Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Somewhat Important Chapter

If you'd like to read some great writing from a young preteen writer about a very traumatic part of her life, go here. Please, leave her comments to encourage her budding talent.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Be Nice To Atheists

I am a changed woman. I don't do things small or halfway -- I either do them... or more often, I don't. Before my conversion, I was an atheist pro-choice feminist libertarian. OK, how many of you got chills down your spine on that one?

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

Excommunicated by the Excommunicated!!!

I've been EXCOMMUNICATED by the lovely folks over at the Society of St. Leo I (SSLI).
I still say Fr. Chadwick LeJanvier (a.k.a. RadTradChad) looks just like Oliver Stone. You be the judge.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Make Me Like Mary

I pray anywhere from 10 to 50 times a day, "Lord, make me more like Mary. Make me meek, mild, and loving." I'm not bragging. The reason being that I'm not much like her. I have always had a hard time being like Mary.

I've always been more drawn to the "feisty" women saints like St. Catherine of Siena or the intellectual male saints like St. Thomas Aquinas.

I could completely see myself, like St. Peter, jumping to Our Lord's defense and cutting off the guard's ear in the Garden, only to be rebuked by Christ.

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.

Mary -- full of grace, full of beauty, full of love, full of justice

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

A Different Sort of Silence of the Lambs

I have been sick for a couple of days. My mother, out of the goodness of her dear heart, came and picked up my children about an hour ago. I settled down to read a book and sleep. Then, it happened. The Silence of no children in the house came crashing down upon me. Do you have any idea how unnerving it is to be in a house where only the jingle of the dog's tag on her collar can be heard?
I do not think I could stand living alone again without noise, without other people. Thank you, Lord, for my mother and thank you, Lord, for the noise that I usually have. May I always be surrounded by my children, their activity and their noise.

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Hymn for Father Tim

There is only ONE hymn I've ever truly hated --

Lord of the Dance.
Every time the children's choir (and for some reason it was mostly reserved for our younguns to sing this) would start belting this one out, my skin would crawl. I have to admit that it's rousing and made me want to do a Martin Short kinda dance down the aisle towards the altar, following some invisible and diabolical Pied Piper of bad liturgical making. For the longest time, I didn't confide my hatred of this song with others because I couldn't quite put my finger on the why of it.

Lord of the Dance
I danced in the morning when the world was begun
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


Father Tim, you've made my day.


So, I'm sorta new to this blogging thingie and I want to make friends. Really, I do. When my real-time friend over at Shoved To Them sent me this thing called a MEME, I was excited. I didn't exactly know what a MEME was although I'd seen them being passed around like a stomach virus in a large homeschooling family. Seemed like a chain letter, only personalized. Well, being a Gen-Xer mother of a couple of Gen-Wikiers, I looked up MEME...
[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.
Bonus Question!
Has your site been banned by Spirit of Vatican II?
If it has, who do you think Father Tim really is?
The Curt Jester?

I tag:
Elena Maria Vidal
Fr. Chadwick LeJanvier, SSLI
Papa Sanctus Pius X

Monday, October 1, 2007

Breaking News! Catechist Actually Expects Young Catholic to Learn the Faith!

This is the book for my 11 year old daughter's catechism class. It's an amazing series of sermons by St. Thomas which he delivered during the last year of his life. Apparently, they were so well-constructed for the common man that people in his native Naples flocked to them. I have read the first chapter AND I'm very impressed.
If only I had this sort of meat when I was growing up, I might not have had years of darkness.
What atheist could EVER match wits or, more importantly, sanctity with St. Thomas?
St. Thomas was my husband's favorite saint. I bought him a small pewter statue about a year before he died. I knew he liked it but I never knew how much until after. This statue was in his pocket when he died and I now thankfully have it safely in my living room.
Sancte Thomas, ora pro nobis.
Thank you God for You, St. Thomas, my husband, my children, our parish, the catechists who chose this book, and the TLM which nourishes us all!