Thursday, May 28, 2009

Probably Why Reading Newman Isn't for Me

an excerpt from Sacrament of the Present Moment:

God's order and his divine will, humbly obeyed by the faithful, accomplishes this divine purpose in them without their knowledge, in the same way as medicine obediently swallowed cures invalids who neither know nor care how. Just as it is fire and not the philosophy or science of that element and its effects that heats, so it is God's order and his will which sanctify and not curious speculations and its origin or purpose.

To quench thirst it is necessary to drink. Reading books about it only makes it worse. Thus when we long for sanctity speculation only drives it further from our grasp. We must humbly accept what God's order requires us to do and suffer. What he ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best and most Divine for us.

If the divine will ordains that reading is the duty to the present moment, reading achieves that mysterious purpose. If the divine will abandons reading for an act of contemplation, that duty will bring about a change of heart and then reading will be harmful and useless.

I am just saying, it may be that God has ordained that reading Newman might be harmful and useless for me and I should abandon it for a more useful pursuit, like hours of silent wordless contemplation, or even going to Confession.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I was attempting to download a patch onto my big laptop and it crashed on Monday and hasn't been able to boot up correctly since. I need to take it to my computer repair guys today to see what is wrong. The error message says something like that it is caught in a continuous faulty loop or something similar.

I am just hoping that it is an easy fix, because my mini is great for simple things but I really rely on my big laptop for major writing assignments (like writing my book, mostly) and even blog posting simply because the keyboard is much easier to type on than the mini is for any major length of time.

Anyway, I can post a Mystic Monday post from my mini, and will try to get to one later today (even though it is Wednesday again) because I know how much you guys are getting used to learning about all those obscure friends from the early church. I hate to disappoint.

Mrangelmeg and I are off this afternoon for a drive to Indy to participate in my first ever Alumni Gathering for my Gradual School. I am really looking forward to seeing the Abbot and
President Rector and hopefully a few other friends from the area. Before I do that I have decided that I have to get a mani-pedi because my toenails are looking really bad, so after my morning workout I am stopping at the nail salon.


Monday, May 25, 2009

How Cool is This? The Ripples are Increasing

A while back I wrote an essay on Vocational Awareness for high school students that Catherine Fournier graciously placed on her website Domestic Church . I hadn't thought about it in a very long time except that it was a pretty well written piece.

Last week Catherine contacted me because the Vocations Centre for the Archdiocese of Sidney Australia contacted her because they would like to include my essay in a packet of information that they will be sending out to every parish in the diocese to help all the young people in their diocese with vocational awareness and discernment.

Today I gave them permission to use my essay. The ripples from my little essay are indeed spreading out to the ends of the earth. I am so humbled that God has chosen to use my words in this way.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sweetness Personified

The angelbaby has gone to the hospital twice to see grandma since she had her TIA a week ago. Both times she sat on the edge of the bed and just held her hand without really saying much. Afterward she tried to explain how difficult it was for her to communicate.

She said that in her head there was so much that she wanted to say but when she saw Grandma sitting there in bed she was just so happy that she was okay that it was so hard for her to say anything at all. Every time she tried to talk she would choke up and was afraid she would start to cry with tears of relief, so she just kept quiet and held Grandma's hand.

It was so nice to hear that the angelbaby realizes that Grandma's health issues are really serious, but that she also realizes that what Grandma needs is her presence, and not so much to have conversation going on anyway.

We are visiting Grandma every day in the hospital, but we aren't asking the kids to go every day. Hopefully as Grandma gets stronger, angelbaby's visits will get easier.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What a Wednesday

Yesterday I went to visit my mom in her nursing home because today is her 83rd birthday. She is in fine spirits for a woman who can no longer walk or talk or carry on conversations. She talks a lot more than she used to (probably because they have reduced her anti-anxiety meds to almost nothing) but still her words aren't very conversational.

The funniest thing that happened yesterday (rather sad but funny). The entire time I was there visiting a new resident across the hall was just sobbing uncontrollably about having to be in the nursing home . After about fifteen minutes mom actually said, "She really needs to shut up." It was the most purposeful thing mom had said in over two years.

With my mother-in-love in the hospital after her TIA over the weekend, and making sure she has what she needs from her house and taking care of the kids, my week has been packed. I want to apologize about not having a Mystic Monday post this week. I am sure that at least two of my loyal readers are sad at not getting to find out about some obscure mystic from the third century.

I do want to share something I have been reading with you, but I am not sure that this person would be considered a mystic although I find some of what I have read in this wonderful little book to be quite mystical in its simplicity. I happen to be reading Jean-Piere de Caussade S.J. Book (actually a Kitty Muggeridge translation ) called The Sacrament of the Present Moment)which was written in the 1700's .

This is the section that I read this week that has given me great hope:

May others , Lord, multiply their prayers and supplications. I ask but one thing. I offer up this prayer to you: "Grant me a pure heart!" O pure heart, how blessed you are! You find God in the strength of your own faith, see him in all things at all times in and around you. You are his subject and his instrument. He guides and brings you to your destination. Often you do not think; but he is thinking for you. Whatever happens to you is ordained by him. All he asks is your willingness . In your bewilderment you don't understand this longing in yourself, but he does. Ah, how simple you are!

This has been my way of praying for the last few years. I don't have to know or understand how or why things are happening in my life because I know that God has a plan and that plan is for good even if I can't see how that good will come about because of the pain and suffering that I might be going through at this moment. If I trust in God's mercy and love everything will work out the way God intends for it to so long as I move with God's will.

Thursday May 21st is mrangelmeg and my 26th wedding anniversary. We are going to try to go out to dinner in between work and kids and visiting mother-in-love at the hospital.

Oh and Friday the angelbaby turns 13 and is having some friends over for a sleepover. Won't that be fun? A basement full of teen-age girls after a week of less than stellar sleep. We must be crazy, but we had the sleepover planned before other things happened and mom should be more stable by then.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Can You Feel The Love/

Conversation overheard between the angelbaby and mrangelmeg this morning:

mrangelmeg: Bye, I'm leaving for work.

angelbaby: Bye, don't get get a papercut.

mrangelmeg: okay, I'll try not to get sores on my butt from sitting at my desk either.

awe, the love in the room was palpable.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Life Alert Almost Worked Like A Charm

My mother-in-love has had Life Alert for about two years now, since the last time she had a mini stroke and drove herself to the Dr.'s office thinking she was only suffering from a bad sinus infection.

Our son-and-heir went over to her house on Friday to cut the lawn and she was fine when he left. When her sister and niece went over there today to see her the house was open and the lights were on but she was nowhere to be found. They called here looking for her, then called her daughter, then called the hospital, where they found she had been taken.

It turns out that on Saturday she fell while cleaning and when she couldn't recover from the fall she pushed her life alert wrist band and summoned help. The ambulance came and they took her to the hospital, but there was some miss-communication about whether the hospital or the Life Alert people were supposed to call her primary emergency contact person (mrangelmeg), so neither bothered to contact him. If it hadn't been for her sister and niece going over to visit I don't know how long she would have been in the hospital before we would have found out that she was there. I usually go over there on Tuesday or Wednesday afternoons, but some weeks I don't get over there.

Anyway, we haven't heard from the Dr. yet, but I am hoping that I can be there tomorrow morning when he comes to talk with her so I can find out what they know. She looks as though she may have had another mini stroke, but I am no Dr. In the meantime, I would appreciate your prayers.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Vocational Awareness

If you have any interest at all in horse racing you will get a chance to learn a great lesson in vocational awareness this weekend by watching Calvin Borel ride the filly Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness this weekend.

Calvin is the son of cane farmers, and never went further than the 8th grade in school. He is a self professed simple man, but he has a way with horses. He didn't just come by this gift naturally; it comes from spending hours and hours with the horses he loves. He says that the only way to learn how to "read" a horse is to spend time with the horse you are going to ride. You have to enter into a relationship with the horse.
Hmm, doesn't that sound a bit like our relationship with God? Our relationship with God doesn't just magically appear because we decide we want it. We have to spend time creating it by spending time with God in prayer to develop a relationship.
Calvin loves to ride and has loved it since he was a kid. He would spend all day at the track, working horses in the morning and then after a rest in the middle of the day he would race them in the afternoon. He knew that he could race horses and make them winners but it was a tough job making others believe that he could do it. It never got him down though, as long as he could ride.
In our developing relationship with God we should be willing to put the time in no matter what we get back in return. We can go through very dry spells in our prayer life, but none of that should matter so long as we continue to pray. Praying should be what we love, not the consolation that comes from our prayers.

Now after winning the Kentucky Derby two years ago and then this year winning both the Oaks and the Derby people are beginning to see his gift.
Part of anyone's vocational awareness prayers should be knowing where your gifts are and using them to the best of your ability with humility and grace. Calvin Borel is a great example of someone who has used the gifts God gave him to great result and who shows humility and grace in victory. We could all learn a great lesson from watching this simple man do what he loves to do, and who does it so well.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Why Is It . . .

That when you get into the habit of daily exercise you can feel like total crud and realise that it is probably in your best interest to go ahead and get in that workout anyway? In point of fact, the more exercise becomes a regular part of your daily routine the harder it is for you to rationalize your way out of going to the gym just because you don't "feel like it".

I wonder if it has something to do with the endorphins that your body produces when you do work out. I think that it has more to do with misery loving company; if you are going to feel lousy, you may as well go the whole way and drain all the energy out of your system with a workout as well.

Anyway, since workouts have become a regular part of my day, I am off to get in my workout. Then I need to come home and clean and spend some time this afternoon writing. I hope I have energy left over after the workout.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Mystic Monday: Old Friends Week

I spent this last weekend with Gradual School friends at St Meinrad because it was Graduation weekend and there are still people that we went to classes with who are graduating; way to go Paul and Ben and Mike and Glory,(who had the tough job of representing as the only woman in the graduating class this year); as well as seminarians we know who are finishing up since it takes them so many more years to get their MDiv than it takes us to get our MA and MTS degrees. Congrats to Deacons Peter Marshall, Jeremy Gries, John Hollowell, and Chris Wadelton from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, who will be ordained to the priesthood in June.

Anyway, I digress (a favorite saying of one of my friends with whom I spent the weekend)

Since I spent the weekend with old friends, I have decided to revisit an old friend for Mystic Monday. Because I took a survey on Facebook on Friday and to my utter shock was told that should I choose to join a monastic order I would be best suited to join the Dominicans, I am going to return to Henry Susso, a Dominican from the 14th Century, who loved the name of Jesus so much he gave himself a tatoo of the Holy Name over his heart with his writing stylus . (personally, I would have gone for a slightly less permanent badge of rememberance, but hey if it worked for him . . .)

Here is a bit from his text on "The Computer of Wisdom" a stricture for living the Spiritual Life

In the fellowship of saints which as the morning stars shone in the dark night of this world and as the sun and moon shed forth the beams of their clear knowledge you shall find some who surpassingly were perfectly grounded not only in active life and virtue but also in contemplation, of whose teaching and example you may take the most perfect doctrine and love of true spiritual life. And nevertheless I willingly and condescendingly to your youth and inexperience shall give you some principles of spiritual living for a memory to have always at hand to set you in the right working if you desire to have the perfection of spiritual life that is to be desired by all men and if you will and desire to take it up manfully you shall first withdraw from ill fellowship and harmful company of all men who would hinder you from your good purpose, seeking always opportunity when and what time you may retire and there take privy silence for contemplation and flee from the perils and turbulance of this harmful world. Always it belongs to you first to study to have cleanness of heart, that is to say that you keep your sensory perceptions turned into yourself and there you have as much as is possible the doors of your heart busily closed from the forms of outward things and images of earthly things. Truly among all other spiritual exercises cleanness of heart has the sovereignty, as a final intent and reward of all the travails that a chosen knight of Christ is to receive.

Good companions, time to study God's word and stay away from earthly distractions that draw you away from Godly things. Isn't it amazing how easy the right stuff really is?


What ABC's Nightline Left Out

Christopher West, the noted Catholic Theologian and proponent of John Paul II's Teachings on Theology of the Body was a guest on Nightline on Friday. Sadly I missed the interview.

After taking nearly four hours of interview tape, ABC condensed it down the very intricate and difficult to explain topic of Theology of the Body and Catholic Sexual Ethics to a seven minute interview.

This is just one of the things they chose to leave in the editing bay:

The Sexual Revolution led people away from a "prudish" rejection of the body, but also led people to "wallow in the mud."

"Now we need to take a bath," he told CNA.

These points were made in his interview with ABC but were cut for the section that was broadcast, West reported.

What did make the section was some of this:

"I actually see very profound historical connections between Hugh Hefner and John Paul II," West told ABC, which reported that West believes each man rescued sex from prudish Victorian morality. (ABC said that he called John Paul II and Hugh Hefner his "heroes", a statement he categorically denies).
According to ABC, West said Hefner had a "yearning," an "ache" and a "longing" for love, union and intimacy.

On the other hand, West said Pope John Paul II took the sexual revolution further in his "Theology of the Body" which taught that sexual love has been central to God’s plan for mankind.

West has sold more than a million copies of his books and more than 3 million CDs. Attendees at his retreats told ABC his talks "revolutionized" their marriages and their views of their spouses.

"Christians must not retreat from what the sexual revolution began," West said in a lecture excerpted by ABC. "Christians must complete what the sexual revolution began."

"We have to bring God and sex back together," he added.

You can read the rest of the CNS story here.

I recommend that you take the time to read at least some of what Christopher West and John Paul II have written on the subject. It makes perfect sense and goes a long way to bringing the sexual revolution to the place it belongs, in the natural order of where it belongs and why and how God intended intimacy to be a part of everyone's lives from the very beginning of creation.

You can learn more about Theology of the Body here.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Adverse Conditions

I am finding it very difficult to sustain any kind of mental acuity when the weather becomes inclement. (read that as WET!) I had fully intended to spend today catching up on writing, but it began to rain outside at about the same time as I sat down at my computer to write, and somehow the thoughts in my head just couldn't find a viable pathway to my fingertips and onto the page on my computer screen.

I tried every type of coercion I could think of, even stooping to mental bribery (if I completed the thousand words I would reward myself with chocolate, or even better a trip out for a pedicure). Nothing worked. All those wonderful ideas are still up there in my head clogged up by the wet air coming in the windows.

So, I have done maybe five or six Facebook quizzes, and checked all of my email accounts, and helped a daughter register for fall classes, and am sitting watching a movie on television I am really not sure I want to see because it saves me from thinking about the fact that I am not doing what I had intended to do today.

What distracts you from the things you planned, even when you have every intention of getting things done? How do you get refocused when the distraction is so visceral that it makes the doing of the thing feel almost impossible?

In my case, I am going to give myself permission to call it a day on the writing front and I am going to focus on getting some small jobs done around the house before I have to leave for my final RCIA session this evening. Maybe I will try using a digital recorder to tape the ideas, to get them out of my head at least so I don't lose them altogether, but any idea of getting them typed is just not gonna happen today.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Do You Reckon?

"It is also necessary to pray as well so that there are holy spouses, capable of indicating to their children, above all by example, the horizons to which they should tend toward with their liberty."

The words of Pope Benedict XVI on praying for vocations. You can read the entire article here.

May those words flow from his mouth to the ears of my Archbishop, who tends to forget to pray for sacred marriages until couples have been married for 50 years. In my not so humble opinion, any and all prayers for vocations should begin with prayers for the vocation of sacred marriages, because without them, there will be no more generations to be called to the vocations of priesthood and religious life.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Mystic Monday: Storyteller - Mystic? Toss of the Coin Semantic Riddle

Today dear children I am going to do something radically different and introduce to you someone who is still living. Megan McKenna self identifies as a Theologian Storyteller but I think that is simply semantics. When I read her writings they have all the beauty and connection to the divine of any of the mystical writings of the ancient and medieval mystics. Perhaps it is humility that keeps her from calling her own writings mystical.

If you would like to grow in the spiritual life you would do well to read any one of her works.

One of my personal favorites, and the one I am going to share a tidbit from today is called Send my Roots Rain: A Spirituality of Justice and Mercy

this little piece of poetry comes from a section on Justice:

I want to be remembered for having wove the Word
subtly through every fabric and design hiding it and then
uncovering detail, color, thread and line.
Wrapping all of earth and all its cretures in a cloth
fair, delicate and fine, that held a people's hopes and bread
and fragments and pieces of heart to raise the dead.
I wan to be remembered for having shorn the sheep
and gathered wool and spun and carded and made garments
against the cold. And then to have weathered all hte storms
and dwelled in the high mountain passes and found the deep
greenest grasses for their hungers. And stayed, keeping watch
over them, singing and humming them home with the Word.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Are You Really What you Say You Are?

I just reas an interesting take on the idea that your life must mirror what you profess to believe.

You can read it by following this link.

All I can add is this is what I believe with every fiber of my being.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Life Update

So there have been major changes in my little world in the last week.

I have been working out for a month now, and in that first month without any change in diet I lost three and a half pounds of fat weight. I have lost an inch off of my hips and an inch off of my waist. it feels great.

Starting this week I am in a challenge at my gym where we are combining workout with watching our diet for a month. I get weighed today and I think I may have lost another couple of pounds just this week watching what I eat. I need to tweak my diet plan because last week I had a few days where my calories from fat were a bit on the high side, but I never really felt hungry all week.

I am suffering from bursitis in my shoulder and hip and all the wet weather hasn't helped that, but I have decided rather than lay off the workouts I am going to use biofreeze and hope the weather changes soon. It hurts to be good. This weekend I am going to focus on WiiFit yoga instead of strength training and maybe that will help too.

I will keep you all updated on my progress.