Thursday, June 20, 2013

Nancy Pelosi? Pro-choicers? A Manicurist's Receptionist is More Honest Than You

About 12 years ago, I guess, I found myself in a tony Boston salon to have—believe it or not—a manicure. (This was during my "I've got to DO something about myself" days.) I remember the timing because then presidential hopeful John Kerry had rudely, in my opinion, scheduled a parade or something that very day.

Burying my nose in a magazine, I overheard the receptionist and other salon staff members comment on what apparently was a group of pro-lifers picketing the senator. There were all sorts of oblique remarks about Minding One's Own Business, Women's Reproductive Rights, et nauseam. Determined to ignore them…I tried to ignore them. I, after all, had my nails to concern myself with!

Only I couldn't ignore of one girl…I say "girl" because she looked about 18.

Grinning ingenuously at her colleagues, she remarked:

"I LOVE abortion! It makes life so simple! If you want the kid, great! If you don't, you can just get rid of it!"

Apparently I wasn't the only one shocked by this blatant statement, by this innocent looking girl. Several salon voices tried (unsuccessfully) to (a) "educate" her, or (b) hush her.

"Liza! We're not talking about children! We're talking about Reproductive Rights! For Women!"

Liza was evidently unimpressed. Peering into a hand-held mirror, and aiming her tweezers at, for me anyway, a non-existent eyebrow hair, she blithely continued:

"Denny says (parenthetically, she nodded at me explaining, "Denny's my boyfriend") that all this women's lib stuff is pure crap. I agree with him. I can't wait to get out of this place and have him take care of me. Meanwhile," she added, reaching for a lipstick, "I don't have do put up with those damn rubbers. 'Course," she added with a certain amount of virtuousness "I do take my pills…unless I forget to," she chuckled.

Do I leave? Do I stay? Do I deliver a lecture? A fellow receptionist, or whatever they're called, broke into my dilemma.

"Liza! These are not `babies!' They're—it's—well, anyway, they're not human," she declared emphatically. "Only the religious nuts think they are. Anyway, it's a woman's right…"

But Liza merely chuckled again and pulled out from the biggest purse I've ever seen a crumpled piece of paper. Obviously it'd been viewed about a thousand times. Smiling, she held it out to anyone who wanted to see it.

"See, this is my niece," she crowed happily. "My brother's kid. Stacey had this test and, I forget what it's called, but anyway, they can tell she's a she. They're still arguing about names for the baby. I suggested `Liza'," she giggled, putting the precious scrap of paper away adding "She's human, all right. The thing is, they want her. Can't wait 'til she's born…hope they don't want to babysit!"

I had to leave. There were, even then, more important things than a manicure. Keeping my lunch in my stomach ranked right up there.

Walking slowly home, I thought about Liza's comments. Despicable! Horrible! "Get rid of the kid," indeed! Only something about her, incongruously enough, endeared her to me.

I think it was her honesty.

Flash forward to 2013.

* * * * *

"Abortion is not sacred ground; it is sacrilegious ground. To imagine God giving the slightest approval to an act that dismembers a child he created is offensive to both faith and reason."

Father Frank Pavone, Priests for Life

In case you missed it, Representative Nancy declined to answer a pretty simple question last Thursday in a press briefing. The question:

"What is the moral difference between what Dr. Gosnell did to a baby born alive at 23 weeks and aborting her moments before birth?"

She refused to answer. 

How come? The question was a legitimate one, particularly given the notoriety of the Gosnell case and the House was about to vote on banning abortion after 20 weeks fetal age. Mrs. Pelosi is the House Democratic Leader.

Probably because she didn't have an answer. Or, rather, the answer—the obvious answer—is not palatable to the "pro-choice" agenda.

Because the simple and true answer is: there is no moral difference. There's no difference at all! 

And if you don't believe me? Ask Liza. The manicurist's assistant.

Pelosi did more, actually, then refuse to answer the question. She attacked the reporter.

"You obviously have an agenda. You're not interested in having an answer," was the lady's response.

But that's not the unbelievable part. She went on to say, regarding the issue (which is, if you're not still with me here, killing a baby at 23 weeks in utero)

"As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this. I don't think it should have anything to do with politics."

Uh-huh. Right.

Here's the thing, friends. You might think young Liza is an immoral slut. I don't. Not really. Amoral? Perhaps. Not all that well brought up? No doubt. Honest? You betcha.

Because Liza had it knocked. I pray she's changed her mind, of course, but at the time, she had, albeit tragically, nailed the question Nancy Pelosi and most, if not all, pro-choicers refuse to answer.

There is no difference from what Dr. Gosnell did and what pro-choicers advocate.

"If you want the kid? Great! If you don't? Get rid of it!"

Sadly, perhaps, in comparison to most, if not all, Pro-Choicers I Have Know…and Mrs. Pelosi…my respect and kudos go to Liza. The manicurist's assistant. 

Because at least she didn't lie.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

One simple little summer dress. One HUGE act of kindness

Mona bought the dress. I bought the sweater!
Imagine my humiliation when our then live-in student researcher, Mona, found me weeping—honest to gosh weeping—over an email I'd just received a little over a year ago.

"What's wrong?" 

To my shame, I was actually tempted to tell Mona I'd just received incredibly bad a death, or a declaration of war, or the cancellation of "Mad Men." Anything but the truth.

The truth? I. Didn't. Have. A. Thing. To. Wear.

Trite, right? The age-old complaint of women. But in my case, it was true.

You see, I'd lost a lot of weight.

I'd only planned to lose the 10 pounds my doctor suggested. Instead, I lost about 30. No, no, I wasn't just happened. And I know that many of you would see that as good news, but I didn't. Oh, well, I didn't mind about the weight, but...

I had no clothes that fit. None. And I didn't know how to shop.

True. I'm a woman of a certain age and never, ever, learned the art of shopping for clothes. Whenever I needed anything—which was rare—I could generally peek into my closet and find something. I tended to wear the same things. A lot. My closet consisted of (1) one pair of jeans (2) three long skirts and (3) an enormous supply of sweaters, mostly purchased from Good Will. Or borrowed from my husband.

"But Kelly, why were you weeping?"

Well, here's the really embarrassing part. I'd just received an email from my friend asking me to sub for her at Mass the next Sunday as reader. As a rule, I'd always been happy to help out. But this time it was sadly (to me) plain to see...I didn't own a dress, skirt, or anything halfway respectable to wear. Not anything, anyway, that wouldn't fall off me as soon as I reverenced the great Cathedral of the Holy Cross altar.

My husband had a suggestion: "Why not just go out and buy something?"

I looked at him as if he'd grown an extra nostril. Didn't he realize? I didn't know how to shop for clothes and what's more, I hated it. Didn't he remember that, in preparing for our wedding three years earlier, I'd had to enlist the help of a girlfriend who eventually picked everything out herself? Didn't anybody understand???

Mona did.

The next evening, she sailed intfo my office carrying a bag. "For you," she said. Curious, sort of, I peeked in and saw the smallest dress I'd ever seen. "For you?" I asked, thinking I'd misunderstood. "Nope," she replied. For you." I stared at her. "Mona, this is awfully nice of you and all, but this won't fit me, and besides..." I was terrified of the dress. "Try it on," she said firmly. (When Mona says something "firmly?" There's no argument.)

So I gave in with good grace, grimly laughing at the size tag and then, anticipating resistance from my body, gingerly pulled the dress over my head. And almost stopped breathing. Damn. The thing fit!

I stayed in the bathroom for awhile, looking at myself in the mirror. Who was this person?

Finally, I crept out and faced Mona and my husband. And their smiles. Casually, Mona tossed me a pair of—size small, mind you—brown tights. "These go with it," she explained.

And so they did. And the next day, I screwed up my courage and went to the store and bought an inexpensive little—little!—sweater to wear with the little dress because the weather was cool, still.

And called my friend to tell her I'd be able to read for her at Mass after all, and thanked Mona again and again...and learned how to shop. On my own. At my age, it's about time.

I wore that little dress last Sunday and intend to wear it tomorrow for a meeting.

And every time I even look at it, I'm reminded of Mona. She thought it was a little thing. She's wrong. The dress might be little…but her act of kindness was, and remains…ENORMOUS!

P.S. Lately I've even mastered the act of self-control when it comes to shopping…much to my husband's relief :-)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Having fun with the saints!

You love the saints. But gee, there are so many! 'Course, when we say "all you angels and saints, pray for us," that pretty much covers it. Yet let's say you're like me (Quick! Pray an Ave!) and would like to...well, customize your litany.

Here's how I do it.

I generally ask the saints to pray for me after praying the Angelus. (Okay, the Regina Caeli during Easter.)

Start with Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Natch!

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus/Have mercy on us.
Immaculate Heart of Mary/Pray for us.
Saint Joseph/Pray for us.

Okay, here's where the "customizing" comes in.

I used to enjoy the supreme privilege of bringing the Blessed Sacrament to children, cancer patients, and cardiac patients on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. So, on those days, I ask Our Lady, Health of the Sick, Our Lady, Mother of Compassion, Saints Gerard, Peregrine, and John of God for their prayers.

Personalize your litany even more.

I love the apostles, and so I always include Saints Peter and Paul, as many apostles as I can remember, and the notable disciples (Saints Stephen, Philip, Martha, and Mary Magdalene, e.g.)

Then I look at the spiritual leaders in my life, which prompts me ask:

Saints Francis, Clare, and Agnes of Assisi; Saints Benedict and Scholastica; Saints John the Baptist (my Cardinal Archbishop is Sean O'Malley who was ordained on this saint's Feast Day) and Bernard for their prayers.

Still with me?

I live in Boston. Saint Patrick is the patron of our Archdiocese. Saint Botolph is the patron of our city. Pray for us!

Okay, now to churches and chapels I've attended, which includes: Saints Anthony of Padua. (I also regularly attend Saint Francis Chapel, but since the new Pontiff has been our Rock? I've already asked the good Saint Francis et al for his prayers.)

And let's not forget the Venerables and Blesseds!

A fan of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, it'd be silly not to ask their founder, Venerable Bruno Lanteri, for his prayers. And gee...when I was born, Venerable Pius XII was pope, so he's included, along with my Mom and Dad's all-time favorite television host, Venerable Fulton Sheen!

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta has always been a favorite, and her friend, Blessed John Paul II as well. (How cool is it to have been alive and kickin' while Blesseds and Venerables were still walking the earth?)

You can add, for instance:

Your own patron, your spouses, your children's, your siblings'...the point isn't to include every saint in heaven, but to have fun...and to try and connect those causes and people who are important to you with your request for prayers.

The thing is? Saints are our friends!

So, chatting them up while walking, driving, taking a shower, or in the privacy in your room should be at least as much fun as a good heart-to-heart chat with your best buddies.

Try it! And, if you've a mind to, let me know how you pray with our great cloud of witnesses!

May God continue to bless you.

Monday, June 10, 2013

If you MUST be greedy, be greedy for a priest's blessing

"May God consecrate and sanctify these hands, through our unction and Thy blessing, that whatsover things they shall bless, they may be blessed, and whatsoever things they may consecrate, they may be consecrated, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

The above, among other prayers, is prayed by the bishop who, in Jesus's Name, confers upon the newly ordained priest, the right of powerful—and I'm talking powerful here—the right of blessing.

Because a priest's blessing is not only can and should be given generously!

There's an erroneous thought going on among some folks that—I don't know, maybe like the indelible mark of Baptism...maybe—that a priest's blessing should be given only once. Like once a day. Like it's a vitamin or something. I don't know.

All I know is? This thought is...bull.

A priest's blessing is a powerful gift! It should be sought out, fought for, looked for, greedily asked for, happily asked for...and, in turn, the priest should, by all rights, be glad—ecstatic even!—to answer the request for it.

So. You received the general blessing after Mass and you think that's all you're entitled to?

WRONG! You are entitled to a blessing of yourself, your house, your car, your children, your objects of ANY time you encounter a priest.

If you don't ask for this, you're giving up on a gift from God.

(Priests? If you're asked for
your blessing—never mind the inward (and God forbid, outward)—sighing. Rejoice that you've been given the supreme privilege of being able to do so. And DO it.)

May God continue to bless you.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Watch what you say...

So, my husband snores. A few days ago, I totally lost it and said and did some shameful things during the night, having been robbed of My Precious Sleep.

The next morning, I felt wretched. My husband—who, I assure you, has never heard of Venerable Bruno Lanteri, said what he always says: "Don't worry about it, we begin."

Still, I had to go to confession. I mean, losing my temper, throwing things, taking the Lord's Name in vain...yikes!

To my rather embarrassed chagrin, my confessor asked: "Is this about your husband's snoring again?" Feeling like a jerk, I had to admit it. Yep, that was the...catalyst.

He gave me wonderful penance, which included reading Sirach 28. (A great read, by the way.)

Evidently I'm not perfect in the let's-get-some-sleep department.

My husband laughingly informed me that I talk in my sleep. He's mentioned this before, always lightly, always tenderly, always with gentle amusement. This time, though, he was laughing so hard I thought he'd hurt himself. When he got under a semblance of control, I asked him what I'd said. Obligingly, he told me:

"Oh please, whatever you do, don't snore, I couldn't bear telling Father X about it again!"

Moral: Watch your tongue!

For fun:

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Lauda, Sion, Salvatorem

A blessed Corpus Christi to you!