January 31, 2009

Stormy Weather

I was just conversing with a Facebook friend about the cost of food these days. Most of my buddies know of my neverending quest for a tasty slice of bacon, and I was conversing with this friend about my full awareness of the fact that I'm blessed to be able to afford a non-necessity, like bacon, for my pantry.

The inflation rate of food and beverage is still higher than the inflation rate for everything else combined. No wonder so many of my friends who vowed they would NEVER shop at Walmart are now jostling for a spot in the check out lines of that same retailer. We need bargains and deals. Coupon use is at an all time high.

It was almost amusing to hear economists rejoice, yes, rejoice, that the advance 4th quarter 2008 GDP numbers released yesterday were not as bad as they feared! Make no mistake, they are still bad, but it's interesting when "not as bad as we feared" is the only sign of hope that some people have.

Life is tough. One day it will come to an end. Some are so depressed and hopeless that they hope their end will come sooner than God plans.

This is what IT, life, is all about. Yes, we are "to know, to love and to serve Him" but we also have to live according to His plan for us and in His time. This, too, shall pass. We have to play the hand we are dealt. Your will, Lord, not mine.

Tough times bring out the best in some and the worst in others. I know I'm frequently pessimistic about many things, but when it comes to hard times (I'm no stranger to them) I'm actually an optimist. I believe hard times bring out the BEST in us. Correction: they CAN bring out the best in us. It is for us to choose. Am I going to be the best I can be or...not? Am I going to let life drown me before I get to shore or am I going to surf until I get to shore safely?

Yesterday, our Gospel reading at Mass was one of my favorites from St. Mark. Basically,(and this is not an approved translation!) the disciples are in a boat on a rough sea in a storm and Jesus is sleeping in the stern (on a cushion no less!). The boat is taking on water and eventually the disciples (who are probably bailing like mad at this point) say: "Teacher, uh, can ya get up and do something? We are dyin' here! Do ya care?" The Lord awakes and barks "Quiet!" I amuse myself by pondering if he was really talking to the disciples ("Shut up! Can ya see I'm sleepin' here!?") as much as to the elements.

It's not funny because wasn't He really addressing both the disciples AND the elements when He said: "Peace! Be Still"!? He was. He rebukes the disciples for their fear. It comes back to "Be not afraid" "Do not be afraid" Sometimes I wish Pope John Paul II were still alive. His call not to fear was the theme of his pontificate and we could use the reminder now.

The Lord is not in need of sleep like we who are fully human are. Look at His tireless ministry. Honestly, how many times in Scripture is He sleeping? I'm scratching my head and I think this passage is the only time recorded of Him sleeping.

Just because the Lord was asleep, does that mean He was not aware of what was going on? He knew the disciples were afraid. The disciples were being tested. When times were tough, when fear took hold, would they call on the Lord for help? Yes, they did. But, would they call on the Lord only when the boat was taking on water? If the passage were smooth would they let the Lord sleep? Would they even think about Him then? Probably not. They are like us. "Lord, Lord.." when times are tough. Silent when the way is smooth. Without the continual relationship with Him in good times and bad when it comes to the end of all things the Lord will not know us. Do you like people in your life who only call when they need something and ignore you the rest of the time? I know I don't. I'm hard pressed to spend 2 hours with them, much less eternity. Probably, another sign of the Lord's mercy, it's not my call to make who gets to be in Heaven. Thanks Be to God.

We are afraid today. Life is under siege. Our life. Unborn life. Family life. Christian life. Neccesities of life. Are we only calling upon the Lord now? We should be walking with Him all the time. I should be.

The Lord sees our struggles. He sees the struggle to put food on the table. To find work. To keep a roof over our heads. To afford a converter box for digital TV. To buy an iPod. Some struggles are major and some are only made so by our desire for comfort. The disciples were not comfortable in that water-logged craft but they were alive, they survived, and they had the Lord.

Who's in your boat?

January 30, 2009

Guest Contributor: Me!

While Mitchell is in rehab, oops, sorry, on hiatus while he's writing (!), he kindly asked if I could spit out some scribblings for his fine blog: Our Word and Welcome to It!.

I know. I've barely been writing on THIS blog. What am I doing?!?

I don't know what I'm doing. I'm prayerfully discerning what I should be doing on blogdom and what I should not be doing.

I may branch out into Twitter. I don't know.

I may just launch another dance video. I could use the exercise and a lot of bloggers seem like they could use some laughs these days. Everyone seems to be ill, really ill, and the illnesses are hanging on.

Prayer and laughter,that's what we need!

Stop on over to Our Word . I promised Mitchell one column per week. I have to be somewhat mannered over there because Mitchell and his lovely wife, Judith, are very cultured and refined folk. They are "good people" as my Dad would say.

Tell 'em Cathy sent you! If you are not already reading Our Word and Welcome to It! you should be!

January 25, 2009

The Weak That Was

It's been a tough week. For pro-lifers, like myself, the Inaugeral felt like a Wake that was waiting for the body. Death arrived in quick fashion as our new President decided more people around the world need to "enjoy" the same rights to kill and have sex without "consequences" as we do in the States. Also, more embryos get to die and be harvested so the living can enjoy a better quality of life.

It's enough to make one want to stay in bed and never get up.

I felt like that this week.

In addition to having to suffer thru the gloating of the pro-death among us, I found myself weeping several times this week because Thursday was the 20th anniversary of my brother's death.

I don't talk about my brother much. It's not because we were not close. We were very close. I don't talk about him much because it's a very painful subject.

My brother died of cancer, and many other complications like spinal meningitis, at the age of 17. A brain tumor was found in the base of his brain when he was 12. He was my only sibling. We spent a lot of time together as kids. I still miss him. I wonder what his life would have been if he lived, if he'd never been sick. What would my life be if he were still in it? How would things be different? Better? Worse?

No one has ever been tactless enough to ask me that if there was a way to save my brother, no matter what it was, would I take it? I've thought a lot about it and the answer is: no. If research developed from embryos could save my brother would I welcome it? No. I would not. Death and murder to save life does not really save it. It kills it. Sin to do "good" kills us.

Death and illness are learning experiences. That's probably a shocking statement but that's the conclusion I've come to. I cared for my brother and my mother. Both had cancer. I buried both of them by the time I was 30, along with some grandparents and cousins.

What did I learn? Outside of the nursing experience, I learned a lot about myself. How much can I take? I can take a lot. In no prior nursing experiences was I particularly close to the Lord. I knew He was there but I pretty much ignored Him. I only invited Him on occasion and I was a poor hostess. I was mired in sin. It's surely a sign of God's mercy that I did not die because I'd surely be in Hell.

"Good" paired with sin kills us. Maybe God would've had mercy on me if I'd died and rather than Hell sent me to Purgatory but that's not my call to make. Sin is sin and I was full of it. Well meaning people can be full of sin. Seemingly cheeful people can be full of sin. Sin overshadows good like an approaching thunderstorm covers a sunny sky. It gradually overwhelms and covers us. We are weakened by it.

I was strong but I was weak. I relied totally on myself and congratulated myself for my tenacity.

I wonder since my reversion what it would be like if I could do it all over again but have the relationship with the Lord that I have now. Would I, then, have made sure my brother received the Final Sacraments before he died? Would I have made sure he had a priest to hear his Confessions, to bring him Communion as he was ill? I did none of those things. Same with my mother. Nothing.

I've learned. I did not make the same mistakes when my Grandma passed last year. I was all over my fallen away Catholic relatives insisting a priest visit Grandma before she passed. She got one. I knew enough not to seriously consider it when she begged me to kill her. That's what it comes down to. A test of what it really means to be merciful. Is it merciful to kill someone who is ill when you kill your self in the process? Is that what self-sacrifice really means? Killing your soul so someone else can feel better? I don't believe so. You can physically offer yourself to physically die in someone else's place (as many Saints have done) but our bodies are nothing without a soul. It's our souls that matter.

When we define quality of life to the conditions of our physical body we miss the point. Sure, it's great to have ripped abs but are Angels in heaven rejoicing over that or over your soul turning away from sin? When we want to kill life because it's not born yet we don't consider its soul any more than we are considering ours. When we think the comatose or the stroke patient would be better off dead because they can't form words or get up and be productive taxpayers we forget about their souls as much as we forget ours.

It really comes down to this: Is it me or is it the Lord? Is it my will or His? A wise priest I know was always murmuring "Your will be done, Lord. Not mine" Words that become more deeply profound to me with each passing day.

I will lose every time I arrogantly make the assumption that I have power over life. My life. Other lives. I can influence. I can make a difference but it must all be in His name, not mine. My hand must be guided by His.

The President may have "good" intentions. He may honestly feel he is helping people by allowing embryonic stem cell research, by allowing our tax money to pay for abortion and contraception in Ghana. Good intentions cannot be good if they contain even the smallest bit of sin. Sin is like a malignant cancer. It spreads and it kills.

This is not the time to stay in bed and never get up. We, I, all of us, need to call upon the Lord and, in His name, do His will to influence others, to make a difference. If you've never before stood up for the true teachings of life, as taught to us by Christ thru the Magisterium of His Church, I cannot think of a better time in history than now.

During much of my life, when I thought I was strong I was really weak. There was a time I wished my brother and mother dead and would probably have "helped" them along under the guise of being merciful or of doing them a good. It's not for me to decide what is good and merciful if I do not even know what true good and true mercy even are. Only Jesus can teach us mercy and goodness. We can only know it when we follow Him.

The President talks a lot, seemingly when it politically suits him, about faith and God. Anyone can talk, it's action that counts. His actions this week, in what he calls choice, are not only choices between life and death, they are choices between heaven and damnation.

January 22, 2009

Day of Penance and Personal Grief

Gentle Reader: I will be offline today. I'm spending the day in fasting and prayer to make reparation for the enactment of legalized abortion in the United States. I'm also attending a Mass for the repose of the soul of my beloved brother, Wayne, who died 20 years ago today at the age of 17.

January 20, 2009

The Cat Is Back!

Gentle Reader: Well, I’m back from the Spa! It REALLY was a spa-NOT rehab (quiet Ter!) It was a great time! In addition to getting a daily massage, herbal wrap, morning Tai Chi, and eating healthy all day every day because someone else cooked, we had a great talent show event! Here I am stunning the crowd with my live cover of “I’m a Slave 4 U” (Sorry, no video!). Ter even showed up and directed a new production of “Waiting for Guffman”: the same production he directed to great acclaim during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2008 [Footnote] He’s SO multi-faceted, the world does not even know the full extent of his talent!!!!

[Footnote](Ter was the guy who staked out a spot in St.Andrew Square during last years Edinburgh Fringe but had a nasty row with a bagpiper when the piper questioned whether or not Ter had any business even being in Scotland with a last name like Nelson . I think they are still in court over the entire incident. Kilts were torn, clans were insulted, scotch was drunk-hey, what else did you expect? You can’t toss away good scotch even in a fight!)

January 11, 2009


Gentle Reader: I'm very overwhelmed these days and I'm going to need to take a blog hiatus. I'll be back after January 19th!!!!!

January 05, 2009

Cathy's Catholic Awards 2008

Gentle Reader: Welcome to my 3rd Annual Catholic Awards 2008 edition! 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 calendar year.

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

Prior awardees:

2007 Catholic of the Year: Pope Benedict XVI

2007 Dissident Catholic of the Year: Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger

2006 Catholic of the Year: Bishop Robert C. Morlino of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin

2006 Dissident Catholic of the Year: Emmanuel Milingo

Catholics of the Year 2008

All the Catholics in the blogosphere, in the USCCB, and in Chancery's around the United States who Publicly, and in Writing, Corrected Speaker Pelosi's Misguided Views that Earned her the Dissident Catholic Award for 2008

For the first time, I think I really saw the true power of the Catholic blogosphere. Mainstream media may have yawned over the furor created by Speaker Pelosi's remarks (also remember Senator Biden followed her a few days later but I'll wait, he may earn an award next year), but for a period of several weeks the blogosphere howled loudly, and in a unified voice, that what Speaker Pelosi said was horribly inaccurate. Not only did bloggers SAY what was inaccurate, in true scholarly fashion, they pulled out citations to prove it.

I truly believe that the groundswell of blogger opposition, that they carried with them to their parishes and their chanceries, propelled many Bishops (I lost count at 30) to compose letters and columns for their Archdiocesan newspapers, parish bulletins, local newspapers, letters to their faithful, homilies, explaining to their flock why what she said was not justifiable and here was why and here's what the Church's position on when life begins really is.

I can't remember, in my life, when I saw so many Bishops uniting for life. Sad, in some ways, but hopeful in so many others.

This was an occasion of great joy and pride for me to see. However, we can't be smug about it all can we? A pro-abort still won the election to the Presidency.

I pray that this activist momentum will continue. We will need it.

Dissident Catholic of the Year 2008

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

There were people who thought Speaker Pelosi should have received the 2008 Dissident Catholic of the Year award. I waited; praying she'd either revert or knowing she'd get worse.

Anyway, Speaker Pelosi's howlingly misguided attempt at justifying abortion by misusing the writings of St. Augustine on a national T.V. program earned her this years award.

What is really scary, besides the fact that Speaker Pelosi and many of her ilk truly believe what she said is adequate justification for their pro-death positions, is that Catholics who only learn their Faith from the media probably think every thing she said is true.

Given the makeup of President-elect Obama's Cabinet and his appointees thus far, I fear the competition for this award next year will be fierce. Pray.

January 03, 2009

Krampus Still Around

It is STILL the Christmas Season and if you've been bad Krampus can get into your house to take you away but St. Nicholas can't!

Is that Angela! ?

January 02, 2009

St. Hildegard of Bingen: Patron Saint for 2009

I took Angela up on her, kind and generous, offer to pick a 2009 Patron Saint for me. For me, the intent is, not to replace, St. Catherine of Alexandria, or any other Saint for that matter, but to take an opportunity to learn more about a Saint, to specifically ask for their prayers and intercession in 2009.

Angela assigned me: St. Hildegard (Hildegaard) of Bingen!!!

I approached the 2009 Patron Saint process, as I apprach many things, as an opportunity to pick something I could learn more about. In this case, I could learn more about a specific Saint and take an opportunity to enhance my spiritual life.

Well, both Angela and I thought St. Hidegard was really appropriate for me! I think we both squeled! It so happens I'm already a fan of St. Hildegard! I've lightly studied her before. I considered her as Confirmation Saint but went with St. Catherine of Alexandria instead.

In an astounding coincidence, I was at Leaflet Missal over a month ago and I was looking for some Advent reading. It occured to me I should see if they had anything by St. Hildegard in-stock. I found the LAST copy on the shelf of her Scivias. I bought it and I'm looking forward to reading it.

St. Hildegard's Feast Day is September 17th.

Look for more from me on St. Hildegard in 2009.

Thanks Angela!

In the meantime, here's a taste of Saint Hildegard's writings. It very much sounds like it should be a "mission statement" for my blog.

‘O weak mortal, both ash of ash and rottenness of rottenness, say and write what you see and hear. But because you are fearful in speaking and simple in explaining and unlearned in writing these things, say and write them not according to human speech nor the understanding of human creativity nor according to the will of human composition, but according to this rule: that you reveal by interpreting the things you see and hear among heavenly matters from above, in the wonders of God, just as also a hearer receiving his teacher’s words makes them known according to the tenor of his speech, as he wishes, shows, and teaches. So then you also, o mortal — speak the things you see and hear; and write them not according to yourself or any other person, but according to the will of the One Who knows, sees, and disposes all things in the hidden places of his mysteries.’

January 01, 2009

Veni Creator

Veni Creátor Spíritus,
Méntes tuórum vísita:
Imple supérna grátia,
Quæ tu creásti péctora.

Qui díceris Paráclitus,
Altíssimi dónum Déi,
Fons vivus, ignis, cáritas,
Et spiritális únctio.

Tu septifórmis múnere,
Dígitus Patérnæ déxteræ,
Tu rite promíssum Pátris,
Sermóne ditans gúttura.

Accénde lúmen sénsibus,
Infúnde amórem córdibus,
Infírma nóstri córporis
Virtúte fírmans pérpeti.

Hóstem repéllas lóngius,
Pacémque dónes prótinus:
Ductóre sic te prævio,
Vitémus ómne nóxium.
Per te sciámus da Pátrem,
Noscámus atque Fílium,
Téque utriúsque Spíritum
Credámus ómni témpore.

Déo Pátri sit glória,
Et Fílio, qui a mórtuis
Surréxit, ac Paráclito,
In sæculórum sæcula.


Mary, Mother of God

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