Saturday, March 30, 2013

Why Do You Look for the Living Among the Dead?

Christ is Risen!

A very happy Easter to you all. 

For some reason, as I get older and time seems to move so fast that I can't keep up with it at all, Lent gets to be longer and longer, and slower and slower. This year it has seemed interminable. But, that's all over now! We just returned from Easter Vigil where two of my students were received into the Church. I'm looking forward to a house full of family tomorrow, and a good night's sleep momentarily.

I hope to write something more fairly soon, but I just wanted to say hello before retiring. 

Oh, and I came across this picture while I was looking for the above. It's a day late, but I really like it, and I wasn't here then.


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Holy Week

Tomorrow through Thursday morning I am going to be here.

I'll be in the cabin on the left. I try to take a few days away a couple of times a year to pray and write and walk and be quiet. I try to talk to as few people as possible. That cabin doesn't look significantly different from my house except that it's smaller, but I don't have woods and a nice lake to walk around here, and there are a phone and two computers in my house to distract me.

I was going to schedule some posts to show up on the blog while I was gone, but then I thought that you could probably be doing something better than reading my blog during Holy Week, so I decided not to leave anything. I posted all my favorite pictures and readings for the Triduum here last year, so you can look at those if you like. They will be in reverse order.

I have had some really annoying spam get through to blog in the last couple of weeks, so I'm going to put on a captcha while I'm gone. 

I hope you all have a very blessed Holy Week and I'll be back sometime on Easter, probably, or maybe Easter Monday.


More on Previous Post

After reading VA's comments on the post below, it occurred to me that I ought to look up the name of the church and not just the artist. This is the Church of the Saviour on (not in) Spilt Blood. The blood was that of Tsar Alexander II, not that of the Saviour, and the church was built as a memorial to him. It was vandalized during the revolution and after 27 years of restoration opened again in 1997. It hasn't been reconsecrated and functions now as a museum of mosaics. I have to say VA, that if you got to see this, you were really blessed. All this information comes from this Wikipedia article.


Nikolai Kharlamov~The Holy Eucharist

I was looking around for a picture to use for my First Communion class--something they could color--and I came upon this and liked it so much that I thought I would share it with you.

I'm going to let it spill over the edge of the column because I want it to be as big as possible. If you click on it, you should be able to see a bigger version. I love the attitude of the apostles. All I can find out about the mosaic is that it is in the Church of the Saviour in the Spilt Blood (Can that in be right?) in St. Petersburg and that it's circa 1890. I tried to find out more about Kharlamov, but I can't. The only Nikolai Kharlamov I can find was a 20th century military leader. It's strange to think that all this beauty was created in Russia such a short time before the October Revolution.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Once Upon a Time

Before I had surgery, and before I had a bubble in my eye (which has gotten to be quite small), Bill and I walked the next two stretches of our pilgrimage. We had two really beautiful, clear, just-cool-enough days, and the part of the road where we were walking is probably my favorite part of the trip. It was very sunny, and so the pictures came out fairly dark. I've done what I could with them, and they looked okay at work where I have a better photo editor, but they look dark again on my computer.

I love little paths like this that go who-knows-where. I may have said that about another picture earlier on, but I don't remember for sure. This was near the beginning of the day's walk. I didn't go down the road, but I would like to.

Another one of these. There is something so personal and intimate about these little cemeteries. I find them very touching.

Wasn't quite sure, though, why they need a mailbox.

Purple Deadnettle
I've seen this little purple weed/wildflower every spring of my life and I really like it, but have no idea what it's called. (UPDATE: Now I do, henbit.) (UPDATE: Nope! Purple Deadnettle) Around here, and I suspect in many places, Spring first shows up in mostly yellow--daffodils and then forsythia--and then comes the purple. There must be seven different kinds of tiny purple flowers in bloom at the moment.

Goodbye Tate County, Hello De Soto. There's something about crossing the county line that makes you feel like you're getting someplace.

I want one of these. If you could see a bit further into this yard, you would see that the people here have all sorts of yard ornaments including a little wooden wishing well. These wells seem to be pretty popular around here. I should have taken a picture of one. They also have some junker cars, but they keep the yard straight. They were out working when we passed by and the woman asked if we were walking for our health or if we needed her to take us someplace. Even after we said that we were fine, she seemed a bit concerned about us. I guess we look old.

We're ever-popular with the bovine set. We darn near caused a stampede.

They have a mailbox, too. You've seen this before. Still no head.

Here again. In the daylight this time and on foot. The gate was open and I wanted to walk up there, but Bill didn't. I might still have to do it sometime, though. I must have passed at least 4 empty bottles of that Cinnamon Whiskey that day. Must be very popular.

A little hidey-hole under the hill of crucifixion. Might make a nice tomb.

More farm machinery

Another nice road that I didn't take.

End of the road. I love this shed for some reason. I've always wanted to stop and look in it, and now I have. I found something in there that will be featured in another post one day, but not yet.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Good Thing That is Given

Because I have been studiously avoiding what the secular media and our disgruntled Catholic brethren have to say about the Holy Father, I have only heard echoes of some of the unhappiness that seems to be floating around out there, but I think I've picked up on the main themes. One sad thing that I read on Amy Welborn's blog  (Love that banner photo.) is that there are apparently a lot of people comparing Francis to Benedict in a way that makes Benedict look bad, and then, I know there are plenty of people who are complaining that Francis does not live up to Benedict's standards. This must be incredibly disturbing to both of these men.

While I was thinking about this earlier today, I was reminded of a conversation between Tinidril, the Green Lady of C. S. Lewis's Perelandra, and Professor Ransom. Tinidril, for anyone who has not read this book, is the Eve of Perelandra (Venus) and she still possesses original innocence. 
"What you have made me see," answered the Lady, "is as plain as the sky, but I never saw it before. Yet it has happened every day. One goes into the forest to pick food and already the thought of one fruit rather than another has grown up in one's mind. Then, it may be, one finds a different fruit and not the fruit one thought of. One joy was expected and another is given. But this I had never noticed before--that the very moment of the finding there is in the mind a kind of thrusting back, or setting aside. The picture of the fruit you have not found is still, for a moment, before you. And if you wished--if it were possible to wish--you could keep it there. You could send your soul after the good you had expected, instead of turning it to the good you had got. You could refuse the real good; you could make the real fruit taste insipid by thinking of the other."
Further along, she talks about how joyous it is to her to have discovered that God has not compelled her to chose the good things that He has sent, but has allowed her to chose to accept those things, to, "plunge into them with my own legs and arms, as when we go swimming. . . . It is a delight with terror in it! 

So this is the choice. We can, still cherishing Benedict with all our hearts, accept with gratitude this new good that is given, or we can send our souls after the good which we have learned to expect, and invest the good we have been given with insipidity by clinging to the other. This is a delight with terror indeed.

Part of the real sadness of this situation to me is that we seem, as usual, to be determinedly sundering that which should be bound together. All the gifts of Benedict and Francis are gifts that we need. They aren't at war with one another. It's we who are at war within ourselves. We don't seem to be able to hold the paradoxical elements of the Faith in balance and so when we forget that we are created in the image and likeness of God, the Holy Spirit sends us John Paul II to remind us of our human dignity; and when we get so chummy with Jesus that we forget that He is due reverence and right worship, He sends us Benedict XVI; and when we forget that the poor are the real treasures of the Church, He sends us Francis. 

Of course, it's hard to change. Believe me, I know this. I like things to be the way I expect them to be. When my friends get their hair cut, I can't even look them in the face for a week. But the Lord is always calling us on to something new, something more difficult, something more beautiful, something we aren't ready for--further up and further in. And further along in Lewis's story, Ransom says to the Lady, "And have you no fear that it will ever be hard to turn your heart from the thing you wanted to the the thing [He] sends?" 
"I see," said the Lady presently. "The wave you plunge into may be very swift and great. You may need all your force to swim in it. You mean, He might send me a good like that?"
"Yes--or like a wave so swift and great that all your force was too little."
"It often happens that way in swimming," said the Lady. "Is not that part of the delight?"

Lick and a Promise

Well, I have many, many things that I would like to write about this morning; however, I have a large and onerous last-minute task that I have to complete at work before I take off for two weeks, and then there are the two other things that I barely had time to get done that have to be finished too, so I will just post two pictures we took on the way to work this morning.

This one because it's pretty, but not anywhere near as pretty as what I was looking at.
And this one because it's what it is.
Tractor Show/Rides, have not heretofore been part of my life, but I have a 6 year old grandson that I think just might enjoy this, so we will see.

Hopefully more this evening.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Looking Up, But...

On March 12, 2012, I had a check-up with my optometrist, after which she sent me to a specialist to figure out why my vision was getting so much worse so fast. This led to one operation on my left eye, and three on my right eye, countless visits to the eye doctor, and hundreds and hundreds of eye drops. So today, I went for my post-surgical check-up and everything is fine. The air bubble that they put in my eye is 80% gone; I can look up again; I can sleep on my back; I'm down to only four drops a day and that only for a short time; and I only have one more appointment in two weeks.

So, I get home tonight and check the mail. This is what I got.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I also got a rather interesting email today.

I never knew my grocery store was so evangelical.

Thank you all for all your prayers. They really mean a lot to me.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Looking Within


Of all the different kinds of surgeries that I've had (about 8), eye surgeries, at least the kinds that I've had, are by far the least debilitation and the least painful. They are also the most fascinating because you can see to some extent what is happening to you from a unique and beautiful perspective. In the past ten months I've had three different surgical procedures on my right eye, and each one has shown me a mysterious little world within my eyeball that only people who have had these operations have ever see. Even the surgeon, unless he has had the operation himself, doesn't see what you are seeing. I've searched around the internet to see if anyone with more artistic ability than I has tried to draw what they have seen in there, but I've only found one picture which I'll link to below. I've thought about writing about this before, but now I'm glad I waited for the third immersion.

My first procedure was supposed to be routine cataract surgery, but there was a problem and what was supposed to last about ten minutes ended up taking about an hour. I was aware that something was going wrong, but I wasn't really concerned--I guess because of the anesthesia--and I was enjoying watching the colors. The first thing that the doctor does in cataract surgery is to destroy your lens, so you can't see any distinct images, just a white background with little clouds of different-colored pastel lights that would expand and contract, appear and disappear. They were blue, pink, green, and yellow, and it was all very shiny and pleasant to watch. It was short of like this image, except it the colors were more delicate and luminous and I didn't see that orange-y color. Also, I never saw the circular shape in the middle. Either I slept through that part, or it wasn't there because of the complications I was having. I don't know. 

After this operation was over, I was functionally blind in this eye. I could see, but the only thing I could see was a glowing whte mass with some floaters in it. Later I could see shadows in bright light. Part of the cortex from my lens had "gotten fluffy" and was stuck behind my new lens and had to be removed, so on to surgery number two. This was the most beautiful and fascinating of the three. Whereas the first operation had been all light and almost airy, this one was dark and liquid. The peripheral area of my eye was a brown, tea color, that faded into a narrow band of yellow, and then green and then blue--almost indigo. They weren't neat, well-defined bands, but merged and faded in and out of one another. When the doctor squirted liquid (water?) inside my eye, I could see it swirling around in patterns. I could also see the little hectagonal shape of her microscope and the shape of an instrument that she was using. And then, there were these little translucent rectangular crystal floating around. They weren't regular in shape, but had irregular edges and textured surfaces. In my drugged condition, I had the idea that these were the enemy, but who knows? Then at the end, I could see the instrument that she was using to stitch up my eye, and although that sounds dreadful, it wasn't. 

Last Thursday's operation was for a retinal problem that didn't have anything to do with the other two, but was something they found when they were looking inside my eye to make sure things were healing correctly. I had a membrane over my macula which is the part of the retina where most of the photoreceptors are located, and it was causing me to have some distortion in my vision and my vision was also getting worse--20/20 to 20/40 in about 6 months. They had to peel the membrane off. Again, this sounds much worse than it is. By this time, I was pretty calm about having my eye worked on and I was really curious about what I would see this time around. It was a complete surprise. I had a local anesthetic for this operation, so I was completely awake the whole time, which was only about 10 minutes long. There was no color at all. It was like watching one of those old black-and-white movies where you see the action taking place on a window shade. I saw some kind of stick-shaped instrument, dark gray against a pale gray circular background. That moved around for a bit and then there were tweezers that came and pulled the membrane away from retina. I could actually see it plucking at the membrane. It didn't come away in one piece, like I expected, but had to be pulled several times. Then that was over and there was another stick to put an air bubble in my eye, and that was that. This all looked fairly large, but in reality, the instruments must have been tiny. There isn't even a visible mark on my eye.

So, there you have it. I'm continually amazed by the incredible science behind all this, both biological and technological. I'm even more awestruck at a God Who fashioned a creation that is beautiful, not only on the outside, but in the inmost recesses of our bodies where they are for the most part invisible. 

I really want to get this posted today and there is no way I can look at it long enough to proofread, so please forgive my mistakes. I hope there is nothing egregiously rude and embarrassing.. 


Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Holy Father

This is me.

All I really want to do at the moment is to sit around reading what the Holy Father has been saying. I tend to be fairly cynical person., but I am completely disarmed, and this is the article that did

As I wrote in an earlier post, I have been praying for the new pope since a few days after Pope Benedict announced his resignation. I prayed that the Lord would give him a peace and confidence in his election, and that He would give him the courage to do His will, and that most of all, that this pope would be deeply immersed in the Heart of Jesus. Well, it doesn't seem like I needed to worry much on any of these accounts. And also, as I wrote in my prayer for the Holy Father, I prayed that the Lord would protect him from those who would try to destroy him, but when I read the article about Pope Francis's address to the journalists, I pretty much quit worrying about that, because you can't destroy a man who has already given everything away. 

When I think about the animus that has been directed towards the Church and in some cases toward the Holy Father, and then read what certainly seems to be his sincere declaration of love toward them, and his tenderness in addressing them, it fills me with hope. It gives me a vision of what it could be like to really be able to love your enemies because you, having truly abandoned yourself to the Lord, have nothing to fear and nothing to lose. He seems to me to be speaking to them from the perspective of God.

And so, I would hope for all of us that for the love of God, truly for the love of God, we might quit worrying about what other people are saying about Pope Francis, and about our concern for our own ideas of how he might affect our own little part of the Catholic world, or what he might change that might make us unhappy. I hope that just for once we might let go of our own fears, and default self-protective mechanisms, and securities and open our heart to what he is saying.

And this, I really like this, too.


Sorry if there are typos. I just can't look at this computer anymore.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Looking Down

Literally. The operation went well, and I am doing well, but I am supposed to be maintaining a downward gaze until  the air bubble in my eye dissipates, and the interior fills with vitreous fluid again. See, I told you you it was dangerous to pray for humility. At any rate, this makes it hard to write blog posts in the regular way, but I have devised a complicated method that involves writing the post in Word, while only looking at the keyboard, printing it off to check for errors of which I am sure there will be many, and correcting while standing up, looking down at the screen. So, I'll start that tomorrow. If this posts in full of mistakes, I'm sorry.

Thanks for your prayers. It's good to be back home. Even though I've only been away for a day and a half, it feels like forever.  Of course, most of today was spent watching daytime TV, which, if it doesn't get you a million years indulgence it should. It was a long day.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Surgery Today, etc.

I'm going to have surgery on my right eye this afternoon at 1:30 p.m. CDT. I would appreciate any prayers that come my way. Also, please pray for Clare Kay, who is 1 year old, and who is having a small tumor removed from her face today.

As you can probably see with your own two eyes, I have replaced the prayer for the conclave with a prayer for the Holy Father. I think we should especially pray for protection from those who would try to destroy him in an effort to destroy the Church. They can't succeed in that, of course, but they can do some damage, and so we pray.

I didn't share this new prayer on Google+, so my career as a blog rock star should be at an end. I had more pageviews of that prayer in a day than I usually have of everything in several. It's nice to have concrete evidence of how much everyone was praying. If you happen to be someone who stopped by to read the prayer, I'm glad you did and I hope you'll continue to visit.

I'm going to try to put up some pilgrimage pictures for tomorrow, but I don't know if I'll have time before I go, and if I don't, I won't have access to a computer until at least tomorrow afternoon. Also, I don't know if I will be able to look up at the computer for a bit, so we will see--even if it's only out of one eye for a bit.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

So We Thought . . .

what could we do to celebrate the election of the first Latin American pope?

Then I put a link to a prayer for Pope Francis on the sidebar.



So who knew? I'm really anxious to see more of Pope Francis and get to know him better. I love that he asked us to pray for him and that he prayed those three prayers that we could all pray along with him. This is so much more interesting than I thought it would be. Like any good Catholic, I love a mystery. 

Well, I guess I should interrupt this stream of consciousness to do some work, since I haven't done a lick since the white smoke appeared.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Extra Omnes

I just watched the swearing in of the Cardinals before the conclave. It's the first thing that I've watched since Pope Benedict's departure from Rome. I didn't think that it would affect me like it did. There was something so portentous in the image of their hands on the Bible.

Whenever I see the Church gathered for anything, whether it be a conclave, or the funeral of a saintly person like Mother Teresa, or a papal audience, and think about all the empty blabbering devoted to the topic of diversity, I just laugh. This is true unity in diversity, and nothing else on earth is like it.

So, now we wait.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Preparing for Palm Sunday

It was when I was the secretary at the Catholic Student Center at the University of Memphis that I first found out that there were catalogs for church stuff just like there were catalogs for everything else. For some reason I found it unspeakably odd and rather amusing to look through pages of men modelling clerical shirts or vestments, and ads for palms and ashes. I couldn't believe that you could order ashes.

This company, Autom, is probably the biggest supplier of church goods in the US. Because I have ordered things for my PRE class from them, I got this in my email today. "Hurry while supplies last!" That really cracks me up.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Laetare Jerusalem

Laetare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestrae. Laetatus sum in his, quae dicta sunt mihi: in domum Domini ibimus. Gloria Patri. 

 Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation. I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: we shall go into the house of the Lord. Glory be to the Father.

Well, I know y'all have all been dying to see Fr. Ken in his vestments, so here he is all decked out for Laetare Sunday.

It will be good to be able to teach the children that no matter how bad a priest's hair is or how much it looks like he might be wearing makeup, the Mass is still valid. As you can see, I have not yet had time to make his alb. I have quite a bit a sewing ahead of me because by some short-sighted, masochistic impulse, I have chosen to institute my foray into liturgical couture at a time when Father will need vestments of a different color every week for four weeks. 

We did not really have class this week because of spring break, but the kids came to the room for a few minutes anyway because the priest (the real one) was coming to bless our Mass kit. This was very good of him since he had another Mass a good distance away, and he spent some time explaining to the kids what all different pieces were for. I know they will remember it.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We walked the second stretch of our pilgrimage to Hernando yesterday. There wasn't much to take note of except for this.

Charybdis and Sylla
I cannot begin to tell you how much more monstrously huge this pair was in person, or how very much narrower this road looked when I had to walk in between them (alone, Bill was coming from the other direction). Suddenly that barbed wire fence looked exceedingly flimsy, especially since I've seen Mr. Black Angus on the left without the fence grazing on kudzu. When I got even with them, they both snorted, jumped up, and ran away. "Oh," thought I, "This is encouraging," but then they came back to the fence and followed me down the road grumbling in a threatening way. They probably thought I'd come to take them back to the barn or something, but it was disturbing.

There was this mailbox,

Not sure what you put it here. It might belong to Doctor Who.

and this corpse,

Someone's dinner, or evidence of an alien invasion. Perhaps it came here in the mailbox.

and this tree which I like very much and which deserves a better picture.

I like trees that look as if they had a history.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Finally, today is the first anniversary of this blog. Thanks very much to everyone who has visited, and read, and especially to those who have left comments.


Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Third Joyful Mystery

The Nativity
We offer Thee, O Jesus, this third decade in honor of Thy birth in the stable of Bethlehem and we ask of Thee through this mystery and through the intercession of Thy most holy mother, detachment from the things of this world, contempt of riches, and a love of poverty.
St. Louis de Monfort 

Whenever you speak or write in public about anything having to do with the spiritual life, you better be prepared to put up, or shut up because before long, you are going to be tested in whatever are it is that you have been so piously preaching. I first found this out about 30 years ago when I was teaching (and had no business to be teaching) RCIA. I gave a lovely little talk on marriage, which was as far as I can remember absolutely true and in line with Church teaching, and then went home to a period of at least a couple of weeks of constant conflict with my husband. After a while it hit me, "Aha," I said, "somebody out there would like to discourage people from teaching other people about the Church." 

So, I try to be prepared, but sometimes, like yesterday, I get really blind-sided. Therefore, it is with a bit of trepidation that write about, "... a love of poverty." There are so many uncomfortable ways in which that one could be tested.

I can see where someone might not want to pray this prayer. I've never experienced grinding poverty, but I did hover for many years right over that line that separates those who are eligible for public assistance from those who aren't, and I don't particularly want to go back to that. Asking God for a love of poverty, like asking God for any difficult thing, can be frightening because it awakes our deepest fears. We're bothered by all sorts of nagging little questions. What if I lose my job? What if I pray this and God asks me to give away my stuff? How can I take care of my children if any of this happens? These sorts of questions can come from many directions: our own insecurity, the enemy of our soul who seeks to frighten us away from any spiritual progress, scruples or several other things. They all arise, though, because in truth, we don't trust God.

The spiritual life is one long realization of our lack of trust in God's love for us and decisions to cast ourselves in to the abyss of His Mercy. We can only learn to trust God by trusting God. We have to somehow learn to want Him more than anything else, and there's no easy way to do this. It's painful all the way, but it's less painful, or at least more peaceful when we by an act of our will just let go of whatever it is that He is asking at the moment.

There is another question that we tend to overlook in the midst of all our fears and worries, but sometimes a little voice breaks through. What if this prayer, this struggle, this loss, sets me free? What if I can get to that place that I read about in Luke where I won't worry about what I am to wear or what I am to eat because your Father in Heaven who feeds the birds will feed me? A love of poverty is the key to of the prison of fear.


P.S. I'm sorry if there are typos and things, but I have to leave for a retreat RIGHT NOW. I'll proofread when I get home this afternoon.

Friday, March 8, 2013

I've added a prayer for the conclave. You can get to the page by clicking on the box to the right. I'm sure you are all intelligent enough to figure that out for yourselves, but I wanted to make an announcement.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

No Time!

I started a post but haven't been able to finish it, so I will just offer this for your delectation.

Refreshing to see an atheist using his brain, that makes one brain in use.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The First Joyful Mystery

The Annunciation

Oh my Jesus, I offer you this first mystery in honor your Incarnation in Mary's womb, and I ask of Thee through this mystery and through the intercession of Thy most holy mother, a profound humility.
St. Louis de Monfort

Several years ago, I went to a retreat on the Desert Fathers. The retreat master was speaking on the seven deadly sins, and he said that pride was the most deceptive sin because when you think that you have defeated it on one front, it jumps up and hits you from the back. When I spoke about St. Louis's rosary prayers the other day, I mentioned that some of them asked for things that are scary. It may or may not seem scary to you to ask for humility, but when you start to think seriously about what you are asking for, it can be downright terrifying. I think the best illustration of this is Servant of God Cardinal Merry del Val's Litany of Humility. I'm sure that some of you are familiar with it, but for those who aren't.

O Jesus meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

This prayer has always contained a lot that is difficult for me, but I never realized the full import of it until I left my little, cozy homeschool circle, and went to work in the world. I hadn't remembered how the desire to be chosen, and praised, and consulted is such an every day concern in almost every workplace. I never thought I would have to fight the desire for all those things so hard myself.

I was also thinking that this is a great prayer to pray for our Cardinals as they choose our new Holy Father, and when I went looking for some information about Cardinal Merry del Val, I found that he is the perfect person to intercede for the cardinals.

From Wikipedia (I know, I know.)
According to Rafael Merry del Val, during the Conclave of 1903, in which he served in the role of Secretary of the Conclave, Cardinal Jan Puzyna de Kosielsko came to see him, demanding to announce his veto against Cardinal Rampolla in the name of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria-Hungary. Archbishop Merry Del Val protested and refused to even accept the document, which, in the heat of the debate fell on the floor and was picked back up by Cardinal Puzyna.
There is a lot more interesting information to be gleaned from the article, including that fact that his full name was Rafael María José Pedro Francisco Borja Domingo Gerardo de la Santíssima Trinidad Merry del Val y Zulueta.



I guess the drawback of announcing to the whole world that you are going to post something every day during Lent is that when you don't do it, it's obvious. It should be good for humility, though. That remains to be seen. So, since I didn't manage to post anything yesterday, I will post pictures of the great clouds that we saw on the way home yesterday, and try to write something later, although I don't know if that will work out either.

I wish that you could see how much they looked like furrows. We seem to be having a lot of geometric cloud formations lately. Once day last month, the sky looked alike a checkerboard.

These two were taken one right after the other from the same window, and neither has been edited. Light is very strange.

Then when I got home, I sat down at the computer and said to myself, "Let us see what the cardinals have been up to." The first item I saw was from CBS and said that the pope emeritus was still holed up in Castel Gandolfo. Then I said to myself...well, things I shouldn't have said, and got up from the computer, which is one reason I didn't write anything.

I wonder if Gandalf lives there.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Continuing Down the Road . . .

I wrote half a blog post earlier this afternoon and then my computer froze and I had to turn it off and back on, and then I had to leave for a dinner date, so that was that. And now I hate the post I wrote, so I'm just going to write briefly about the next stage of our Pilgrimage.

Originally, we had planned to walk south to our parish church and from there to another church north of us that I attend sometimes when I have time off work, and then to a couple of other churches. Well, there is just no way to walk from our parish church to the next church because the two-lane highway which is the only road except for the expressway passes over a river for more than a couple of miles and there is no shoulder at all, just a 100 foot drop into a river, and the bridges are even worse. 

So, we decided to start the walk to the next church from our house instead of from our church. I guess we could have walked back home first, but no thanks. It had been our intention to begin the walk at the beginning of Lent, but we didn't get started until today. After a day full of fairly heavy but ineffectual snow yesterday, today was beautiful and clear and ten degrees warmer, thank goodness. So, now we are on the way. 

The road that we are walking on is the one where we frequently meet bovine creatures that have escaped from their pastures, so this might get interesting. 

The latest fugitive.

We will also pass by the cross on the hill and will keep our eyes open for the imbiber of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. And then there's another little cemetery, and the beautiful swamp, and the place where I saw the most beautiful rainbow. Who knows what else we'll encounter.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Big Brother . . .

And his annoying little sisters HIPPA and FERPA and then there's just the plain old Privacy Act.

Yesterday, I had to go to the doctor for my physical and this annoying sign was in the restroom. Since I work in an educational institution, one of the first things I had to do after being employed was to familiarize myself with FERPA, The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and, of course, every time I go to a new doctor, and I have been to many in the past year and a half, I'm supposed to sign a paper that I am supposed to have read pertaining to HIPPA.  And then, there are the 6.5 million little brochures that I've gotten from everyone I do business with telling me what they do with my information. 

It drives me absolutely crazy.

For one thing, I have for over forty years taken care of all of my family's business. The only time my husband has written a check for a bill was during the time my right arm was in a cast. So now, if I have a question about his benefits at work, I have to tell him what he needs to ask the HR office and he has to call them instead of me. And when I go to the doctor, I have to make sure I sign something that lets them know they can tell my husband stuff out me, and vice versa. And my priest can't find out if I'm in the hospital, nor can campus ministers find out who the students in their denomination on campus are. These stupid laws are supposed to be protecting me, but they are just one more annoying thing--or several more annoying things--that I have to deal with.

And the horrible irony of the whole mess is that in reality we have less privacy than we've ever had.

Okay, so much for complaining.

Obviously the artist from the Lascaux caves has found a new medium.

Our water tower has a skirt now? I'd love to see this in a high wind. I'm hoping that they might be getting ready to paint, but we'll see. I never knew how big water towers really are until they refurbished one down the road from us a few years ago. It was shaped like this one. They had removed the top half of the tank and there was a crane sitting inside the bottom half. I really wish I could have been there to see how they got the crane up there--a bigger crane, I guess. I'm really hoping they will paint it like this. Or maybe they could just paint a slogan on the side like, "HIPPA and FERPA apply to everything you do."


Friday, March 1, 2013

Praying the Rosary

For awhile now I've been thinking about writing some short comments about St. Louis de Monfort's prayers for the mysteries of the Rosary, and since I'll be busy at a conference all day and maybe into the evening, I thought it might be a good day to start. I think that most Catholics have probably heard something about St. Louis de Monfort's consecration to the Blessed Mother and the 30 day preparation for this consecration. If you aren't familiar with it, you can probably find a million things on the internet, although a lot of it might be too syrupy for your taste. 

I've been through the entire preparation three times and found it very helpful, although before this, I tried and failed twice, and one of those times it upset me so much that I was sitting in the church thinking about throwing the book at the tabernacle. Well, thank goodness I didn't.

There are several other prayers and devotions in the book, True Devotion to Mary, and one thing that has found a permanent place in my prayer is his short prayers that are recited during the Rosary. Some of the prayers ask for rather scary things, or at least it seemed to me early on like I was praying for more than I really wanted, but after years and years of praying them, I can see that they have been answered, very slowly, and they haven't been too much at all.

Tomorrow or the next day I will start talking about them individually, but now I have to run. If you want to look at something beautiful, you might check out the pictures that my friend Sheila posted on her blog today. I particularly like the third one.