to be eating better anyway, rather than thinking that I am depriving myself of something that tastes wonderful. I am going to go back to a diet that is very low in allergens, and in food groups that are close to the ones I am allergic to as well. (which means, less soy, less condiments which have traces of corn starch and corn syrup, etc).

Essentially I will be back to an Atkins/South Beach lifestyle which ends up being very low in carbs and higher in protein, but I am going to supplement it with fresh fruit in the afternoons as a snack. For drinks it will be back to tea, tea and more tea. One cup of coffee a day and then all the iced or hot tea or water I want the rest of the day. My big treat will come when I allow myself two pieces of dark chocolate in the evening. (gotta have my chocolate).

After a few weeks of eating sensibly for my particular body's needs I know I will begin to feel better, less tired and healthier. I should lose weight, but that isn't the immediate goal of my new plan. After the 40 days of Lent I should be totally transformed.

I just hope I can get it all together and make this a very spiritual practice and not get frustrated about the entire thing. We shall see, grasshopper, we shall see.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Name Game

withheld to maintain the pretense of anonymity

2.WITNESS PROTECTION NAME:(mother and fathers middle names)
Maria Leo (not bad)

3.NASCAR NAME:(first name of your mother's dad, father's dad)
John-Michael Peter

4.STAR WARS NAME:(the first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name)

5.DETECTIVE NAME:(favorite color, favorite animal)
Auburn Giraffe

6.SOAP OPERA NAME:(middle name, town where you were born)
Mary Rock Island

7.SUPERHERO NAME: (2nd fav color, fav drink, add "THE" to the beginning)
The Green Shiraz

8.FLY NAME:(first 2 letters of 1st name, last 2 letters of your last name)

9.ROCK STAR NAME:(current pets name, current street name)
Lilly West Highway

10.YOUR GANGSTA NAME:(first 3 letters of real name plus izzle)

11.YOUR IRAQI NAME:(2nd letter of your first name, 3rd letter of your last name, first two letters of your middle name, last two letters of your first name then last three letters of your last name)

12.YOUR GOTH NAME:(black, and the name of one of your pets)
Black Bixous

This was fun, try for yourself.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Watch This Video . . .


Lent is Coming . . . What Are You Doing?

I have been blessed because of my work with the church, and attending a School of Theology/Seminary for Gradual School, to meet quite a few young men who are studying for the priesthood.

There is one in particular this year that I am working with at St Paul of whom I have become very fond. He is Brother Dominic PJ McManus OP. He is doing his pastoral year at St. Paul before he goes back to seminary for his deaconate year of study prior to being ordained. He is working with the graduate students at St Paul and has done a few talks for the RCIA.

I also have had the distinct pleasure of hearing him preach. To say he has a gift is an understatement. Which is why I want to introduce you to him today. Last weekend in the bulletin there was a short reflection that Br. Dominic wrote concerning Lent, fasting and transformation. I was so impressed with it that I am going to give it to each of my kids to read so that they will have a better understanding of why we fast. The writer in me was even just a bit envious.

I want to share it with all of you, so I am linking to the St. Paul Bulletin where you can read it for yourself. You will find it in Keller's Corner on the right side of the first page.

It has changed my mind on how I will be looking at fasting this lent. I plan to enter this lent looking for a fasting that feeds my prayer and a prayer that feeds my alms giving, and in all of that I hope to be transformed rather than just inconvenienced by what I have decided to "give up".
Thanks Br. Dominic. Good Lent everyone.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lord Give us Your Words . . .

Mrangelmeg and I are going to give a talk tonight at RCIA on the Sacrament of Matrimony. We put together a short outline over the weekend when we were on our little getaway, so that we would have at least a few talking points down on paper, but I always like to leave room for the Holy Spirit when I give a talk.
Mrangelmeg on the other hand, (being the engineer and a very high J on the Meyers Briggs) would probably much rather have every word we were planning to say written out so that we just had to read it.
We want to start with a short introduction of us; how we met, how important faith hope and love have been to us in our marriage, and that we don't begin to understand why our marriage works we are just happy that it does.
Then we are going to go into the sacrament as we have come to understand it over the last 26 years. Then we will leave time for questions which with God's help we will be able to answer.
Send up a quick prayer for us. I am used to these kinds of talks. Mrangelmeg is more used to presentations to government and military personnel. This is almost uncharted territory for him and he is venturing there at my request. Now that is a true partnership.
NOTE: Our talk went quite well last night. We were relaxed and got our points across really easily and with humor and grace I believe. The group was very receptive which helped a lot. Thanks for your prayers. There were more than a few young married couples and soon to be married couples in the group, so I hope they can gain a little from hearing the story of our journey.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Red Envelope Project

Click on the envelope above to get more information on this great project.

What a great conceptual way for the President to see exactly how many voices have been silenced due to abortion. I am going to go out tomorrow and buy some red envelopes. Won't you join me?


What She Said!


Monday, February 16, 2009

Mystic Monday: Walter Hilton (1340-1396)

Today dear children we look to England for our inspiration. Walter Hilton studied at Cambridge and was the first theologian to write a work exclusively in English. He called for every person to live a life of holiness which he felt was not outside the reach of anyone.

His major writing was a work intended as direction for an unnamed anchoress. It is known under the title The Ladder of Perfection.

Interstingly, Hilton freely admitted in his journals that he never personally experienced the familiarity with God that he describes as the goal in his writings. This has not deterred many generations of others who came after him from learning much about devotion and the mystical way from his counsel.

Here is a small sample of the Ladder for you to read Don't let the old english scare you away, once you get past the clunky word forms it is really a beautiful passage about practicing virtues:

CHAPTER XIII: How Virtue beginneth in Reason and Will and is perfected in Love and Liking, or Affection

THUS have I told thee a little of Contemplation what it is, to the intent that thou mightest know it and set it as a mark before the sight of thy soul, and to desire all thy lifetime to come to any part of it by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is the conforming of a soul to God, which cannot be had unless it first be reformed by some perfection of virtues turned into affection; which is when a man loveth virtues because they be good in themselves. Many a man hath the virtues of humility, patience and charity to his neighbour, and such other only in his reason and will, and hath no spiritual delight nor love in them, for ofttimes he feeleth grudging heaviness and bitterness for to do them, and yet nevertheless he doth them, but ‘tis only by stirring of reason for dread of God. This man hath these virtues in reason and will, but not the love of them in affection. But when by the grace of Jesus and by ghostly and bodily exercise reason is turned into light and will into love, then hath he virtues in affection; for he hath so well gnawn on the bitter bark or shell of the nut that at length he hath broken it and now feeds on the kernel; that is to say, the virtues which were first heavy for to practise are now turned into a very delight and savour, so that he takes as much pleasure in humility, patience, cleanness, sobriety and charity as in any other delights. Verily till these virtues be turned thus into affection he may well have the second part of Contemplation, but the third, in sooth, shall he not have.


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Living the Google Life

My Life... according to Google

Type your name and the words in parenthesis into the google search and post one of the results you get from the first page of results for each statement: (note to make it easier I used my real first name but have changed it to my blog name for the list)

1: Type in "[your name] needs" in the Google search:
angelmeg needs to be near mom

2: Type in "[your name] looks like" in Google search:
Angelmeg looks like a bag lady.

3: Type in "[your name] hates" in Google search:
Angelmeg hates the red carpet.

4: Type in "[your name] goes" or "..has gone" in Google search:
Angelmeg goes for a walk with her new doll.

5: Type in "[your name] loves" in Google search:
Angelmeg loves PB&J.

6: Type in "[your name] eats" in Google search:
Angelmeg eats a lemon.

7: Type in "[your name] has" in Google search:
Angelmeg has a need for speed.

8: Type in "[your name] works" in Google search:
Angelmeg works with maximum performance.

9. Type in "[your name] lives" in Google search:
Angelmeg lives in a Campbell's soup can.

10: Type in "[your name] died" in Google search:
When his beloved Angelmeg died a few days later.

11: Type in "[your name] will" in Google:
Angelmeg will leave you speechless.



Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shock and Awe

Mrangelmeg came home tonight and informed me that we are leaving tomorrow evening at 4:30 for a Valentines day trip to Brown County.

We will be staying at a The Cornerstone Inn in downtown Nashville overnight, and then spending the morning together in Brown County and driving to Indy to eat lunch at my favorite steak place The Ram . Then of course we will be just a hop skip and jump from the Godiva Boutique in Circle Center so we will have to stop there.

He made all these plans just for little old me.

Wow, now I guess I have to shave my legs, I mean it is the least I can do.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone.


Monday, February 09, 2009

Waltzing White Boyz

I am showing a bit of family pride here. The young man on the right in the dark hoodie is my cousin's son Michael Scheck. He is named for my dad. He is a Junior at Speedway High School in Indianapolis and will some day be on Saturday Night Live with video's like this one.

Here is another with amazing trick basketball shots that they made without trick photography:



Mystic Monday: Edith Stein 1891 -1942

Today dear children I want to introduce you to a woman of knowledge. She was born Edith Stein, into a Jewish family in Germany in the late part of the 19th century. Her life was consumed with the pursuit of truth. She received a Doctorate in Philosophy with the distinction of Suma Cum Laude.

Somehow in her study of truth, she began to seek a deeper Truth which she found within the Catholic faith. She converted in the year 1922. She entered the Carmelite order of her favorite saint, Teresa of Avilla, taking the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross and entered the cloister. During World War II she was sent to Auschwitz concentration camp because she was of Jewish heritage. She died there in the gas chamber in August of 1942. She was canonized in 1998.

Her writings are of great inspiration as one who sought the face of God and found peace in the journey.

Here is a short prayer for your collection:

O my God, fill my soul with holy joy, courage and strength to serve You.
Enkindle Your love in me and then walk with me along the next stretch of
road before me. I do not see very far ahead, but when I have arrived where
the horizon now closes down, a new prospect will open before me, and I shall
meet it with peace.

There is also a longer prayer I would like to share with you,

which can be found here:

Novena to the Holy Spirit


Sunday, February 08, 2009

New Toys

mrangelmeg let me get my birthday present a month early. I got an Hp mini 1000 series laptop to use when I am away from home.

I have a really nice laptop, but it has a 17 inch screen and weighs a ton and is quite difficult to lug around. Now I have a really nice little computer with a nice sized keyboard to use for when I am away from home.

I have been playing with it and loading my favorite websites (the ones I will most likely need when I am in a coffee shop, or staying overnight somewhere) and setting my search engine to goodsearch for my the angelbaby's school library and all those other important things.

I wouldm't want to use this thing all the time, but for quick little activities it is great. Oh and this morning I discovered a new use for it. When mrangelmeg is asleep in the bedroom, now I can take the mini into another room and check email or go on facebook or even read blog posts, because we have a wireless network in the house. How cool is that?


Saturday, February 07, 2009

Just my Luck: Another Thing I Have to Keep Clean

You Are a Whiteboard
You are a dreamer, a visionary, and a straight up idea person. You are very creative.
Even if the things you think up are a bit wacky, they often are brilliant.

You are an adept problem solver. You are always tossing around dozens of ideas.
You would make a good artist, designer, or architect. You do best when work feels like play.

h/t to Ironic Calculator Catholic for the link.


Friday, February 06, 2009

How Old Are You When You Know Who You Are?

I have been thinking a lot lately about friendships. When I was very young I had a few friends. But I wasn't what anyone would call one of the popular kids. I was entirely too shy for that distinction. I don't remember if our grade school had a clique of popular kids distinct from unpopular kids. I just know that even though I went to school with the same group of kids from kindergarten through ninth grade, there were very few that I counted as my close friends.

I was painfully shy, and maybe that was one drawback. I also felt very awkward in social situations. My father, on the other hand had such an easy social presence. No matter where we went he could strike up a conversation with just about anyone and within minutes it would be as if he had known that person for years. I was so much in awe of that ability. When I was in elementary school I was too timid to even ask for extra napkins at McDonald's.

I felt a little bit more at ease in middle school. By then I had a small group of friends that I knew I could count on to be loyal and "have my back" in any situation. We spent time together outside of school and got to know each other's likes and dislikes. We shared each other's joys and sorrows. It was these friends who helped me the most when my father died.

Sadly, for me it was this group of friends that I lost when my mother decided to uproot us and move away from all the memories of my father, first to Hawaii for the summer and then to Terre Haute to begin my Sophomore year in High School.

I was a new kid in a new school and all those shy feelings came flooding back. I had no support system except my sisters and brothers, and they were all dealing with the same sense of alienation that I was. I really had no idea how to make friends, or to be a friend when I first got to Terre Haute. I was miserably lonely most of the first two years of High school. I went to class with the "smart kids" because my grades were good, but I had no idea how to interact with them or how to break into their social circles.

One thing I did have was youth group at Church. Some of the kids in the youth group went to the Catholic high school which closed my junior year, and then they transferred either to my high school or the other one in town. I at least had my faith in common with the kids in the youth group, so there was a bond there I didn't have with the rest of the kids at school. But even as I senior in High School, I had no idea who I was.

Not knowing who I was probably explains why I couldn't decide on a major in college. I went to college because that is what people did after high school. I knew I wasn't going to work in an ice cream shop the rest of my life, so I registered for college on the local State University where I could live at home and go to school.

I stumbled through college not really knowing who I was. I was still that painfully shy kid, I didn't have many friends. I didn't know what I wanted out of life, except having some vague idea that I was supposed to be trying to please God.

It really isn't surprising to me that I don't have any close friends from high school and college. I must have been like a ghost back then. I wonder if people even remember me really from back then. I had no idea who I was, so how could I share what I didn't have with other people. I do know that there were people back then who were nice to me, but not in a lasting friendship kind of way. Through the amazing technology of Facebook I see my high school classmates who have remained close friends since we were in high school 30 years ago and even longer because they knew each other in grade school. In a way I am envious of having a friendship like that because it is something I have never had.

I have only been able to acquire close friendships like that in the last fifteen years or so. It wasn't until after I had my kids, and even to some extent after my mom's diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease that I really began to figure out who I am as a person. Now I have some very close friendships. I am able to give of myself, because I now understand that there is worth there to be given.

I suppose what I am trying to work out is, is this a skill that can be taught? Can I teach my children how to have lasting friendships when they are young so that they won't look back when they are nearing 50 (yes in less than two years I will be the big Five-Oh!) and wish they had made better connections when they were younger? Or is it just something that one has to be born with, a natural gift.

I suppose I will never know, and it really shouldn't matter. I should just cherish the friends I have. Like the woman I am having lunch with on Monday. Now she is a friend worth cherishing.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

Some Last Column!

By now most of the Catholic Blogosphere knows of the sudden and unexpected death of Michael Dubruiel author and husband of Amy Welborn.

Amy has posted the column he was working on before his death and I think everyone should take the time to read it. It is amazing. You can find it here:

The Last Column

Life has some unexpected turns and without faith how does anyone hang on?

My heart goes out to Amy and her children during this time of grief. The outpouring of support from the Catholic Community for them has been just amazing. If you want to do something, Buy his books. I have most of them in my library and can highly recommend them.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

It's In the Blood, I Suppose

The angelbaby is a HUGE fan of the show Bones and has been for most of the three plus seasons it has been on the air (with parental supervision, because there are some episodes that have decidedly adult content). She is a trivia expert when it comes to the characters on the show and can tell you their back stories better than probably some of the writers. She is really fascinated by the procedural aspect of this show in a way that she never found shows like CSI or NCIS as interesting.

This week in her Writing Class at school they are supposed to write a first person story about any subject they want. She is writing a fan fiction story in which she uncovers a skeleton while on a trip with her dad and gets to meet Temperance Brennan and Seeley Booth (The main characters of the show) and actually go to the Jeffersonian (the lab where Dr. Brennan works).

I suppose her active imagination comes naturally enough. There are writers all over my side of the family. Two of her siblings write fan fiction stuff on Internet sites, so she is familiar with the genre from them. It shouldn't come as any surprise that she would write something like this for class. I am really looking forward to reading it.

I just hope I don't end up the dead body in the story (it could happen, who knows how her mind works, she is an almost teen-ager after all).

Maybe we should send it into Hart Hanson when she completes it, just in case he is looking for another idea for next year's plot lines.


Monday, February 02, 2009

Mystic Monday: Henry Suso

Today dear children we visit a Dominican friend from the 14th Century, Henry Suso (1295 -1366) . Henry is one of the Rhineland Mystics and came from a noble Swabian family near lake Constance which borders Switzerland and Germany.
He later became a student of Meister Eckhart, of whom we have explored a little on our Monday visits.
His writings include: Horologum Sapeintiae, Or the Computer of Wisdom
And another Book entitled The Little Book of Wisdom
Today I want to share with you a section on self abandonment and the fruits of the union of man with God.
The first "self" he has in common with a stone, and that is existence. The second he has in common with a plant and that is growth. The third with the animals and that is feeling. The fourth with all men, is that he has a human nature like they. The fifth belongs to him individually, it is his personality, both according to the essential and to the accidental. Now what is it that leads a man astray and robs him of his salvation? Only his "last self" by means of which a man turns away from God and toward himself . . .he thoughtlessly makes himself a "self'"of his own. That is he blindly appropriates for himself what is God's, makes this his goal and eventually falls into sin.
This is his description of a truly self abandoned man:
He is quite dead to himself, is entirely lost in God , has passed into him and has become one spirit with him in all respects, like a little drop of water which is poured into a large portion of wine. Just as this is lost to itself, and draws to itself and into itself the taste and color of the wine, so it likewise happens to those who are in the complete possession of blessedness. All human desires fall away from them in an inexpressible manner, they met away into themselves and sink completely into the will of God.
Oh to find oneself so abandoned, so that it is "I who no longer live but Christ who lives in me" (Gal 2:20)
Perhaps, someday with lots of prayer and fasting and more prayer. Only this I want.