Monday, December 31, 2007

JPII we love you! Please pray for us!

From the Homily of John Paul II January 1, 2003 - Ending prayer

"May Mary help us discover the face of Jesus,Prince of Peace. May she support and accompany us in this new year;may she obtain for us and the whole world, the desired gift of peace from the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ our Lord!

A Catholic resolution for this New Year...

h/t to all of you there!
Great blog!
especially the ' brew blessing' post

A brief study of the Catholic belief and practice...

I came across this site (Dominican Preaching manual) listening to EWTN LIVE as Fr. Mitch Pacwa is talking to Fr. Brian Mullady. (I'm catching up on recording on our DVR from last week when were in Texas.) The article is as succinct and rock solid as Fr. Mullady. The episode was from Dec. 26. If you can, download the audio or possibly view it on the archives pages Well worth it! He minces no words.

Truth...what we're all looking for, and longing to be RECONnected to, even if we don't agree with it, or if it 'hurts' we do long for it. As TJ and PD say, "There's a Catholic Church-shaped hole inside all of us." Jesus instituted a Church, which is universal. Not universal 'churches' but a CHURCH.

If Papa has time, we have time...

to pray the rosary.

Solemnity of Mary...

Feast of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (January 1, 2008)

This feast, closely connected to the feast of Christmas, is the most important and oldest of the major feasts of Mary. It is based on the source of her privileges: her motherhood. Jesus Christ, God's Son " born of a woman," (Galatians 4,4) came to deliver us from sin and make us children of God. He is also Mary's Son, and she, his mother, helps bring his blessings to the world.

Mary was not simply a passive instrument in God's hands; rather she discovered and accepted new dimensions to her motherhood as her life unfolded. Scripture indicates signs of her new unfolding motherhood.

Throughout her life, then, Mary was a follower of her Son. At the foot of the cross, her motherhood reached a new maturity when Mary experienced her Son's redeeming love for the world.

The article above was found here.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


"Of all devotions, that of adoring Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the greatest after the Sacraments, the one dearest to God and the one most helpful to us."
— St. Alphonsus Liguori


Being gone over a week while in Texas, I realized how much I missed going to daily Mass. When you're used to going to daily Mass and then you don't go for so long, it seems to "show up" inside one's soul, if that makes any sense. I also missed my adoration time with the Lord last Sunday. I signed up for Sunday evenings at our parish and have made it 3 weeks in a row until last Sunday. I'm surely going to go tonight even though it's very cold and I'm tired from being on the go for a long, funfilled week. I read this quote above and it spoke to me loud and clear. I need all the help I can get, for I'm weak and my appetite for sin is sometimes so strong. Not to go off and commit mortal sin, by any means, but the "little foxes" nipping at one's heels are what trips one up, you know what I mean? Those pesky sins that affect us and our moods. The ones that we cling to at times, then end up thinking "Well, that's the way I am. I'll never change." That's the lie of the Father of Lies talking then. Not the Holy Spirit. The Spirit and the Bride say "Come" the other voice says, "Stay home. You're tired and cranky and you have a cold and you've already blown it today not long after Mass." That's the lie that I can't buy. The bait I can't take. I'd appreciate your prayers. God Bless you all and I hope you have a very blessed and peaceful transition into 2008 and that your journey and walk with the Lord will be more close, more intimate and more blessed this year than the past. JMJ


Friday, December 28, 2007

Oklahoma Monks...

I am writing this from a motel room in Tahlequah, OK. Rich and I are on our way home from Dallas, where we had a fun Christmas and week in the DFW area with our oldest son, Justin and more Melkus clan.

This is the monastery we finally found before it got dark. Rich had been here a year ago in January and they've come a long way in the construction of the new monastery.

We stopped by the gift shop where Father blessed the statue of the Bavarian Madonna & Child that I bought. He blessed it in Latin which was so touching. They have grown to over double the size they were a year ago. Due to their tradtional, orthodox way of life, and celebrating Mass, they've attracted many more young men to the monastic, cloistered life. They had about 12 monks there a year ago and now around 28 or so.

It's a very lovely setting and I hope to be back to visit maybe in May or June. The large log cabin they're now housed in will be a guest house. Please check out all the photos on their website. This is ONE IMPRESSIVE new structure and all for our Lord's glory and to pray more souls into the Kingdom!

Visit them here at Clear Creek Monastery

Monday, December 24, 2007

Mary, Christ, Mass...

mother & infant ..

Mary gave us Christ, the Word of God incarnate. Christ Jesus gave us Mass, so He could be with us intimately until He comes again in Glory.

May your Christmas and new year be full of blessings and may you have His joy in the midst of pain and sorrow. For we know not what may befall us, but we know Him who knows all and His JOY is our strength. Thank you, Mary for Jesus. Thank you Jesus, for Mary, our Mother. May we grow ever closer to our Mother's immaculate heart, and therefore, closer to you, our Blessed Lord and Saviour, whose Sacred heart beats for us. Through this coming year, nestle close to both of those precious hearts and let yourself be loved by God.

Peace of Christ be with you,

Susie & Rich

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

It's Advent, and time to make...


One of the effects of being sinners is that we are blind to our own sins. Satan wants us to believe that there is no evil in what we do. If we fall into this trap, our hearts may become hardened and insensitive to the demands of love. This is why conversion of heart is so important. In fact, it is so important that Jesus has made the symbol of His Sacred Heart, the greatest manifestation of His love for us and of the love we are to have. "Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: 'If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts... Take heed brethren, lest perhaps there be if any of you with an evil heart of unbelief...'" (Heb. 3).

God is a loving Father who desires that we see our sins, so that He can give us the grace of repentance and forgiveness. He wants us to be free. Satan, however, does not want us to see our sins. When we begin to walk in the will of the Lord, Satan will try to accuse us with our own sins, so that we will become disheartened and return to our old ways. We must learn to discern the difference: God reveals our sins to free us and forgive us; the devil hides our sins and reveals them only to lead us to despair. We should vigorously reject these thoughts. God ALWAYS forgives when there is repentance in our hearts.

For more click here. THANK GOD, for this sacrament. He Loves us all with reckless abandon. Let Him lead you to find freedom from sin in the confessional. Start 2008 with a clean slate! It'll be great! It's never too late!

No words...only a deep love for my dear Padre Pio

Make a Joyful Noise...yes,after some silence.

This is the sound of silence...Laurence Freeman OSB

This is an excellent article on the blessedness of quies. QUIET. Stillness in the presence of God. Blessed Silence.

Of course, I love this song, which isn't silent, but draws me to contemplation after listening to it. What a delectible blend of voices.

Take and eat, this is my body...

(my friends, Russ and Deb Rentler on The Journey Home last week, Dec. 10)

I swallow hard, just like you, TJ, each time I've watched the show and I ponder once again the immense love of God. How can one not be so moved by so great a love? Love that chooses to humble Himself even more than he did in space and time 2000 years ago; when he came to us as a baby born in a manger! Now he comes to us as mere bread? Can this be? A wafer made of finest ground wheat and placed on my tongue - to eat? A hard saying it is! So hard to hear, that some of your followers left you! But here I am Lord, I come to you at Mass, to eat of your flesh and drink of your blood. To be changed by your grace, even though slowly. To be moved by your compassion and sent out by your love, to extend your mercy to others that you've extended to me.


I am not worthy
to receive you
at this most solemn
sacred meal,
but only say
the word, Lord,
and I know
I shall be healed
What food is this
before me
that I crave now
to receive?
Echoing Saint Thomas
I cry...

My Lord, My God!
It is You!

Yes Lord,
I do believe!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

In a place called Omaha Nebraska...

We are so blessed in Omaha to have the IPF and Deacon James Keating, who now resides here, as of last year. He can be heard on Spirit Catholic Radio, KVSS, so I encourage you all to listen to some archives.'s a great place to be a Catholic!

Visit Dr. Keating's blog, too! He's a wonderful, holy man. We heard him speak at St Stephen the Martyr a couple of weeks ago (and also at the Holy Family Shrine last summer) on the Mass, and how important SILENCE is in this noisy, loud, demanding, distracting, world. There should be much more stillness, silence in the Mass than there is. We're to "beg our priests for it" according to Deacon Keating. My husband's thoughts at the end of the evening? "Boy, Padre Pio would never have survived being a parish priest!"

"Holding the Eucharist in his hands for up to 3 or more hours in silence of ecstacy?" I replied, "No, he surely wouldn't."

Monday, December 17, 2007

It's called CHRISTMAS...

This is pretty good, but I'd only add one more thing...


Keeping Christ in Christmas and also Mass!


One small step for mankind - Cross Mountain, Medugorje...

"In the mud beneath our feet
salvation is buried,
with eternity -
too long have we tarried."

Photo by Colleen Gawley

The true meaning of Monk e-Business...

I'll be visiting these inventive monks (hope to that is) in April. I love this ONE HOLY APOSTOLIC CHURCH, man!

h/t to Joe, my boss, for the title line! Great one!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The "Name it, claim it" theology as I "see" it...

I posted this reply on the forum, Fellowship Hall (The Journey Home thread) regarding the recent appearance of Russ and Deborah Rentler on EWTN's The Journey Home. They talked about suffering and how the teaching and doctrine held by the CC drew them back into the Church. The red quote below was what I replied to on the forum thread. Since it got a few laughs, I figured it might get a few here as well. ~ susie

"This particular program was one of the better ones. It also exposed the folly of the "name it, claim it" theology.

When I was in my 20's and had read many an anti-Catholic tract, I began to attend a bible study led by a very good hearted, well-meaning Evangelical young woman who did love and teach that 'name it and claim it' stuff, I "named and claimed" healing for my eyes one winter's day at the bible study and even had hands laid on me at the prayer meetin' that night. Yepper, I was feeling pretty good, and thinking I'd for sure wake up the next morning (since the healing hadn't occured in an instant at the study OR at the prayer meeting) seeing like a hawk. You see, (no pun intended) I'd worn glasses since I was 12 and I was tired of 'em. Tired of 'em I tells ya! For some 2- 3 weeks I lived and moved and had my being while squinting. I had to squint at the grocery store to read labels and signs, I had to squint while driving (with my little tots in the car!) all over the place, getting more and more tired of not being able to see, Happily, my myopia was fairly mild, so my driving wasn't a complete clear and present danger to others or myself on the streets and highway. But I kept on 'claiming the right verses of Scripture" and kept on not being able to see. I was going to 'get healed' though, any day, I just "KNEW" it! Then I'd not have to wear those pesky glasses anymore. Think of the cool witness that would be, too!!! Why everyone in my family would probably ask me how to 'get saved' and really know Jesus as their Savior and it was going to be so great!

Enter my husband.

A kind, loyal, hard-working, true-blue wonderful guy was getting a wee bit of tired of seeing me squinting and hearing me complaining under my breath about not being healed, and not being able to see 20/20 after these 2-3 weeks of my diligent prayers (or was it whining?). "But WHY won't God heal me?" I wondered. I was doing 'everything' I was supposed to be doing, by golly! I'd prayed the correct prayers the correct way and "IN JESUS NAME" and I was reading the Scriptures and watching 700 Club and going to bible study and I'd even bought a Jesus Jumper (what every Evangelical woman wore all over the place in those days!) I was doing all the right stuff and still, no healing came...and to tell you the truth, I was getting sort of grumbly and pouty about it. What was left to do for Pete's sake? It really made me ticked when I'd go to some meeting and hear about someone's eyes or broken leg, or abscessed tooth was suddenly miraculously healed. I'd watch Pat Robertson talk to people call the show about how they got healed when they were just flipping through the channels, happened to see his face or heard a prayer! Voila! Poof! Miracles all over the place, and all I wanted was to be able to see and not depend on glasses anymore. A simple little request or so it seemed to me.

So, back to my gentle, phlegmatic, easy-going and LOGICAL husband. He came into the kitchen one evening as I was trying to read something on the top shelf, muttering under my breath about not being able to see #$@$@ ^#*&. So, he asked me, "Susie, where are your glasses?" I told him "up on my dresser." He left and came back in a few minutes with my specs and handed them to me as he said, "Here. Put 'em on." So I did. Then he said, "Now you're healed. What's for dinner?" :shock: I got the hint. That 'name it & claim it' theology never held water for me again! What a brilliant man my husband is! And I'm now in trifocals PRAISING GOD BECAUSE...I CAN SEE!!!!!!!! :D

What's with Catholics and suffering?

It's said the Church was born on Easter morning, the day Christ rose from the dead. But it is suffering that made the Church grow.

Here are a few verses from the holy sciptures regarding suffering. You won't find these verses in those plastic boxes that were so popular in Christian bookstores in the 80's. God's promises or Promises of God I think they were called. Like mini flash cards to learn and memorize how much God loved us by the promises He gave us. More of the "Name it, Claim it" theology. Suffering wasn't a word that was mentioned in any of those verses.

I never would have known there were so many verses about suffering while ascribing to the Evangelical paradigm. Suffering was not brought up in too many sermons, at least not as something to be received with joy. I'm sure a few of these I'd read and come across but they weren't the ones that I tried to memorize. Suffering was, for the most part, something we tried to get rid of right off the bat, by prayer...never something we were told or taught to "embrace" as our cross, or as a way to draw close to Jesus. Of course we should try to ease the suffering of the poor, the pain of those in our lives we should help to relieve because it is the right thing to do and we know suffering isn't "plunked on us" from God. It's only right to relieve as much suffering in the world as we can, however, not to try every means to 'get rid of it' without understanding how close it can bring us to Christ. When we join our suffering to His, how efficacious it is for not only ourselves, but those we love.

The attitude seemed to be, back in the other non-denom fellowships we were attending: "Jesus died so we don't have to" "Jesus suffered so we don't have to" "Jesus did it all, so we don't have to 'work' for anything" Yet how does that comply with the words Jesus told his disciples? How did these latter day independent "churches" start getting off track so wildly? The 'mainline' traditional Methodist church my family belonged to, didn't share the same thoughts on suffering as the Assembly of God, or the other two independent ones we were part of for years.

Methodists I knew, didn't run to the nearest prayer meeting to "pray it away" (though they also didn't believe physical miracles were for the church in modern times, which wasn't correct either.) Of course, we're to call the elders to lay hands on us if we're sick, as we learn in the bible, but to know that there's God's will and our will, and that spiritual healing is also just as important if not more important; then to offer our suffering for others' salvation is the beauty of Catholic teaching = something abhorrent to Evangelicals - but my mom, more than I, seemed to suffer with a deep faith while seeking some relief and answers from medical science. She had a certain joy, never saying "this shouldn't be happening to me" though in her times alone, she may have, but she was not a whiner or one to mope if things did not go 'her way.' She was not 'consumed' with 'getting rid of her suffering' but still smiled in her hospital room, when her last days were upon her, when Shy Drager syndrome succeeded in killing her after only 5 years from the diagnosis. (SDS is a devastating and rapid progression of symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease.) She had a knowing and an understanding much more "Christian" than what I was learning in my 20's and 30's from some pastors and well-meaning but sorely misguided souls adhering to a certain paradigm found in evangelicalism. The minute we think WE can control God and have Him in our "little plastic box" is the day we're in BIG trouble!

It's only been since we returned to the Catholic Church, 3 years ago, that I began to learn what suffering is and how it is to be lived THROUGH, with our Lord, Jesus, and with our Lady of Sorrows, the title she loves most, for it is the title her Son gave her that he loves most. Something to think about. I typed in Google search, "Suffering and Catholic teaching" and this is what popped up. May we learn to embrace our suffering, not become masochists, which is perversion, but to be followers of Christ. Jesus suffered all his life, all the way to the cross to suffer for us. Who are we, as Jesus' followers to ever think that we should not?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

I find all kinds of great stuff on line!

Oh nooooooo....what about Galileooooooo!...

Galileo Galilei

This whole Galileo controversy is so tedious, yet some folks use this to always slam the Catholic Church. Here is a good article on the Truth about the Church and Galileo. Yay, St. Robert Bellarmine! : ) St RB is our parish so I'm a little partial and bias for our patron saint.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Poem by St. John of the Cross on this his feast...

The Dark Night

Songs of the soul that rejoices in having reached the high state of perfection, which is union with God, by the path of spiritual negation.
1. One dark night,
fired with love's urgent longings
- ah, the sheer grace! -
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

2. In darkness, and secure,
by the secret ladder, disguised,
- ah, the sheer grace! -
in darkness and concealment,
my house being now all stilled.

3. On that glad night
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.

4. This guided me
more surely than the light of noon
to where he was awaiting me
- him I knew so well -
there in a place where no one appeared.

5. O guiding night!
O night more lovely than the dawn!
O night that has united
the Lover with his beloved,
transforming the beloved in her Lover.

6. Upon my flowering breast,
which I kept wholly for him alone,
there he lay sleeping,
and I caressing him
there in a breeze from the fanning cedars.

7. When the breeze blew from the turret,
as I parted his hair,
it wounded my neck
with its gentle hand,
suspending all my senses.

8. I abandoned and forgot myself,
laying my face on my Beloved;
all things ceased; I went out from myself,
leaving my cares
forgotten among the lilies.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Russ and Deborah Rentler...

Posted by Picasa
We thought you did great! Deborah, I could relate to your regretting leaving the CC. I do too, when I think that for those 26 years we were away, I could have been receiving Jesus in the Eucharist and the sacrament of Confession!
Russ, don't worry about "choking up" when speaking about the Eucharist. Your honest heartfelt words brought tears to my eyes, and it was nothing short of an incredibly powerful testimony to the love and humility of our Lord. He who humbles Himself to come to us in the consecrated host, is overwhelming. I know others were deeply touched and moved by yours and Deb's journey(s).
God bless you both, and know we're praying for your sons. Our boys weren't brought up Catholic, though they were baptized in the Church, (thank God!) They'll be coming into their full communion with Christ and His Church one of these days. The time is in God's hands though, and not ours. We will remain confident in our prayers and full of HOPE. Your boys and ours are good kids, and will trust in Our Lady that they'll be brought Home, just as we were. It may take a few more years, but we know St. Monica is praying with us, and look how her prayers were answered. From prayers and tears of dear St. Monica,
the Church has...
Saint Augustine!
Be sure to visit Russ and Deborah at

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Tyburn Tree... Catholic martyrs in England during the Reformation...

This is a place of history that I hope to visit if (God willing) I can go to see Catholic England on pilgrimage sometime in the next few years. A history that has sadly been so white-washed.

h/t to Maryella, my pilgrim pal in Rome & Assisi

A "techno savvy" Grandmother's blog...

I have been visited this week by a lovely Grandmother who also has a delightful Catholic blog. She actually has 3 blogs! Stop by and say "hello" and read her precious story of faith, hope and family. God bless you and yours, Maryellen.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Today is our 3rd anniversary back in the Church...and we've never looked back.

How grateful we are to Our Lady. This is the feast of her Immaculate Conception. We know her role in bringing us home. Only a Mother's love, her long arm and gentle way could have been so patient with her wayward kids. We hope if you are searching for Truth and have found your way to this blog that you will return or come to the Catholic Church for the first time, and "taste and see" the goodness of the Lord. And ask your Holy Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to intercede for you to her Son, the King of Kings. Then be amazed as we were to find the grace drench your thirsty soul. Run Home to Rome...jump the Tiber and swim with all your might into the arms of Love that are ever extended to one and all. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. Ask and it will be given you. Love waits for you.

Rich and Susie

St Ann Leonardo Da Vinci

Prayer to Mary Immaculate

Mary, Mother of God, your greatness began at the first instant of your existence with the privilege of your Immaculate Conception. After Almighty God and the Sacred Humanity of Jesus, there is no being so great as you. It is true, you are a creature, and, therefore, far beneath the Supreme Being. But you are a creature so holy and so perfect that you are superior to all other creatures. God alone could make you so holy and so beautiful, and He did so to make you worthy of the dignity of being the Mother of Jesus, the Son of God, the Divine Word.
It was fitting that you, a virgin Mother, should conceive the Man who was also the Son of God. It was fitting that you should be adorned with the greatest purity ever possible to a creature. You are the Virgin to whom God the Father decreed to give His only Son – the Divine Word, equal to Himself in all things – that entering the natural order He might become your Son as well as His. You are the immaculate Virgin whom the Son Himself chose to make His mother. You are the immaculate Virgin whom the Holy Spirit willed to make his bride and in whom He would work the tremendous miracle of the Incarnation. The privilege of the Immaculate Conception was suitable to your dignity.
Mary, my immaculate Mother, help me to imitate your sinlessness by keeping my soul free from every willful sin by the faithful observance of God’s commandments. Help me to imitate your fullness of grace by receiving Holy Communion frequently, where I shall obtain the sanctifying grace that will make my soul holy and pleasing to God, and the actual graces I need to practice virtue. Through prayer may grace fill my soul with the life of God and transform me into a living image of Jesus, just as you were.
PrayerFather, You prepared the Virgin Mary to be the worthy Mother of Your Son. You made it possible for her to share beforehand in the salvation Your Son, Jesus Christ, would bring by His death, and kept her without sin from the first moment of her conception. Give us the grace by her prayers ever to live in Your presence without sin. We ask this through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

The above prayer and more can be found here.

The bible came from where? No way! Waayyy

Catholic bibles are bigger than Protestant bibles

Here's why.

Rorate Caeli . . . A Catholic Minute video

It's that time of year again....

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When Protestants go bonkers with "idol worship" and place many graven images in their front yards. Okay, maybe that did sound a bit harsh, but believe me it's not my intent or in any way what I'm implying. They're good folks who love Jesus. I used to be one, so I know from whence I speak. I say, YAY for the statuary! Hallelujah! It's so . . .
Catholic of them! : )
And for just a few weeks we're all sort of on the same page...
kind of a way.

God bless us, everyone!
And may we bless God with brotherly love and true devotion to our Faith!
Be the best Evangelical you can be or the best Methodist, Baptist or Nazarene, etc.
But we as Catholics, while proclaiming with Holy Mother Church where the Fullness of Truth is, had best be living our faith out very fact we should GLOW with this fullness, for we partake of the Eucharist and have Jesus directly enter us each and every day if we go to daily Mass. Let's love the Mass and live the Mass for all the world to see!
We love our separated brethren so much.
I just want my Evangelical friends to know I love them all, and only want them to know the FULLNESS of Christ in HIS CHURCH!

and He comes to us and into us EVERYDAY at Mass!

Talk about the real meaning of the word Awesome!

Let's not only put CHRIST back in Christmas, but as I read on the CHNI forums,
Let's put MASS back in Christmas, too!

After all, it is the birthday of Jesus, not us. Don't go overboard with gift-giving. Let's give Him the gift of putting MASS back in Christmas.
Let our Protestant brothers and sisters know where the real roots of this holiday start. Encourage them to come to Mass with you. At least invite them to come celebrate Christ on His birthday, with HIS CHURCH, that He established some 2000 years ago...

The Catholic Church.

Let us


Love the Mass.

Live the Mass.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Guess who's coming to Omaha to speak at our parish?

Yepper.... you guessed who it is. She will be at St Robert Bellarmine, Jan. 9, 2008. I am so excited! I'll get to meet her finally! She's like a Mom to so many of us converts! Her wisdom, candor, humility is just so inspirational.

Merry Tossmas. . .

This is a video I saw on the CHNI forums. Very cute. H/T to Esther. : )

From Jeff Baker, Omaha Policeman. . .

I'm getting an abundance of much appreciated e-mail and several phone calls, so I decided to put out a quick note addressing what happened at Westroads Mall and my involvement in the incident. I've been a cop for twenty years, but nothing could have prepared me for what I experienced yesterday afternoon.
Myself and two of my officers were first to arrive at Von Maur. It was surreal.
Cordite hanging in the air.
Blood, bodies, and empties from the suspect's rifle everywhere you looked.
People frozen and cowering under displays and in fitting rooms.
Abandoned baby strollers, ladies' handbags, dropped cups of coffee and Christmas shopping bags littering the floor throughout the mall.
Alarms shrieking from speakers in the ceiling, "Emergency! Depart the mall immediately!"
Christmas music playing in the background.
And all the while, you're searching, guns at the ready, certain the bad guy is going to pop up from a clothing rack and kill one of you before your buddies can react and fight back.
Scan, drive forward a short distance with your fire team, pray. Repeat.
I will write more when I have time, but for now I'm back to work after about three hours of broken sleep. Please pray for the victims and the ever-widening branch of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and public safety personnel who will be forever impacted by this horrific event.

Thank you for prayers . . .

Yesterday was a tragic day for us in Omaha. The names of victims of the shooting at Westroads Mall have not been released at this time. Our office manager's wife does work at Von Maur, but I've not heard anything about her. I will be going to work in about an hour. This was so very sad. I was at the gym at the time this occured and just prayed Hail Mary's and a rosary while in the sauna. It was good in that I was in there all alone, like a prayer closet, and I drew close to Our Lady, and used that time to pray for the victims/families and the shooter, Robert Hawkins. What a tragic life and for one so young to be so hopeless and despairing and then so heartless. This is the worst shooting in the history of our state. Our Pastor, Fr. Shane led us in a beautiful prayer last night at RCIA. He had 4 funerals this past week, and his tender heart for this event and those involved showed me how we all NEED faith, need hope and need our God and Savior. How anyone could cope with this, or tragedies like this, without faith, is so incomprehensible. I am again reminded of what a treasure, what a cherished gift this gift of Faith is! Out of this evil and horror, God will bring good, and that is our hope.

God rest the troubled soul of Robert, and God bless and comfort those who've been involved and witnessed this horror, and lost loved ones. Amen

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Crucifix . . .

I just was watching a recorded Franciscan University Roundtable with Scott Hahn, Fr. Scanlan, Regis Martin and Prof. Sivilla re: suffering. Scott (Dr. Hahn) just mentioned one of my favorite people during my whole 27 years in the Evangelical world, Dr. Francis Schaffer. When he was dying and in his hospital bed, he told his son, "I never couldn't stand to look at a crucifix...and now it has become my 'best friend!'" I guess Dr. Schaffer had almost 'contempt' for a crucifix. But how that changed in the face and midst of his own agony!

My jaw dropped upon hearing that. I'd read most all if not all of Francis's books, and to find out that as he lay dying, (he was in a Catholic hospital, btw) the crucifix became his "best friend!" That's incredible and astonishing and WONDERFUL to know! Look how "REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING" as all of the Catholics of "old" talked about, came to play a most significant role in the last days, hours of this dear man's life! When we were in the Evangelical world, there was NO talk whatsoever of 'redemptive suffering' because that theology was so "Americanized" that to think our suffering might really "play a part" in 'working out our salvation' and have real "value" was unthinkable to many, if not most folks in our congregation. The prescription was "lay hands" on someone and "they will be healed!" BUT, and the big BUT it was, "What if they're not???!!!" Then WHAT?

This photo is the corpus, the LIFE SIZE crucifix atop our church, St. Robert Bellarmine, Omaha NE. Jesus is sculpted to be 5'11'' and about 180 lbs. [We also have, right behind the lectern, this same corpus. The interesting detail is that Jesus isn't 'dead' yet. There's no wound in his side, so he's still calling us, and still breathing and still speaking to the thief, to his disciple, John (the Church) to his Mother. ] This crucifix has been visible to all of Omaha driving by every day for 2 years now. To my knowledge no one has written and complained in the editorial section about this overt attempt to "shove religion" down the throats of those who "may not believe" as we do. Thank God! But, when I wrote a friend who's still foraging in the evangelical theology, (in her 3rd "church" since I've known her, for almost 10 years) she had nothing to say about this beautiful example of what it means to "follow Christ." She ignored my words completely. She's a very dear and good person, missionary to Uganda many times, helps tons of people and has been a blessing to know, and I see her give and give, but yet, there's something profoundly "not quite right" in that when I bring up suffering as in 'redemptive'.... I get the silence, the proverbial 'no comment.'

She's seen her share of profound and brutal suffering in Uganda the likes of which I've never seen.Granted, my puny suffering's been nothing like that of those orphaned children and tribesmen and women she's helped bring the Gospel to, though it is still my suffering and significant in my life. However, since being Catholic for 3 years now, and learning more and more about suffering and the mystery of it, and yet how it is so vital to incorporate into my life as a Christian and follower of Christ, even in my "miniscule" suffering, I'm seeing the value of how to mesh that with the suffering Christ, there upon the cross, bloody and gasping and finally dying...suffering to the extreme for me, to redeem mankind. We're to 'take up our crosses' and follow Jesus or we're NOT following Jesus! We don't know what to do with suffering. It angers us and scares us breathless, yet, we can and must unite our sufferings, no matter how small or how huge with those of Jesus, for he became Man and suffered LIKE US in all ways, without sin.

I am only so grateful to be in the Catholic Church, where suffering isn't 'run from' or 'quickly assaulted with prayers to be delivered immediately per se. Not that we don't try to alleviate suffering, by no means, God forbid! However, NOW, there's more HOPE in my own suffering as I've seen it play out, even these last 2 months offering the pain in my bones every night for a friend, Fr. G., and to have heard "HOPE" in his voice during a recent conversation on the phone. Two months ago he told me not to pray for him, that he wasn't worth it, and to not waste my prayers on him. Sunday night, he actually THANKED me for my prayers. He said he appreciated it very much. That is HUGE, my friends! That is a miracle that has occured in his heart, and to be offered this consaltion, that my prayers and faith have played a part in him receiving and finding hope to "make it" now, has given my heart wings! It in turn gives me hope, as well, to keep on praying and to keep on fighting the fight and to keep on offering my aches and pains, (that occur nightly and wake me up every 2 hours or less,) for him and my sons. We can choose to be Job, and complain but yet pray, or we can be like the bitter thief, and despair of our suffering, to the point that we don't hear the words of Jesus, even as he died, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." Those words were said to the repentant thief who 'offered his suffering' to Christ, in humility and in his need.

Take a moment and just gaze at this Jesus hanging on this cross. Offer up your own struggle your pain and suffering and say "let me go with You, all the way, die to myself and die with You Lord." "I offer up my suffering this day for You and Your Kingdom and for all of the poor souls, who've no one to pray for them, especially those of priests and religious in purgatory." Amen.
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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

Will you answer the call?

To all of you who are discerning, I'm praying for you. To all who have answered the call to be a priest or religious, THANK YOU!

thanks, Sarah! : )

Behold the Lamb of God...

In Jewish custom the lambs were meant to be killed and eaten. Since Catholicism is the fullfilment of Judaism, the Host is consecrated by the Priest, (in persona Christi, Christ himself, through the priest consecrates this host)and we are called to the Eucharistic sacrifice meal, to eat, gnaw, chew, masticate the Lamb of God, as Jesus said, as He told us to do. He offered not a symbol of his flesh, but he offered His Flesh, His Body, His Blood, to be eaten until the end of time, when, those who have persevered to the end, will enjoy eternal life with Him.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

I don' t know about you but. . .


I've finally found my niche in life.

h/t to Ironic Catholic for the pic.

My next destination for pilgrimage? British Isles, baby!

Hey, bloggers, if anyone would want to go with me, let's plan and save up some $$ and go visit these wonderful Monks! I'd also love to visit the "Bird &Baby" where C.S. Lewis and his colleagues hammered out the issues, read and critiqued each other's work, and enjoyed a pint or glass. Catholic England is possibly on the St. Paul Center's pilgrimage agenda, the last I heard. I know Rob Corzine, of SPC, wants to go as we talked about it one night in Rome, laughing about parodies over some house wine and scrumptious dessert . I'm sure "up for it."

Watch to the end, when this 'atheist/agnostic' receives a rosary from one of the priests, and he's overwhelmed. Russ, there's got to be a song in this, bro! I couldn't help but tear up when I watched him receive the rosary, being so tears himself. Words don't come easily when one is touched by Our Lady, our Mama Most Holy has this dear soul now! Amen!

by Adam Nicolson
A Voyage Along the Wild Coasts of the British Isles

A Priest Forever! . . .

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Untie these knots my stubborn heart tied. . .

My favorite Mary song to date, however, isn't by Eric or Pavarotti, but my friend, TJ.

Mary Untier of Knots

TJ, you rock!


(Michael Brown

As Mary once said at a very famous apparition site, "In prayer you shall perceive the greatest joy -- and the way out of every situation that has no exit."

Think of those words. Don't you often find yourself in a situation that "has no exit"? How many times have you run into problems that seem to offer no positive outcome? Have you ever painted yourself into a corner?

There's a fascinating painting that pertains to this and has been venerated in a church in Perlach, Germany, since 1700. It was painted by an unknown artist and apparently inspired by a meditation made by St. Irenaeus -- who once said: "Eve, by her disobedience, tied the knot of disgrace for the human race; to the contrary, Mary, by her obedience, undid it."

Mary Undoer of KnotsThere we have it. Mary, Undoer of Knots. Now that's a title for her! Mary, help when there is no way out. And in fact it is the subject of a little novena pamphlet. As the pamphlet explains, the image shows Mary with a crown of 12 stars and a fluttering blue mantle. Around her are angels. Beneath her feet is the serpent -- the one who ensnares and entangles.

The point: when Mary is invoked, she untangles our knots and it is then the serpent [see left] who is tangled (whatever the novena)!

As is also readily observed, one of the angels in the painting holds the ribbon of your life as Mother calmly and easily goes about straightening out all the knots in it.

A mysterious and beautiful image this is! Usually we think of the knots in our lives as particular troubling situations, but they are also problems we have had for years, perhaps deep hurts between husband and wife, anger, resentment, sinful inclinations, the absence of peace and joy at home.

This, apparently, is where Mary Undoer (or "untier") of Knots comes in.

A knot can be a son addicted to drugs. It can be alcoholism. It can be guilt. It can be fear or depression or unemployment.

Ironically, there are those who have claimed a miracle by which rosaries become entwined as if manufactured together (see below). It occurred at the aforementioned apparition site. Is this related?

The point is that Mary comes to our aid in many circumstances.

"Knots are original sin and its consequences in all areas of family, work, and community life," points out this tiny pamphlet. In the painting, we see that while one angel hands the Blessed Mother a knotted ribbon, another to her right is taking the untangled part and perhaps preparing to return to earth below with it.

In the darkness of earth is seen a person who is led by an angel to a church at the top of a mountain. This, says one interpretation, is the Archangel Raphael who accompanies Tobias to meet Sarah, the one chosen to be his wife. Sarah is unburdened from a great "knot" which blocks her happiness. "By the mediation of the Archangel Raphael, God unites Sarah to Tobias, showing us that humility, trust, and faith in God is what moves the Divine Hands in our lives," says the explanation for the mysterious art. "This extraordinary story is present in this painting to show us that 'Mary the Undoer of Knots' grants innumerable graces to matrimony and powerfully intercedes for the reconciliation of families."

When Raphael is involved, there is healing!

Again we hear an echo of the words: "In prayer you shall perceive the greatest joy and the way out of every situation that has no exit."

Think of it: even when intellectually we can't figure out a resolution or means of escape, God can turn things around in such a way that there is a sudden opening and there are angels and we are suddenly saved.

Is the novena infallible, as claimed? Well, perfect faith -- prayer with perfect faith -- is infallible. That much (with perfect certainty) we can say!

The above article found here.

Catholic...what does it mean?

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Maybe this will tell me.

..."One can see the sad state of "Christendom" today by comparing it to Jesus’ words about "the Church." If a Methodist offends a Baptist, or a Presbyterian offends a Pentecostal, which church do they take it to for adjudication? This alone demonstrates the problem when 30,000+ denominations exist outside the bounds of the "one holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." Jesus intended there to be one universal, authoritative, visible—and, yes, Catholic—Church to represent him on earth until his return." Steve Ray

(See my post: Beautiful Song, Beautiful One.)

How far we still are from Jesus' desire for us.
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy.

Eric with Pavarotti....Holy Mother

I had to send the video on TJ's blog to Mike, as I was so excited about it. I'd never heard it before...ever! That's how "out of the proverbial loop" I've been for some years. And just got this email back from my "pilgrimage pal."

From Mike Aquilina:

I've always liked that song. He wrote it for Richard Manuel of The Band, after Manuel's suicide. Very sad. May he rest in peace. Interesting that when Pavarotti sang "Holy Mother," he changed the lyric. The Eyetalian's version is the orthodox one. ~ Mike

Thanks Mike. You're incredible!


Our Lady of Perpetual Help...

Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Pray for us!

and visit TJ's blog for Clapton's Mary song...

Indeed all generations will call her blessed!
I'm so grateful to be in that number!

Hail Mary, my Mother,
so full of grace
look down upon me
and dry the tears
on my face
wipe them away
and hold me close
to your heart
from your side
Mama Most Holy
let me never part
safely wrapped
in your mantle
protected from harm
near your heart
my shelter
through every dark storm

© susie melkus

Re: Golden Compass...

This is a very interesting article by American Papist. Controversy as USCCB gave the movie a favorable review. Thoughts anyone?

Beautiful Song, Beautiful ONE...

This is a great song, by Jeremy Camp. Sarah and I are praying for to come Home to Holy Mother Church. He's definitely gifted, and using his gift for the work of Christ. But where the FULLNESS of Truth is, is where we all are longing to be, and where God wants us to be, in the ONE Church, ONE Body, ONE Faith. For Jesus founded ONE CHURCH, HIS CHURCH...on Peter the Rock. Only ONE CHURCH makes the claim that that is who She/It is...the Roman Catholic Church. Come Home, your Mother is calling and your Brother Jesus is waiting for you to come and be ONE as He and the Father are ONE in and through the Holy Spirit.

There's too much turmoil and cancerous division out there among the Protestant world's many "bodies." 33,000 denominatons can't be the UNITY of the Holy Spirit, for the TRINITY is ONE GOD in Three Persons, UNITED not divided. I've rambled here, and didn't mean to jump on my soap box, but the lost of this world continue to laugh at Christianity and the many splits and "divorces" these Protestant 'churches' make. The Catholic Church is the most "hated" of them all, for She is not a denomination, but the ONE TRUE Church founded by Christ, which should tell you something,right? It is sad and NOT what Jesus died to bring us. He died so that we be saved by grace and come to Him, to be redeemed/forgiven by His Blood and sent out to BAPTIZE the world in ONE FAITH. "Go out to all nations, making disciples, baptizing them..."

The word Mass means "to be sent." Only one Church has Mass. You won't find the Mass at any independent "church" you find in some store front at a strip mall, or some movie theater, or anyother place. How is that unity Christ prayed for ever accomplished by so many 'churches' that hold fast to such a broad and varied and contradictory doctrines? It NEVER is. And it NEVER will be. They're not bad people, they're just wrong. Wrong about what "church" is. It's not just a 'spiritual' nebulous, ethereal unity. Jesus didn't die "spiritually" on a "spiritual" cross, but he had a Body and bled blood and hung on a cross and died.

Jesus didn't give us a "memorial" meal with only a symbol to eat, but His own Flesh and Blood. Read the ENTIRE chapter of John 6 and those of you who hold to "literal interpretation" of Scripture, please tell me what Jesus plainly states...some 4 times, adamantly. How hard a saying it was for the early followers to hear, so much so that some left and Jesus didn't even try to call them back, for they KNEW he meant WHAT HE SAID. No spiritual gyrating was done to make those LITERAL words fit their own interpretation. And who would ever die for a 'symbol' anyway? The Saints didn't die for a symbol, but they died and were martyred for the Eucharist, the Flesh and Blood of our Savior. Only ONE CHURCH still offers that same Body and Blood, the Catholic Church.

COME HOME TO ROME where the FULLNESS of TRUTH, ALL TRUTH is. Jesus in the taberacle is waiting for you. Jesus in the Eucharist is waiting for you. I guess when I listen to this song, Beautiful One, I thought of the word ONE and what ONE means...we're to be ONE IN CHRIST, not off on our own just 'me and my Jesus' for NOWHERE in Scripture is it written that we should follow Christ on our OWN in our OWN way, on our OWN path. COME HOME and be with the Saints of old, for they were ALL Catholic, not of various sects with their own doctrines and beliefs. COME BE ONE in the ONE HOLY CATHOLIC AND APOSTOLIC CHURCH. It's BEAUTIFUL, for it is the BEAUTIFUL ONE CHURCH I ADORE. The Church IS the Body of Christ, and He and the Church are ONE. Beautiful ONE I adore...yes, I do! Come Adore the Lord in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, even if you're a Protestant, you will KNOW and feel the Presence of Christ there, you can't help it, for HE IS THERE...waiting for you, his Beloved Beautiful One.