Friday, October 30, 2009

WOW, that was fast! J. already replied! Please, someone help...

Anyone care to try to figure out this 'rebuttal' for me? I'm seriously thinking of getting myself a beer. Is it too early?? Nope, 12:19 p.m. YAY! Please see post below this one for how it all got started.

When I said "open to the Rapture or not" what I was actually referring to is the Western church's mentality that somehow, we're going to miss out on any of the persecution b/c it will occur before the real stuff happens. I've never believed that. I believe very much that we are in eiother the true end times, or the Western Civilization end times...and either way we are going to face persecution. Actually it has already begun in a mental/political sort of manner. Just as in the Hiding Place and other elements attached to WWII, many Europeans, Christians and otherwise, didn't figure out what was going on until it was too late. I will live until the Lord calls me home. That's it. Whether it's today, tomorrow or a decade or two from now, it will be in accordance to His plan for my life. That's all I'm concerned about. The scripture the Lord dropped into my life about all of this back in the 70's when it was a constant part of the church, and I can't pull it out in full form at the moment, basically that we need to do each day what we are called to do and that's it. So I've focused on that. Now whether the rapture is real or not isn't an issue. It IS. The unreal issue is "when"...and that's what the people fuss over - pre/mid/post/or pan tribulation. I have read the info that's put out by the various sources. However, I am not a 'pre trib' person in general. As my pastor in California said in '72, "What makes us think we're going to get off 'scot-free?'" I agree with that. And I've always felt that the Lord has been preparing me to deal with helping others who are undergoing persecution, helping them flee, etc. So that's my focus in that area.

Thought and more thoughts...

This is an "e-mail" conversation/discussion I'm currently involved in with a friend of mine. J. is a very lovely, generous Christian woman, who'm I've known for about 12 years. We met at the Interdenom. church and being both interested in writing, I think we 'hit it off' in many ways. She's a very good author and is currently working on a book, which I've read part of the manuscript, and it's a good 'evangelical' work. I've no qualms about that at all. That's not a point of contention at all. It's only a sad reality that there are so MANY different 'brands' of Christianity.

We've had our share of disagreements over the years, even as evangelicals, though not as many as the past 5 since I've become an ardent, practicing Catholic. (NOT Pelosi style!) This seems to possibly be another disagreement. I wrote her a reply just a while ago, and it's my hope that it won't be misconstrued, but "Truth is Truth." I'm posting it only to ask my readers if they've had to deal with this particular topic. It didn't start off to be about the Rapture, per se, but it's quickly gone that direction, since she wrote what she wrote in her e-mail a few days ago. I had to mull over my reply and pray, as I prefer to do these days, rather than just 'sounding off' in a quick rebuttal, or retort. I did more praying at Mass this a.m. about it and this is how I've replied to her prior email, which was about the 'strange times' we're living in, (no disagreement there!) and how the 'strange times' have brought, to her mind, book #1 in the "Left Behind" series. She thought I'd taken her mentioning the LB book/series a bit 'too seriously.' Here's my reply:

Hi, J.

Maybe I did take it more seriously than I should have. Probably a little 'hyper-sensitive' about how the CC is maligned in that work of fiction (and in a plethora of other fiction/non-fiction titles) by a sadly misinformed author. Therefore, the mention of his book was just "unsettling."

With regard to the rapture:
"Whether someone is "open to the rapture" or "not" wasn't my concern, necessarily, but stated that way, it's quite a curious thought, J. and it begs an honest, truth-seeking question: "Does it matter what Christians "believe" (or are "open to") about the rapture, or not?"

If it doesn't matter, (in the end) then why believe/teach it at all? If it does matter, then a whole lot of Christians are in quite dire straights to be so ignorant, are they not? Does the Lord really leave it up to us, as individuals, to "pick and choose" regarding such (important or unimportant) things and then to bicker about them, add infinitum, in 33,000+ various/diverse denominations, spreading like a cancer around the globe,with some ending up like Jim Jones' cult?

If Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit, as we know he did, to lead and guide the Church INTO ALL TRUTH...then he must have left "One body" on this earth, with the final 'say'...a "final Authority" to query and settle such contradictions and disputes. In fact, He did...

The Magisterium.

Here and here is the Catholic perspective on the Rapture. You may or may not agree with it, I may or may not agree with it, but that's the whole point. WHAT IS TRUE? What's worthy of our belief, our time, our energy? The doctrine of the Rapture only came into the forefront in the mid 1800's. 1800 years AFTER Christ instituted the Church and sent the Holy Spirit to "lead her and guide her into all Truth and keep her safe." It [Rapture] seems more like a 'dart of division" from the enemy of our souls, in his ancient attempt to "divide and conquer" the Church- he's doing a 'bang-up' job, I have to say. But we take comfort and place our hope in knowing the "gates of hell will not prevail against her. Halleluljah!

I'm not picking a fight here. A confrontation and a verbal "e-duel" is not my aim, or my current attitude. Seeking the Truth is.

We're to worship in Spirit and in Truth. That's all I'm saying.

In Christ,
susie

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


No Men OR Women Needed...Scientists create sperm and eggs from stem cells.

And: Defective Babies Made to Order

And: A Baby, Please. Blond, Freckles -- Hold the Colic

I decided to use the above picture for this post because it reminds me of the Silly Putty egg I used to have as a kid. I bought it and made fun stuff with it, and could copy comics with it. I could make things in my own image with the putty, stretching it and shaping it. It was one of my favorite "toys." Now it's men and women creating the baby they want. Voila! Moms and Dads can 'make the baby of their dreams and have it when they want it! How incredibly EVIL/ SINFUL is that?

How long before the Right Hand of Justice sweeps across this globe? How long?

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.


Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm still reading St. Alphonsus Liguori...


Thank God for the wisdom of the Saints! What a treasure trove of insight and help, to fight in this war on and for our souls! "The Way of Salvation and the Way of Perfection" is masterful, sheer brilliance and "food for the journey." "St. Al" has answered some questions I had for years, back when I was an Evangelical, those ones you wanted to know the answer to, but were afraid to ask, type questions. He really nails it in this book. He minces no words, and tells it like it is.

The whole idea of "once saved always saved" is without a doubt a VERY precarious belief. It's a real dangerous concept, and doctrine to preach. It causes a "presumptuous" spirit to form, and grow, for NONE of us can "KNOW" for certain if we or anyone else is "SAVED" once and for all while we walk this earth. Nowhere in scripture are we taught that. It's really sad, to think so many believe it. It's sad and dangerous.

I mean, look around at the countless souls who really believe in the "OSAS" doctrine. Many are good, well-meaning people, sincerely living it out, but they're sincerely wrong, and indeed 'not wso 'well-meaning.' Sola Scriptura, is the reason there are so many cults and sects that end up completely off the rails. Most OSAS folks start believing that heresy because of the "sola scriptura" mindset. God leads me to interpret the bible (alone) and I need not and "do not" answer to "anyone but God." It's the "me and my Jesus" thinking. That's how cults flourish i.e. Jim Jones, David Koresh, Heaven's Gate, the Baptist church in Topeka or Tulsa (don't remember where just now) that goes to funerals of Boy Scouts with their agenda, carrying posters that are mean-spirited, cruel and sick. NOT AT ALL CHRISTIAN. Yet, they think, believe and are told they're RIGHT at every 'church service.'

We are in a war for our souls. We have to ASK the LORD for grace, daily, participate in the Sacraments to live out and work out our salvation, with 'fear and trembling.' For me to rely on a 'decision for Christ' back in 1973, thinking that 'one choice' has kept me "saved" and will for the rest of my life is preposterous! I actually have sinned since Feb. 1, 1973. I don't know about you, but I still sin every day. I was in mortal sin (I had hate and unforgiveness in my heart. Look it up, it's not 'venial' to hate. Same as murder, so said our Lord.) in the 80's and 90's. I'd made some bad choices. I'm still committing venial sins and most likely will today, though I pray I will quickly amend and not give in to the wrong choices in "thought, word or deed." I need the grace of "final perseverance" and the best place to receive that is in the confessional, where the gift of the Sacrament of reconcilation is bestowed on every penitent, sorrowful, and contrite heart. And then celebrating, participating at Mass, absolved by God in the minister of his grace, the Priest.

When I was not a Catholic, I KNEW when I'd 'cut off the flow' of God's grace. I remember so many times, when I would "re-dedicate" my life to God at so many "altar calls" (altar calls with no 'altar' but that's another post for another day.) The "call" was the same, as to go to 'confession' though. What was needed was to "Repent!" I knew I had to 'turn around' and go the opposite way from where I'd been going. I 'confessed my sins' (to the best of my ability) to others, as commanded by God, but yet, how many 'sola scriptura' people say "just go to God. You don't have to go to a man?' They actually contradict themselves, and their doctrine in really very many ways. There again, what they advise is a 'work' but they don't see it as that. I know some evangelicals who believe in OSAS, and some who don't. That right there is cause for concern. Does it matter or does it not matter what one believes in Christendom? I say it does. Jesus does, too. He never said, "Believe at least in the "basics" and one day, it'll all be washed in the big "laundry room" in the sky." What are the basics? Do they matter or don't they?

That's true, in one sense, but blatantly false in another. Jesus said, "Confess your sins, ONE TO ANOTHER." Not, "Confess to God alone." So that's the "opinion/tradition of man" that "bible alone" believers cling to, (which many deny they do) and which confronts their misguided doctrine pretty profoundly. I would 'confess' to another what I'd done, where I'd been for so long, and then it was "ok" but I never did seem to feel "totally washed" as I do now, when I 'confess my sins, the way JESUS said to do so.' It's a whole new and wonderful thing to 'do His will' and obey Him, as He set it up, not just to form and live by my own opinon or that of some mere man/woman who can't absolve me. GLORIOUS is the CHURCH with all 7 Sacraments!! Nothin' better out there!

And that brings me to say: that's the BEAUTY and the GRACE of GOD...His gift of the MASS! It is where we are forgiven, if we receive the Eucharist IN FAITH. It's why I go daily. I NEED HIS GRACE and ASSISTANCE all of the time, for my sin-stained soul to be healed, cleansed, and to 'work out my salvation' as I'm told to do, IN THE WORD of God. That's real "Bible believing Christianity!!"

I pray for all my separated brothers and sisters to really ponder the OSAS teaching. It is FALSE. It is NOT SCRIPTURAL. Be a 'bible-Christian' and return to the Church Jesus built on Peter. Come back to the 7 Sacraments where the FULLNESS of TRUTH resides, to have Life to the FULL! To have all the graces Jesus longs to give you, to one day, hear him say... "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Now for the disclaimer: I am NOT saying Christians of other denoms and sects WON'T be saved if they aren't Catholic. I'm not God and cannot judge another's heart/soul and final destination. However, NEITHER are you. Don't say "I was saved in such & such a year" or that "so and so is saved now." You DO NOT know, because YOU, my friend, are NOT God either. You don't know the depth of you're own heart, let alone another's.

Daily Reading, Oct. 26, 2009

It's the "If we only suffer with him..." line at the end that is the tough one. The one not too many pause to reflect on too much. We're all in such a hurry to banish our suffering, popping the pills for a quick fix, quoting the... right scripture, for a quick fix. Everything's gotta be done so fast for us, doesn't it? We can't wait for much if anything anymore. That presents a big problem when you're following Jesus, because he's NEVER in a hurry. Lord, help me to be patient, is a prayer that you'd better mean, because right after you pray it, your patience will, not "flourish" in all manner of loveliness, causing others to be amazed at how patient you are, but it will be TRIED. And it will COST you something.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wonder if this might be the childhood home of Marlin Perkins?...

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The zebra motif seems out of place in Nebraska,
but who am I to judge another's creative side.
Bassett, NE.

Steeple in the Rain...

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And not long after passing the "Divine Mercy" sign...
we found where "Divine Mercy" resides.

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign...

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But this sign's not "blocking out the scenery
or 'breaking my mind.'
Even in the rain, Divine Mercy can be found.
The highways in the Lincoln diocese have
Divine Mercy signs along them,
and really quite often. Nothing like
traveling these 'Catholic highways' to
see Jesus offering you His love and mercy. I used to wonder
what was up with the heart and the rays coming out.
Thought it was kind of weird, but didn't know for sure what to think.
It seemed kind of strange to me,
while a Protestant, Evangelical. NOW... how good it is to know the
behind the sign.

Empty House on the Prairie...

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Needs work.
Some paint
and a family
inside.
It's like it misses
being a
"home."
Calling
Susie of Green Gables?

Train on the Plains...

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Had to take this one for my husband, the "train buff."

October on the Prairie...

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a favorite of mine, taken while we were driving on hwy 70 on the way to Crawford, NE. Western Nebraska is beautiful. Too bad so many people this this is fly-over country.
Their loss.

The never ending blah blah blah ...

of "The Spirit of Vatican II"
Bradford Walker's comment below the post is superb, I might add.

Three Cheers for TRUTH!

Sancti Martyres Crispine et Crispiniane, ora pro nobis Deum!

Warning...strong language...


The pro-abortion young woman loves her free speech, but evidently she's not for free speech for others, who happen to disagree with her. She's surely articulate and eloquent with her profanities in making her feelings known. Holy Mary, Mother of God, who's womb held God incarnate,have mercy on us and pray for us. This is so sad...

Admirable Secret of the Rosary, # 35...


The holy Rosary contains many mysteries of Jesus and Mary, and since faith is the only key which opens up these mysteries for us, we must begin the Rosary by saying the Creed very devoutly, and the stronger our faith the more merit our Rosary will have.

This faith must be lively and informed by charity; in other words, to recite the Rosary properly it is necessary to be in God's grace, or at least seeking it. This faith must be strong and constant, that is, one must not be looking for sensible devotion and spiritual consolation in the recitation of the Rosary; nor should one give it up because the mind is flooded with countless involuntary distractions, or because one experiences a strange distaste in the soul or an almost continual and oppressive fatigue of the body. Neither feelings, nor consolation, nor sighs, nor transports, nor the continual attention of the imagination are needed; faith and good intentions are quite enough. Sola fides sufficit.

Saint Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Waxing Nostalgic...

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This practically begged to be photographed. Who knows how long it will remain upright? In a Nebraska wind, or tornado season, it's hard to say. I snapped it on our way home from Denver, via the byways of "Nebraska - The Good Life." We were meandering on highway 20, when I saw this bit of "Americana," the old Drive In. I think it was near Long Pine, NE. if memory serves. How forlorn and somber it stands. What was once a lively and colorful "entertainment center" in the "family room" of "Hero Township" is now an obsolete and faded memory. Kind of like "saddle shoes" "bobby socks" "nickel popcorn" ".10 cent cones" "Black Jack" & "Beechnut gum, "Neccos" "Chicklets" and "Bubble Up."
Remember waiting FOREVER for it to get dark enough?
Remember "intermission" and how fun it was
to go to the movies in your pyjamas??
Remember sneaking in your pals when you were a teenager?
That's the only time I was ever a passenger
in the trunk of a 65 Ford Galaxy.
Remember being scared you'd be caught?
Remember the one guy who "let it go" ... just this once?
Remember your first 'date' there?
Being so nervous you spilled your Coke on my new
bell bottoms and platform shoes?
You know who you are.
M.
I remember.
So do you.
But...
you're still older.
So there.
:)

And another thing: why does spell check think all words ending in 'er' should end in 're?'
Stupid computer. I mean, computre.

You've heard of March of the Penguins...

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These pumpkins were marching
through the depot entrance
at the scenic Railway Station at
Georgetown, CO. a couple of weeks ago.
Happy soon-to-be Halloween
Or All Hallow's Eve
Or Pumpkin Day
Or Great Harvest Day
or Happy Fall Festival Day
or whatever you
care to call it
you get my drift...
I think?

AMAZING...STUNNING... I'm speechless...

Transformed America, Obama style...change we can believe in?


Fr. Weslin is a friend of mine. We met 5 years ago. We've had him to our house for supper and prayer. This is deplorable in a FREE country!! But as Jesus said, we will be HATED ... just as He was hated. We know we're doing the right thing when we're hated, but please pray for the faithful, please pray for Father Weslin and the faithful priests standing for TRUTH. This is a warped world. Jesus is the Straight and unchanging Path to the world of good and where holiness and happiness reign. We are only pilgrims. We are aliens here. Good God and Gentle Jesus, pray for us. Come Lord Jesus, in Glory. Holy Mary, Mother of God, NOTRE DAME, pray for us! Never let us be separated from the Lord, hold us in you Sorrowful and Immaculate Hearts, to joined forever with you, the Saints and Angels one day in heaven, for happiness certainly cannot be promised us here, as you told St. Bernadette of Lourdes. We need to persevere. Please pray for the grace of perseverance to live a holy life, to lay it down for the 'least among us' for our friends and our enemies. We must love those who persecute us, so please help us to love. God bless you Father. You will one day hear the words from Jesus, "WELL DONE, MY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Picture Found at Objets D'artagnan
*******
Free health care for everyone
Oh Yippee yay
And only the 'evil rich' will
Have to pay
Health care for all,
that is to say,
Except for the
"Least among us"
Ok, but hey,
If babies are aborted they're
Not among us anymore
So keep shouting and demanding
Your rights upon
the Floor
And all this talk about abortion
Just ignore, ignore, ignore...
Oh, it'll all be hunky dory
I'm so SURE!
*******
susie melkus
10.23.09

Don't expect to be loved...


This breaks my heart and honestly makes me angry...

Chicago nun volunteers as an escort at an abortion mill!
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Mary said people are falling into hell like snowflakes. She told Jacinta, shortly before her death,
that so many souls go to hell "because of sins of the flesh" than for any other reason.

Dear God...


Save us from our

disclaimer: I know not ALL teachers are wimps.

Demise of a Big Screen...

The once loud and colorful technological marvel of its day stands forlorn, empty and dark, awaiting its final resting place. A mournful wail is heard from beyond the fence,
breaking the morning silence...
"Bring out your dead!"

Notre Dame, Montreal ...


Now here's a "mega church" that needs no "jumbotron!" Conversion can take place inside a chapel like this without a word spoken. The architect, an Irish-American Protestant from N.Y. was so moved, he was converted to Catholicism!

Some say this interior is "gaudy" and full of "idols." I say, it's full of CHRIST all over, on the walls, in the windows, on the ceiling and perhaps in a mosaic on the floor as some cathedrals and basilicas have. Some say we worship idols because of the statues, etc. Well, do Christians in 'mega churches' worship big screens?? Do they worship "flags?" The reason I mention flags is because there was a flag of every country in the world hanging from the ceiling of our former Interdenominational fellowship. Did we "worship" the flags? No. Do Catholics worship statues? No. I would urge those who believe this to stop being so ignorant, and don't believe lies you hear or misinformation you've heard throughout your life.

Just ASK a practicing Catholic, instead of a biased, ignorant Protestant (I used to be a ignorant Protestant, [meaning ignorant of Catholicism] so I know they exist and I'm not 'bashing' Protestants. My whole family is Protestant and I love them. I have many friends who are Protestant and love them too, so, please, no mean-spirited, anti-Catholic emails or comments. If I receive any, they will not be posted, only quickly deleted.) or a bitter ex-Catholic. It's so sad to have such anger and strife among those who call themselves the "Body of Christ." I've not met ONE Catholic who worships a statue. Just like you don't worship your family, although you might kiss a picture of a loved one that you might carry in your wallet or purse. If you're ever traveling or in the military fighting for our freedom, and you take a picture of your wife or husband with you, gaze at it with all your love and/or happen to kiss it before you go to bed, does that mean you worship your wife or husband? Of course not.

Come on folks, let's stop the bickering and unite to 'fight the good fight' ... and pray with Jesus His prayer of John 17. Who knows, maybe if you'd ever find yourself inside a beautiful Cathedral someday, just sit and be still. Listen to God speak to your heart, and perhaps you might be changed in a moment, like the architect of this Cathedral, changed so much as to convert to the One Church Jesus built on Peter. If not that, then maybe at least you'll be touched and enlightened enough to say, "Jesus, this is lovely." Or "You are truly here, Lord. Forgive me for being so hard of heart as to think that You couldn't be found here." Or "Thank you for this beauty and giving man the skills, the ability to create such a building to honor You." Or, just "Thank You, Jesus." Gratitude works miracles in a heart that's humble and contrite.


Godly men and women built these houses of worship. Don't keep perpetuating discord and factions by remaining 'in the dark' about the "Light from Light" whose found in every tabernacle around the world, in small. simple sanctuaries and the more ornate. All give glory to God ...not man.

Photo by Doug Ward

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fr. Al Lauer...

The purpose of 'family divisions.'
The Lord's order for family is that our brothers and sisters in the Church are to have and take priority over our natural, nuclear family! Did you know that? I am only recently learning about it, as a Catholic. It sounds so odd and even wrong, but Fr. Lauer is correct. Some if not most families begin in a "wrong way," i.e. not "in" God's perfect will, and can only be healed and brought into submission to the Lord Jesus by being 'dismantled by Him' and rebuilt. Truth DOES and will divide. But Truth divides to heal. So in a sense, Love/Truth divide people, but love doesn't subtract. Carnal love, pleasure-seeking love subtracts, it "takes away" from others to please only ourselves. It breaks up homes. God IS LOVE. Love divides and might 'cause some painful division, but onlyto mend and make new, to restore and bring to life.
If your spouse were to tell you to 'forsake Mass' and have coffee with him/her instead, you would have to obey Jesus, and not your husband or wife. You could make it clear that you'd be glad to meet him/her for coffee after Mass, or better yet, come with me and we'll go together after Mass. If they seem cold or become mad about your desire to be at Mass, then it's THEIR problem to work out, not yours to carry and feel guilty about. Selfish, narcissistic love subtracts and destroys relationships in families for a impure end.
Father's take on this is quite insightful, an 'eye-opener' and it's surely something to think about, a lesson for all of us. Our family began with two very young, selfish people. I was truly much more selfish than my husband and I still am! However, it's taken 33 years to come to see how selfish we really were...and there's so much water under the bridge. We move on, but we also realize that now we have to take stands on so many things, life and death issues in politics (which come up in many gatherings) and remain faithful to the Church and Her teachings rather than, go along to 'get along.' IT's a hard thing to do, but Jesus didn't say it would be a stroll through the tulips. It's really the only way to grow in the faith, in hope and in love and be healed, renewed, restored and brought into the FULLNESS of TRUTH and LIFE.

i could listen to this guy all day...

And again, FLIPPIN' GENIUS!!...

Flippin' genius...


Found this at Phat Catholic. Even if you're not a Michael Jackson fan, I never really was a big fan, but I did respect his talent. This kid's got plenty, too!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And now for something completely different...


It's not fair! I want a Nobel Peace Prize, too! I have to bake my own cookies for crying out loud! Unless my husband bakes them. Which, by the way, he's really got the knack for baking Boston Rocks, my fave. So,...by golly and doggone it..., my hubby should get the Nobel Prize! Not just for living with me, and loving me through thick and thicker, but for being a darn good baker of cookies! Cookies bring peace to the tummy AND to the world! It's not fair! FAIRNESS is FAIRNESS, Mr. O. How come O. gets one and we don't??? Waaa Waaa Waaaa. I can even whine as well as the President, so where's my prize? I mean, I used the word "well" instead of "good" which is proper grammar...come on!!!

Thanks to CRACKER JACK...now I can gloat like the guy in the White House!
CHECK OUT THIS T-SHIRT AND MUG
And read Mitch Albom's take simply superb!

The Spirit of Lepanto...


October 7 may have past,but since it's still October, and the month of Our Lady's Rosary, I found this worth posting. Let us remember OUR LADY OF VICTORY. Obama may not want the word "victory" to be spoken or used any more (I heard that a week or so ago, because the word 'victory' has "the sound of arrogance" and so I add, who should know the sound of arrogance better than our current president?) But I digress. This is a great post on a most influential battle of history. Our Lady of Victory, pray for us!

Excerpt:

The Spirit of Lepanto

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Letter by Robert Louis Stevenson re: Fr. Damien of Molokai, the "Leper Priest"...

LETTER:



And H/T Mozlink for a great blog with more information, especially for "new atheists" who think they know so much more than the rest of the world, about everything under the sun.
Fr. Damien was a hero and a living Saint in his time. He was canonized October 11, 2009, much to the chagrin of many a "know-it-all" ignoramous. Irony. Gotta love it!
I recently watched the documentary on EWTN about Fr. Damien and I was moved, and touched by this holy man's perseverence and heroic life, ministering to the poorest of the poor, the lepers - much as did Mother Teresa in India on the streets of Calcutta. God rest his soul and please Father Damien, I know you love those who hated you, please pray for us, for me to do the same. Amen.

I miss her...

Two days after I took this photo, the stump was removed from "God is Great Lane at Mary Our Queen parish. I always had fun saying "Hello" to "Sister Treesa" when I went to mass there some mornings. I really do miss her.
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The Sandhills of Nebraska...a place to hang your hat and leave your heart.

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This is along highway 12 in north-central Nebraska heading west. I love the Sandhills!
This is some of the most beautiful country on the planet, at least to me, a Nebraska girl. Though I never lived on a farm, I had Aunts and Uncles who farmed and loved going to visit them. One farm was in Kansas, and the other, in the upper central Nebraska plains, aka: the Sandhills. It makes me want to read some Marie Sandoz and Willa Cather novels and watch the "Sarah, Plain & Tall" series. There's something about the "ocean" of prairie grass, moving like waves as the wind blows through it, like the soft voice of God, whispering His love in the peace and solitude of the wide open spaces.
To me, this is the loveliest of the Central U.S. When people talk about 'fly over country' they're just ignorant of beauty. I'd much prefer the byways to get from point "A" to point "B" than to fly over it, or drive in such a hurry on the Interstate completely oblivious of the changes in terrain and the clean windswept prairie, where prayers of our pioneer forefathers and mothers were uttered under harsh and difficult conditions.
Mountains are majestic "forces" of God's handiwork. The oceans and seas and shores are his "watercolor" paintings, but the plains, the prairies of Nebraska and Kansas and the Dakotas are His pungent "earthy" handiwork...where wagon ruts are still visible from brave men and women, in search of new lives on the prairie and further to the West and California. Many didn't make it that far. Many died along the way, and some remained close to the earth here to start farmsteads and families and began the many rural townships. Some are only "ghost towns" now, but some are still thriving, though not as many. It always hurts my heart to see little towns die out. I know it's "progress" but it still hurts. To see gorgeous Catholic churches and other rural churches close, and fall into disrepair is so sad. It's from here that I eventually came "to be" due to my ancestors who lived in a "soddy" and made it through the depression in a small town. They didn't 'give up' or faint at the challenges they faced, but 'braved them' with their simple, "country" faith. My roots are Methodist and Baptist and now that I'm Catholic, and have visited so many shrines the past 4 years that honor the mother of ALL Christians, I would love to one day see 'Our Lady of the Sandhills.' Maybe there's a benefactor out there somewhere who could persuade a generous rancher to donate an acre or two to erect a shrine for Christians to make a pilgrimage to and pray for our farmers and ranchers and our country, in a secluded area of the Sandhills. We did visit "Our Lady of Peace Shrine" at Pine Bluffs, Wyoming returning to Nebraska last week on our way home from Denver. I had pictured the Shrine to be actually on the bluffs, but there must not have been the funds for that or maybe the land was not offered or available. Either way, it's very nice to see the honor and reverence given to Mary, (she always "points" to Jesus, never 'taking away' from Him - to clarify) since Jesus himself chose to have a mother, and made her His mother. He chose to come to us as a baby through her. He could have come down from heaven as the Lord of Lords,a fully Divine Lord, as a grown Man, but He came instead through the womb of His mother, humbling Himself that much, to show us how to honor our parents, as He did His (and commands us to likewise do) If he wanted a mother for Himself so much, as it seems obvious now to me, then we should also give her honor and love Mary, our 'spiritual mother' as much as Jesus, our Brother, does. Right? Ok, I digressed. Anyway, I hope one day there will be a Sandhills Shrine where people can stop to pray, to connect with God in such a lovely location, and to see the beauty of this farmland and ranch land. Where the earth provides the food for the whole world, like any "good Mother." "Mother Earth" is honored every "earth day" (almost every day obsessively now) yet Mary is hardly honored even by many of her own Catholic children. I think that's been a tragic thing, for when they disregard her, they disregard a part of Jesus. I mean if my own friends were to 'diss' my mom, how would that make me feel? Yet when they loved her, as I know so many did, it took nothing away from our friendship, it only enlarged it, as love does. That being said, it seems a very logical place for a shrine, at least to me so I hope one day one will be built.
I've been blessed to grow up in Nebraska. I thank God for Nebraska and prairie roots, even if I never lived on a farm. I may not have been a "country girl" in the literal sense, but the country's been inside of me for as long as I can remember. Just to get out of the city and the constant noise and din of business, traffic and busyness is a most profound delight to my soul. I can't wait to 'hit the road' and head west again. Next time, we're going to the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota and maybe up to North Dakota to visit the shrine there. I've not been to the Black Hills or Badlands since I was a girl of 15. It's the quiet serenity and the way the locals look out for eachother that's so endearing to me, about the "country."
They are their "brothers' keepers"
for "doggone" sure!