Archive for May 2010

LOVE THESE GUYS – MAY 2010

May 31, 2010

Oh, man, I love these guys:On their way to our nation’s capital, to make their statement as Free Men and honoring those who fought and  died to maintain those freedoms for us. 

Men, women, and children, exercising their Right of Free Assembly, guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Why did our Founding Fathers deem it necessary to add the Bill of Rights, right after they had written and signed our US Constitution?  

 Because, even though they had endeavored to form a “more perfect union” of the various states, they realized that the government they had brought into being could still, some day, take on too much power.  If the Federal Government, centered in our nation’s capital, became too powerful, it could reach into every aspect of our lives with rules, regulations, laws, restrictions, and subtle pressures to conform to whichever political party attained high office.

Read the Bill of Rights.   It’s the best tribute to our Fallen Heroes to at least know what it is they were defending.

Such words and phrases from the Bill of Rights were on the lips of many of the speakers today at this year’s Rolling Thunder.   I admire these Americans.   (Late edit:  400,000 bikers, at the latest official count.)

Last year  (in the Archives, May 2009) I paid my own tribute to those in my family who fought in wars.      Today  Rolling Thunder and our whole country is honoring them – the soldiers who are dead — and those  who were ready to give  up their lives.

                            1944   An “impossibly young”  PFC –

 Because some gave up their lives earlier in the War, he lived….and later, I could be born.

To  see the Bill of Rights, read “Read the rest…” (more…)

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TRINITY ON TRIAL – 1

May 30, 2010

I am come a light into the world; that whosoever believeth in me, may not remain in darkness. (John 12:46)


Therefore” – From the Gospel today…”Go, therefore, and teach ye all the nations,…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.”

Christians worship the One Trinitarian God: God in Three Persons, One, Undivided, Divine, and Holy.  We can know this fact.  We can know the definitions of Trinity that we’ve been given, but the Truth and the Reality is so far above human minds.

So, today, Christendom joins with St. Paul in exclaiming In our Epistle Reading :  O the depths of the riches and of the knowledge of God!  How incomprehensible are his judgments!  How unsearchable are His ways!  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? …”

Well, not me.  

I was once visiting my next door neighbor who happens to be a Moslem woman from Iran.  On this day I walked over to her house and discovered some of her good friends were visiting her, also from Iran.  They were doing some Middle Eastern…grooming…thing, and my friend couldn’t talk for the moment, but they waved me over and motioned for me to sit nearby.  Very friendly!     We couldn’t speak each other’s language, but somehow we “conversed”- and it was a lot of fun.  

Suddenly, one of the young ladies noticed the crucifix I was wearing.   They drew back a little bit and seemed both concerned  and interested.  They spoke rapid Farsi back and forth to each other.    I got the feeling I was “Exhibit A” in a criminal trial.  This was going to be interesting.

And it was.  Because the next thing that happened is the oldest woman came forward and pointed at my crucifix and then held up three fingers!   Three!   And then she made the motion of praying.  And then her eyebrows rose up in a grand question mark.  

I knew what the charge was.  I immediately gave them an expression of horror and shook my head – vehemently! – and held up one finger and stabbed it upwards towards the Heavens.  Then I smiled, thought of our Dear Lord, and made a gesture of praying, alternating with one finger pointing up.  And then I put on my Teacher Look and said – in English – Only ONE God !!!  And I put on my “you agree with me don’t you?” look —   and we were all nodding our heads together, and then,  friends once more, we resumed our “conversation.”

I don’t know if I convinced them that Christians are not polytheists.    I am the only person they had in front of them to learn Who a Christian worships – and to learn the difference that makes.

“Go ye therefore into all the world….”    and teach the incomprehensible Truth that Jesus is Savior, Son of God, Second Person of the One Holy Triune God.

OUR LADY’S MANTLE

May 29, 2010

Saturdays are dedicated to Our Lady, the Mother of Jesus…and her color is blue:

All day today I was so inspired by the color of our sky.   The blue above our back deck was awesome.  

No wonder we call Heaven “up.”!

Conscientious Catholic  stopped in for a visit today…we talked about several things, and the conversation drifted to the Virgin Mary.  He said, “Mary’s ‘yes’ brought Jesus to us…”  and the complementary reply:  “And at the end of our lives she will bring us to Jesus.” 

The Virgin Mary.   The Blessed Virgin.   Our Lady.  The Mother of Jesus.  The Mother of God.   Whatever you call her, be sure to call her “Blessed”  as the Bible tells us to.

The occasion of  CC’s visit was to bring me yet another pair of crutches…Please send up a prayer of thanks with me for a Christian man such as this, running around in our country today!      You can visit him and say Hello….

FRIDAY: THE PENTECOST 3000

May 28, 2010

I see I have a Tag called “Summer Silliness” — and it’s getting that time again.  I don’t think well above 73 degrees………just random thoughts flit by for about three months and I grasp at the most entertaining….

However.   With effort, and before I allow myself to descend into triviality, it still is Friday today, and it just seems appropriate to post accordingly.

  We have a wealth of prayers and meditations preserved for us to help us on these Fridays, among them spiritual studies of the Seven Last Words spoken by Jesus on His cross.  So here’s one of  The Seven for Pentecost Friday:

When it comes to the sentence “I thirst,”  we understand that to mean not merely that Our Jesus was suffering physically, as intense and unimaginable as that was;  but we also understand that to mean He is stating His love and His longing for all the souls that He created.  He thirsts for those souls, and is staying on His Cross, His Altar, for love of all of them (us).  

  Now, Pentecost flows out of Calvary, I think I wrote before.   Calvary flows into Pentecost.  And on that day,  we know that Peter went out with great power and explained to the gathered crowd that this Jesus that they crucified is truly their Messiah, and, as the prophets have said, He is the Savior of the whole world, and “all the nations”  will flow into “Jerusalem.” 

Were they convinced?   We read that 3,000 were convicted, repented, and were “added unto the disciples.”

3,000?   Back to the Cross, the Son of God is looking over the entire history of the human race, past, present, and future.  On His mind must have been a terrible, sorrowful occurrence that happened during the first Pentecost, that of the giving of the Law at Mt. Sinai.

Like the disciples in the Cenacle, the people were also told to “wait”  —  until Moses came down from the Mountain, with the Word of God, the Law, for them.   Unlike the later disciples, they did NOT wait.   Being afraid of the smoke and fire and rumbling of the power of God on Sinai, they were convinced Moses was not coming back.   No human could withstand that power.  

You know the rest of the story:

 When Moses did come down, we learn about his anger, his confrontation with his brother Aaron, Aaron’s funny and very lame excuse, and the repentance, then, of many thousands of the straying Israelites.   Many.   But not all.   3,000 were so obstinate and so dedicated to their own ideas of what a god should be, that their continued existence among the Israelites proved a very real threat to the faith of the whole young nation.  They had to be executed.  This was a heartbreaking, but necessary thing.

Jesus on the Cross is the One Who was heartbroken at their rejection.   “Behold,” He had said, “I make all things new…..”    

The first harvest of souls, the firstfruits of the new young Church, was 3,000….No one and nothing is forgotten in the Mind of God.

THE PARADOXES OF PENTECOST

May 27, 2010

I’ve got some silly stuff coming up in the days ahead, but, right now, this is the last of the big Octaves in our calendar for a while, and it’s worth spending some time to increase our understanding.

“Octave”  –  Reiterating.    Repeating the note at a (new)   frequency, 8 tones away:

LIFE, LOVE,  AND THE WILL TO DO GOOD:  perennial questions.  And they were all answered at Pentecost, but not the way we expected:
The Paradox of “Life” in us:
The Holy Spirit brings “New life in Christ…”   I’d like new knees right now.  I wore mine out.  Perhaps you have other things you’d like to have young and new again.    But what if it was everything about you – all the life in you becomes new and fresh, and fully alive.  It would be wonderful!  (As it was at Pentecost)

Here’s the Paradox:   Give it all up.   Let go of all the things you want:  You give up your life to Christ, dedicate yourself to Him,  and you end up receiving so much more.   You get real and eternal life.

Here’s the Paradox about Love:How about Love?  Something we all want (and need).    But you don’t have any.   Really.    The love and affection we feel for certain people can ALL be explained away by modern “science.” And for once, I think they make sense.   It is biological attachment produced by our hormones, like the attachment we feel for our offspring.  

We’ve got plenty of other hormones in us too that regulate the “love” we feel for people.    Or the fond memories of pleasure we feel or felt or expect to feel coming from someone else…to us…We love what makes us feel good.  We love what gives us what we want.   We feel “loving” towards them. 

At Pentecost the disciples were infused with the Love of God in them.  God is the only source of Love.   God is Love.    And that’s the only genuine love we can love with.  So:  we seem to be loving, but not with any love that originates within ourselves.   And this is the love which we want to bring to our offspring – and all the people in our lives.   Paradoxically, we love with a Love that is not our own. 

Knowing the Right Thing To Do:How about knowing the right thing to do and how to do it, what philosophers call the Good — and even wanting to do it?   We don’t know.    And if we think we do, we don’t have the willpower to attain it, or to attain much of it.    But if we get out of the way, and if we allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit, suddenly we “understand” —  (It’s in the Gospel of John, chapters 15 and 16, for instance.)    “Faith precedes understanding.”   It wasn’t until Pentecost that the believing disciples began to understand.  Paradoxically,   we “find” our way by letting Someone else  lead us.

Ecclesiasticus 15:5 says:  ” And in the midst of the church she shall open his mouth, and shall fill him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and shall clothe him with a robe of glory.”

Is it also a paradox that all this is offered to humans, but so many don’t accept it anyway?

This will be the last of my “didactic” postings for a while, unless something comes up.  If you’d like to study more of Pentecost with us, I’ll  put up our class handout for tonight in “Read the rest…” – 

 

(more…)

PENTECOST PLEDGE

May 26, 2010

 

On the Wednesday of Pentecost we  read that the Holy Spirit was intended to be the invisible and animating spirit of the visible and animated Church on Earth.

                                    (invisible)

 

 

In light of that, I’ll put aside my image of the dive-bombing, flame-throwing dove that hovered over me in my last posting… The Holy Spirit is the invisible spiritual power in the Church — and He came with the strong and firm Pledge that was prophesied in the Old Testament, to the Jews first, and then foreshadowing the calling of all people into the Church.

 “And I will pour upon you clean water, and you shall be cleansed from all your filthiness, and I will cleanse you from all your idols.  And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit in the midst of you: and I will cause you to walk in my commandments, and to keep my judgments, and do them.And you shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”  (Ezechiel 36: 25-28)

.
Wonderful!!   That God-Most-High wanted us!   “I will be your God.”

As recipients of this Promise, what do we pledge ourselves to do?  (Ezechiel restated):

To live in that stream of cleansing, Living Waters, poured out over us

To leave the sin that stains us and desire to be made clean, as only God can do it

To leave our idols.   (Ouch!)

To live with a New Heart;  i.e., in a new  (different)  way

Soften up a bit;  let go (of ourselves and our hard-headed ideas)

To walk in the Way of God’s commandments
To do the things required of us

To dwell in the “Land” – the Church – that God gave us.

To always be identified with God’s people

That’s it.    That’s the Pentecost Pledge.   It’s what came down at Pentecost and is true and alive and still offered to us today.   

The Holy Spirit makes Pentecost “real.”     Real serious.

ONE DOVE AT PENTECOST

May 25, 2010

I want what she has:

Maybe I could crawl into her feathers for a little while….           
Ecclesiasticus 2: 1-4
“1 Son, when thou comest to the service of God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation. 2 Humble thy heart, and endure: incline thy ear, and receive the words of understanding: and make not haste in the time of clouds. 3 Wait on God with patience: join thyself to God, and endure, that thy life may be increased in the latter end. 4 Take all that shall be brought upon thee: and in thy sorrow endure, and in thy humiliation keep patience.”

I’m not a “son”  but close enough.

I was really looking for a picture of a dove dive-bombing the disciples with roaring flames of fire,  on the day of Pentecost.

 “I indeed baptize you in the water unto penance, but he that shall come after me, is mightier than I….he shall baptize you in the Holy Ghost and fire.”  (Matthew 3:11)

So, according to Eccelsiasticus, chapter 2,  “When thou comest to the service of God….”  Look out!

Three times it says “endure”;   accept,  receive, take all,  wait on the Lord….and my favorite:  Don’t draw any hasty conclusions:   “…and make not haste in the time of clouds.”    

You don’t get to choose…which dove.

PENTECOST OF GOD

May 23, 2010

Weird title, I know, but I want to stress something about Pentecost today:  It’s not so much about the “thrilling and filling” of the Spirit  that we feel at times.   It’s all about God.  

 It’s all about the movement of the Triune God.  

It’s  God’s plan;  God’s power; God’s action.  

It had to happen after the Ascension occurred. Jesus is now “seated at the right hand of the Father” and so, from the Father and the Son together, the Holy Spirit proceeds from  Heaven to Earth to fill the disciples who are waiting there in the Cenacle, and He animates their spirits. 

“Animates” just means “brings to life” — creating them anew with a living soul that is full of abundant Life, in a way not possible before our Redemption.    “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (  2 Cor. 5:17 )

The disciples experienced the sound of an immense power coming down on them and the sight of ardent love and great holiness, the glory of God surrounding the Descent of the Holy Spirit….and then separating into parts (flakes, tongues) and filling and re-creating each one of them.

They were not the same people as they were before.   They are now living stones in a Holy Temple,  the Living Body of Christ on Earth, offered eternally to God the Father.  Thus, in God’s plan, Pentecost flows out from Calvary.  

Peter was there that day, and he says, in 1 Peter 2:5,  “ Be you also as living stones built up, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

Last year I wrote at Pentecost about young men, young soldiers, out in the field, kneeling on hard ground and stones, before the Lord.  I asked, what would make young men do something like that!   The answer is:  Pentecost.  The action of the Holy Spirit changes them and gives them a supernatural ability to acknowledge their Lord and to kneel before Him.  The funny thing is, they were kneeling on stones – but they had been already made into living stones, and are part of the construction of the Spiritual House that Peter wrote about.

The blueprint is God’s.   And so is the Cost of “construction.”  And so is the Purpose.  In that Living Temple, the Body of Christ is presented to God the Father, eternally, for our Redemption.
Isaiah  2:2 predicts all this:    “And in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared on the top of mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.”

In a theological sense, it’s the only route to God that “all nations” have….to become living stones in the Temple of God.

CAN’TS AND CANS

May 21, 2010

I had a LOT to “offer up” today, I thought.  “Offer it up,”  as I wrote in my last post.  It’s our son’s birthday today, but with my knee still real sore, I can’t make a birthday cake, I can’t clean the house, I can’t BBQ a dinner on our back deck.  Can’t even go out and buy a present this week.

And then Hubbie helped with the kitchen.  And somehow, Son and Girlfriend arrived and we all put our heads together and came up with GREAT ideas.

This is part of our family.

We are so full of “cans.”

I love you all.

Deo gratias.

“OFFER IT UP”

May 21, 2010

Offer up your pain to Jesus on the Cross.   Take up your cross and join yours with His.
“Join your pain and suffering to His in spiritual union for reparation, consolation;   He is on the cross suffering for your sin, and He’s taking on the effects of your sin, pain, sickness, death, into His own body.”  

The ladies in my Friday morning class one week had a brief discussion on that old phrase “offer it up.”  Some of them remembered hearing it from the lips of seemingly cold-hearted mothers. (“Oh, you fell down and skinned your knee and it hurts?   Offer it up…”   Oh, you think your soup is too cold?  Offer it up…”)

I get the idea.  And I’m so willing to practice it.

But — when the opportunity presents itself in reality,  I know deep down I’m hardly worthy to even begin to join my (pain/inconvenience/fears/woes) to the actual suffering of Our Lord on the cross.  Not even today, Friday, the day of His crucifixion.

Not even today, looking down at my feet.   Foot.

But I do “get it.” 

I once had a very funny-ironic kind of lesson about that.  

Just new in the Church, I was delighted to be on a trip out to San Francisco to visit our daughter.  Hubbie and I drove across the country to see her and her new home town. 

A trip of that length, however, is hard on the feet.  A “tourist” is forever finding reasons to get out of the car and walk around…lots and lots of beautiful places to walk in California!   My feet were sore and blistered.  My shoes apparently didn’t fit right and by the time I got to our daughter’s place, socks had to be peeled off each night….I’ll spare you the details.  It hurt so much, but I was having so much fun that I literally walked around San Francisco the last day or so in my stocking feet.

The day we left, it was coincidentally my birthday.  “Where would you like to go, Mom, for your birthday?”    “To the Carmel Mission, Monterrey!!”   One of the many missions founded by Junipero Serra, whom I had just learned about.   Decades ago, in Capistrano, Hubbie and I were actually more interested in the visitors to that mission  (the swallows)  rather than the founder, but this time I understood the significance of missions.

The Mission at Carmel would be the last “necessity” to walk around before our long return home.  As I continued to read the biography of Junipero Serra, I was surprised and very sympathetic to read about his difficulties crossing Mexico – on foot – and on into California.   Early on, he had been sleeping outdoors and was bitten by insects which caused bad sores on his legs.  The pain and the bleeding never healed for the rest of his life. 

I almost felt I could understand.  

And  then, there we were right at Carmel, in his land.   We walked where his feet walked.  We peeked into his bedroom.  The bedroom of a very holy, humble man:  
And once, as I was walking around, I had my hand on a doorframe.  And then our guide said, “And that door leads to the stairway that Brother Junipero Serra climbed every day to….”   And my hand flew off the door frame.  I had been touching the very wood that his hand must have touched many times before.   The reality of the man hit me;  this is a real man.   His real home.  His real door!   Uh….his real footsteps, and the real pain in his legs, which never ever stopped him from doing his work. 

And he offered his pain up to Jesus on the Cross, in union with Our Lord, who died for Junipero Serra, and me….and all of us.  Blesssed Junipero Serra had taken up his own cross, and followed our Jesus.

I understood, then, The pain in my bloody feet was like a little gift to me, so that I could have something similar to “offer up.”    

I’m only beginning to understand.

SLOWING DOWN HYPERCHRONICITY

May 19, 2010

I was going to continue my thoughts about time speeding up and share some good spiritual advice I learned. …I was going to enter The Spruce Tunnel.Take a breath.   Slow down.  The lovely green at the end of the Tunnel promises good things after a little thoughtful meditation.

But I couldn’t go back there today.   I don’t know about “coincidences” or “messages” and I fail to see the humor it what happened after the previous posting today.    After I wrote about things going too fast, I injured my knee or my leg to the point where I still can’t put any weight on it.  It’s my driving leg.   I can’t go anywhere either.   Or do anything.   I’m forced to slow down…to think about things.   Oh.  Just.  Ouch.

So figuratively – figuratively only – into the Spruce Tunnel,  with that man looking down – figuratively – over my shoulder, reminding me to have Perspective,  here’s what I have:     When time speeds by, faster than the speed of human life, it’s hard to remember that our speedy motions can cause harm.   Things can get hurt.   People can be injured in our wake.   And we never seem to get caught up anyway.

 I was going to present some ideas from a very good book that I have, but that is now at the very, very, very far side of my house.   Still, I’ve read these pages often enough, so I ought to remember well enough.

The book is The Soul of the Apostolate.   I’ll get that author later….   It is said that Pope Pius X kept it at his bedside.  It’s good for spiritual adjustments and also for good practical advice.  Although it is written for those who work chiefly for the spiritual good of others, everyone can benefit very much from its good words.

There was even a little advice on what to do when your schedule becomes too full and you don’t seem to have enough time –  no matter what the cause, hyperchronicity or otherwise.   The advice of the author was, when you really have a lot to do,  slow down!   Slow down and do each task deliberately and with great care.

Although that seems to be a paradox, the effect will be to expand the time and attention that you bring to bear on each task.  In the spiritual realm, spiritually speaking, you make yourself present in the moment and time expands!    The few times I’ve remembered to try this, I can say it really works.  

The hours still pass by, but so do your accomplishments.   And you have not harmed anyone by being brusk and short with them; you’ve given them the full attention they deserve.  In this way you have cared about “your neighbor”  as much as you’d like them to have cared for you.  This takes us out of our world of cause and effect, labor and reward.  Again, to care for a person is to enter the spiritual realm, where time is not.

The hours have passed by, and you will have done your tasks, from beginning to end, with nothing “due” in the future where you will have to “spend” even more time completing those tasks, re-start, re-do your work, repair;  so your future is free of time-debts, and the material world becomes less cumbersome.

It really works for the Soul connected with Christ.  When faced with many, many things on your to-do list,  slow down, take care with each one.   

Within this Octave of the Ascension we read that Christ has ascended to Heaven, taking our humanity with Him.      He has defeated death, sin, and the ways of the evil ones like this Kronos, the god (of Time) who eats up  his own children.

HYPERCHRONICITY !!

May 19, 2010

                               Hyperchronicity!

I found a new word!   

Hyperchronicity –   Time is running faster than it has before!   

Time itself is hyper!

I’ve been feeling it, and others have been telling me they’re experiencing it too.  And not just the older people;  even the younger people are telling me that time goes by so fast for them that they can’t do everything in a day that they used to.

It speeds by so fast….

It’s been suggested that we’re just trying to do so much more in a day than people did in the past.    But I think about what my parents and grandparents and older neighbors and even my landlady during college did in one day — even in one afternoon between lunch and supper.     They didn’t seem to be hurried, but there was time to do so much more in their afternoons — and we had “time” to talk about it!

It’s been suggested that our electronic entertainment uses up much of our available time, but I don’t think that’s the whole reason.   I don’t watch TV or see many movies;  I’m listening to a lot less radio;  and I know I do far less on the Internet because I just “run out of time.”  

Time doesn’t seem to pass day by day;  it seems to be passing week by week.   “Is it Monday already?”    It’s Friday again?!”      My older ladies (in my classes) who go south for the winter come back and say “My goodness, it seems I just got there and it was time to think about coming home again!”   I looked at my little seedlings the other day:  I remember thinking, weren’t  they supposed to take 14 -21 days to germinate?  Oh, they did.

Hyperchronicity!   It’s just a matter of our perception.

But, on the other hand, I actually found this word on a  blog(*) of a physicist who says he’s one of several scientists trying to figure out the riddle of time and the reason for the sense of time speeding up.

And then there’s this:

 Mark 13:20 –  And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
Nah…  I don’t think so.    Not yet….

More later about what to do about this — after I catch up to my day…

(*  Sorry – Didn’t think I’d needed to write down the reference, at the time.)

ASCENSION THURSDAY – WITHIN THE OCTAVE

May 17, 2010

                         Monday Within The Octave of the Ascension

The Church gives us eight days to think about the Ascension of Christ.  

An Octave of Days

The same tone, the same “vibration,”  eight days apart, until you reach an even higher perception of the original. 

Eight days.    Seems like a long time, but, knowing us, we forget to get serious about the Ascension for most of those days, and then it doesn’t seem long enough when we do begin to meditate, and if possible…to even contemplate….

We know the simple facts of the Ascension of Christ, how, after He appeared here and there to His disciples for forty days after His resurrection – teaching, instructing, strengthening – then at the Mt. of Olives in the presence of His disciples, He began to rise, into the air…He ascended.

But He didn’t go up into some  lonely place high above all His friends….into some vague sort of paradise.    Rather, He went into His glory!    It’s wonderful to think of the Ascension of our Jesus from the point of view of Heaven itself.     Heaven, that abode of blessed spiritual beings who surround the Throne of God and serve His Holy Majesty with worthy praises and joyful adoration.

You’ll just have to close your eyes to read the rest of this, because no pictures from Earth, no words or  paintings, would be able to describe the scenes of Heaven.

I’m going to paraphrase a few words from Dom Prosper Gueranger, that great man who helps his readers to fully participate in the entire Liturgical Year.     (Vol. 9)

Christ is our King, we know, but He is also exalted and loved and glorified  above all and by all the  principalities and powers and  all the angel choirs  named in Heaven.   His Incarnation into human flesh was revealed to them,   and they were the first there on that  Christmas night to joyously proclaim  His arrival at Bethlehem.    

By looking down on earth as  their Exalted Lord redeemed mankind, “they were lost in astonishment at seeing how Flesh could so reflect the plenitude of grace ..and they now could  see further into the depths of the Uncreated Sea of Light” and glory that is God-Most-High.   “Angels and Archangels, the Powers and Dominations, the Cherubim, and Seraphim, praise the Majesty of the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. ” 

Yes, on Ascension Thursday,  Christ Jesus, the God-Man, was welcomed Home with great eagerness and joy and love by the Angels of Heaven who worship and adore Him forever.

I think we can understand their Joy.   Jesus said to us:  “If you loved Me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father;  for the Father is greater than I.”        (“Greater” than I”?   Jesus speaks in His human nature before Calvary, but you can hear the Joyful anticipation in His voice for the glory that is to follow.)

He ascended into Heaven and He was received into Heaven.

CHAPEL “DUTY”

May 15, 2010

Short post tonight, as I get ready to leave for the Chapel.  

Our Adoration Chapel is called an Oratory, a place for prayer.   One short, swift hour of praying prayers of adoration and praise, and of saying prayers “for all those for whom it is our responsibility to pray for.”   

Let a picture do the talking tonight:

” The Ladder of Divine Ascent. ”  

While the Communion of Saints help us with prayers of loving intercession, in the upper left, the demons do what they can to weaken our grip so that we fall into Hell.  

Here is consistent teaching of the Christian Faith, first written clearly through the mouth of Ezechiel, the prophet:   (God says) – “Say to them: As I live, saith the Lord God, I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live.”  (Ezechiel 33:11)

So the painting tells a truth.   We are all on an upward ladder to Heaven.  God calls all of mankind to Him.     That is, everyone we know;  ourselves, family, friends, acquaintances, people whose stories attract our attention in the news, and all the people in the world. 

The painting suggests to us our work in the Adoration Chapel.  

Thanks to Christ Heaven is opened to us.   Thanks to each others’ prayers, we are strengthened in our ascent.   Everyone we know needs our prayers.

The painting portrays only one small facet of Christian teaching;  objections can be answered by studying the whole of the Christian Gospel.

A CABELA’S “TOURIST STOP”

May 15, 2010

It’s been a long full day today, and I almost forgot about explaining that last photo in the last posting, until I heard Hubbie from his computer say — in a voice that was meant for me to hear —  “Okay, I give up.  What is it?”   

That’s another view of the critter picture he was looking at.     It’s not often a turtle flies by at eye level!

Returning home from the Cleveland Clinic, we nearly always stop here:That’s the famous bear sculpture in front of our Cabela’s store in the southeastern section of our state.   (I don’t know, does every Cabela’s have this?   Does every state have a Cabela’s, the famous sporting goods store?)

Inside, one of our favorite places to visit is the Aquarium, featuring fish one would find in a typical river of the northern Midwest.    Come, take a walk through the Aquarium with me:The walkway has aquarium windows on both sides.  The habitat is what you would see, probably,  if you snorkeled through one of these rivers.   Tree roots and all.   Very restful to walk among the fish, which moved around in a constant slow motion.

Speckled fish:

Shiny fish in the roots:

Blue spotted fish:

One fish gave my camera “that look” —

The large catfish didn’t photograph well;  just big gray blobs with whiskers sticking out all over.    But here’s a strange one.   He spent the whole time hiding in the root of a tree, but all you can see is his shiny bluish-gray mouth, kind of like a weird fish visitor from another world:

And that turtle kept swimming by.   Ever seen the underside of a lively turtle?

I think my Dad brought one of these home, one time when I was a little girl.  He seemed very pleased by his catch:

And back to “reality”  —   When you walk out of the Aquarium, the first thing you see are these:A little ironic, really, but after all, this is a SPORTING Goods store.     I guess seeing all the fish makes some people want to buy these.     Hubbie looked at the price tags….we’re not going fishing anytime soon.  

It’s not all fish —

There really is a family named “Cabela.”   They were expert large game hunters, and in the spirit of President Teddy Roosevelt, they promoted the healthy, manly life of big game hunting and fishing and camping, rock climbing, hiking….The store is  filled with displays of  big game that were killed, stuffed, and arranged in a likeness of their actual habitats.  

One can see – very close up – moose, musk ox, elk,  wolves, lions, a white rhino, deer from every continent, mountain goats.   All the animals are posed to show them doing what they do in their natural habitat.     The several generations of Cabelas were really into “education.”     There are photos of themselves on their safaris.

I’ve taken so many photos throughout the years, but this time I focused on the elephant:

Before we left the store, we took our customary trip over to the gun section.   Hubbie wants a shotgun, I want a pistol.   I’m interested in a certain Glock;  there is an interesting Beretta, but it’s a little clunky and heavy.  And I  just love the little Winchester .9 mm wooden handled pistol – perfect size for the purse and rather interesting looking.   I don’t know what people would think of a wooden handled pistol, but it  looks “friendly” and comfortable.

Hubbie insisted I try a couple shotguns on for size.   “Look through the scope,” he kept saying.  Until finally he said, “Don’t get a shotgun”  — meaning, he hinted rather bluntly, that I didn’t look too natural holding a big long thing like that.   They just don’t “fit” very well.

Really, this “tourist stop” for us is like a little trip far away from home.   Another couple hours and we were home, to our little village that we “don’t live in” as I explained before.    Only the post office thinks we live here, but it’s close enough after a long trip to another state.

We turn right at the one and only town traffic light, and then after a fifteen minute trip through the country, we’re home.    To our own critters waiting for us that evening:

Home, sweet home.

CLEVELAND CLINIC MILES AND MILES….

May 13, 2010

Well, Power Outages happen at the worst times – the utility company kind and the human kind.  Now we’ve got our energy back – both kinds.    It takes a lot out of you when your “routine” trip to the doctor is about four hours away.   

We parked on the streets of Cleveland, Ohio, and walked, walked, walked…And finally came to the first Cleveland Clinic building

It is a rather elegant-looking parking garage!

A couple blocks later we came to the Sign:

All we had to do was get to the end of the block and round the corner —

And there was the main campus, several blocks ahead.Still  walking, but not getting much closer!

And then we came to THIS —THIS MAN OWNS THE CROSSWALK !!!    I hope I made myself clear, because HE certainly does!   This is the most intimidating man in all of Cleveland.   I didn’t dare take his picture while he was looking at me.   

See the orange sign in the electric crosswalk signal?   Hubbie tried – once – to cross when that light was orange.    Never again.   He got a good “talking-to”  — I was kind of hoping we wouldn’t have to explain ourselves in a Cleveland jail.    Whew!   

Not one toe off the sidewalk until that light changes from orange to white.  And not until you get a little nod from THIS MAN.

We made it to the inside of the first big building:And then we had miles and miles  (I  think) of very beautiful hallways to walk through.

Guess what this is:Looks like another hallway, doesn’t it.    But it’s really a Waiting Room.  One of many hundreds of waiting rooms.   Comfortable black chairs every so often.  A calm, black discreet reception desk with a pleasant lady…..The Waiting Rooms go on for — well, miles and miles, and all the ones on each floor interconnect, like just one long curved hallway.   

It would be easy to drift into another waiting room.    Here was our sign:“Electrophysiology and Pacing…”      I couldn’t avoid the shadow on that sign.  It didn’t have any except through the camera lens.  It was made out of a strange sort of metal, with a kind of holographic surface.     I wanted to explore the play of light and shadow for a bit longer, but then we…were… Called….And they connected Hubbie to all sorts of machines.    That’s his face down there under her arm.  He’s okay, but he can’t move much and you can’t see all the wires.   Just think:  Frankenhubbie.    I got to watch the monitors, so every time she did something to him  (something to his heart, actually)  I got to see the electronic result.  

She was a little more blunt and direct in her answers than other technicians….we were a little unsettled.   But we know Hubbie’s heart has been severely injured, and it’s in good hands here in Cleveland….And that’s why it’s worth driving and walking all those miles….

I peeked out the Waiting Room window to view our long walk back to the car.   There to the lower left is that amazing acrylic fountain…it really looks like a solid circle of water.    I’d love to touch it.  But, then,  that MAN in the yellow coat is not too far away.

Here is our last view of those waiting rooms and hallways.  They are so pleasing to the eye.  Artistic and soothing.     Amazing what a billion dollars will buy — courtesy of a thank-you gift from the Middle East.

I’ll spare you the long walk back to the Big Red Car and the long drive home — but we did see some interesting sights on the way:

I’ll show you next time!

POWER OUTAGES

May 12, 2010

 

 

WHAT’S 40 AMONG FRIENDS!

May 11, 2010

I had a very nice Mother’s Day, thank you all.   It was so good, for many reasons that I’ll just keep it private.   It’s a rare and wonderful thing when there can be friendship within the family.   I wish this for all of your families!

(Just a hint – ha ha…)

I slowed down today and had some time to think about nice things.  The muscles are just a bit stiff from  bump in the rear end  (The Little Red Car’s bump!) this weekend.   No problem, just a bit tired.

I really like this time of the Liturgical Year.   40 precious days with our Resurrected Lord, from the Resurrection to the Ascension.    The friends and disciples of Jesus must have been thrilled to have His company again, appearing suddenly to them, here and there, now and then, to comfort, to strengthen, to eat and commune with, and then to teach and explain and expound.

But the friends of Jesus had no idea what was coming at the end of those 40 days!    They had no clue that Jesus would ascend into Heaven, leaving them behind for a time.    For the rest of their lifetimes, as it turned out.

There were good reasons for the forty days, and only forty days.   I think I’ve explained the number “40” to my classes  fifty times in the last ten years, and each time it’s like  a “new lesson” all over again!     In summary, “40” is generally used with an amount of time in the Bible, and it signifies “enough time to accomplish what God had intended. ”       Enough.    Enough time for something.

The 40 days after the Resurrection was apparently all the time that was needed for Jesus to instruct  His friends and teach them how to set up His “family”:   the Kingdom of God on Earth. Our Lord, then, ascended.

What became of His friends and disciples?    The whole of Church history, that’s what!    And some friends proved to be good friends; some friends proved to be very bad friends;  and some friends were just so-so, part of His family but indifferent.

Here are some good words from a very good friend of Jesus, indeed!

“We must be the best of friends because He has so few!”

That’s our job!    But is St. Therese right?   Even within the Church, are there really so few?  If we place ourselves among His friends and disciples during these 40 days after the Resurrection,  and always think about what He did and what He said, then now, when it’s our turn on Earth…well, I’d like to continue the friendship and be among His best friends.

ST. TITUS FOR MOTHER’S DAY

May 9, 2010

I know all you sons and daughters  will honor your mothers today (in America).  For most, happiness will come easily;  for some, there may be happiness mixed with a little sadness and loss;  for some, today will be an opportunity for you to exercise your better qualities of compassion and forgiveness.

St. Titus has a word for all of us on Mother’s Day:             He was the disciple who was put in charge of the island of Crete, early on in our history, at the time of St. Paul.  He has an interesting take on the motherhood of all women, which I try to remind  the women in my  classes, whether or not they have husbands, whether or not they have children.

“All women are called to be mothers.”    Or, in Christian terms, “All Daughters of Eve are called to follow in her footsteps and be mothers”

The necessity of mothering:

In the words  of St. Titus in the Bible:   “But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine….The aged women, in like manner, in holy attire, not false accusers, not given to  much wine, teaching well :  that they may teach the young women to be wise , to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, sober, having a care of the house, gentle, obedient to their husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”  (Titus 2: 1, 3-5)

In other words, young women have much to do.   But older women, maturing women, aged women have much to teach!    You are needed to mother the next generation!

And putting aside Anna Jarvis and Woodrow Wilson, the Hallmark card company, and all the florists — as nice and as culturally important as those things are! — we would still be left with the importance of mothering.

Spiritual Mothering

St. Titus Church in Crete:

St. Titus  was speaking about spiritual motherhood, a tradition which has been passed down from his teaching.     Today a woman of any age, whether biological mother or not, can take on the task of mothering someone who needs a spiritual mother;  it may be a child, a college student away from home,  a migrant worker or single person away from home, or a priest who needs visible and tangible “mothering.”   

 Ladies, your “mothering” may be vital in the life of some person.  There are apostolates to join , to help you, if you like.   You can search for help with the words Spiritual and Motherhood — that ought to get you somewhere for ideas.

One such site*  says the main requirement is a spiritually mature woman, and then offers this definition of Spiritual Motherhood:

What is spiritual maternity?

Spiritual maternity is a particular grace of the Holy Spirit by which a woman surrenders herself, body and soul, to the fruitful love of Christ, for the sake of His Bride the Church and for the glory of the Father, so that, through her offering, the particular priest entrusted to her, and all priests, may be purified, healed, and sanctified.

When Mother’s Day is past, the happy “drudgery” of mothering continues.   St. Titus says we have a job to do.   There are many wayward children out there!

*  The Apostolate of Mary, Mother of Priests  (Website)

PERSPECTIVE UNDERSCORED

May 9, 2010

I was thinking these last couple of days about perspective, how seeing things from a different angle (two postings ago) – or how having an uncommon experience! (the last posting) —  can give you a more accurate view of  your life;  that is, over and above your ordinary (safe) routine, a view of what is really important….Well, I had a chance last night, inside the Oratory (Adoration Chapel) to have this taught to me again.

Security monitor in the anteroom of the Chapel:

 I anticipated a peaceful hour, given to prayer and “thinking.” Sometimes my thoughts don’t rise to the level of actual “meditation,”  but at least there’s a long list of praying to do.

There were no other people in the room with me last night.  About halfway through, I heard some fingers touching the key pad lock thing on the outside wall.   (That’s how quiet it can be!) but the little clicks were not the familiar pattern, not the right numbers.   Kind of random, searching, wondering-what-would-happen-if-we-press-this-number kind of clicks.  

If a person wanted to get inside to pray and they forgot the code, they would then, next, knock to get someone’s attention.

No knocks.   Low voices, low teenage boy voices.   

And then after a while, nothing more.   

If I had gotten up to check the security monitor, that door with the colored glass would have moved just enough to cause its movement to be seen through the outer door’s frosted glass….just enough to let someone know someone’s in here for sure.   

Church’s get robbed.   Church’s Poor Boxes get robbed.   Church’s people get robbed.

Maybe my imagination was running away with me.   But last night, whoever wanted to get in, didn’t get in.

“Things” in your life could change in an instant.