Monday, November 12, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Monday, November 5, 2007
As parents, we have it even harder, since we have to discern for little ones without knowing exactly what they'll get, what they'll think, what they'll understand or how any of it will affect their choices towards or away from God and His Church. There has been much discussion on many blogs recently about the Harry Potter series and The Golden Compass. Where should Catholic parents (and "Catholic" schools) stand on these neo-pagan fantasy books? Are they a good thing because kids should be introduced to even the bad things in our culture? Are they just good, clean fun? Are they EVIL and to be avoided by every respectable Catholic?
These are huge topics in the Catholic and secular media. I think most parents will have the chance to decide for themselves about these books. I know I've made my own decisions. This post is about the smaller, unknown influences at one particular Catholic school in the Heartland. This true story is only ONE of MANY reasons why I made the decision to homeschool.
During the last year (2nd grade) that my oldest was in Catholic schools, a Scholastic brand book called "Horrible Harry and the Dragon War" was assigned to the entire class. The kids were then asked to either write a book report or make a poster and give a presentation before the class. I love this type of project because the kids learn so many things (reading, comprehension, analysis, outlining, writing, public speaking) and are able to take pride in a final tangible accomplishment.
After reading the book, I wrote her teacher an e-mail saying that the book had some problems. What did she think about them? She wrote that the kids argue in the beginning of the book and that's pretty nasty but they resolve the disagreement by the end of the book, so she thought it was OK. This teacher (and 2 of the 3 others my daughter had at "Catholic" school) was protestant. I'm not saying that every Catholic (even THIS Catholic) has perfect discernment, but it would help if the teachers in a Catholic school were... you know, Catholic.
This story by Suzy Kline is about a classroom where two people who have very different conceptions of dragons meet. The boy ("Horrible Harry") is clearly white and Christian. He wants to be a knight and slay dragons and save the maidens from the clutches of dragons. The girl is Korean and secular or pagan or indeterminate. She loves dragons because they are wise and friendly. She thinks Harry is mean and tells him outright that she doesn't need to be saved. Once it has been established that Harry is rude and wrong, the adult reader thinks tolerance is the lesson. But then the Korean girl's dragon displays a supernatural ability that seems to say that the neo-pagan love of dragons has a basis in REALITY.
Now, about the book... Actually, I agree with you that Suzy Kline demonstrates how grade school kids should NOT act to each other and she has Harry apologize for his rude behavior. I really don't think anyone would want to imitate Harry because she does such a good job of showing how one hateful word can really hurt. This is a lesson [DAUGHTER #1] could read more about any time.
No, I was more worried that [DAUGHTER #1] would so dislike Harry (which she does) that she would reject a whole group of people to which Harry and she belong. Before I explain, let me first say that I gave the book to a friend and my husband to read just to check if I was misreading it. The same main points that had bothered me, bothered them.
- Although Suzy Kline doesn't fully explain Harry's dragon, she explains quite a bit about the Korean dragon (which incidentally has nothing to do with "My Father's Dragon"). Harry gets his conception of the dragon from Margaret Hodges re-telling of the story of "Saint George and the Dragon". Saint George (patron of England) was a real guy and he was really martyred and he is really in the liturgical calendar. It's a classic Catholic tale about a good, persevering, self-sacrificing knight who frees a people from a terrible dragon. It's a great story. What bothered me here was that although Kline's little story has Harry being "intolerant", ironically it's Harry's (i.e., the Christian) viewpoint that is "silenced".
- The Dragon has traditionally been a symbol of evil (devouring people and hording treasure) ALL OVER THE WORLD (see Michael O'Brien's "A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child's Mind"). In the Christian world (in Scripture - see Genesis and Revelation), the dragon/serpent has always been the Devil. Even the Pearl Dragon in Chinese folklore is not a "nice" dragon. Bringing luck is not the same as nice or good. "Eastern" dragons are absolutley NOT "beautiful, friendly, and wise" (p. 41). I love learning about other cultures (my background is in anthropology), but it seems that Kline is really only using cultural sensitivity to say that all cultures are OK except Catholic culture, which only produces bigots. In fact, Kline could not be more obvious when she has Harry offer to be Sir Harry and "save" Song Lee from the dragon (p. 12). Song Lee responds, "I don't need to be saved. I love dragons! They bring good luck!" Are most 2nd grade girls aware of male chauvinism? Is THAT Kline's point? I doubt it. On the contrary, what Song Lee says makes most Christians cringe.
- Then, there's the issue of the "indoor rainbow". So, at this point, it's pretty clear that Kline probably doesn't believe there is Truth, but that we are all free to have or make up our own personal truth. The only Truth is that we should be nice and get along, no matter what. The assumption of this way of thinking is that no one religion is correct and the world is strictly material. That's not an uncommon belief in our society.:) But, then Kline has a "magical" (not miraculous) INDOOR rainbow appear directly above Song Lee's dragon which "proves" that dragons bring good luck. Harry, in his very inarticulate way, tries to say that rainbows don't have anything to do with luck. Could he be on the verge of explaining the natural phenomenon of the various wavelengths of light being separated as they pass through water molecules? Or maybe he was thinking of sharing his own cultural view that they are a sign of the promise between God and His people that the world will never be destroyed by flood again? Nope, I guess not.
- Then, there's the minor point of logical inconsistency about Harry's team BEING the dragons against Song Lee's dragons. If Harry had really read "Saint George and the Dragon" he would most definitely NOT want to be THAT dragon. He would only want to be Sir George and kill dragons. That's the whole point, really. But, then how could everyone be a member of the peaceful brotherhood of world dragons.:)
- And, of course, the book ends with a parade led by the "two different kinds of dragons" proving that peace can only happen in our world when believing, intolerant nuts like Horrible Harry forget about their beliefs and embrace ALL worldviews (washed clean of those pesky claims of absolute Truth) and infused with a touch of magic.
Friday, November 2, 2007
December 19, 1969 - December 28, 2003
Please pray for my wonderful hubby and all the
Poor Souls in Purgatory.
They cannot pray for themselves and
depend on our prayers.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
This is one reason why I avoid (when I can) running into old friends whom I haven't seen in years. It's embarrassing to remember all those stupid haircuts (and colors), the ridiculous clothes, hideous rock/punk music and the obnoxious political stances. And I'm mostly talking about myself.
This is also why it's sometimes difficult for me to have patience with atheist types. I was one myself and when engaged in "conversation" with one I am often seized with the irrational urge to shake the person violently and shout, "Get some sense, man. Snap out of it."
Last week, someone introduced me to a man with whom they thought I might have something in common. He was a very nice man, a very educated man... a biochemist like my husband (RIP) was. He had been told some of the details of our tragedy and so he expressed admiration at how I handled it all.
I told him, as I always admit, that it wasn't that admirable since I didn't have a choice. I had children and I just had to go on. And then I said that God helped me through it all in ways I never could have thought possible... that He bombarded me with His Grace when I most needed It. The man was a little taken aback... perhaps because he didn't expect an "educated" person, someone who was introduced to him as an equal, to speak of God this way. He paused, looked down, and then said, rather candidly, that he envied me in a way because he had always wished he could have the faith I obviously had.
As an aside, I don't have great faith. In fact, my faith wobbles quite a bit IMHO but that's not for lack of Grace from God but because of my own sinful obstacles.
But, anyway, I have been where he is and I understood him completely. He went on to say that it did not feel authentic to have to believe first in order to believe more. I told him that I used to think that also, and that it was a mystery to me how anyone came to believe in Christ. This is the dilemma of the atheist/agnostic... how to get them to soften even a little to Christ's Love.
I told him that what changed everything for me was that I realized that faith in Christ is like love of other people. You can't ever love anyone unless you first encounter them, talk to them, get to know them. When we do for others and make sacrifices for their well-being, we come to love them even more deeply. Love doesn't just happen, like in the movies, from a distance. It is a result of actions and choices. Although faith is a gift from God, our reception of it doesn't just happen. We have to make a step to know Him and in order to make that step we have to trust even imperfectly that He is there.
I told this man that I prayed and went to Mass before I believed in the Triune God. I didn't tell him (for lack of time) but I had already arrived at the conclusion that the complexity in nature pointed towards a designer-creator. I really hoped it wasn't the Christian God... too demanding. Arriving at that conclusion took time and a miracle.
What's the moral of the story, you ask. I don't know except that although I'll never know if I played any part in that man's pilgrimage, I'd still tell him the same thing. God loves even atheists.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
But to be quiet and hidden and so loving that I would offer up my only beloved Child -- now that's a tough one.
I see those women in church who have a whole pew of children and remain calm, grace-filled and beautiful. I have met women who never raise their voices but use a look on their face that makes any man, woman or child stop in their tracks -- not out of fear of her anger but out of fear of displeasing her. This type of Marian woman does not use a Banshee call like I do; she doesn't stomp around in a huff or slam doors or threaten bodily harm.
But then my mind usually wanders off to ponder something along these lines. God made each of us to have a unique personality and our paths to sainthood are as unique as we are. Therefore, how much of my personality is God-given and how much is (in my layman's terms) "the fallen part"? Can I ever be like Mary? Are all the parts of me that aren't like Mary "the fallen parts"? Boy, that's a lot. How would a God-given part of me be perfected but still be different from Mary?
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Friday, October 5, 2007
I danced in the Moon & the Stars & the Sun
I came down from Heaven & I danced on Earth
At Bethlehem I had my birth:
Dance then, wherever you may be
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
And I'll lead you all, wherever you may be
And I'll lead you all in the Dance, said He!
I danced for the scribe & the pharisee
But they would not dance & they wouldn't follow me
I danced for fishermen, for James & John
They came with me & the Dance went on.
I danced on the Sabbath & I cured the lame
The holy people said it was a shame!
They whipped & they stripped & they hung me high
And they left me there on a cross to die!
I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black
It's hard to dance with the devil on your back
They buried my body & they thought I'd gone
But I am the Dance & I still go on!
They cut me down and I leapt up high
I am the Life that'll never, never die!
I'll live in you if you'll live in Me
I am the Lord of the Dance, said He!
Could it have been that I just couldn't (and didn't want to) imagine Our Lord crazily dancing around during His ministry and Passion? Or was it just that I'd always associated the Devil (or at least naughty leprechauns) with this sort of frenzy (you know, went down to Georgia, made deals with musicians at crossroads, and was always trying to keep his magically delicious Lucky Charms to himself)?
Then one day, I decided to look this song up and try to find out it's history. It turns out it was written by Sydney Carter in 1963. Here's a little taste of what this guy was thinking when he wrote this song:
'Partly inspired by Jesus, and partly by a statue of Shiva as Nataraja... as an adaptation of Joseph Brackett's "Simple Gifts", and a tribute to Shaker music. He later stated, "I did not think the churches would like it at all. I thought many people would find it pretty far flown, probably heretical and anyway dubiously Christian. But in fact people did sing it and, unknown to me, it touched a chord… Anyway, it's the sort of Christianity I believe in... I see Christ as the incarnation of the piper who is calling us. He dances that shape and pattern which is at the heart of our reality. By Christ I mean not only Jesus; in other times and places, other planets, there may be other Lords of the Dance. But Jesus is the one I know of first and best. I sing of the dancing pattern in the life and words of Jesus. Whether Jesus ever leaped in Galilee to the rhythm of a pipe or drum I do not know. We are told that David danced (and as an act of worship too), so it is not impossible. The fact that many Christians have regarded dancing as a bit ungodly (in a church, at any rate) does not mean that Jesus did. The Shakers didn't."'
Okley dokley. I think I've heard enough, Mr. Carter. I say you pack your bags and take your heretical and creepy song and move on over to Fr. Tim's place. We just don't need your many gods on many planets kinda thing. Thank you very much.
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
[it] comprises a theoretical unit of of cultural information, the building block of cultural evolution or diffusion that propagates from one mind to another analogously to the way in which a gene propagates from one organism to another as a unit of genetic information and of biological evolution.
What a funny little idea! How do these geeky academicians come up with this stuff? It's like they have nothing to do all day, just sitting around and typing on their computers, trying to impress people... ahem... well, anyway. Here you go...
1. Do you attend the Traditional Latin Mass or the Novus Ordo?
We assist at the TLM. We are blessed to have an independent chapel ministered fulltime by the FSSP.
2. If you attend the TLM, how far do you drive to get there?
It's 15 minutes away. As I said, we are very blessed.
3. If you had to apply a Catholic label to yourself, what would it be?
This kinda thing is very hard for me. I think most people would call me traditional but the traddies would probably call me a hippie.
4. Are you a comment junkie?
I think that might be the best part of reading and writing blogs.
5. Do you go back to read the comments on the blogs you’ve commented on?
6. Have you ever left an anonymous comment on another blog?
7. Which blogroll would you most like to be on?
It would appear that I just made it over at the SOV2. Yippee!!!
8. Which blog is the first one you check?
My #1 kid to make sure it's still pink and that creepy people aren't lurking... scary world we live in.
9. Have you met any other bloggers in person?
I think so.
10. What are you reading?
The Great Hunger -- It's about the Irish Potato Famine.
Has your site been banned by Spirit of Vatican II?
If it has, who do you think Father Tim really is?
The Curt Jester?
Elena Maria Vidal
Fr. Chadwick LeJanvier, SSLI
Papa Sanctus Pius X
Monday, October 1, 2007
If only I had this sort of meat when I was growing up, I might not have had years of darkness.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
O Glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, and spirits of evil.
Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil.
Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist Thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven.
That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan, who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels.
Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory.
This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men; his depraved mind, corrupt heart, his spirit of lying, impiety, blasphemy, his pestilential breath of impurity and of every vice and iniquity.
These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the Spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions.
In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.
Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate Thee as their protector and patron; in Thee Holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to Thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude.
Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent who is the devil and Satan, do Thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
V. Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered, hostile powers.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered, the root of David.
V. Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee
LET US PRAY
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy name, and we humbly implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel St. Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.
Pope Leo XIII, 1888 Raccolta 1933 (300 days indulgence, each day)
Thanks to Catholic Church Conservation.
I sent my 11 yo (#1) and 3 yo (#2) girls outside with our 4 mo puppy for a last hurrah of the day... 5 minutes only. In that small amount of time, my next door neighbor, the immodestly-dressed 50-something yo party animal of a public school teacher (ID50+PAPST), invited my children to attend the local Gay Pride Parade (GROSS). She even told them that if I didn't want to go, she would take them (including 3 yo #2) to the GROSS.
#1 was flabbergasted and disgusted (I guess I'm doing something right). #1 said she told ID50+PAPST that she didn't think her mother would allow them to go to the GROSS and besides none of us were gay. Don't you just love how children are many times more logical than adults.
#1 also told ID50+PAPST that last year we were driving to the mall and accidentally saw a part of the GROSS and it was... well, gross.
ID50+PAPST told #1 that a person didn't have to be Gay to go to the GROSS. That most of "her kids" (she doesn't have any of her own -- these are her school kids) love going to the GROSS because it's fun. #1 still politely declined.
After #1 told me this story, she also told me that ID50+PAPST confided that most of "her kids" end up in prison because most of them end up in gangs selling drugs and killing people. #1, being more logical than ID50+PAPST, put 2 and 2 together and came up with the solution that going to the GROSS, selling drugs, killing people and being in gangs is all part of the insane world in which ID50+PAPST lives and works. I politely agreed and chose NOT to tell #1 that while ID50+PAPST is more off her rocker than the public school system IN GENERAL... she's not much more.
ID50+PAPST is very nice and she's actually a good neighbor. She looks out for the girls and me and our dogs. She is, however, overly concerned with my oldest daughter's socialization (scary). But apparently her idea of socialization is... well, you've been reading, haven't you? I try to limit my children's exposure to ID50+PAPST while maintaining compassion for her as a human so deeply entrenched in a sinful lifestyle that she can't see it. Did I mention that ID50+PAPST is a Catholic? Although lapsed (or never there, really), she doesn't think so. I mean, she has a statue of the BVM in her front yard AND wears a crucifix.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
"The idea behind an Italian convent's newfangled box for abandoned babies is as old as the 12th century. In 1198, deploring the number of dead infants found flouting in the Tiber, Pope Innocent III ordered convents to install foundling wheels - revolving compartments to deliver babies anonymously into the care of nuns. Similarly, the box welded onto the gate of Bergamo's Matris Domini Convent in February [below] opens to an insulated cradle. An alarm sounds when a child is placed inside; the sisters call nearby Riuniti Hospital, which picks up the baby within minutes. Foundling wheels fell out of use by the mid-1900s. Germany introduced a latter-day version in 2000 and now has some 80. In Hamburg alone, 38 infants have been left in the city's two 'baby hatches.' In 2006, Italy revived the tradition, hoping to help unwed mothers - often illegal immigrants afraid of the authorities. Says Riuniti's Dr. Regina Barbo: 'Their suffering and fear is as great today as ever.'
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Go visit her over there: http://gimmesomeofyouryouknow.blogspot.com/.
If you don't like pink, you're in trouble.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
“Since the liturgical reform [i.e., the protestant rebellion of the 16th C] had for one of its principal aims the abolition of actions and formulas of mystical signification, it is a logical consequence that its authors had to vindicate the use of the vernacular in divine worship.This is in the eyes of sectarians a most important item. 'Worship is no secret matter.' 'The people,' they say, 'must understand what they sing.'Hatred for the Latin language is inborn in the hearts of all the enemies of Rome. They recognize it as the bond among Catholics throughout the universe, as the arsenal of orthodoxy against all the subtleties of the sectarian spirit. ...The spirit of rebellion which drives them to confide the universal prayer to the language of each people, of each province, of each century, has for the rest produced its fruits, and the reformed themselves constantly perceive that the Catholic people, in spite of their Latin prayers, relish better and accomplish with more zeal the duties of the cult than most of the Protestant people. At every hour of the day, divine worship takes place in Catholic churches. The faithful Catholic who attends leaves his mother tongue at the door. Apart form the sermons, he hears nothing but mysterious words which, even so, are not heard in the most solemn moment of the Canon of the Mass. Nevertheless, this mystery charms him in such a way that he is not jealous of the lot of the Protestant, even though the ear of the latter doesn’t hear a single sound without perceiving its meaning. While the reformed temple assembles, with great difficulty, purist Christians once a week, the 'Popish Church' watches unceasingly her numerous altars visited upon by her religious children; every day, they withdraw from their work to come hear those mysterious words which must be of God, for they nourish the faith and ease the pains.We must admit it is a master blow of Protestantism to have declared war on the sacred language. If it should ever succeed in ever destroying it, it would be well on the way to victory. Exposed to profane gaze, like a virgin who has been violated, from that moment on the Liturgy has lost much of its sacred character, and very soon people find that it is not worthwhile putting aside one’s work or pleasure in order to go and listen to what is being spoken in the way one speaks on the town square. ...”
This is a quote from “The Anti-Liturgical Heresy” (the original title is "L'Hérésie Anti-Liturgiste," an excerpt of the "Institutions Liturgiques," v. 1), first published in 1840 over 160 years ago. The above appears to me to be both a historically accurate depiction of the 16th C reformers’ mentalities and a prophetic statement depicting some of the 20th C reformers’ mentalities… so alike in so many ways.
Clearly the Evil One has been long at it (well before Dom Gueranger wrote these words) in order to prevail against our Beloved Church. Although Our Lord will in the end have His victory over Satan, we still might want to consider rallying to His cause and defending the Church's arsenal for that battle here on earth.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
I also love my Aunt Deb and Uncle Marshall, their three children, their spouses, their 6 grandchildren and the growing number of spouses to those grandchildren, and the one great-grandchild that they have so far. This is a family who never, ever (I mean truly and for real) met a stranger. They are loving and genuine and God-fearing and moral without even breaking a sweat. They cook some of the best grub I have ever eaten, play some mean dominoes, and know how to laugh hard enough to bust a gut. They are the kind of people you’d go to if you were in one hell of a bind (even of your own making) because they are Christian in the deepest sense of that word. One of the grandchildren (now 24 years old) was getting married to a long-time friend of hers this past Saturday night in Kaufman, Texas (pop 6,500+). It was a beautiful little rented chapel with tulle and twinkle lights and as reverent as a cowboy preacher can make it.
May God bless the union of Nicole and Brett.
Since my grandmother (sister to my Aunt Deb) had a stomach virus, she kindly asked us to consider staying elsewhere (other than her house in Ft. Worth) and we obliged ever so willingly, not being particularly partial to intestinal upset. Since the wedding was in Kaufman and our clandestine meeting Sunday morning was in Dallas, we stayed in the gigantic town of Seagoville, Texas (pop 10,000+), just about the halfway mark between the two.
This was exciting since we could see one of the major federal penitentiaries (http://www.answers.com/topic/federal-correctional-institution-seagoville) across the highway from our hotel. We (not so) lamentably were unable to visit. While Dallas is as awesome and ugly as any big city can be and Kaufman is as charming and quaint as any 150 year old Texan town can be, Seagoville appears to be industry built up around the Pen and not really a town in the proper sense of the word at all. Still, it had a Wal-mart, a Mexican restaurant and a clean affordable Best Western. Need I say more?
The Catholic part of our adventure began Saturday afternoon when we went in search of the church in Kaufman for confession. My mother, addicted to old things sold for way more money than the original owner ever thought possible, was checking out the local antique stores. I asked the owner of the one we were in where the Catholic Church was. She started slightly, looked at me quizzically and said, “Well, honey, it’s real easy, just go around the square and turn over there by Scott’s Pharmacy. It’s a real pretty building at the end of that street. You can’t miss it.” She was right and so my older daughter and I went for confession. Isn’t it strange that they have confession from 3:30 – 4:30pm on Saturday afternoon in Kaufman, Texas, just like in almost every Catholic Church in OKC??? What is up with that one special hour?
We entered St. Ann’s Catholic Church and almost stumbled upon a GIANT life-size rough-hewn cross lying on the ground in the vestibule. It was roped off like in a museum with a beautiful statue of St. Ann holding our Blessed Mother at the head of this cross. As we entered the church, we came upon a handful of adolescent girls in charge of the music ministry practicing for their performance(s) the next day. This church was what people-in-the-know call “in the round” with the altar in the center. I looked around and couldn’t find the confessional anywhere in sight. I asked a woman in a back pew where they were and she pointed me to an area I would have thought to be the sacristy. In fact, one had to walk around behind the altar and up to the tabernacle to within touching distance and then to the left to reach the confessional, the door of which was strangely marked “Chapel of Reconciliation."
We were not disappointed in it at all!!! First of all, it’s in a part of town to which my mother, a veteran Irving/Dallas-ite, had never been – a mixture of industrial and lush tree-lined park. The chapel is located inside a convent, the grounds of which are like an orchard. Although the gentleman had warned us to be early – surprise – we weren’t. Since my toddler was asleep and my parents aren’t Catholic, they stayed in the van while D and I went in. I know those of you familiar with St. Michael’s will not believe me, but I think it was smaller than our tiny chapel. It was literally packed with husbands and fathers standing in the side aisles (which were exactly the width of my hips BTW). There was no vestibule per se, but a small opening in which stood another 5-6 men. To their credit as Catholic gentlemen and presumably a few Texans as well, they felt very uncomfortable with us two women standing in the middle of them without seats. Another gentleman very kindly found us seats.
It is a humbly beautiful chapel. When they say renovation, they really mean renovation. It doesn't look ANYTHING like the photo. Above the altar and crucifix was a traditional tableau of large statues in niches. Although this was a more humble representation than in a gothic cathedral, this is my favorite type of altar. Directly above the altar is a large statue of the Infant Jesus of Prague. On either side of and slightly below Our Lord stands Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and St. Joseph. Then on either side of them stands a male tonsured saint with a cross (St. Dominic?) and a female habited saint with a dove pulling at her veil (I think). They had a very nice all male choir. But the really cool thing was that the entire church did the Latin responses that only our choir does including the Creed. I really liked it that way. Fr. Terra has a wonderful voice and his sermon on the Sacred Heart was fabulous.
It was fun to see all the large families, hear all the screaming babies, and watch another wonderful priest as he took it all in stride. In fact, my mother observed while sitting in our van outside that there wasn’t a cry area and people had to come outside onto a covered ramp in the rain. She said, “You know what was cool. It was all the fathers, not the mothers who were outside holding their children.” I said, “Well, being head of the household doesn’t mean demanding another beer in a loud voice.” Thank you Hidden Chapel Catholic Fathers for making another good point in the favor of Our Lord’s Church to my stubborn mother.
So, that’s it. Our Catholic Adventure to the Hidden Chapels had come to an end.
Monday, June 4, 2007
Here's an adventure story. I hope you enjoy it.
The weekend after next we're going to a wedding in central Texas. We’re driving back to my grandmother’s house in Fort Worth late Saturday night after the wedding. Of course, you know the first issue up for consideration -- “Where are we going to Mass Sunday morning?”
The last time we just waltzed into an unknown church for Mass was in San Antonio. You would not believe the free-for-all that was. Let me see if I can summarize – the tabernacle was off to the side, the priest apparently didn't feel like wearing vestments as he flippantly walked out of the sacristy to begin Mass, there was no structure to the N.O. liturgy that I could recognize, the Scripture was all mixed up and badly paraphrased in his homily which lasted at least 30 minutes or more and was punctuated with laughter, clapping and cheering from the “audience”, women altarboys scantily clad in shorts and flip-flops were busy on the altar or kneeling at prie-dieus facing the priest NOT Our Lord in the Host. Of course, these groupies then handed out Our Lord while he sat back like some Jim Jones on his throne in front of the altar. You remember where Our Lord’s throne was, right? Yea, that's right -- off to the side. Needless to say, I’m gun-shy about just walking into a parish I don’t know anything about.
Usually when we stay at Grandma’s, we go to a scary (but much better than above) N.O. Guitar Mexican Cowboy Mass down the street from her house. The pews seem to be made for skinny giants since they are about a foot deep and so high off the ground that my feet dangle. This is especially ironic if you know that I share the general proportions of the average Mexican-American. I could just kneel the whole time and pray (which is probably what I should do) except that hardly anyone else is doing that and there’s a constant presence of Tejano-laced protestant-inspired guitar hymns. By the time the Mass is over, I’m nauseated from the music (thinking that even the dreaded “Lord of the Dance” hymn would be welcome) and have no circulation in my lower extremities. I’m afraid if I have to go there again, I’ll bum rush one of the "extraordinary" Eucharistic ministers before the consecration and drink the wine down in one needful gulp.
Ya’ll will understand that I felt very liberated when I made the decision not to do that again and try to find a Latin Mass. Fort Worth, I thought, is an average-size city. Surely, they must have one. Well, they do. They have exactly one Latin Mass a week on Sunday at 5:30pm. This is just a reminder to us here in little Ole OKC that we are indeed blessed to have St. Michael’s.
So, next I looked at Dallas. Dallas is a huge city in size and population, and should have several Latin Mass options, right?
They have one covert chapel with a daily Mass and two on Sundays. Yippee!
Now, for the rest of the story…
This chapel is in a Carmelite convent in central Dallas (near a golf course) about an hour from my grandmother's house. I had to e-mail a very nice gentleman in Dallas for directions because they can’t list the address on the internet at the request of the nuns, who are cloistered but not particularly interested in the Latin Mass. They're just charitable with their space --May the Good Lord bless their generosity. He says that both Sunday Masses are so crowded that it’s standing room only. You’d think in a big place like Dallas, they’d have a sizable church (or two) in an easy to find part of town.
I feel like we’re going to meet with members of the Cosa Nostra to conduct some criminal activity instead of going to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It sorta reminds me of what living in the days of the Roman Catacombs must have been like when you had to know a password to get into the Mass.
What will it be – “Mackerel Smackin’s the only way to go” or “Once you’ve gone Latin, you’ll never go back” or maybe they’ll just keep it simple and traditional with “Ichthus” or "Down with Nostra Aetate"?
Whatever the case, it’s sure to be an adventure. I'll keep you posted.
Monday, May 7, 2007
The following was pointed out in an article in "The Remnant." This part of the Gospel comes right after Simone the Cyrenian has taken up Christ's Cross.
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.' At that time people will say to the mountains, 'Fall upon us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!' for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?"
I'm pretty sure the wood is now dry. Are you weeping for yourselves and your children yet? I am.
This Scripture was used in an article saying that each and every one of us, and the Church collectively, must go through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ in order to be saved. We should not be too surprised or angry that Our beloved Church is persecuted by enemies of our Lord. Above all, we must pray and do penance and understand that ONLY God can save Her and us.
We must remember Christ's silence "during the greater part of His Passion." This is a hard lesson for me, who wants to pull out my sword and cut off the ear of the temple guard who approaches my Lord, only to be rebuked as He miraculously heals that same ear. If I wish to follow Him, I must drink from that cup also.
God, help me be as you would have me be to all and in everything!
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Here's Mine (with my pseudonym):
And here's my oldest daughter's new title:
Reverend Lady Annie the Funereal of Chipping Sodbury
Saturday, April 21, 2007
I find this article both sad and fascinating. I particularly like what Ms. Andrist (apparently a real person with a very funny name) said about women not having enough time to be women. Now, who’s the sexist, I ask you?! What do you expect from a person with a name like THAT?!
I also thought it interesting that a Dr. Constantine laments menstruating women in that, “They limit sexual activity and exercise, wear dark clothes and stay home more.” Of course, I thought these sounded like some positives changes. But the loss of wages, a decrease in effectiveness at work or school and absenteeism – these are inexcusable! :)
Plus, as far as I know the Pill does NOT “stop the monthly release of an egg” but it does stop “the buildup of the uterine lining” and thus performs abortions when "necessary". The cozy terminology I remember is that it creates an inhospitable environment in which a baby/fetus/embryo cannot attach to the uterine wall.
I went to that http://www.fewerperiods.com/ site (Barr Pharmaceuticals) and they claim the Pill creates a "Pill Period" because it "hinders" ovulation and this type of period is different from the period of an ovulating woman. Whatever! Someone please educate me if I’m wrong. In fact, I have to share an entire section of their FAQ from the above-referenced site with you:
3: Isn’t it unnatural to not have a monthly period? Having a period every month is natural. What’s not natural are the number of periods we’re having now. Today, women have many, many more periods than their mothers or grandmothers. Years ago women stayed home, they didn’t work outside the home, they had more children, they got married earlier, and look at the number of children they had: sometimes 5, 6, 7 kids. They breast fed. They might go a long time without having a period. They might have a few periods and then get pregnant again. Now compare that to today’s modern woman. We’re having fewer children, we’re having children later, and we’re not breastfeeding. In fact, think about it. The average age of starting to have periods today is about 12. And let’s say a woman doesn’t have her first child until age 27. Well that’s 15 years of periods, you know, month after month after year after year after year. Our bodies really weren’t designed to have all of these periods. Today we’re having hundreds of periods in our lifetime, whereas a century ago we were only having a few periods. One might say that that’s not natural; that’s not what we were designed to do.
I was disappointed to find that they left out whether old-fashioned women (who menstruate less) or modern women (who bleed all the time) prefer dark clothes. I love how this Q & A sounds like one airhead explaining rocket science to another airhead. I can't argue with the internal logic of their explanation. Of course, the huge glaring assumption in the middle is that being a woman and mother to 5, 6 or 7 (Eek!) is a terrible thing of the past. Then they make the good point that if you're contracepting, you're not really a woman anyway. You might as well admit it, stop bleeding to death, and buy their product. I also have to point out that Barr Pharmaceuticals has taken a stand in the Evolutionism/Intelligent Design debate. They acknowledge we were DESIGNED.
Mostly I find it sad that we’re not worried about killing babies or about how the Pill destroys a woman’s long-term fertility specifically and our bodies in general. We’re worried about having the appearance of normality.
Pray, pray, pray.
Monday, April 16, 2007
“Don’t be so sensitive."
“Can’t you take a joke?”
“You can’t be seriously angry.”
“I guess I can never do anything right.”
When I was young, living at home, and still a potential ball of clay to be molded by her hands, it was more like,
“It’s all in your head."
“Don’t be a flake.”
“You’ll never accomplish your dreams that way.”
“Maybe we should check into counseling and medication for you.”
I am thankful that she sees I’m beyond help and only wants to get along now.
She is (was and always will be) an extremely sarcastic woman with a passive aggression and a sense of her own rightness in any situation (based on decency, not morality) that can cut you to ribbons before you even know you have a single boo-boo. The years might have dulled her razor-sharp attacks a little, but not much.
On the other side of the house, he was seriously in love with arguing but lacked the intellectual ability to win any battles without resorting to below-the-belt retorts. He would argue about anything, literally anything. No passivity there at all. I remember one battle, perhaps the first in which I was able to step back and watch dispassionately, in which he wanted to convince me of some particularity concerning Braum’s dairy farm. Even though I knew that he knew nothing about this topic, I knew less and cared none at all. He was able to win that one without meanness.
When he was really backed into a corner, he wasn’t afraid to just call you stupid, scream at the top of his lungs, and appear to be on the verge of a red-faced meltdown which would end in your murder. Well, now he’s very docile and happy, sweet and oblivious. I’ve always suspected that bliss lied on the other side of all things intellectual.
I was a child and I saw through the eyes of a child that these things were of my making. I was crazy, ill-equipped to intellectually spar with the Old Man, and the cause of all this discord in my family.
Not now. Now I know they’re crazy. The only bad thing about gaining this knowledge as an adult is that I’m now the parent, most likely inflicting my own craziness on my kids.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
It has been 1 year, 1 month, 20 days, 16 hours, and 24 minutes since my husband died and still I am dismantling the things he put together, the things he touched, the edifices he erected around him. When a person dies suddenly, the stuff they have left behind is not sucked into the vortex created by their vacuum-like absence. It remains. It remains exactly AS IF they never left. It is for you, the “next of kin” to dismantle it… to make the decisions of what stays and what goes, what is sacred enough to become part of the permanent shrine and what must be broken out of the matrix that was his world.
Just this morning, I finally washed a cup of his from work. He had drunk all the coffee out of it, so there was only a residue and the invisible stamp of his lips. I had kept this cup (and a spoon, fork and knife he kept at work in a Ziploc bag) by my desk at home, not knowing exactly what to do with them.
I have another confession to make. I have a dirty shirt of his in a bag. This shirt was his lawn mowing shirt and instead of washing it every time, he kept it in a plastic bag in our mud porch. The shirt has lost all its scent but it reminds me of his substance, his physical presence, his manly sense of order in which washing a shirt used only for dirty work was unnecessary.
Most people will say, “Wash them, you silly fool. That’s what you do with them… and not over a year later.” Yes, but when will he drink from another cup again. When will he mow our lawn or sweat in a shirt or make a decision about how best to store work clothes. When will I be able to wash his dirty cup again? I have dismantled an entire activity of his that will never repeat.
This is exactly why dismantling my husband’s life is difficult. Every act, every doodle on a piece of paper, every wonderfully dirty shirt is sacred. They are sacred because they can never be again. Dismantling a loved one is painful. Yet I do not want to reach the end.
And what of me? How can I be trusted to make the choices about the parts of me that he touched? I am inextricably enmeshed in this matrix also and I do not know how or even if I want to dismantle the part of me that is him and the part of me that is me. But if I remain entwined with his remains, for the person of my husband has gone on and is no longer concerned with matrices and edifices, what of me will be left for anyone else? Will I not be living among the dead, dying among the living?
Saturday, April 14, 2007
A jeszcze serce zmysłom spoczynku nie daje,
Myśl za minionym szczęściem gonić nie przestaje,
Westchnienie po westchnieniu z piersi się wyrywa.
A choć znużone ciało we śnie odpoczywa,
To myśl znów ulatuje w snów i marzeń kraje,
Goni za marą, której szczęściu niedostaje,
A dusza przez sen nawet drugiej duszy wzywa.
Jest kwiat, co się otwiera pośród nocy cienia
I spogląda na księżyc, i miłe tchnie wonie,
Aż póki nie obaczy jutrzenki promienia.
Jest serce, co się kryjąc w zakrwawionym łonie,
W nocy tylko oddycha, w nocy we łzach tonie,
A w dzień pilnie ukrywa głębokie cierpienia.
And now, for those of you who prefer English...
It’s midnight – half the world is covered in shadow,
But still the heart stirs and provides no rest,
Thoughts of a bygone love wring and wrest,
As pained sighs after new sighs continually flow.
And though the weary body lies in calming sleep,
Thoughts take wing in the land of dreams,
Chasing visions of joy never gotten, it seems,
As one soul calls to another even in silence deep.
There is a flower which opens up in shadowy night,
And gazes at the moon, and sweetens the air,
Till it’s touched by the beams of morning light.
There is a heart – in wounded breast taking flight;
Only at night does it breathe in teary despair,
Till it softly covers its desires from day’s pitiless glare.