Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…" great interview with Cardinal Donald Wuerl

Pete Socks interviews Donald Cardinal Wuerl on the Sacrament of Penance. Read the whole thing here, but here's the money quote:
PETE: For those who have not been to confession in a very long time what words of encouragement can you give them?
CARDINAL WUERL: Don’t be afraid. Everyone is rooting for you. None of your sins will shock the priest who hears your Confession. He’s heard everything in his years in the confessional. He knows that everybody sins. He wants you to succeed, and he’ll help you.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

"I was a pagan, hedonistic man-hating feminist…"

"I learned the value and true beauty of being a woman. In the purest sense I discovered my real right to choose. "

Thank you, Catherine Quinn! And thank you, God.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Blessed Virgin Mary (like the air we breathe)

The Blessed Virgin Mary Compared to the Air We Breathe

by Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ

Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
That each eyelash or hair
Girdles; goes home betwixt
The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
Snowflake; that's fairly mixed
With, riddles, and is rife
In every least thing's life;
This needful, never spent,
And nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life's law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise,
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God's infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,        
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race
Mary Immaculate,
Merely a woman, yet
Whose presence, power is
Great as no goddess's
Was deemed, dreamed; who
This one work has to do —
Let all God's glory through,              
God's glory which would go
Through her and from her flow
Off, and no way but so.
I say that we are wound
With mercy round and round
As if with air: the same
Is Mary, more by name.
She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense            
Her prayers his providence:
Nay, more than almoner,
The sweet alms' self is her
And men are meant to share
Her life as life does air.
If I have understood,
She holds high motherhood
Towards all our ghostly good
And plays in grace her part
About man's beating heart,              
Laying, like air's fine flood,
The deathdance in his blood;
Yet no part but what will
Be Christ our Savior still.
Of her flesh he took flesh:
He does take fresh and fresh,
Though much the mystery how,
Not flesh but spirit now
And makes, O marvellous!
New Nazareths in us,                      
Where she shall yet conceive
Him, morning, noon, and eve;
New Bethlems, and he born
There, evening, noon, and morn
Bethlem or Nazareth,
Men here may draw like breath
More Christ and baffle death;
Who, born so, comes to be
New self and nobler me
In each one and each one                
More makes, when all is done,
Both God's and Mary's Son.
Again, look overhead
How air is azured;
O how! nay do but stand
Where you can lift your hand
Skywards: rich, rich it laps
Round the four fingergaps.
Yet such a sapphire-shot,
Charged, steepèd sky will not            
Stain light. Yea, mark you this:
It does no prejudice.
The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.
Blue be it: this blue heaven
The seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,                
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.
Whereas did air not make
This bath of blue and slake
His fire, the sun would shake,
A blear and blinding ball
With blackness bound, and all
The thick stars round him roll
Flashing like flecks of coal,                
Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt,
In grimy vasty vault.
So God was god of old:
A mother came to mould
Those limbs like ours which are
What must make our daystar
Much dearer to mankind;
Whose glory bare would blind
Or less would win man's mind.
Through her we may see him              
Made sweeter, not made dim,
And her hand leaves his light
Sifted to suit our sight.
Be thou then, thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my froward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God's love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Let Boston Carmel pray for you…it won't cost you a cent!

What a joy to visit this site…and to know some of the sisters who have dedicated their lives to Jesus, Mary…and us!

Do pay a visit…you'll be blessed!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Some quick but wonderful Lenten reads

Parker's Back by Flannery O'Connor

The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde

Sunday, February 16, 2014

“It was a money-grubbing, evil, very sad, sad place to work."

When we had to call 911 for an ambulance, we were told never to say the word ‘abortion’ because they don’t want that broadcast. They knew that the calls were recorded, and could be made public.

Marianne Anderson, former Planned Parenthood nurse, Indianapolis
Marianne Anderson recently drove with her mother past the Planned Parenthood facility at 86th Street and Georgetown Road in Indianapolis, the state’s largest provider of abortions.

“I told my mom, ‘To think that that building exists for no other reason than to kill unborn babies.’ I still get a knot in my stomach when I drive by there.”
The knot returns despite the fact that Anderson hasn’t worked at the Planned Parenthood facility since July of 2012. Prior to that, she worked for two-and-a-half years as a nurse at the abortion center.
Read the entire interview here.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saints Augustine and Aquinas

Kathy Schiffer delves into the Reverend King's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail."

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Good News!

Abortion Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since 1973

By Kathy Schiffer
Pro-Life Protest in Detroit, Michigan
The number of abortions performed in America fell by 13 percent between 2008 and 2011, leaving the U.S. abortion rate at its lowest level since the passage of Roe v. Wade in 1973.
Read more here.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Joy and Sorrow: The Presentation of the Lord

I asked my Little Mother, why is it that the Rosary recounts the Presentation of your Son as joyful? And she said:

"Because of Simeon's prophesy, which I knew came from God."

And then I asked my Little Mother, why then is this occasion accounted as your first of Seven Sorrows? And she said: 

"Because of Simeon's prophesy, which I knew came from God."

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word,for my eyes have seen your salvation,which you prepared in the sight of all the peoples:a light for revelation to the Gentiles,and glory for your people Israel.” 
The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother,“Behold, this child is destinedfor the fall and rise of many in Israel,and to be a sign that will be contradicted—and you yourself a sword will pierce—so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” ~~Luke 2

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pope Francis and Notre Dame…"Thou shalt not, or Thou SHALL"

Numerous folks have weighed in on the Holy Father's address to the trustees of that university which more than one wag have dubbed "Humanist U"…and why should I not join in?

At first, like many I'll wager, was hoping the Pope would give the trustees the old one-two punch. May God forgive me.

What he didn't say:

"Thou shalt NOT honor anti-Catholic jerks, which indeed you have done in the past."
"Thou shalt NOT offer so-called `entertainment' which mocks, not only the Catholic Church, your morons but humanity in general."
"Thou shalt NOT keep repeating the imbecilic acts which, God only knows why, you seem to delight in persisting!"

(I could go on with the weird things Notre Dame has done, but that's not the point of this post.)

What he did say, in part:

It is my hope that the University of Notre Dame will continue to offer unambiguous testimony to this aspect of its foundational Catholic identity, especial in the face of efforts, from whatever quarter, to dilute that indispensable witness. And this is important: its identity, as it was intended from the beginning. To defend it, to preserve it and to advance it!

Yeah. That's actually really good. That's very Jesus.

In today's Gospel, Jesus asks us to not hide our light under a bushel basket, but to expose it for all to see.

Uh-huh, Jesus, on occasion, did get really mad. But more often than not, He took sinners and made them into saints.

Just a thought…but isn't that what our simple (in the best sense of the word) Holy Father is trying to do?

May God continue to bless you.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Lighting the Community"

Yes, I'm a Roman Catholic.

Yes, I continue to pray that the divided Christians — the Church of Jesus Christ — may soon become one, as the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are one.

And yes, it has been with great joy that I've passed by this remarkable light…this man-made sign that somehow unites the people of the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts with everyone who has, and continues to, rejoice in the birth of our Beloved Savior.

Well played, my fellow Christians. Extremely well played! May God continue to bless us!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Saint Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursulines…and what happened in Boston

Saint Angela Merici, whose memorial we celebrate today, founded the Company of Saint Ursula, or the Ursulines: the first group of women religious to work outside of the cloister, and the first teaching order of religious women.

We thank God for Angela, and for Ursula. And, being a Bostonian, I can't help contemplating an incident in Charlestown, Massachusetts at an Ursuline convent in 1834.

Please read, when you can, "The Burning of the Ursuline Convent in Charlestown"

May God continue to bless you.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Not "parenthood"

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Roe v. Wade Anniversary. Meh. A Horrible Thing for Me to Feel, I Know.

Yep, it's that time of the year again. Thousands march, pray, fast, and do everything they can to fight the monstrous sanction of murdering babies. I applaud them. But since tonight is my "all about me" night?


I killed my baby before Roe v. Wade.

A teenager, was I. And, with the help of my baby's father (a teacher), my parents, and the ironically named Mount Sinai Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, I killed my baby.

Not that I like to remember, but the act itself was fairly simple. Some board of shrinks at the hospital claimed that if I didn't kill my baby, I'd be screwed up mentally for the rest of my life. Makes me want to laugh, in a really evil way, when I do think about it. (Trust me. I try not to.)

This actually isn't news.

Since the 1980s, I've proclaimed loudly — at conferences, in front of abortion centers, etc. — of my sin. And have urged, in every way I can, women to choose life.

This is about today. At Mass today…

The United States Bishops Conference urged everybody to pray for the end of abortion. I was eager to participate in the celebration of the Mass dedicated to this intention.

Then, the celebrant began his homily…

And guess what? He talked about people like me. About healing and that stuff. I'd expected something about praying, activism, things to do to stop the bleeping killing…not about healing me.

So I alternated…between anger, sorrow, and hatred.

Hatred. Of myself, first and foremost. Of everybody I know, or don't know, who piously, proudly and bleeping self-righteously calls themselves "pro-choice." (It's murder, folks. If I can say it? You can say it. If you won't, you're liars.)

See…this is why I regret my abortion.

Because it —my act — resulted in hatred. And hate — like sin — is a really ugly thing.

So, to all you folks who are fighting to repeal Roe v. Wade? Bravo. I do applaud you. But there's this really ugly thing going through my mind…what good would that do?

Please…no sympathy. I've got enough of my own for myself.

I killed a baby, lost another the following year (the girl who was prevented from being "mentally screwed up for life" got pregnant on purpose and had a miscarriage), was rendered infertile (well golly gee…turns out the "procedure" had some complications) and try very hard not to…uh…feel sorry for myselfMay God continue to bless you.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Defending the Faith is Not Done by Attacking Other Christians

"One day, when I was nearly thirty years old, I invited Jack to an event: my baptism. I had started attending an Episcopal church and was convinced of the need for baptism. Would he come? Yes, he said, he would. Was he disappointed that I hadn't chosen the Catholic Church? (Another Christian friend had responded to my news with a tentative sort of `Really? The Episcopalians? Can I ask why?' I'd been crushed. I thought she would rejoice rather than pick apart my motives, and her reaction was sorely deflating to a fledgling Christian.) But Jack didn't even hint at disappointment. He was elated. He drove five hundred miles to be at the baptism. I had chosen Christ, and he wanted to be there, no matter what Christian denomination it was."

From Chapter 1, Deathbed Conversions, by Karen Edmisten, former atheist, now a Roman Catholic.

"That Christians of diverse denominations may walk toward the unity desired by Christ."

Pope Francis' January 2014 intentions

Here's the thing: the Holy Father and Karen's friend Jack are on the right track. Those Catholics who either oh-so-subtly or wow-so-blatantly attack our separated brethren, for the most part? Are screwing things up.

"…that they may al be one just as You, Father, are in me, and I in You, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that You have sent me."

Jesus, John 17:21

Just in case you don't believe Karen and the Pope.

While simultaneously growing exceedingly weary of outright attacks on Protestants ("they don't know how to pray"…huh?) I am growing exceedingly determined that this nonsense stop. Right now, if not sooner.

By the grace of God, I can, have, and God willing, will continue to defend the Catholic Church even unto death. (Ironically, this 'way too often entails taking on…people who call themselves "Catholics.")

The way to do this effectively is not by attack. Nor by snarky comments, insults, and other methods that can easily be translated into hate.

The way to do this effectively is by emulating The Savior's command, and formed by Diving Teaching: PRAYER and LOVE.

May God, in the sublime Unity of the Blessed and Holy Trinity, continue to bless you.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Another death bed smile

Thank you, Father!

"Church? I haven't been to church in fifty years!"

Sunday, January 12, 2014

"Deathbed Conversions" by Karen Edmisten (hint: READ IT!!!)

My confessor recommended this book to me. No, no, not as a penance! But as a terrific favor. I ordered it last Monday, received it on Friday, and finished it on Saturday. Although I'm not sure I'm finished with it yet…it's one of those books one wants to keep going back to.

Subtitled "Finding Faith at the Finish Line," Karen Edmisten's book made me want to throw a party. Perhaps an odd reaction to a book with the word "deathbed" in the title, but all the same.

It's a little book…you can read it in a few hours…

But if you're like me (yikes! If you are, say an Ave, and quickly!)…

...Ahem. If you and I share similar traits? You will want to put this book down. Why? Because you don't want it to end!

Despite Edmisten's claim (and of course I believe her) that the book was not as easy to write as she'd expected, I get the distinct impression that she had an absolute blast during the undertaking. I know I had a ball reading it!

Dutch Schultz. John Wayne. Gary Cooper. Oscar Wilde, for Heaven's sake!

Yep. All of 'em converted to Catholicism…just before entering their final reward.

How bleeping cool is that!

Want to know how cool it is? Read the book!

You'll discover a healthily brief bit about the lives of "finish line converts" but you'll learn even something more valuable…how to be really and effectively be a soldier for Christ. How to be one of those people who helps bring that atheist you love so much…that spouse or niece or child or friend who hates religion…that stranger you pass in the street…how to help do for them what we're supposed to do for each other: make the path into the Kingdom of God bright and well-lit.

Edmisten's own conversion story, tucked into the forward titled "Don't Ever Give Up," should be required reading for any aspiring evangelist. Part of her dedication says so much, in so few words:

"With deepest gratitude to everyone who ever uttered a prayer for me…"

I could go on but I'd be sorely tempted to add spoilers and I don't want to do that. I want you to read the book. And I pray that you and I do what the people associated with the converts in this book do: help each other into Heaven.

Thank you, Karen Edmisten, for a really, really good read! Well played. Very well played.

Deathbed Conversions: Finding Faith at the Finish Line, by Kristen Edmisten
Published by Our Sunday Visitor
Order it here
Visit Karen Edmisten's blog here

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Pray for Deacons!

Kathy Schiffer has a great post on our first martyr, patron of deacons. Kathy's a deacon's wife herself!

Friday, December 13, 2013

I met Jesus today, just outside the CVS

As I was leaving the CVS this evening, a lady approached me, asking for any spare change. I rooted through my pockets, only to remember that I'd forgotten to fill them with quarters, as I usually do for instances just like this one.

I profusely tried to apologize to the lady, telling her that I usually had some money, but had forgotten, please forgive me, could I get something for her with my charge card in the store…babbling, really.

She stopped me cold.

"Well, God bless you, honey, and stop the damn apologizing! You care, and that's enough for me. Merry Christmas, child!"

I…well, I couldn't help myself. I threw myself into her arms and hugged her almost as tightly as she hugged me. Embarrassed, I caught myself -- or so I thought -- and tried to apologize again."

"Hush, now, baby. Go on, get home, it's cold out here!" (It was. It's freezing here tonight.)

As I rushed off, I heard her say to -- who? God? A friend? Or is there no difference? --

"Damn. That hug was LOVE! I needed that more than I needed any money. God bless her."

Trudging home, I realized I'd met Jesus. Thank you, my Best Friend!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Bishop Tobin Says Just the Right Thing About Nelson Mandela (h/t Kathy Schiffer)

Concerned or confused about the late Nelson Mandela? Bishop Tobin (thanks, Kathy Schiffer) puts it in perspective here.