Two in One: A small update & more musings on C.S. Lewis

First: Near the end of February, our friend Wade lost his battle with cancer. Wade was, and continues to be, an inspiration for his courageous battle. Wade’s battle lasted eight years. Some people might say that’s a long time, others that it wasn’t enough time. I’m a bit with the latter, but grateful that their children are all eight years older than they were at the beginning of this. They’ve had the opportunity to make some amazing memories together with their father. This won’t make the loss less painful and in all probability, the loss is now felt all the more. But the gratitude for the time they shared is there. Please pray for his wife and their young family.

Second: I’ve recently finished reading The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis. Personally, I think his books should be required reading for Roman Catholics. Even though Lewis himself did not convert to Catholicism, his books on faith and religion are very strong and they contain an amazing insight about why we need faith and how our faith must include reason and intellect (that is, if I can state “reason and intellect” and not be accused of an oxymoron. Perhaps discernment and intellect might have been better.).

The book talks about heaven and hell and purgatory. It delivers an interesting perspective on our lives that we fail to see for ourselves unless we first read about it somewhere else. Amazing that we should need to read about it elsewhere really. One would think that we would know ourselves better than anyone else possibly could, yet we deceive ourselves easier than we deceive others. The book involves what it takes for each person encountered in the story to move into heaven from purgatory. And Lewis touches on many human behaviors in a relatively short book.

And now that it has taken me a little better than a week to get this post finished, you get a bonus. A third muse absolutely free! Okay fine, I didn’t charge for the others and never do but everybody loves a freebie anyway.

Third: After looking in The Catholic Home by Meredith Gould to see if there was some info I could pass on to the twelve teen boys I teach faith formation to, I decided to reread the acknowledgements. I know, no one ever reads those. But I do and I did. In those expressions of gratitude to the various people who have helped the author with her book, life while writing, etc., I came across a thank you to “the Reverend Martha Blacklock”. The Reverend Martha Blacklock! Now, being a Roman Catholic reading a book by a convert to the Roman Catholic church, I was a bit unnerved to see that title used to address a woman. So I looked her up on the internet. Then I went to the author’s website and then over to the author’s blog. Then I had to make a decision.

When one finds information that makes one question whether or not a person is faithfully following the Catholic church, what is one supposed to do? Most of what this particular author wrote in The Catholic Home is correct and seems faithful to church teachings. The bit about celebrating pagan holidays was over the top and off the mark. How does one reconcile how a person lives their life outside of Mass with what they state about their faith and how the faith they profess expects them to live their life?

I’m not sure about this one. I’ll need to keep thinking on it a bit longer. Why? Because we all fail somewhere, sometime, somehow and I just don’t know if it’s really up to me to judge who is a faithful Catholic and who isn’t.

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She lives! The electric edition

Well, I’m no better at getting back to this blog now than I have been at any time in the past year. I’m sorry.

It’s been a year of change and upheaval for me. With the job search in August/September, I had heard about a postion in a nearby town from a friend. That didn’t pan out. Then we went to Mass in another nearby town and the priest mentioned a job opening at their parish school. That lead to a 1st & 2nd interview and a “shadow day”. And while that situation progressed, I learned about an opening with my son’s school. That was the lead that finally lead to the actual job. So as of October 1st, I am the assistant cook at my son’s Catholic school. It has been a hectic, wonderful learning experience for me. I love being there and helping our head cook create the delicious, healthy meals for these children. I have learned so much and when we get back from Christmas break, I’ll be learning even more. We are a good team and have great help from a number of volunteers who come in to help serve the food, assist the kids with condiments and wipe down tables. It has been an incredible blessing to be able to do the work I enjoy with people I enjoy spending time alongside.

Ditty went as far a sections with her swim team this year. She was hoping that she wouldn’t need to go as her shoulder has been bothering her. We have been working with our chiropractor and that brought some relief. Now that swim season is over, that has brought even more relief, so I just need to encourage her to keep doing the exercises so that she doesn’t re-injure it next year. She is also preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation. It’s hard to believe that she’s old enough to do this. And trying to get her behind the wheel time finished so that she can get her driver’s license. My little girl is becoming a very poised and practical young woman. We also purchased a new step-up flute for her. She has needed one for a long time (about the last 2 years), but we didn’t just snap one up. We took our time and had her play several different flutes to see which one she liked best. I’m pleased that she decided on an Azumi. Some people might get down on me for that since the Azumis are a Japanese flute, but seriously if you haven’t heard one-don’t judge me. The American school of flutes are very light and bright sounding. The Japanese school of flutes are darker and deeper in tone. Frankly, they just sound so amazingly full and rich. These aren’t words I can use with the American school of flutes, although they are pretty. While we were flute shopping, the flute specialist who was helping us also let Ditty try out a $13,000 model. If you think there is no difference except for the price tag, you would be very wrong. That flute sounded so amazingly rich and, dare I say it, delicious that if money was not an object, I would have entertained serious thoughts about getting that one. Maybe she’ll consider becoming a concert flautist so we can get that one.

BooBoo is still taking guitar. Why, I’m not sure since he hates to practice. Apparently, he just likes playing – but not an electric guitar. He chose a new accoustic guitar, made by Fender and shaped like their Stratocaster model with the cutaway body and the inline head. I seriously wanted to ask ” So, who is this girl that you’re trying to impress?”, but I didn’t. I know you’re probably amazed, so am I. He also wants to try out for track and field this spring. He had a lot of fun at the Track & Field day that the High School boys’ track team held through community ed last spring. Hopefully, he will find his sport. I’m sure there will be something out there for him to enjoy. BooBoo will also be participating in our school musical this year, but not backstage as he usually does. This year, he has chosen to be one of the actors and will be an Apostle in our school production of Godspell Jr. It should be an interesting show. I remember singing some of the music when I was in grade school at my Catholic school. Of course, we also sang some of the music from Jesus Christ Superstar. Very 1970’s indeed! 🙂

So, you may be wondering why this is “the electric edition”. Well, early this past Saturday morning, I experienced chest pains and DH brought me in to our local hospital emergency room. While I didn’t need defibrilation, they did hook up quite a few electrodes to me to monitor my heart. And because the enzyme that gets released if there is a problem with the heart takes 4-6 hours to occur in the bloodstream, they had me admitted to a hospital room for observation. In that room, they attached even more electrodes because their heart monitor uses different ones from the monitor in the E.R. I think I seriously had about a dozen of the little stickers on my chest & abdomen. If they had needed to defribrilate, I possibly would have lit up like a Christmas tree. Electro-Woman. Hmm, glad that didn’t happen. I’m 50, I don’t look good in spandex.

C.S. Lewis & Me

I see that I’ve been silent on here for a month.  And what a month it has been.

I took quite a beating on FB with my status update stating my reason for my vote in support of the marriage amendment.  I expected to get some heat.  I was not prepared for a relative’s desire to pick a fight with me, publicly on FB or that person’s desire to thoroughly demean & degrade anyone who held a view different from their own.  That hurt.  What hurt even more though was the total silence from people that I knew who agreed with my view.  I was attempting to help the relative understand my reason for my view while not engaging in the argument this person so desperately seemed to want and no one responded in support.  No supportive comment, not even a “like” on my original post or my follow-up defensive comments.  Nothing.

Complete and utter silence.

And pain.

The pain of being abandoned by everyone I knew.

I don’t “friend” people lightly on FB.  I only send and accept requests from people I actually know and interact with in the real world.  I assume, or did in the past, that these people actually wanted to know me better.  Now I question that assumption.  I’m not sure how I want to proceed from here.  I suppose I’ll figure that out in time.  Just not now.

After that post and election night, I went to our little, local bookstore.  As I was browsing the shelves, I came across The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis.  Chapter 8 near the end paints a very vivid picture of exactly how I felt about my FB experience.

“Do not be deceived, Wormwood.  Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”  C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

I’ve been curled up in pain, brought to tears over and over by this earthly abandonment.  I still believe in God.  I still believe in Jesus Christ, His Son.  I still believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. 

I still believe. 

And I will still obey.

Thank you Mr. Lewis.  For having the words I would need, even before I was born and would need them.  May your soul and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

I’ve reset the marker in my Sunday missal as well.  This coming Sunday marks the First Sunday of Advent, Year C.  The caption under the picture in my missal reads; “Pray that you have the strength to escape . . . and to stand before the Son of Man.”  The theme for this Sunday is stated as: “By your perseverance (patient endurance) you will secure your lives. Luke 21:19”.  It’s like balm on my soul.

Heading to Mass today and adoration.

May your day be one of blessed peace.

Happy Feast of the Assumption

Today is the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and that means . . .

Cookies!

Okay, it also means Mass.  And since it’s Wednesday, my weekly Adoration hour as well.

But, thanks to Family in Feast & Feria (look them up, they’re on WordPress.  I just don’t have the blog address handy), it will now & forever after mean cookies as well.  Jennifer posted in August of 2008 about how her grandmother always made Moravian Spice cookies for this feast day.  Somehow, I received an email that she had reblogged that post but when I went to find the post, it wasn’t there.

Odd.

So I did a search, and still had a hard time finding the original post.  Went back to the email and tried again.  Success.

Very interesting that just about a month or so ago, I was asked to participate in a survey by some website or other.  As a thank you gift, I received an ebook with about 200+ cookie recipes.  Just cookie recipes.  Those of you who know me personally know that I despise baking, especially cookies.  It goes back to long, hot summer days spent in an un-air conditioned kitchen with my mother baking double & triple batches of cookies to keep our freezer stocked with sweets for drop in guests and my dad’s lunches.  Yes, we kids got to have cookies too.  Mom never skimped there, but the baking was not fun.

So, why did I participate in a survey when the “gift” wasn’t even something I would enjoy?  I don’t know.  All I do know is that I completed the survey, downloaded the ebook and printed only one of the 200+ recipes promising myself that at “sometime in the future” I would bake those cookies.

Which recipe did I print?  Why the one for Moravian Spice cookies of course.  Why that one?  Because the recipe said it would yield about 9 dozen cookies from one batch.  I figured even if I made my cookies bigger than they did, I should still be able to get about 6 dozen from a single, one batch baking.  After all, if I’m going to be miserable, I might as well get good mileage out of it.

I mixed the dough last night and asked Ditty to please bake them today, since I have to be at work.  We’ll get to try them at suppertime and if they’ve turned out well, we can bring them along to her youth group meeting after Mass tonight.

Wish us luck!

Just about time

I updated the header because in just 2 weeks we will be in Advent again.  It seems to have come so quickly this year.

The header photo is the wreath in 2009.  And the bit of table that can be seen is our old table which now resides in my eldest daughter’s apartment.  I really need to update photos.

Just wanted to let you know about a great resource for teaching the new Mass responses to your kids.  Holy Heroes website had a CD of Best-Loved Catholic Prayers including Daily Prayers and Prayers of the Mass with the new Mass responses.  It’s a wonderful way to learn the new reponses together.  Their website is www.holyheroes.com .  They also have an Advent Jesse Tree family activity video, Way of the Cross CD, CD’s of each set of Rosary Mysteries, Coloring books for the Rosary & Way of the Cross, and several CD’s with stories of certain saints and blesseds.  Holy Heroes also offers a free one week summer VBS you can do at home with your kids as well as free Advent and Lenten adventures.  Their website is well worth a look.

Just Thinking (again)

I came across a note that I’d made for myself last year while doing Epic: A Study of Church History and wanted to share it with you.

“When fearful martyrdom came to our people in the decade of the Nazi terror, the voice of the pope was raised for the victims. . .”  Golda Meir, Israeli Foreign Minister 1958, speaking about Pope Piux XII.

I believe the quote came from a piece on the Black Cordelias blog defending Pope Pius XII.  Do check it out if you have the time.

The history of the precious feet pin

Go to The Black Cordelia’s blog to see an amazing video of the history of the precious feet pin.

Thanks BFHU for posting that video.

Another Ramble

It may be winter outside, but the garden of my mind is certainly growing.

The latest item I’m mulling over is this:  Why is it so hard for people to believe that God is all-powerful?

The ones I’m asking about will tell you that God is all-powerful and then they will say something like: the legends associated with this saint are too fantastical to be true, or if we saw God in all his glory we would die.

Hmm.  Why can’t the legends about a saint be true?  Just because the accounts of what that saint was purported to do defy our limited imaginations, does that automatically make them false?  Just what, precisely, is too fantastical to believe that God could help a person actually do I wonder.

And, if we ever did see God in all his glory, wouldn’t that mean we were in heaven?  So why, if God allowed us to attain heaven, would he then kill (or banish) us from heaven?  They just don’t ask those questions of their theories do they?  So was this information proclaimed to them in a vision or did they just decide it based on Moses being the only man to go up Mt Sinai and live?

I’m no theologian.  Just someone who wonders how some things got decided.  One would think reading more religious material would answer questions, not create them.  Or maybe it just creates deeper questions. 

I guess I’m just curious as to why they seem to have so little faith in the God they claim to believe in.  I believe God can do all things, even things we can’t understand or that seem unreal to us.

Sorry if I’ve confused you.  That wasn’t my intent.  Sometimes just putting our thoughts into words helps us: grow, bend, flourish. . . whatever we need to do at the time.  Keep the faith.

A ramble in the garden of my mind

May you find flowers and not weeds. 

I committed to posting each day this month and today I’m drawing a blank.  So since this blog is all about the musings of a 40 something mom, I decided that today we’d take a little stroll and see where we end up.  Call it psychology or psychiatry (or come back tomorrow when the kids might have done something interesting) here goes.

I’ve been thinking about Catholicism lately.  My local priest says things like “We should desire heaven.” and “We should be looking forward to death so that we can live eternally with God.”  Well, okay.  But what about enjoying our lives on earth?  I don’t think I desire my earthly life more than an eternal one in heaven.  I do think that we shouldn’t waste the time God gave us on earth just waiting around to die.  And I wouldn’t purposely try to shorten the time God gave me because I do think that time has a purpose.  Now, my local priest generally gives a good sermon.  It’s just these words of his that seem to be lacking a full explanation or that I’m just not getting it at this point in time.

Another thing my local priest has preached is that we should be constantly trying to evangelize others.  Well, this blog did not start out as a tool for evangelization.  If God wants to use it as such, I feel that is up to God.  I’m just a lowly human being walking my faith walk as best I can.  If you are curious about the Catholic faith, yes you may ask me questions and I will try to answer them as best I can.  I personally think your best bet for getting good answers about the Catholic faith is to ask a priest, bishop or nun as they have studied the faith in far more depth than I at present. 

Please, if you are Protestant, don’t ask a Protestant minister to explain Catholicism to you.  They don’t know any more than you do about Catholicism and you will probably come out of the conversation confused, concussed or with some ridiculous prejudices instead of factual answers.  They will probably try to talk you out of converting, even if you were just looking for answers and not seeking to convert.

And don’t think that you have to be looking to convert in order to ask questions.  I’m willing to just give out information and I’ll trust to the Holy Spirit to do any conversion thing.  The priests, nuns and bishops feel likewise I’m sure.  Oh, and the deacons too.  They’re another good resource for answering your questions.

And please be polite.  I’m not going to try to argue you out of your faith practice, don’t try to argue me out of mine.  Really, it’s a waste of your time and breath.  I may not know everything about my faith yet, but I know that it’s the one I have chosen and I like it.  I like the fullness, the mystery and the practices of it.  I like the rosary and the saints and all the beauty of sacred things.  I like the time I spend in adoration.  I like that I don’t know it all, that there is still more to discover even if it ticks me off that as I was growing up in the 70’s we didn’t learn about these things that I am now rediscovering.  I’m sorry that my parents and so many other adults in the 60’s, 70’s & beyond thought their children would learn the faith through osmosis.  I will try not to make that mistake with my two younger kids and I’ll just have to trust in the Holy Spirit to take care of getting the message to the oldest because the beauty of tradition and repetition is that they create peace.  In the mind, in the heart, in the soul.  I like the peace I feel inside when I’m conscious of my faith.

Many of the RSS feeds on the right are Catholic blogs, not all but quite a few.  Feel free to check them out and please respect their right to their faith and opinions too.  Thanks for taking this little stroll with me.

A Busy Little Day

It’s been a busy little day already here in the great white north.  A Virtus session this morning, DH off to work a couple of jobs, lunches made for me & the kids, laundry sorted and begun and a little time in between loads to catch up with you.

From what BooBoo tells me, several teachers and the principal had the pleasure of being in the hot seat of the dunk tank on Thursday.  I wish I could have been there, it sounded like so much fun.  The kids were told that if they made the school goal of $50,000 on their Marathon fundraiser there would be a dunk tank at the school.  They were also told that for every certain dollar amount (I think it was each $25) in pledges that they turned in by a certain date, they would get a vote as to which teacher, staff person, principal or priest they wanted to see in the hot seat of the dunk tank.  Oh yeah, they made the goal and had a great time watching the dunkings.

I’m so happy that the elections are over.  No more political phone calls, at least for a few months until the parties start gearing up for the Presidential elections in 2012.  The signs have been taken down and packed away until next time.  And a friend of the family is now the senate majority leader!  I hope that helps get our state moving toward a balanced budget and some real reform.  It’s beginning to sound like we need some election reform too with a recount on the table again.  Let’s hope that happens.

The Virtus session went well.  We still have some participants who get lost trying to find our building.  I’ve sent a note to our business manager and hopefully that can be straightened out so that the online map programs work for them to find us. 

I was wondering how I ended up with so many Virtus participants from the cities out here at my session.  Then it dawned on me when I got home . . . the Archbishop is celebrating Mass out at my church this weekend.  They’re probably the Catholic equivalent of groupies, lol.  Well, it’s nice to know that my notoriety hasn’t gotten that far yet.  Although with a crowd of tourists filling our pews, as much as I’d like to attend the Archbishop’s Mass, I may have to decide on a different time slot instead.

Well, the dryer has sounded it’s buzzer, so I’m off to battle the laundry monster.  Have a great weekend.

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