Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What I'm reading...

Mary Magdalen, in the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich 1774-1824

It at times, has been hard to read...as the Passion of the Christ was hard and painful to watch. A most powerful book.

St. Mary Magdalen, please pray for me to "fall madly in love" with my Lord and to never fall away again, to never be seperated from Him, His Church or Our Lady ever again. Pray for me for the gift of final perseverence. As a woman Mary Magdalen speaks to my heart. As a "sinner" who may or may not have sinned as much, (or perhaps more) pray for us as women, to be more gentle, and repentant. The world clamors for us to "be like one of the guys," to "do all a guy can do"...to be independent, to the point of losing and in some worse cases, cursing our femininity - which is such a wondrous gift. I don't understand the hatred of some in the "womens movement" of all that is truly feminine. I don't understand the anger that propels them into desiring to be priests. Mary Magdalen never clamored for such a thing, for she knew her place was serviing, loving, and at Your Feet. Not because she was "lesser than a man" or not as "good" but because she was a real woman.

We have our roles as women. May we respond with joy in becoming what we were designed and created to be. May men accept their roles as men. May we all be filled with gratitude to simply 'be' who and what we were created to be. We've all sinned and fallen short of Your glory, Lord, but by the Holy Spirit, we are led back to Your waiting arms of love, to fall at your Feet, as did Mary, and find abundant joy and the fullness of Life running over, into our hearts and out of our hearts to love the world as You have loved us.

She wept at His Feet, and except for His Mother, she loved Him more than all the rest...

Please visit my new friend's blog. Heather, thank you for your genuine pure love for our Blessed Lord, the Mass, the Eucharist, Our Lady, the Church, your youthful zeal that "runs over the brim" and your "Mary Magdalen" devotion for Jesus and His Mercy! I hope many will visit your site and read

The family of God...
What a loving Daddy we have.
What a loving Mother we have.
What a loving Brother,Lord, King, we have
What a gentle Comforter and Counselor
is the Holy Spirit
given to us by our Lord...
to call on for help in time of sorrow,
temptation, grief, anger
laughter and gladness.
What a great and glorious Church we've been given.
What a True and Amazing Gift is
the Catholic Church.

Welcome back Home, Heather.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas has only just begun...

These words of Howard Thurman ring true:

"When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with the flocks,
then the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal those broken in spirit,
to feed the hungry,
to release the oppressed,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among all peoples,
to make a little music with the heart…
And to radiate the Light of Christ,
every day,
in every way,
in all that we do and in all that we say."

Then the work of Christmas begins.

H/T View from the Pews

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lamb of God, born into the world,...

Holy, Pure and Spotless Lamb, offered for the sins of the whole world. Such blessed and glorious news! Come to earth as a tiny baby, to die and rise again saving us from our sins, if only we offer him a "room" in the cavern of our hearts,to let him be born in us, to grow and mature in us, so we can not only just be "covered" but transformed fully, completely, partaking of His Divine Nature. We are NOT dung heaps, covered with snow. We were created "good" but were damaged by our first parents' sinful choice. Now God has provided a Way for us to be not just "covered" by Jesus, but changed to be like Him, and only He can, over time, remove our "sin nature" changing us into SONS and DAUGHTERS of GOD. Blessed be the Name of Jesus, Emmanuel, GOD WITH US! If God is for us, and He is...then who can be and stand against us?

My Christmas prayer on this hallowed morn:

"Come Lord Jesus, into my heart today, be born in me anew. Transform me by your Holy Spirit into the daughter of God whom You created me to be. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for me to grow in humility to say "yes" to God as you did every day of your life. Amen."

Amazing Grace...born into the world...

I always was fond of this song, but even moreso sung by monks. I have a special love for monks and chant.

In one special Woman,Mary,chosen by God and Full of Amazing Grace, was given to us the Son of David, the Son of Man, the Son of God, come into the world as a baby, to save us from our sins. Alleluia! Alleluia!

A very blessed CHRIST'S MASS to all...

take a couple of minutes to be bathed in the angelic melodic prayer of Christmas Chant. Peace to all and good will toward men. JOY TO THE WORLD the LORD HAS COME

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

his post, "first class"
Silence. We all need it. Especially these days! But it's my belief that many simply are afraid of it. To be "STILL AND KNOW..." means that God might indeed speak, and I think many people don't want to hear Him, even if they say they do, because they're too comfy in their skin, in their mess, in their "own brand" of "religion" to have to delve deeper. To go out to the deep and cast their nets is a scary thing. But on the Sea of Galilee they fish 'at night'.... the night for the most part is much more quiet than the day, and there's a lot of "listening" to do on a boat, at night.... and I learned the reason they fish at night is because during the day, the fish actually can see the nets and swim around them. So, at night the biggest catches are much more common. If you sit and ponder this in silence, quiet your heart, I wonder what God would say about that 'fact' to you? He's telling me that even during the day, I'm to "pull away" from the noise, even for a minute or two and just 'listen.' I don't do it as much as I should, but I've been doing it more of late, and the results are a more peaceful heart/mind/soul. That goes a long way in a crowded, clamoring,clanging world, because that peace can't help but 'show'..... ya know?

May all my readers have a most blessed and silent Christmas...enjoy the merriment with family and friends, but don't forget to wait and pause in the cave's stable...and maybe you'll hear the Baby Jesus breathing life into you.

For those suffering in Purgatory...and here on earth

Thank you, Owen.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Record this or find one of these hours to take a load off your feet and watch...


60 mins.
From “The Passion of the Christ” Producer Stephen McEveety comes a documentary that proves the existence of the Star of Bethlehem, whose existence has been debated for centuries by historians, scientists and scholars. “Either they believe the Star is true or they thin, it was made up by the early Church,” says Texas A&”M Professor Rick Larson. “I took a different approach in my research and treated the Star as a mystery or puzzle, looking at the bible and comparing the facts of Scripture with facts from science and history.”
Sun 12/21/08 10:00 AM ET & 7 AM PT
Thu 12/25/08 11:00 PM ET & 8 PM PT
Sat 12/27/08 8:00 PM ET & 5 PM PT
Sun 12/28/08 3:00 AM ET & 12 AM PT
Mon 12/29/08 5:30 PM ET & 2:30 PM PT
Wed 12/31/08 10:30 AM ET & 7:30 AM PT

Had to lift some laffs...

"The flat tire would set the Patriarch back even further behind the Pope in the race to determine which is the True Church."

h/t Crescat for these

"Now I can take my Christus Vincit anywhere. Deo Gratias!"

"Oy, me laddies! Know your catechism or I'll play me pipes!

and THIS found at Crescat, too... Bat-shit crazy stuff!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

How to live like a monk....without being a 'monk'...

How uncanny! I have been thinking like a "monk" and wanting to live like a monk/hermit and * voila* the Holy Spirit leads me here to see what this lay apostolate is all about. This sounds cool and it's tugging at my heartstrings. I must learn more about them and you can, too, right here. And the monk rock blog.

"The Holy Scriptures do not know any distinctions," said St. John Chrysostom, "They enjoin that all lead the life of monks."

When does life begin?

"When Life Begins" from COME WHAT MAY movie from George Escobar on Vimeo.

h/t Little Scribe

The Way of Peace...

The way of Peace
Leads me
Toward the altar of God
With head bent and
Hands folded in prayer
I humbly pray,
"Holy Spirit, please
Cleanse my heart to
Prepare for Him
A clean dwelling"
There before me is
His priest son,
Caressing in
his anointed hands...

The Eucharist

"Body of Christ."
I open my mouth
There, on my tongue, is placed
The Bread of Angels
Slowly I walk back to my place
Among the faithful,
Inside my heart, I pray...
"May I be made worthy of
The promises of Christ.
And as I am able, Lord,
May I help others join me,
To walk this path...
The way of Peace."

susie melkus

Friday, December 19, 2008

I've never seen this painting before....lovely!

Actually, I might have seen it when I was in Florence many years ago, but I surely don't remember it. The description found here

Returning to the quarter of the SS. Annunziata after the plague, in 1525 Andrea painted one of his most celebrated works in the great cloister, known as the "Chiostro dei morti". It is considered to be the ultimate masterpiece of Andrea del Sarto's classicism. The solemn equilibrium, the quality of repose and grandeur, the supreme elegance of this scene illustrating the Rest during the Flight into Egypt, classically framed by the high step and the two pilasters, but laid out in an unconventional manner, make this fresco one of the loftiest achievements of the late phase of Andrea's art. The influence of Michelangelo (a number of figures on the vault of the Sistine Chapel are mentioned as prototypes) are elements in a language which is totally personal, powerful and mature.

In adoration ...

"They looked at, contemplated and admired the Christ Child. That is all they did near the manger. They were deep in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament exposed on the altar of the manger. They blessed and thanked God who gave us his Son out of his love for us. Nobody will ever be able to understand or explain what went on inside Mary at that time."
St. John Vianney, The Cure of Ars

Pondering in her heart...

What's it all about, Linus?...

I love this...like being drenched in prayer

One more chants...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chiara Luce Badano...

Chiara, pray for us!

2010 to be canonized, a young hero of the faith...

Read about him.

Stephen Kaszap a 19yr old Jesuit novice died and was found by his nurse with a note in his hand which said: "God be with you! We will meet in heaven! Do not weep; this is my birthday in heaven. God bless you all."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Black Madonnas...

While on my retreat this past weekend, that turned out to be a most blessed 48 hours instead of 24, (Thank you Jesus!) I saw this statue titled: Our Lady of the Hermits, (Einsiedeln Switzerland) in the Jane Best Collection of Madonnas. If you've never seen her collection and live anywhere near Schuyler NE you must go see it. A huge collection of statues and figures of our BVM from all over the world. It was a gift to the St. Benedict Center/priory and what a lovely collection it is! I saw this Madonna and though I've seen the collection so many times, I'd never seen this one, or it hadn't caught my eye until this past weekend, and my "hermit heart" saw her. I didn't know there were so many Madonnas! I knew there were a lot but Our Lady of the Oak, and this one and a few others I'd never hear of before. I found this information on Black Madonnas here. That was another thing I was curious to learn more about and once again, with the internet and a "google search" and voila! Questions answered in the blink of an eye. Our Lady of the hermits, pray for me. My soul longs for quiet, solitude and the stillness to surround me more often, to hear the heart beat of my Lord and to be still in my soul, to "know that HE IS GOD."

Last Friday, Dec. 12, was the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe...

"Do not let anything afflict you, and do not be afraid of any illness, or accident, or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection? Do you need anything else?" (Words of Our Lady of Guadalupe to Saint Juan Diego

h/t Fr. Mark

Ponder this...

The greatest humiliation of all: When Jesus, the God-Man knelt, and holding in his hand a towel, (the sign of a slave) gently, and with most tender mercy, and deepest love, washed the feet of...


I paraphrased the quote above, by Archbishop Fulton Sheen from his t.v. program. When he said it, I was just "struck"...I was listening intently and then while he paused, as he does so ingeniously being the most profound speaker he was, I was thinking, "Peter. He's going to say Peter." But instead, he said....Judas. That he said Judas just gave me chills. It seemed like he would have said "Peter" but he said Judas. What great love he has for us ALL. Sinners, saints, faithful, prodigal...so great a love that he gave his life for us, WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS.

Monday, December 15, 2008

She, in greatest humility said...

Be it done unto me, according to Your word.

Happy Advent

Visit these 'Hermits of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.'

A shining light in a dark world...

If anyone has a devotion to St. Max, please comment. I would love to learn more about him. I've read two bios, but would love any and all other input about this heroic, humble soul. I try not to become downcast when I read about truly holy men like him, or women of the faith, but when I visualize what they went through without complaint and what I grumble about during the course of a day, sainthood seems unattainable. Is that just my own flesh or pride or the lying "voice" of one of Satan's minions trying to discourage me? All of the above perhaps.

When I ponder the suffering St. Maximilian, St. Edith Stein, St. Miguel Pro and countless others endured with their undaunted faith that had guided most of if not their whole existence, it gives me such pause. I can't help but think: "What and who do I think I am?" Hardly able to "suffer a cold" a hacking cough, or horridly weak coffee. (If coffee looks lighter than tea and tastes like plastic, there's a problem!!) A fitful night in a strange, "hard" bed at a Days Inn, or some relative's house, and to me it's "penance?" Well, yes it is an actual penance, to some extent, because I know we're to offer up all our "small" sufferings and large ones, with joy and for the Poor Souls and salvation of sinners. It's just that the "large ones" aren't quite so large after reading about someone like St. Max or St. Miguel Pro. My life is what it is, here and now, and I'm not begging for worse conditions to test me, but why is it that we (ok, I) "lose it" so easily over petty things when people have lost their lives and shed their blood and are still losing their lives all over the globe for just "being" Catholic? It's humbling and sobering, as it should be. But I know God isn't "down on me" and sends these heroes into my life to learn from and pray to, but sometimes it's like I take one step forward and 15 back throughout a day. There again, that's probably revealing my struggle with pride, too, to even be thinking about these things like this. Oh wretched soul that I am....who will deliver me!? Jesus.

I know these saints were graced to face their trials and suffering and martyrdom, but I feel like such a complete and total WIMP. I have trouble offering up a lapse of ettiquette from my husband or a word of a friend that doesn't ever come to fruition and it "grates" on me. I've a LONG way to go, but my aspiration is to become a saint. My desire is to be a saintly fool for Jesus. To grow in faith, hope and love. To be more patient and less self-absorbed. Humility...I need a big dose of it. I need to forgive more easily and sometimes find myself nagging about something that other saints would probably never even notice happening to them. St. Max, pray for me. Pray for us all to realize that no matter what, God does love us. We are to grow, to mature, but not to become "dour and stoic." That does not describe one Saint I know. And it surely does not describe you, St. Max. You were a man full of energy, even when exhausted from sickness and tuberculosis...yet you never tired, wavered, or faltered in your faith. It seemed to spur you on all the more, to be that "libation" poured out completely, to every last drop, for your brothers, and ultimately for a stranger in a prison, and most of all for your truest and dearest love of your heart, Immaculate Mary.

A light in a dark world is what you were, and what we all need to be, for our world is even more dark and more wicked as atheism isn't quite a "respectful" as it once was. Some years ago, to be an atheist meant that one believed there is no God, and lived as though there wasn't. NOW, the "new atheism" is more treacherous, and covert and says: "I believe there's a God ...and he thinks just like me!" That is the more sinister and sly movement of atheism, not just in the secular thinking humanity, but most hideously revealed in the Church, among mass attendees and other Christians. Dire and dark, but NOT WITHOUT HOPE. We are called to be lights. Pray for us that we will shine and bring the Light of Truth into our darkened little corners of the world. I won't give up, and I won't become even more self-absorbed about this, even if my "feelings" and everything from the pit of hell screams at me "you're not good enough!" I will remember this: God doesn't call the perfect or the most qualified. He perfects and qualifies the ones he calls. Amen.

“O lamps of fire! in whose splendors the deep caverns of feeling,once obscure and blind,now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely, both warmth and light to their Beloved.”

St. John of the Cross

The Living Flame of Love, Stanza 3

Thursday, December 11, 2008

24 Hours with Jesus...

This Saturday, after early Mass at Boys Town, I'll be heading to Schuyler, NE. to St. Benedict Center for a 24 hour SILENT retreat. I covet your prayers. Thank you. May our Lord bless you and our Lady grace you with tender mercies and peace near her Immaculate Heart. I crave silence and solitude in a setting that is completely meant for the soul to draw close to God. As you can see, this isn't exactly a "desert hut" but yet, the 'hermit' in me longs for that precious gift of solitude and silence, as did St. Faustina. I'm very drawn to our dear Saint Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament.
I read a short book about her (Meet Saint Faustina) by a priest and have for at least a couple of weeks had the desire to "get away" from the house and "noise" of the world. I read her diary a couple of years ago. That will also be going with me, as I need to read it again. There is SO much depth and love and beauty in her words and those of our Lord to her, FOR THE WHOLE WORLD! My heart is 'a-flutter' with thinking about being there, alone with Jesus, and Mary. It's really like a HOLY clandestine rendezvous with the Lover of my Soul. With all my imperfections and sins and faults, He is still calling me to Himself, to "come away" to His garden of delights, of repose, of consolation, and possibly none of those things.
Last April, the silent time alone with Jesus in the solitude at the Hermitage of St. Mary near La Crosse, WI. was, for a good part of my overnight stay, most alarming and even somewhat frightening in the silence. The severity of the solitude in a place I was not familiar with, and some of the "coolness" I experienced from the back part of the cabin was sort of scary. I think a ominous presence was trying to scare me away, but I persevered. I persevered by calling on St. Faustina there, and others in the blessed Communion of Saints i.e. St. Therese, St Padre Pio to just come be with me and help me. And they did. I got throught that rather "long dark night" of only a few hours. I have no expectations of this weekend, except that I long to GIVE my SELF to God in a deeper way. I long to be the handmaid of the handmaid of the handmaid x ten of the Lord, so I want Mother Mary to also be with me in a deeper way.
I hope to do this more often, maybe 3 or 4 times a year, but as I said above, I do covet your prayers. They have a most HOLY Adoration chapel, so I will be in the presence of the Lord in a special way, a LOT there! I can't wait. It's so exciting to think about just being there, blocking out that time for HIM Alone! My soul longs and thirsts for the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist and in that little room, where the only sound is the sound of His Sacred Heart, beating for me and for the world. For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have Mercy on me, on us, on our family on our nation, and on the whold world. SILENCE is golden! Peace of Christ to you all.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Baptism...symbol or necessity?

Find out here.


Wine or Welch's?

Is Mary more important to Catholics than Jesus?...

How to answer an Evangelical or other Protestants and maybe even a Catholic about our devotion to Mary.

Even the Angel of the Lord, Gabriel, said "Hail, Full of Grace." He didn't even say "Mary." He called Mary, "Full of Grace." Was the Angel of the Lord a bit "too devoted?" Was he too "Catholic?" If one is "full of grace" pray tell, where is the sin in such a one? To be FULL of grace, is to be WITHOUT sin. Only a pure golden vessel, the Ark, could carry God's Law in the Old Testament. Should it not be the same when He, the Son of God came to us in the flesh, as a Baby, in the New Testament? Do you still have a problem with Catholics’ devotion to Mary? Are Catholics wrong to call her "sinless?" Then ask your Lord, Jesus... He seems to be just as devoted to her in Heaven as He was on earth. So much so that He made Her Queen of Heaven and Queen of the Universe for Jesus is King of Kings is He not? No wife of a king is ever queen only a King's Mother is Queen. Is our devotion to Mary starting to make sense? If not, then take your argument up with Jesus... maybe He can crack open the hard "anti Catholic" shell of your heart so to let the Light of Christ in to reveal His purest love and honorable devotion that He has for his Mother. A love and devotion all Christians should have for HIS Momma. She is your Momma, too. If you love your own mom, and honor her as Jesus commands us to "honor our father and mother" then give Mary at the very least as much honor as you give your own mother...for Mary brought you Christ, your Savior. That's the PURE vessel Jesus chose to dwell in for nine months. Her womb was the most pure, for HE "saved her from sin" when He made His Mother SINLESS. That is why Mary called her Son "my Savior." She's at least worth an audible "thank you" from your lips once a year for giving you Jesus. I love the mothers of my friends. When I love the mother of my friend, it in no way "subtracts" from my love and devotion to my friend. One could say it even enhances our friendship. So, why not love the Mother of my Lord? And why not even perhaps tell her that I love her from time to time? Your relationship with Jesus will only expand when you include His Mother. Make Jesus smile today and tell Him you love His Mom. And then, if only in a whisper, tell Mary you love her, too. The LOVE of God will be shed abroad in your heart like NEVER before!

No Mary

No Jesus

Know Mary

Know Jesus

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Sister Rosalind...

Refuge of sinners...Mother of Mercy...

She opens wide her arms. She welcomes all her children, faithful and prodigal, to come to her. She longs to embrace us, to hold us, to take us at the end of our earthly pilgrimage to be united with her Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Listen, do you hear? Our Mother is calling us 'home' for Supper, the abundant banquet prepared and waiting for us, if we remain IN HIM and faithful to the end. She is our HOPE for this perseverence. To miss Mary, to not know Mary is to miss Christ, and not know Him as fully as He desires us to know Him.

Is the whole Mary "thing" "too Catholic?" Was she "too Catholic" for Elizabeth who exclaimed, "How is it that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" Some Christians criticize the Catholic Church for elevating Mary with the title: Mother of God. They claim that this title for Mary is not found in the Bible. Now it may be true that the Bible does not dogmatically teach Mary as the Mother of God; however, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth refers to Mary as "the mother of my Lord":And it came about that Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice, and said, "Blessed among women are you, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?" [Luke 1:41-43; NASB]

The Mother of our Lord is coming to us. She is longing to give us Jesus, to give birth to Jesus anew in our hearts every day, and especially this Christmas as she visits us every Christmas. When I was a Protestant/evangelical, I didn't give Mary much thought, but she was "present" in a special way at Christmas, in the manger scene, the Nativity figures under our tree that I played with as a little girl, and that my sons played with at Christmas at their grandparent's house. I loved Silent Night. It was my favorite Christmas carol. I even begged my dear Mom to sing it to me on sticky, humid nights in Nebraska in July! "Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child..." But as a Methodist and later Independent Christian, those words didn't really mean as much to me as they do now that I'm Catholic.

The "inn" of our hearts is waiting for Mary to come, to allow Him to be born in our hearts anew. Being "saved" is not a "one time gig." To be converted is DAILY. We need, like Mary, to give our "yes" to God, to the Holy Spirit. "Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me," said the Psalmist in Psalm 51. We also cry, "Abba Father"...and our Father hears us. His ear bends gladly when we call upon Him. He delights to give us not only Jesus as our Lord, Savior and Brother, but a Mother as well! The woman who was chosen and created by Jesus Himself to give us our "Emmanuel."

Refuse Mary, you're refusing Jesus. Reject Mary and you actually are rejecting the ONE PERSON Jesus loved MOST IN THIS WORLD. He resided in her very womb for nine months. How do we harbor in our hearts any such disdain for Mary, when even Jesus nursed at her breast, obeyed her, learned from her, loved and honored her? If we claim Jesus is our "Brother" then turn around and reject His own Mother, we reject Him. Give Mary your heart, and honor her as Jesus did, and come to know the Lord even better, even more fully and enjoy the ENTIRE FAMILY of GOD!


Have any of my Catholic blogger buddies been to Garabandal? I'm of course drawn to shrines of Our Lady, not that I can go on pilgrimage here, but I'd appreciate some input if any of you are familiar with this site. Thanks.

Tell 'em you saw it here...

Our Lady of Sorrows...pray for us. We are in need of your prayers, your forgivness, you motherly love and consolation. We have lapsed in our prayers, we have been unforgiving of others, and we have harbored resentment and anger against those we love at times, causing the channel of grace to become blocked in our own hearts. We love you, Our Mother. We thank you for your merciful heart and most tender compassion upon your miserable children. Help us to grow in grace, holiness, gratitude and most of all humility. In the Name of your precious Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, December 05, 2008

My shorter answer for my relatives who want women priests...

As GWB senior said: "Not gonna do it." "Wouldn't be prudent."


For some relatives of mine who still clamor for womens' ordination...

Columnist Judy Bowman on Women in the Priesthood

Editors Note: This fine article written by Judy Bowman on June 18th is by far one of the best I’ve discovered on the issue of women’s ordination within the Catholic Church. Along with Judy, we pray that the Holy Spirit will enlighten the hearts of those women (and men) currently excommunicated opening the door to their swift return to Holy Mother Church…

Judy Bowman, Catoosa County News

Just three weeks ago, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a Decree of Excommunication. This isn’t something that happens every day. Excommunication is a serious action, which impedes the reception of the Church’s Sacraments in cases of particularly grave or serious sin (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1463). In this recent case, the Church excommunicated people involved in attempting the “ordination” of women as priests of the Roman Catholic Church.

God loves women. He chose a woman to bring Salvation to the world through Mary, the mother of God. Women have played important roles in the Church since the early days of Christ’s public ministry. Jesus went against the Jewish norms of His day by involving women publicly in His life on earth, as His cherished friends. It was Mary of Magdala who was chosen by God to be the first person to see the risen Christ and to spread that good news to His loved ones. Nearly all of the non-Jewish religions of Christ’s day had female priestesses, so choosing women for this role in His Church would have been socially-acceptable, especially in ministering to the Gentiles. But He didn’t choose women to be priests. He chose only men. Through these 12 men, a direct line of Apostolic succession has remained in the Catholic Church until today.

God doesn’t make mistakes. He came to save us through Christ at a precise moment in history and through the exact people He had chosen as His own. The priestly tradition of the Jews, a male tradition, was part of His salvation plan from the beginning of time. The passover lamb of the Jews, always a male, prefigured the role of Christ as the Paschal Lamb and perfect Sacrifice. Jesus is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world. The argument is sometimes made that, if Christ were alive today, He would choose women for the priesthood. Here’s a news flash, Christ IS alive today. He comes to us at every Mass when He becomes for us, the Bread of Life. He lives and acts in His church, who has taught from the time of the Apostles that the priesthood is a Sacrament reserved only for baptized men (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1577).

Each Sacrament established by Christ has two elements, form and matter. The form of the Sacrament is the way in which it is enacted. For Baptism, the “form” is the words used to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” The “matter” of Baptism is water. In the Holy Eucharist, the “form” is the words of consecration spoken by the priest when he echoes the words used by Jesus at the Last Supper in the breaking of the bread and the offering of the cup. The “matter” of the Eucharist is the wheat bread and the grape wine. When someone is ordained to the priesthood, the “form” of the Sacrament is the bishop’s laying on of his hands onto the man desiring ordination. The “matter” of the Sacrament is the man himself, who has responded to God’s call of service as a priest. Just as the Church could never substitute something else for the bread and wine used in the Holy Eucharist, or for the water used in Baptism, the Church can never allow the “ordination” of women. The “matter” of this Sacrament is, and always must be, male. The Pope himself can never allow women to be priests. “I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful” (Pope John Paul II, 05-22-94).

This is not an issue of justice. It’s not unjust that men can’t give birth to babies. It’s a gift reserved for women. Likewise, it’s not unjust that women can’t be ordained. It’s a Sacrament reserved for men. No one has a “right” to the priesthood. Men are called by God Himself to this life. In Jesus’ humanity, He was a man. His gender was not an accident, because the Church is His bride. The priest reflects Christ whenever he celebrates any of the Sacraments that Jesus gave us. Women generously serve the Church in many important roles every day, and have done so throughout history. There are different roles within the Body of Christ, as St. Paul tells us. Men and women are equal in the eyes of God, but this equality is not synonymous with sameness. What a boring Church that would be! God blesses us in our unique roles and we are called to embrace that uniqueness and celebrate our varied gifts and graces. We give Him glory when we are most fully ourselves in His service, whatever our role may be. And we pray that those who struggle with these roles, in any way, may experience the love and guidance of the Holy Spirit in their lives and may return to full communion with His Church.

Advent Conspiracy...

H/T Fr. Rick

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A peak in my life and a fond memory...with many peaks and valleys since...but HOME where I belong.

The Dogma of the Immaculate Conception

On December 8, 2004 Rich and I returned to the Catholic Church, so I look forward to that day, the feast of the Immaculate Conception! Our Lady, Mother Mary, called her prodigal son and daughter home. We were at the time, members of an Interdenominational Fellowship here in Omaha. But, as questions started arising in Rich's heart about the religion of his youth, and being drawn back (unknown to me at the time) the weekend (this one) 4 years ago, we discussed this whole idea, and plan that he had of going back to the Catholic Church.

It was Friday evening Dec 3, 2004, and we commenced sipping some suds in the living room, like a normal Friday. Rich then started with some trepidation to explain why he wanted to return to the CC. I say "trepidation" because he knew of my anti-Catholic feelings. I listened intently, because internally I'd been once again "backsliding" somewhat in my Christian walk. I was disillusioned with many things, but nothing I could really put my finger on, except that I'd stopped going to Saturday night service regualarly and barely on a Sunday. I was waning in my zeal once again, a process and pattern too familiar after 25 years or so. I was one who was either "hot" or "cold" and now I was nearing that lukewarm area, and knew it. If like in the past, it could have very well meant forsaking any assembaling in a "church setting" and then who knows where that could lead. If not into a complete apostatacy, certainly dipping my toes in lukewarm water was having a damaging effect as it always does.

I was bothered that some of the people we knew were leaving Trinity and going elsewhere, never to be seen again. It seemed the "community" was crumbling once again. And when you think about it, "why not?" That's the way of Protestantism, especially in the Independent faith "communities" where community and or "church" is just a "spiritual" metaphysical group. A nebulous "church" that floats hither and thither "as the Spirit moves" that is what so many are so fond of saying and telling others. "The Holy Spirit is leading us to thus and so now, so we are leaving here and going there." Well, it seemed odd to me and it kind of "ticked me off." I was becoming 'bummed out' to put it in common vernacular, with "Christianity" as I'd come to know it and observe it lived. It was "empty." It was becoming a 'self'-guided tour of other churches, claiming to be seeking that "one church" that 'fits my style' or "where I'm at" right now in "my walk." Pray tell, how is that living the FAITH ON GOD'S TERMS? It's not. It's only in America's comsumer culture that we find Christians "picking and choosing" from the smorgasboard of churches. Like a big buffet line, you can find any and every type of 'church' to suit your fancy. Is that really "ok" with God? If you think it is, PLEASE explain HOW you know! i see it as tragic and even worse, bordering on presumptuous! It's like dictating to God what "we want" and "where we want to go" to get what "we like." Not a lot of "OTHER" there, but mostly only "I."

So along comes Dec. 3, Rich opens his heart about his longing to return, I listen and fail to interrupt him (shock) and the next thing I know, I'm reading Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic, by David Currie. Sunday I read Rome Sweet Home and Monday morning I read, Surprised By Truth. Then, Tuesday evening we go to the vigil Mass of the Immaculate Conception and again on Wednesday the 8th and almost every single day since!

I have NOT looked back, hit the ground running, and leaping and praising God to have finally found HIS CHURCH! I was gifted with the faith to hear the call and my heart was overflowing with tremendous abundant JOY! That is why I am a Joyful Catholic and why I want all my friends, Protestant and Catholic to know that when the bible speaks of THE CHURCH, it clearly means the Roman Catholic Church, the Church Jesus established to be the beacon, the authority, teacher and safeguard for His children. When that knowledge is recieved in one's heart and mind, it is FREEDOM and not bondage or oppression!

How I long to share that with all of my friends, but sadly, not that many are curious enough to ask me anything. Maybe it's fear that keeps them "ignorant" (I don't mean that in a derogatory way) but if they really were to give the history of "the Church" attention, then they'd have to take into account their own lives and rethink things and research things and study history and then have to admit that they're wrong about some things and possibly many things. They're not bad people. I wasn't a 'bad' person. I did love Jesus, but I was wrong in MUCH of my thinking and theology. Not every jot and tittle I'd been taught in various faith communities was wrong, but the FULL and complete Truth was NOT taught. There was no authority for that to be the case. No apostolic succession. Where did our independent faith community originate? From a nice and kind gentleman and his opinion of scripture. His interpretation of the Holy bible was the teaching. His opinion and interpretation being unlike in varying degrees from the opinion of the pastor of another independent faith community across the street. So how is that "one faith?"

I've come to find out the past 4 years that with the splitting of these churches, there is NOT unity, but only division. That is NOT GOD's desire! These pastors and their pastors teach only "bits of the Truth" but not the FULLNESS. How can they have the fullness when there's so much discord? Again, Jesus demands us to worship in Spirit and IN TRUTH. Get my drift here? That's just the Truth of the matter. When you want the complete 7 course dinner, and filet mignon, the FULLNESS of Truth, that the Holy Spirit DOES lead one to, then why keep settling for a few fries and a couple of chicken nuggets?

There are good and fine and very holy Evangelicals that put many a Catholic to shame. HOWEVER, there are many HOLY Catholics that go "unnoticed" by evangelicals because MOST Catholics are in a culture that is not "flamboyant" and "outspoken" about their faith. They just "live it" quietly and unnassumably without a lot of 'fanfare' or 'happy clappy' worship and praise. Catholic culture isn't the same, and sometimes we could benefit by more 'overt praise' but then again, evangelicalism has the "tradition" of it's own, and it's own rituals. Many times they become geared to "pumping up the emotionalism" in folk, and calling that praise and worship, when a simple stop before the tabernacle at a Catholic Church, to utter one Hail Mary is just as much worship and even at times far deeper than a lot of "noise" and loud singing. I do think we need to find common ground, but we can't water down the mystery of Catholicism to "attract" our brothers and sisters, for that would be wrong. That was what was done in the 70's and why we found it so easy to leave the Church. There was nothing of mystery, nothing of tradition left to witness. Rosaries were gone, scapulars were gone, Mary was gone and the Tabernacle was moved to the side or placed in another room. There was nothing spoken of Jesus' REAL and ABIDING PRESENCE in the Eucharist. For that was simply now a "communal meal" shared by all believers. I know, because I received Him without believing the Host was/is Jesus!

It's my prayer that all my friends will be unified IN CHRIST, and with all my heart, I long to see some of them become Catholic here...rather than go through purgatory to become Catholic. Don't get me wrong, I know Protestants will be in Heaven, as will Hindus, Buddhists, and other faithful people. However, Jesus did establish His ONE Church on earth, so it would seem that the most expeditious route to perfection thus arriving in Heaven to behold Him would be to be IN His Church, a part of His Church now, if we have the opportunity. I am no way intending here to slam others' faith(s). So please, no angry comments, okay?

History cannot be denied, and yet many in the Evangelical world do just that. They don't go any further back than a few years or a couple centuries at most. Even going back to Luther is sometimes frowned on by many Independent communites, since they've gone completely off the rails from what even their founder taught and believed. Even Luther had devotion to Mary, but try finding that in some Lutheran circles now, let alone some independent "house church." Jesus wants us to be ONE. Let us let Him have HIS way with us, and forsake going OUR way. For when we go our way, we are in essence rejecting the WAY of CHRIST, and that is really most frightening, to profess Christianity and yet leave Christ's Church doesn't seem to be the unity prayed for by our Lord in John 17. I pray along with Jesus that we will be united here, for the powers of darkness are upon us in full force. How much better for us all to be ONE now, in this culture of death.

I guess what I'm saying is, if you're not Catholic, and harbor negative assumptions about Catholics and the CC, just take a breath, and give the Catholic Church a chance. Maybe you're a Catholic who left the Church for whatever the reason. We left for 26 years. For starters, I suggest reading Mass of the Early Christians. Also the above mentioned books that opened my eyes to the Truth. See for yourself what the Early Church DID believe. Read the Early Fathers of the Church. Let history become your friend, not remain some phantom and haunting enemy. At least do that much and stop believing lies about Cathoicism. If you want to dislike or even hate the Catholic Church, do so by rejecting the Truth about it, not false information. Her founder, OUR Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ would welcome your sincere honest questions and I do too, as do all of my Catholic friends.

As Faithful Christians we want to please the Lord, our hearts want to please Him. He is our Saviour and our Life. But do we truly please Him by rejecting His Church? Do we please Him by believing what we've been told, even by well meaning folk, about the Catholic Church, if what we've been told is simply not true? How does that unify us? How are evangelicals united in the faith when they keep fractioning and splitting, and doing so in many instances with malice and anger? Is the Holy Spirit schizo? Or is the Trinity ONE? Ask those questions, read the history of the Church and ask God to help you understand how and where you are really to be, and then, gulp down your pride with a bite of humble pie and come and see that the Lord is Good and abides most FULLY in HIS CHURCH. There's a Catholic Church down the street. Go there. Sit in the silence and ask Jesus there.... He's waiting and He's listening and He'll let you know. So will Mary, His Mom. She's your Mom too, and she misses her child. Make her Heart glad and delight the Lord by COMING HOME.

Pregnant virgin Mary watching over Old Town...

This is a wonderful work of Our Lady. The first state in our union to make euthanasia legal now has Our Mother Mary calling her children to LIFE, and I pray that no one will bring suit against Valerie or the state for this "religion" interfering with their "vision rights being assaulted" or some such ridiculous absurd grievance. ~ susie

By TERESA BLACKMAN, kgw.com Staff

PORTLAND -- An artist’s rendition of a pregnant virgin Mary is overlooking the community of Old Town in Northwest Portland.

Photo courtesy: Valerie Aschbacher for kgw.com

The 'Mary Full of Life' billboard overlooks Old Town in NW Portland.

The Milwaukie woman who commissioned the photograph of the sculpture titled “Mary Full of Life” said it carries a message that she wanted to share with as many people as possible.

"The intent of 'Mary Full of Life' is to help people to understand that life is sacred from the moment of conception to natural death," Valerie Aschbacher said.

Aschbacher said she felt compelled to do something, after growing frustrated that the culture in Oregon does not match her deeply held beliefs.

First she decided to share a photo of the sculpture and its message on the World Wide Web so as many people from all faiths and all walks of life could see it as possible. So a special Web site was created which displays several photographs of the sculpture as well as Aschbacher's message and prayers.

Then, the idea of a billboard came to her.

"The sculpture was not meant to be political and many who have seen it told me that it has a universal appeal, not just for Catholics," Aschbacher said.

Originally, Aschbacher tried to get access to a billboard at the corner of MLK and Beech Street, on the planned site of a Planned Parenthood Clinic. But then she said that site suddenly became unavailable.

So she drove around town for three hours and came up with the idea of putting Mary in a place where she can look over one of Portland's most struggling communities; Old Town. The area is well-known for its high concentration of drug addicts, alcoholics and homeless people and a billboard advertising beer there was about to come available.

"They [Old Town residents] are God's children, too and he loves them and we should, too," she said.

The billboard located at the intersection of West Burnside Street and NW Third Avenue now shows a photo of the sculpture with the text: 'Mary Full of Life' as well as the address for the new Web site.

Aschbacher's billboard has sparked some controversy as some argue that it also carries a pro-life message and a religious message that not everyone would agree on.

But Aschbacher said it was never meant to be a political statement and she hopes it will touch the lives of others, just as it has hers.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

America could learn a little from Russia.

Russian city observes ‘week without abortion’ as country battles population crisis

.- Authorities in the southern Russian city of Novorossiysk have scheduled a “week without abortion” in an effort to combat the country’s extremely high abortion rate.

During the weeklong event that began on Monday, doctors will not perform abortions in all but “the most extreme cases,” RussiaToday.com reports. The city’s maternity welfare center will hold open houses with information seminars on family planning as psychologists and gynecologists work with pregnant women to help prepare them for motherhood.

A hotline for pregnant women will also operate during the week, putting them in contact with gynecological experts in Novorossiysk.

“Doctors will do everything they can to stop women from doing the irreparable,” a city administration representative told RussiaToday.com.

The city’s universities will also screen films demonstrating the detrimental effects of abortion.

Russia’s abortion rate is among the highest in the world, with nearly 70 percent of pregnancies ending in an abortion. The Western Europe abortion rate is about 12 per 1,000 women per year, while in Russia that figure is 54 per 1,000, according to U.N. records on abortion rates.

In 2004 there were 100,000 more abortions than births.

Further, about 10 to 15 percent of abortions in Russia have complications, leaving about 8 percent of women sterile.

Novorossiysk’s “week without abortion” was timed to coincide with the Russian Day of Motherhood, scheduled annually for the last Sunday of November. City authorities have also dedicated a day to “child making,” ensuring people a shorter work day once a year to improve the demographic situation in the country.

The Russian government declared 2008 to be the “Year of the Family” to combat demographic decline. What RussiaToday.com called the “propaganda of abortions and their advertising” has recently been banned in the Russian media.

Despite welfare payments for childbirth, improvements in the healthcare system, and public service announcements to boost the birthrate, recent reports indicate the government policies have had little effect.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Curious Tidbit of info...

H/T to TJ for this one.

After reading this fine and informative post, I had to comment (#11).
Gotta laugh at the first comment.
: )


Monday, December 01, 2008

Full of Life...

A very powerful web site. A very beautiful prayer. Thank you Valerie.

Let us pray.
Holy Mary, Full of Life
The Word lives within you!
Blessed are you among all generations
Divine is The Son, in your womb, Jesus.
Humble Mary, Bearer of God
Show us, your children,
How we may be born into new life.

Prayer by Valerie Aschbacher

Sunday, November 30, 2008

St. B's...

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Unique sculpture of the Holy Family. The adoration chapel is behind the wall, under the Corpus.

This is at St. Bonaventure, in Minneapolis, where we went to Mass one morning. It was great, we were able to go to mass every morning up in Minnesota. The only day we missed was Saturday, on our way home. For some reason we never thought to see if we might have made it to one on time along the way, but God is good. How wonderful it is to KNOW in most any town, that if you go to church, you don't have to wonder "what are we going to find or 'get'?" Being Catholic, JESUS is there in the tabernacle, and given to us by every single priest, no matter how great or not so great the homily...we know JESUS is who we will receive, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity! Does it get better than that?
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Grotto for the unborn...House of Mary Shrine, Yankton, S.D.

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This is where Mary and I went after our pilgrimage to Osmond. This is 7 miles west of Yankton, South Dakota. A fine way to end our pilgrimage, praying for the unborn and an end to abortion.

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