Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Charleston Mourns

Charleston church shooting. I cannot say much. We pray for the souls of the slain and for their families. What strikes me in wonder is how they refuse to hate back. They forgive the shooter and pray that he may repent and turn to Christ. It is their Christian faith, their hope in life everlasting with Jesus that allows them to respond with such grace. Christ alone can save. And on that terrible Wed night at Emmanuel AME Church, God was with us. He is always with us.

Requiescat in pace:  

The Rev. Clementa Pinckney
Cynthia Hurd
The Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton
Tywanza Sanders
Ethel Lance
Susie Jackson
Depayne Middleton Doctor
The Rev. Daniel Simmons
Myra Thompson

Although I'm still recovering from bronchitis, I was so glad to be back in the choir loft to sing this beautiful spiritual, There is a Balm in Gilead, at Holy Communion on Sunday. It refers to verses in Jeremiah. Enjoy this beautiful version by the one and only Paul Robeson.


 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Married Saints

How wonderful that Zelie and Louis Martin, the parents of St. Therese, will be canonized in October. Although there are many saints that are married, this is the first time a married couple will be canonized together. This couldn't come at a better time. We need the witness of faithfully married traditional couples in a world intoxicated by the sexual revolution. Although I was not surprised by the decision of the US Supreme Court to redefine marriage, I am deeply saddened. I weep like the women of Jerusalem and am reminded of the words of our blessed Lord, "Weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children ..."

Archbishop Kurtz says, "Mandating marriage redefinition across the country is a tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us, especially children. The law has a duty to support every child’s basic right to be raised, where possible, by his or her married mother and father in a stable home." Read the full statement from the USCCB.

All we can do is pray, pray, pray.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

On Fathers and Martyrs

Go to Joseph I never asked any grace from St. Josheph that I did not obtain - Carmelite cardAh, summer days. Call me lazy. But even my poor little blog is suffering. I wish our fathers were honored more, but June comes and they barely get an acknowledgement. They toil in obscurity like good St. Joseph. My husband got up early and prepared a lovely breakfast with all the summer berries for all of us. It was too hot to do anything outside so we all read our books and talked on the phone with our dads, then went to Mass in the evening, where Father exhorted all the fathers to do their duties of Christian fatherhood, namely sanctification of the family. St. Joseph, pray for us.

Yesterday we celebrated the feast of St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher. These two men stood for the sanctity of marriage. King Henry VIII had them both beheaded and declared himself the head of the Church of England, separating himself from the Catholic Church. And what is the state of marriage now? In shambles. Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Hindu, Muslim, Atheist. It doesn't even matter. Families are being destroyed because men and women no longer know how to live that covenant relationship. We are a throwaway culture. We not only throw away our spouses, but our children. And now we want to redefine marriage. Go ahead. Two women, three men, why not add cats and dogs? Aliens? Ireland has just legalized gay marriage. That doesn't make it right. Is anybody even thinking about the children? From the very beginning, marriage was between one man and one woman until death, for the raising of children, and no matter what people say that it can be something else, it is not. 

John the Baptist, whose nativity we celebrate tomorrow, was beheaded for upholding marriage as well. Why is the Church so concerned with sex and marriage? Because "the final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be over marriage and family life," says Sister Lucia of Fatima. Read this very interesting excerpt. It's no wonder that now people are even confused about their very identity, whether they are male or female. Look at poor Bruce Jenner. His DNA does not lie. He might feel feminine. Having artificial breasts does not a woman make. Bruce Jenner has a male body and soul. And if anthropologists were to analyze his body 5,000 years from now, they would deduce he was a male and mutilated. Anyway, I think Jenner needs prayers and therapy, not surgery. I came across a very interesting and sensible article by Dr. McHugh that goes into why sex-change operation is impossible.

Enjoy Faith of our Fathers: The link has all the lyrics.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Feast Days



http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ZUUD0p9gc-Y/VXq2LYutJrI/AAAAAAAASiI/spAQxiWErWc/s1600/cor-jesu.jpgFriday and Saturday were Feast Days of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary respectively. I was hoping there would be some pomp in the church but we just had a quiet renewal of our promises at home. It's like on March 25th. How I wish it were like Christmas, full of great music and great ceremony. Anyway. My poor little heart bursts with inexpressible sorrow for my sins and sings with gladness for dear Heart Jesus. I am ever grateful for all the lovely writers throughout the ages who have composed the most magnificent prayers, from the royal psalmist David to Jesus Himself to St. Ambrose and St. Thomas Aquinas to the Pope Pius XI who composed this prayer of reparation.
 
Most sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before you, eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries to which your loving Heart is everywhere subject.
 
Mindful, alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask your pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation, not only for our own personal offenses, but also for the sins of those, who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow you, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the promises of their baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of your law.
 
We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against you; we are now determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behavior, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violations of Sundays and holy-days, and the shocking blasphemies uttered against you and your Saints. We wish also to make amends for the insults to which your Vicar on earth and your priests are subjected, for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of the very Sacrament of your divine love, and lastly for the public crimes of nations who resist the rights and teaching authority of the Church which you have founded.
 
Would that we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood. We now offer, in reparation for these violations of your divine honor, the satisfaction you once made to your Eternal Father on the cross and which you continue to renew daily on our altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of your Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of your grace, for all neglect of your great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past. Henceforth, we will live a life of unswerving faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the Gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from offending you and to bring as many as possible to follow you. O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to you, so that we may all one day come to that happy home, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, God, forever and ever. Amen.
 
Note: Devotion to the Sacred Heart is very old and there is a wonderful book Sacred Fire that I reviewed earlier. 

ETA: Just returned from Mass and I was delighted that we celebrated the Feast of the Sacred Heart as an external Solemnity. A feast celebrating Love Himself. The priest reminded us that our human hearts are compelled to return that love as best as we can. 

 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Called to Silence

I should be happy. It's summer. The kids and I are sleeping in and there's a lot of unscheduled time to do as we please. But the truth is, I am rather a sad tomato. I've been in pain for over a month. Harry has been relentless. Although I pride myself on being able to work through pain, write a bit, put a decent meal on the table, sing, all with the help of modern medicine, I am growing weary. I'm down to the essentials. My main goal is to make the children independent and to teach them to take care of each other. And by necessity, it's happening naturally.

I miss all the things people take for granted. Hopping in the car and going to the beach. Gardening. Playing a game. Cooking. Cleaning. Inviting people over. Making plans. Writing. I've managed to revise a couple of stories over the past month. But I long to do so much more. But I remember that I am a human being, not a human doing. It is enough to just be.

Over and over, I am taught that I am not in control, that I am to desire God alone. We've been diligently practicing the Mozart Missa Brevis in F for Corpus Christi. Every practice is a prayer for me. The music is so beautiful. Finally, finally things are coming together ... but this past week, I've developed a nasty cough and lost my voice. This happened once before, after my mother died. We'd been practicing the Verdi Requiem. But after her death, I developed pneumonia and I could not sing. I sat in the concert hall and sang it in my heart, tears streaming down my cheeks. It was so beautiful to listen to. I was an atheist then but my soul responded to that powerful music and pleaded to God for her soul without words. I suppose, our blessed Lord wants me to be quiet. Quieter than I've ever been. I probably shouldn't even be writing this post. I'm half afraid I'll trip over a cat toy and break my hands. I already had a bad fall early in Feb. right before StoryMasters and hurt my right hand.

I have cried buckets this past month. I cannot even express in words how my soul longs to unite with God. I sing hymns like St. Patricks Breastplate, Jesus My Lord My God My All, Abide with Me, and yet I'm left bereft because I am still here. How long? O Lord.

He needn't be so harsh with me. But would I listen if He didn't hit me over the head with a pan? Would I be as attentive if I didn't lose my voice? Would I be compelled to start a prayer journal if I weren't in this much pain? I don't know. All I know is that I will bless the Lord all the days of my life.  

I thank our dear Lord Jesus for humbling Himself to remain with us in Bread and Wine. Thank God for his holy priests. Enjoy this sequence Lauda Sion Salvatorem.  

  
Strangely enough, for the first time, the liturgical calendar truly makes sense in an organic way. My mother always said we are an Easter people, because our entire faith rests upon the resurrection but what's amazing is how all the other feasts fit as well. Pentecost, Trinity and finally Corpus Christi complete what our Lord instituted at the Last Supper. No matter what beautiful music is sung, at the consecration, there is silence, and then the ringing of the little bells, to signify the holy thing occurring on the Altar.

Wishing you all a happy Feast Day. Be assured of my prayers for you and I beg for your prayers as well.

ETA: Just returned from the beautiful Mass. Heaven on earth. We are so blessed.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Graduate

 Graduation Mass was lovely last Friday at Divine Redeemer. Most of the graduates have been going to this wonderful little school for 8 years, part of an extended family. We are so blessed that our children could attend this GEM of a school for the short time. When I stepped into the halls of this school, I knew it was the right one. You won't see the ipad program here (thank God). Here you'll see teachers who not only teach but also discipline. They'll also give the kids a hug. After all, they are in parentis loco. Here, our little girl became a young lady. She learned what it's like to have many siblings, some that you adore, some that you are annoyed with, but all whom you must love and respect. She did her very best work, but not always. She did not want to be the valedictorian. I told her that is quite all right not to want to be in the limelight. Alas, she had forgotten all about being the salutatorian. But no matter. She wrangled out of the speech. Perhaps she should've gotten an award for that :) The young man who was the valedictorian deserved it completely. What a wonderful and inspiring speech he gave. And he is so very well trained by his parents to turn around for a proper photo after receiving an award! Not my kid. But we are so very proud of her, for knowing what she wants, for her persistence, for her hard work, and above all, for having a great sense of humor.

 


 
 


So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, goodbye.
We'll miss you Divine Redeemer. But we'll be back to visit.
 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

On Mary, the Holy Ghost, and Memorial Day

A salute and prayer for our brave soldiers who sacrificed their lives so that we may enjoy our freedom. "Greater love than this no man hath, that he lay down his life for his friends." ~ John 15:13

We had a very special weekend. On Friday, we pulled the kids out of school to celebrate a Solemn High Mass at St. Mary, Help of Christians in Aiken. Their parish is growing so they have a beautiful new church. The old one is gorgeous as well, including the little mission church, which is now a perpetual Adoration chapel. You could sense that sacredness as you walked by it and we all enjoyed a visit with our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. But Mass ... oh, how lovely. Everything, from the art to the music to the liturgy just lifts you out of your world and heavenward. I wept tears of joy. There were 5 or 6 priests and at least 20 altar boys from various parishes. What a joyful time to share these memories. Later there was a reception by candlelight in the courtyard. We returned home tired and happy. My attention was mostly focused on the crucifix, right above the tabernacle. I noticed the inside of the doors have angels. Love that detail.




Bronze Virgin & Child by Gustave Dore
at the church in Aiken
Monsignor gave the homily on Mary,  Help of Christians and how this feast came to be. Pope Pius V called Christian armies to ask for Mary's intercession in stopping Islamic invasion of Christian Europe. This is the Battle of Lepanto. The course of history might well have been different if the Ottoman Empire had succeeded. Mary is our help. It is really amazing that 12 Apostles of Jesus Christ managed to spread the Gospel to every corner of the earth. Except for John, they all died a martyr's death. They died for a Person. For Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life: no man comes unto the Father but by Me." ~ John 14:6 And you know this is true because for 2,000 years emperors and empires have been trying to destroy Catholicism but it is of God. We have Jesus' Word for it. "Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." ~ Matt 16:18 

The Romans crucified Jesus, but He gave us His mother from the Cross! He rose from the dead! He breathed upon the Apostles and gave them the Holy Spirit and the power to forgive or retain sins. Saul persecuted the Christians but became the greatest evangelizer as St. Paul. The Christian persecution continued for over 300 years. There have been schisms and heresies but the Church remains. Napoleon, Stalin and others all tried to destroy the Catholic Church. They are gone but the Church remains. Over and over we see that the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church. We are the largest family on earth -- 1.2 billion big -- with the greatest diversity too! We are white, black, yellow, rich, poor, disabled, strong, weak, all of us sinners, trying to be saints.

Somehow all these things are tied up for me this weekend. The Church has given dignity to children, to women, to the disabled, to the marginalized, and in Jesus men have discovered their strength. They use it to defend the weak. I shall never forget our Memorial Day in Belgium, where so many young men gave up their lives so that we may walk free today. God bless them.

The Easter season ends Pentecost. Let the fire of God burn in you. Here is a video for your enjoyment with the music of Palestrina. Alleluia!