December 31, 2006

Cathy's Catholic Awards 2006

Gentle Reader: Welcome to my first Catholic Awards 2006! There are 2 categories:

1) Catholic of the Year: Honoring the male or female Catholic who, in my opinion, was a real hero for the faith during the calender year.

2) Dissident Catholic of the Year: Dishonoring the male or female Catholic who, in my opinion, discredited the faith during the calender year.

Dissident Catholic of the Year 2006


Emmanuel Milingo, excommunicated former Archbishop of Zambia.

In 2006, Milingo repaid Pope John Paul II's trust that he had reformed his scandalous ways by rejoining the woman he married in 2001 and later renounced. Furthermore, on many occasions this year, including before the National Press Club in Washington D.C., he spoke about why he wants to see the removal of priestly celibacy from the Roman Catholic church. He started his own organization called Married Priests Now! and consecrated several married men as "bishops". All of these men are members of schismatic sects of the church. The Vatican announced that by these actions Milingo and the men he named bishops formally excommunicated themselves from the Roman Catholic church.

Catholic of the Year 2006


Bishop Robert C. Morlino of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin.

His Excellency, Bishop Morlino, deserves to be Catholic of the Year 2006 for forcefully reminding the faithful of his diocese of the church's teachings before the election. He did this in the face of withering criticism and in spite of the deafening silence of some of his fellow Bishops on the same issues.

Low Christology: Everything old is "new" again.

Gentle Reader: During my dissident days I was heavily exposed to Catholics (including clergy and religious) who stated their belief in "low christology". I would hear things like: "I believe in the Jesus of low christology".

Friends, when you hear a Catholic say that they essentially believe in Jesus Christ only through the lens of low christology, run like the devil is after you.

What is low christology?

Low christology thinks of Jesus as primarily, if not entirely, human. It basically ignores or denies Jesus' divinity. Low christologists like to think of Jesus as pretty much a regular guy. If you and I work really hard at it, we can be exactly like Jesus. Jesus was a prophet, a high priest, the son of man and a teacher. They like the Jesus of the Beautitudes but pretty much ignore the Transfiguration. Jesus was a rebel who subverted the dominent paradigm. He was a "forward thinker" who spoke to an adulterous woman, but they ignore his final message to her: "go and sin no more". His miracles are nice but present difficulties. A couple of favorite authors of this crowd are: John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg. Liberation theology flirts with it too. Furthermore, I think you can pick up any just about any issue of America or Commonweal and read low christology.

In my humble opinion, low christology is perilously close, if not exact, to Arianism. Arianism was a heresy of St. Ambrose's time. Many Bishops, clergy and faithful subscribed to it. It's named after a Bishop named Arius. The Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. combated, or attempted to combat, the heresy by giving us the Nicene Creed. Pope St. Sylvester who's Feast day is today, convened the council.

I am not studied in high christology so if anyone wants to add or educate me about high christology feel free to do so in the comments.

At the end of the day, as Catholics, we must believe in the revealed truth of the Hypostatic Union. If it can be expressed as a formula it is as follows:

J = (DP)+(DN)+(HN)

J = Jesus
DP = Divine person
DN = Divine nature
HN = Human nature

Lest anyone think I'm some kind of theological genius (well, if you read this blog you know that's not true!), the formula is not mine. Deep curtsy to Father Robert Altier. I "lifted" the formula from his Fundamentals of Catholicism course. I have taken the course twice because, God knows, I need it.

I find it fascinating that 1700 years have passed and the Church is still fighting the same battle. Yet, most low christologists, that I know, think they have really stumbled upon something new. It's not new and it's not acceptable.

December 29, 2006

St. Thomas Becket


Today, is the Optional Memorial of St. Thomas Becket, Bishop and Martyr. He was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, England on December 29, 1170 possibly at the behest of King Henry II. Devotion to St. Thomas Becket was very strong in the Middle Ages. You can read more about St. Thomas Becket
here

Spero News has a story about some Muslims demanding to be able to worship at the Catholic Cathedral in Cordoba, Spain.

These kinds of demands really get my back up. Does this mean Catholics get the Hagia Sophia back?

Where will it end? Can we get Canterbury Cathedral back too?

And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke,


--Canterbury Tales (Prologue), Geoffrey Chaucer

It used to be "to the victor belong the spoils" Now, its "to the biggest whiner, belong the spoils"

December 27, 2006

How Can I Keep from Cringing?

Hey, Adoro te Devote has a hilarious parody about her Christmas Eve Life Teen band experience. You should check it out. Then, come back, I need you.

Feast of the Holy Innocents: Pray a Rosary

I know I'm posting this a little ahead of time but I know some of you are in much different time zones then I am.

Thursday December 28th is the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

What a powerful day to pray for an end to abortion.

Locally, on the 28th, the Knights of Columbus Council 397 will be praying the Rosary in front of the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic at 1965 Ford Parkway in St. Paul from Noon-1:00 p.m. CST (6:00 p.m. GMT).

I cannot attend. However, I plan to join with them spiritually and pray the Rosary at the same time from the confines of my office. Please join me if you can. If you are unable to pray the Rosary at exactly that time, please make an effort to pray a Rosary or pray for life on the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

Priests for Life has a powerful set of Pro-Life Reflections on the Mysteries. Here are the Luminous Mystery reflections.

What a deafening cry we could all raise together if we all prayed for the safety of the Holy Innocents tomorrow!

God Bless You.

Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist


Today is the Feast of St. John. The Beloved Disciple. The author of my favorite Gospel. The caretaker of the Blessed Virgin after the death of her Son. One of the first disciples to see the empty tomb on Easter Sunday. The one who rested his head upon Jesus' breast at the Last Supper.

Some early sources report that St. John was banished to the island of Patmos for a time and there he wrote down the revelations he received into The Apocalypse or Revelation (the last book of the Bible)

St. Jerome writes that in his old age, St. John would often repeat to those he met: "My little children, love one another." When asked why he kept saying those words St. John said: "Because it is the Lord's teaching, and if you keep it you do enough."

However, lest you think that St. John was only about love, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, says it far better then I could:

"No voice in the New Testament rises with greater force to highlight the reality and the duty of fraternal love between Christians. Yet the same voice addresses itself with drastic severity to the adversaries who were members of the community but are so no longer"

He died at Ephesus around the age of 94 near 100 A.D. He did not get the martyrs death he wanted. Surely, God had a plan for him that involved St. John being with us for as long as possible in order to care for the Blessed Virgin and to have the time to commit his divinely inspired writings to parchment.

St. John's symbol is the Eagle.

December 26, 2006

Catholic Devotions Meme

Happy Catholic and Angela Messenger tagged me

1. Favorite devotion or prayer to Jesus?
Sacred Heart Devotion. I say the Traditional Morning Prayer to the Sacred Heart every day, I try to attend a Sacred Heart Mass on First Fridays, and recite the Litany of the Sacred Heart on a regular basis.

2. Favorite Marian devotion or prayer?
Hail Mary. However, I'm also really found of the Memorare and the Magnificat. I say the Angelus regularly. The Angelus probably combines #1 and #2 but I wanted to give it a shout out.

3. Do you wear a scapular or medal?
Not right now. I have a Miraculous Medal that blogger Adoro te Devote gave me but I need to find a chain for it.

4. Do you have holy water in your home?
No. A while back it occurred to me I should get some.

5. Do you 'offer up' your sufferings?
Big time.

6. Do you observe First Fridays and First Saturdays?
About a month ago, I stated my intention to start paying attention to both. Because I'm partial to the Sacred Heart I try to do the First Friday's.

7. Do you go to Eucharistic Adoration?
I have a standing hour at my parish every week. I will go to Adoration more often than that during the week. I probably average about 2 hours/week.

8. Are you a Saturday evening Mass person or Sunday morning Mass person?
I mix it up depending upon my schedule.

9. Do you say prayers at mealtime?
I stink at this. I say the Prayer Before a Meal at holidays. I never say the Prayer After a Meal. I don't even have the Prayer After a Meal memorized. In any case, I usually don't say anything. Pretty bad.

10. Favorite Saint(s)?
St. Catherine of Alexandria (duh), St. Joseph, St. Jude, St. John the Evangelist, St. Thomas the Apostle, St. Andrew, St. Gianna, St. Alphonsus.

11. Can you recite the Apostles Creed by heart?
Yes. Though like most, I sometimes start drifting into the Nicene Creed.

12. Do you usually say short prayers (aspirations) during the course of the day?
Yes.

13. Bonus Question: When you pass by a automobile accident or other serious mishap, do you say a quick prayer for the folks involved?
Yes.

I don't think Ray from MN and Georgette have been tagged yet. Oh, and Terry feel free if you are so inclined.

Night Train Carry Him Home


b. May 3, 1933 d. December 25, 2006

Essential Get Up Offa that Thang (says Cathy):

Live at the Apollo
1962 (released 1963)
Star Time (1991 Box Set)

Rest in Peace Brother J.B.

December 25, 2006

Gloria in Excelsis Deo!


The Burning Babe

As I in hoary winter’s night
Stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat
Which made my heart to glow;
And lifting up a fearful eye
To view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright
Did in the air appear;
Who, scorchèd with excessive heat,
Such floods of tears did shed,
As though His floods should quench His flames,
Which with His tears were bred:
‘Alas!’ quoth He, ‘but newly born
In fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts
Or feel my fire but I!

‘My faultless breast the furnace is;
The fuel, wounding thorns;
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke;
The ashes, shames and scorns;
The fuel Justice layeth on,
And Mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought
Are men’s defilèd souls:
For which, as now on fire I am
To work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath,
To wash them in my blood.’
With this He vanish’d out of sight
And swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I callèd unto mind
That it was Christmas Day.

--Robert Southwell, S.J. 1595 (Martyred 1595)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God;
all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
In him was life, and the life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.
The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not.
He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.
But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;
who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
(John bore witness to him, and cried, "This was he of whom I said, `He who comes after me ranks before me, for he was before me.'")
And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.

--John 1: 1 - 18

Gentle Reader: I pray you have a Blessed Christmas and May God Bless You.

December 23, 2006

Happy Festivus!

What the heck?

Seinfeld fans probably remember the episode where George visits his parents for the holidays. His father, Frank, has created his own holiday: Festivus. A festival for the rest of us. Frank has no tree, just a plain steel pole. The guests must air their various grivances and then there is a contest of strength. In this episode, George wrestles his Dad and looses. Apparently, he never wins.

This episode aired 9 years ago.

Today is Festivus.

Yes, this TV episode has acquired a life of its own. Festivus is "celebrated" on December 23rd. Usually, in bars. The bars will put up a steel pole, set up microphones for patrons to air their grivances, and host some kind of strength testing contest.

It's a little early for the St. Paul Winter Carnival but I think King Boreas should get in on this action. Furthermore, what's debauchery in a local bar these days without the Vulcan Krewe?

Given this is Minnesota, my ideas for Festivus are as follows:

*Set up a stripped bare tree trunk. We want to honor our state's proud history of logging.

*Anything goes with the airing of grievances. Naturally, anyone who wants to complain about their parents, and how horrible it was to have to go to church on Christmas Day will be given full uncensored reign.

*The contest of strength: Drink 3 shots of chilled Rumpleminze, sit in a Finnish sauna naked for one hour, roll around in the snow (still naked), run to the Mississippi river (still naked) and jump in (still naked). Anyone who does not need their heart restarted will be declared the winner. If there is more then one winner then they keep jumping in the river until only one person has the strength to get back out. Obviously, the dead will not want a Christian burial so don't worry about that.

I know what you are thinking: Cathy, quit drinking the Peppermint Schnapps and Hot Chocolate. You've really lost it now.

Festivus is nothing more then a pagan bacchanal. Let this serve as a warning. 20 years from now Festivus will be on the list of Holidays when we say Happy Holidays. I'm being silly? 20 years ago, I would never have guessed that I would have to buy buttons and put them on my coat to make a statement that this is the Christmas season.

December 22, 2006

Grace is Flowin' Like a River

Gentle Reader: I just went to Confession and received Absolution. I lit a candle for my deceased friend in front of my parish's Pieta and I feel like I always do afterwards. Fabulous! I've got Grace flowing in my veins like a river.

I came home and deleted one of my posts from yesterday. It was a vile post. I had no business lumping my fellow Catholics into categories and assigning them evil names. No, Ray, you aren't dreaming the post IS gone. It would seem that Terry is not the only one who can take posts down later!

As a family, I think it's important that we show a united front. Even if we quarrel and disagree with one another at times. At the end of the day, we need to stand up for one another. Not tear each other down.

I pray every one of you reading this blog will avail yourselves of the wonderful Sacrament of forgiveness that God has given us. It is SO important and such a gift.

Why deprive yourself of ANY opportunity to be face to face with God? Whether it's in the confessional, at Mass, during Adoration, at prayer, they are all so marvelous.

As Catholics we are truly blessed. We have SO many chances to be one with God. Why not take as many of them as you possibly can?

If I offended anyone with that post, please accept my deepest apologies.

On the Edge: Are You Kiddin' Me?!?

Read this story from WorldNetDaily on the National Motto ("In God We Trust") as well as the former National Motto: E Pluribus Unum being relegated to the SIDES (meaning the thin edges where you can't read them!) of the new $1 coins beginning in February 2007. Reason: to make more room for President's faces. At least I'll be spared Bill Clinton's face on a coin. He has not been dead for 2 years. Well, physically dead anyway. Ha-ha.

Do you think the ACLU would take my case? No, I don't either.

In Honor of Christine Schult

I really miss Chris’ blog. This is probably the kind of post she would have done were she able right now. Pray for her continued recovery please.

In today’s Pioneer Press is a horrific story of a 7-months pregnant woman being robbed and beaten in the parking lot of a St. Paul grocery store that is not all that far from my home. Terrible, terrible. She is fine and the baby is fine. But, check out this paragraph:

At the end of the Wednesday night attack, the 36-year-old St. Paul woman had a lump larger than an egg on her forehead, three to four golf-ball-size lumps on her head, several chipped teeth, a bloody cut on her head, a black-and-blue eye and a swollen lip. Her fetus was reportedly unharmed. Paramedics took the woman to United Hospital in St. Paul.

It is a BABY o.k.?! Does that mother think the life inside her is not a child? What would you say to her if you met her: “I’m glad your fetus is fine?”

I’m going to see Rocky Balboa this weekend. Chris and I had a little dialog on her blog a while back about Sylvester Stallone. I’ll post an update with what I think of the film. I hope Chris can see the film herself soon.

Update 12/26/06: I saw Rocky Balboa yesterday. It was what I expected. It's really a revisiting of the first Rocky. It was an enjoyable Christmas Day film. It's very talky in the first 1/2. It really takes off when Rocky begins his training to face Mason Dixon (Antonio Tarver) (another great name by the guy who brought you Apollo Creed). Rocky owns an Italian restaurant in South Philly where the food is cooked by Mexicans. Paulie (Burt Young) is still around and he still drinks too much but he's softened up. Adrian is deceased. Rocky's son resents being Rocky's son but they all end up one big happy when it counts.

There's a little bit of an ick factor in Rocky's relationship with Marie (Geraldine Hughes). I'm not going to give it away but if you saw the first Rocky you'll get it.

Rocky says: "Every fighter has one great fight left in him". Is it possible that Sylvester Stallone has one great film left in him? Not sure this is it but given his list of films it could be. I find it interesting to view this film through the perspective of Stallone's career since Rocky. Mr. Stallone could be trying to tell us something. As an actor he has some powerful moments regarding Adrian's death and trying to get a boxing license.

I don't think anyone has ever done more to film the real, gritty, blue-collar, Philadelphia then Sly and he does it here again. He's a little over-the-top on the "Yo's" but I think he knows that.

They could have found a bigger actor to play Mason Dixon. Rocky looks like a brick wall compared to him.

Not a great film but a good one. You could wait for a rental. But for the boxing and some of Paulie's intoxication scenes it's almost a family film. There is very little swearing. In fact, while typing this I can't think of any profanity in the film.

December 21, 2006

Requiem Aeternam

I've just been informed that my friend, Kathy, has died.

Eternal Rest Grant Unto Her, O Lord, and Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Her. May She Rest in Peace. Amen.

December 19, 2006

Christmas Cards

Gentle Reader: When sending out your Christmas cards, don't forget to send one to your favorite priest(s), deacon(s), or religious! Quick, you still have time!

Yes, I just remembered to send mine today. I figure I'm probably not the only one.

I'm off to Adoration.....

December 17, 2006

The Best Advent Ever

Gentle Reader: If you are a regular visitor to my blog, you know that the last week has been difficult for me. I want to personally thank each of you who have offered your prayers to God on my behalf.

My Aunt made it here on Thursday evening. She is now with her friend, Kathy in her final moments. I have visited Kathy several times this week, including today. She recognizes people but she has difficulty communicating verbally. Her breathing is very labored and she cannot keep food down at all. Even water is difficult for her. She is a skeleton. I don't think she weighs 80 pounds.

Friends, I was thinking that it is times like these when the things that really matter are brought into sharp relief. The most important things to me right now are: family, friends and faith. Shopping for Christmas gifts, fixing my pathetic Christmas tree, complaining about my job, obsessing about the cleanliness of my home, are meaningless. Why? Why, bother? Is any of that more important then praying over a dying friend? Trying to express to her what she has meant to me, to my family, for over 35 years? Words are not even enough. It's enough to just sit with her in silence, holding her hand and praying to God. Surrounding her with love and supporting her husband.

My relationship and reliance on God are never more important then the times when I am tested. Really tested. I have had other tough Advents. The other tough Advents also involved a critically ill, or dying, friend or family member. Yet, I was never closer to God and I felt He was never closer to me.

In today's StarTribune is the story of Father Tim Vakoc a Chaplain seriously wounded in Iraq 2 years ago. I read this story while I was sitting by my friend's bedside today. It's a very moving story of Father's courage and perserverance and the undying love and support of his family, friends and brothers in the faith. Father Vakoc would be written off by some in our society as a "vegetable", a worthless person. I think this story illustrates how valuable he is as he is.

I feel the same way about my dying friend, Kathy. She is horribly ill and she cannot communicate. Yet, every effort is made to include her in our lives as much as possible. She's still here. Her bed is in the middle of the living room. We sit around her and read, watch TV, listen to the radio, type on the computer, talk on the phone, sleep when she sleeps. It's WE who have to adjust to her. We have to change our lives to accomodate her. And that's o.k. After all, to incorporate God in our lives, really make time for Him, also requires that WE change does it not?

Advent is about waiting. Waiting for the Birth of Our Lord and Savior. To me, this year, Advent is the Passion and the Nativity. It is awaiting the Birth of Our Lord but it is also witnessing the suffering and death of a friend. I pray that my friend will have an Easter waiting for her when her earthly life is done.

I think I misspoke the other day. This could be one of the best Advents ever.

December 14, 2006

This Blog Does Not Violate the 8th Commandment

Gentle Reader: Today, I received my issue of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis/St. Paul newspaper: The Catholic Spirit. In the issue is an article that I believe unfairly depicts blogs as hotbeds of gossip, misinformation and lies.

I think the real targets are myself and other local bloggers. In particular, Terry Nelson of Abbey-Roads and Leaflet Missal blogs. Terry informed me and a few other local bloggers that he had been contacted by the Catholic Spirit for an interview a while back. From email correspondence with Terry before the article was printed as well as the contents of the final article, I strongly believe he was unfairly represented in the Catholic Spirit story.

Since this is reputedly a story about lying, let's turn it around and be honest shall we?

It is true that there are Catholic bloggers whose blogs primarily focus on negative news and gossip about the Catholic church. These types of blogs are not well thought of by this local blog community and many of our local bloggers, including myself, have sought to be better then they are.

However, I cannot think of ONE local Catholic blogger who spends all of their blog time posting unfounded rumors or scurrilous attacks on the Chancery or the Archbishop.

Most of the unfair, unwarrented and uncharitable "heat" that our Chancery takes is not from local Catholic blogs, its from the non-local Catholic blogs. The local Catholic bloggers are known throughout Catholic blogdom for defending our Archbishop and our Archdiocese against people who don't actually live here or worship here. We constantly point out that a few extreme parishes and some dissident Catholics are not an accurate representation of every Catholic and every Catholic church in this Archdiocese.

Look at me and where I used to be?!? Am I going to sit here and be uncharitable and unkind towards people that 2 years ago could have been me?

Am I occasionally critical of the Chancery and some of its actions or inactions? Yes, absolutely. However, I have the right to question ANYONE or call them on ANYTHING that I see is wrong or a mistake. There is a difference between questioning and attacking. I hope I never veer into attack mode. If I do, I know you, my readers, will call me on it. That's part of what being a Catholic is about is it not? Correcting errors in a charitable way.

I have never actually met Terry in person. Neither of us could pick the other out of a police line-up (not that I hope it comes to that!). However, we have exchanged some private email and I've read his blogs for quite a while now. Terry is on occasion a "post in haste, repent at leisure" blogger. Long-time and sharp-eyed readers of his blogs will notice that some of his posts will mysteriously disappear. Nothing mysterious about it. Terry takes them down without prompting if he decides they are unwarrented or unfair.

PS: I have been unable to post on any blogs that have switched to Beta for 2 days now so if you have missed me in your comment boxes lately(yeah, right, Cathy!) its not that I'm not reading or don't care. I'm still using "classic" blogger not Beta.

December 12, 2006

Our Lady of Guadalupe


Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Mother and Queen of the Americas!

December 11, 2006

All I Want for Christmas....When the Going Gets Tough: BAKE!!

I'm home today waiting for my vet to call. One of my cats had to be rushed into the vet this morning. I thought I'd blog to take my mind off things. All My Children is lame right now so I can't even get into that!

This is one of the most Penintential and trying Advents I've ever had. This is actually not the WORST Advent I've ever had but it's in the Top 3.

Unlike my past difficult Advents, this year I'm putting myself entirely in His hands. "Thy Will Be Done, Lord" I'm also praying to our Blessed Lady for strength and St. Joseph, the ultimate earthly Father. I can't help but think of the Holy Family this time of year.

As bad as things get for me, there is always someone who is worse off. In speaking with many of my out-of-state relatives recently they are not having a good time either. Job lay-offs, spousal discord, money woes, drug problems, health issues, you name it. The Salvation Army bell-ringers are still around so I know there are people in need whom I don't know.

The Holy Family did not have an easy time either. Even though we don't know for sure that December 25th was the actual Nativity: It does not matter. The point is He was born. It does not change the fact of the difficulties the Holy Family experienced. Indeed, all families of that age in the Holy Land experienced. How would you like to have your first born son slain?

The Blessed Mother faced condemnation and death agreeing to be the Vessel of the Lord. St. Joseph faced ridicule and contempt by agreeing to take Mary into his home. They had to travel when Mary was heavily pregnant. There was no shelter available to them when the Birth was approaching and Our Lord was born in a stable. Then they had to flee to Egypt. All the while doing as He willed, trusting in Him. Sometimes, it seems that trust and that faith was all they had.

I only want two things for Christmas this year. The first is that the Lord carry me in His arms during this trying time. I also pray my Aunt will make it to Minnesota from Florida to be with her friend before she dies. I don't want gifts. I don't even want money.

I was thinking of my Grandmother's today (both living and deceased). My Mom and my Grandma's had a saying: "When times get tough: bake". My Maternal Grandma would bake 3 pies, a tray of brownies, and cook dinner when she was upset. Paternal Grandma would cook enough goulash to feed a Battalion. My Mom would bake cinnamon rolls and bread. I took their advice and I'm baking dinners for Alan (Kathy's husband) to take over there when I visit this week. I feel better already. The Lord, good food, the matriarchs of my family guiding me... It does not get any better then this.

December 09, 2006

Prayer Requests

Update (12/10/06):

My Aunt Nancy can't leave Florida until Wednesday and she is driving. My Grandmother does not fly well when she's healthy and it would probably be a nightmare now. Grandma has 2 doctor's appointments that she can't miss before they can leave. Kathy is not expected to live longer then 2 weeks. It is really going to be a race against the clock for my Aunt to get here in time to be with her friend in her final hours.

My Aunt Joan in SD will watch Grandma. Joan does not have a reliable car so Nancy is leaving her car with Joan. I offered to drive out to Aberdeen SD and pick Nancy up and bring her back right away. A long day in the car. Nancy felt going to Aberdeen first with Grandma was the best option, rather then stopping here first.

At this point, please pray to St. Joseph for the grace of a merciful death. Kathy is really suffering right now. She cannot eat or keep fluids in. Pray for the safety of my Aunt and Grandma who have a long road trip ahead. Pray the weather holds off. We have no snow right now but you never know when a storm could hit or they could drive into one. Pray for my Aunt Joan who will be caring for Grandma for a while (if you have ever cared for anyone with Alzheimers, you know what that is like) Pray mostly for my Aunt Nancy who is really having a difficult time right now. I've spoken to her and she is barely holding it together.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I hope to be blogging again soon but it is not a priority right now.



(12/9/06)Gentle Readers: I am asking for your prayers for the following good people:

My Maternal Grandmother
My Aunt Nancy
Long-time family friend's Kathy Peterson and her husband Alan
Blogger Christine Schult of The World....IMHO blog

My Grandmother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimers and the disease has taken a hold of her very quickly. My Aunt Nancy is Grandma's caretaker. In addition to caring for Grandma, Aunt Nancy's lifelong best friend, Kathy Peterson, is dying. We don't expect Kathy to be with us much longer. The family is scrambling to scrape together funds and transportation to get Aunt Nancy up to Minnesota from Florida to be with her friend. We are also trying to find an available family member to care for Grandma in Aunt's absence.

Angela Messenger is a friend of Chris' and she has information on what happened to Chris. Chris has a devotion to the Miraculous Medal and Angela requests that we pray the Miraculous Medal Novena for Chris. Chris has one of the best pro-life blogs on the web. I miss her blog and I pray she will be alright.

Thank you and God Bless!

December 08, 2006

Immaculate Conception



Today is the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a Holy Day of Obligation. Meaning, you must attend a Mass today. So, what are you doing reading this blog? Look for a Mass to attend today, now!

If you have returned after you looked up a Mass time....

Today, represents one of the many church teachings that for 30 years I had no idea of the true meaning of. I thought Immaculate Conception referred to Mary's perpetual virginity. Immaculate Conception refers to the fact that from the first moment of her conception, Mary was exempt from the stain of Original Sin.

Prior, to a few years ago, I had a history of never going to Mass on this day. I did not know I had to.

The Immaculate Conception is one of only TWO instances of a Pope teaching infallibly. For a long time, I thought everything the Pope said was supposedly infallible. Not so. But, today, represents one of those times. On December 8, 1954, Pope Pius IX spoke ex cathedra and defined the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. All Roman Catholics must believe and accept this teaching. No negotiations, no exceptions.

What's the other instance of a Pope teaching infallibly?

Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950 on the the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

December 07, 2006

Lest We Forget....




Today, survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941 will meet at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial in Hawaii. They say it will be their last get-together.

Thank you, veterans.

December 06, 2006

Welcome New Visitors

If you are visiting me for the first time via Catholic Carnival 96 Welcome! While you are here, check out some of our other fine local blogs in my sidebar titled: Support Your Local Blog.

To my ongoing readers: I'm lucky 1 person reads my blog, so I'm always grateful and happy to "see" you.

I hope you and yours have a blessed Advent!

December 04, 2006

Christmas Meme

Angela tagged me for a Christmas meme

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate with a shot of Peppermint Schnapps.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Santa does not visit my home anymore. Probably because I quit setting out gingerbread cookies for him about 23 years ago.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? Blue lights on the tree. Lights on the house?! Are you crazy?!? Don't you know they can start a fire?! :-)

4. Do you hang mistletoe? No. However, if I thought an attractive man was going to kiss me this Advent/Christmas, I'd mistletoe my entire house and yard!

5. When do you put your decorations up? Usually Thanksgiving weekend. This year, I'm actually being a better Catholic and at least waiting for Advent to start. I'll put mine up this coming weekend.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? My Dad's Homemade Clam Chowder.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Waking my brother up before dawn and "sneaking" downstairs to see what Santa left us. Playing with the gifts until Mom came downstairs and told us to go back to bed. Mom and Dad knew we were up but let us play for a while. I always knew but it makes me all warm inside to think about my parents doing that.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Tiffany in grade school. I also learned much about the "birds and the bees" from her.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? We open everything on Christmas Eve.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? I quit putting my ornaments on the tree about 5 years ago. Now, I just have the blue colored lights on.

11. Snow? Love it or Dread it? Love it!!!! Please, can we have some!?!

12. Can you ice skate? Yes. Can I skate well? No.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Love. It sounds trite but I can't remember hardly any of the actual gifts I got. I just remember the feeling of love in my home.

14. What's the most exciting thing about the Holidays for you? All the beautiful Masses: Gaudete Sunday(Priests may not like them, but I like the rose-colored vestments! I also like the rose Advent candle!), Christmas, Mary, Mother of God and Epiphany.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? I'm one of about 30 Minnesotans that's not Scandinavian AT ALL but I LOVE Swedish butter cookies!

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Adding Baby Jesus to the Nativity scene on Christmas Day.

17. What tops your tree? Because I have the lamest tree outside of Charlie Brown's (see #10), I put red velvet ribbons on the top of my tree.

18. Which do you prefer - giving or receiving? Hmmm I can't imagine what the RIGHT answer could be for this one, can you?

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Christmas songs are fine by me in very small doses. "O, Holy Night" if it's sung well which narrows the versions down considerably. I like Josh Groban's rendition. Tevin Campbell does a good version too.

20. Candy Canes? Yes. But, I'm a purist. Straight peppermint candy cane. Don't give me those heretical versions with spearmint, chocolate, bubblegum and all that other stuff mixed in.

I tag Ray,
Terry (I dare you!),
Georgette and Happy Catholic.

December 03, 2006

A Day Lived Catholic

Gentle Reader: If you read my friend Adoro te Devote's blog then you know that we spent the day together on Saturday.

What a wonderful day! It was truly the most Catholic day of my life. What a great way to kick off the Advent season.

We started off with Holy Mass at Epiphany Saturday morning. Then, we stayed for an Advent reflection by Father Hennen. We went to breakfast. This was not a Father Z inspired meal. Unless, IHOP is swank these days!. Then, we stopped by Adoro's home where I got to meet her two beautiful dogs. We went to the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) to see the Wadsworth show that I blogged about earlier . I stopped at the gift shop and bought a book about Caravaggio (I know you can't believe that one!) We stopped by the liquor store because what's a Catholic without wine? Adoro needed some cooking wine. We went back to Epiphany for an hour of Adoration. Then, we saw The Nativity Story

Adoro and I both cringed at the MIA docent's complete misinterpretation of Catholic art and the life of Caravaggio. When I went to the MIA before, I did not overhear a docent tour. "The Pope could not live without Caravaggio and thereby pardoned him" What?!. "Francis was kind of otherwordly" Yo, he was a Saint o.k.? Then, there was the room of prints called "Saint and Sinners: Women in Renaissaince Art". Let me tell you that advocates of Feminist Spirituality must have written the plaques. However, I did find St. Catherine of Alexandria in some Baroque altarpieces. I'm always happy to see her. Adoro and I crossed ourselves once and awhile and prayed that the graces of the blessed items that are in a museum would come to us. We also had a good time reclaiming the Catholicism in the art. We identified the 12 Apostles in one painting. And determined Judas' position (we identified him by his yellow robes) was rather interesting. The plaque did not mention what we saw through our Catholic eyes. We also thought a painting of a Mass in a grotto was really a reminder of the establishment of the Church from Matthew 16:18. Catholic eyes see differently once again. Just imagine if Adoro and I were giving the docent tour! Well, the museum would probably lose all of its grant money, but the thought entertained us for awhile.

I highly recommend The Nativity Story. Some reviews have said there is no chemistry between St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin. I've also read the Magi are depicted as the Three Stoges. To both: Did we see the same movie? I thought there was enormous chemistry between St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin. It's chaste chemistry but its there. (Oh, I thought the actor playing St. Joseph was very handsome). I did not think the Magi were depicted as clowns. Herod is played by one of my favorite actors: Cieran Hinds. The movie did a good job of portraying Herod's fear of the Messiah and his paranoia. I did not think the labor pains of the Virgin were bad at all. I know there's been controversy on some blogs that she even has any. I found the depiction tasteful and acceptable. Adoro and I both thought the Angel of the Lord...I don't know. I thought he looked like he walked off the set of Brother Sun, Sister Moon. I was sad that they eliminated the dream the Magi had telling them not to return to Herod. I thought the Virgin was depicted well. She's supposed to be interiorally reflective. The scene where the Blessed Mother washes St. Joseph's feet was very moving and reminded me of Holy Thursday. The Visitation was very well done. Especially, the scene in the field where its obvious the unborn souls of Jesus and John the Baptist are communicating to one another. How Pro-life is that? There's those Catholic eyes again. Ok. I could go on and on...and have! Just see this movie!

Father Hennen's reflection was very good. This was the first of three Advent reflections. If you live in town stop by, Epiphany in Coon Rapids, MN around 8:30 on Saturday. Better yet, attend Mass at 8:00 a.m. and stick around. I took many things out of Father's reflection but I'll share two with you.

1) Give the Lord a gift this Advent. Pretend you are a Magi. What would you give? What will Mary, Joseph and Jesus see when you open your treasure? Wrap it, if you can, and put it under your tree. I'm giving the Lord my most cherished possession. My time. I wrapped a clock and I'll put it under my tree. I intend to spend more time in prayer this Advent and I will make it to a Saturday Mass during Advent. A sacrifice for me since I like to sleep in on Saturday.

2) Pray for the dead. I did my annual Advent trip to Fort Snelling National Cemetary to lay a wreath on the grave of my Mother and Brother. I prayed for their souls. I cried. I went a step further and prayed for the souls of the people who lie on either side of them.

I wish every day was like the fully Christ-centered day that I had. Why isn't it? That's something to work on.

December 01, 2006

Where is He?

It only took me about 20-30 years to realize that at every Mass the Host is more then just a neutral tasting piece of dried bread. Once I finally learned and accepted the Dogma of the Real Presence I wanted to see the Host and receive it as much as possible.

I started noticing that Jesus in the Tabernacle was frequently absent. Where is He? Where's the Tabernacle? It became a game: Where in the Catholic Church is Jesus?

My CINO friends tell me "We are Jesus" We don't need the presence of the Tabernacle to remind us Jesus is here because He lives in us. Thus, its o.k. if there is no Tabernacle or if the Tabernacle in a storage closet. Mass is on a basketball court. What matters is the gang is all here. We don't need to genuflect before the Lord because he's a buddy. He'll just chill in the other room while we do our thang.

If you follow this line of "logic" to its natural conclusion. If it's true that Jesus is the community of the church of enlightened rainbow hipsters. Why do we need to receive the Host at all? Why do we even have Communion? Why even have Mass every week? We can just meet for dinner at Buca, share biscotti and call that Communion. Jesus is there in us, right?

Why bother with worrying about being in a State of Grace and obtaining Sacramental Confession and receiving Jesus properly disposed if He's in you all the time?

The very act of receiving Communion becomes meaningless to such as these.

Communion is reduced to being no more then a meal with friends and family. It's not about being worthy to receive Jesus becuase Jesus is already in me before I go up to the Priest or the EMHC. Oh, and who talks about being worthy anymore? That's so Middle Ages.

I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Why do I need to add to it? I'll just commune with my buddies at Mass and sing and liturgical dance my little heart out. That's really why I come here, right? Jesus is already in me before I came and he'll be here when I leave. May as well come for the entertainment value and to see my friends. I can read the Bible anytime on my own so the Liturgy of the Word is irrelevant too.

I used to be one of these CINOs. I came to realize I was more Protestant, heck, even more Evangelical then I was Catholic. If I am the church I can set my own rules right? If I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ what does it matter what church I belong to? Why should I go to any church at all? I have my own relationship with Jesus. It's nice to be with my buddies though.

When Jesus is only the community of the "faithful" to you and nothing else what will happen when you die? What if all your "faithful" buddies aren't there? What if its a bunch of strangers, angels, Mary, saints and the Trinity? Would you be happy with that?

Is the mere act of just saying: "I Love You and I Believe in You" enough? How many marriages have broken up despite the fact that they loved? Is love only enough? No, it takes effort and work. Don't married people want to be worthy of their spouse? My parents were married for 30 years (until my Mom's death), they worked every day at being worthy of the others love. How many guys have told me: They loved me but did not really. Did they show it? Did they work at it? No. As a single woman aren't I in essence wedded to the Church and to Christ. I may not have taken vows like a nun but I have my end to uphold in the relationship just as much as they do.



One-sided dialogue at the Pearly Gates:

"Man, you are a cool dude and all but you mean I have to spend the rest of eternity face to face with you?"
"Can I just hang out with my friends in a green valley and drink beer?"
"What do you mean they aren't all here?"
"I thought all who professed to believe in you would be here"
"What do you mean many, but not, all?"
"Wait, come back"
"Uh-oh, is it hot in here or just me?"
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