Category Archives: faith

Stop! Before you read any further…..

Go see Carolina Cannonball’s blog, specifically her post about the 2009 blog awards (for which I was nominated) and vote for my blog!

The relevant post is right here, so you don’t even have to go look.

And I’ve made this a sticky post, to remind you every time you visit until the voting is closed.

All I can promise you if I win, is more of the same Church Belligerent Militant that I do, even if not very regularly.

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I enjoyed reading this,

and I thought you might, so I’m linking it here:

http://ladonnaspage.blogspot.com/2009/03/is-it-just-me.html

Why bother?

I stopped in the narthex of my parish Church yesterday morning to pick up a copy of the Order of Baptism (we had a Baptism/Chrismation/First Holy Communion yesterday!) and a bulletin, and on the table with those items was a small stack of brochures advertising the “Sixth Annual Day of Reflection of Women” to be held at our Cathedral, sponsored by the Archeparchial Office of Religious Education.

I opened the brochure to take a look; it’s to be held on a Saturday and I thought perhaps if it looked interesting and solid, I’d try to get child care so I could attend.

There are to be three presenters; the first one mentioned is a Therapist and Spiritual Director……she is also an ordained elder in the Presbyterian Church USA….Whoa!  Hold the phone! This is an event put together and officially sanctioned by the archeparchy.  We’re Catholic.  In the Catholic Church, women are unable to be ordained. I am disturbed.

There are two other presenters, one of whom is a member of a Byzantine parish in Butler; the other’s connection (or lack of) is nowhere mentioned.

Other perturbing things about this ‘day of reflection’:  nowhere on the schedule does it mention that there will be an opportunity for spiritual direction or confession; there is only one mention of prayer and that is at the beginning of the day – the final event listed is a benefit auction for local women’s shelters (nothing wrong with that, don’t misunderstand me please).

One word:  ecumania.  This isn’t ecumenism; giving credence to this woman’s invalid ordination by inviting her to speak at a gathering for Catholic women is perpetuating the dissent that is rotting the Church from the inside out.  she may be a very effective counselor; she may also be an effective spiritual director but she cannot be those things to a Catholic woman; her very publicized credentials are an affront to Catholic women.

Needless to say, I won’t be trying to get child care to attend this gathering.  I’m going to speak with my pastor first, but I also might be calling the archeparchy to register my dismay over this.

sigh.

I’m still here!

I was working on getting my other blog up and running and decided it wasn’t too much more effort to pop over here and update.

It’s Great Lent, as you’re probably aware, and boyoboy is there a lot to do penance about nowadays!  My prayer list grows longer with every passing day; one person I pray for specifically every day is the VPOTUS Mr. Joe Biden.  Pray with me that he will have a true conversion of heart and wake up to the fact that being Catholic isn’t just part of one’s identity, is IS one’s identity.  He and Speaker Pelosi have done more, in my opinion, to foster distrust and misunderstanding of the Catholic Church in recent times than anyone else I could name, including that censured European SSPX Bishop.  He expressed a personal opinion (although he should not have been so public about it, I think), while VP Biden and Speaker Pelosi have deliberately and methodically mis-stated and perverted definitive de fide Church teaching to conform with the pro-death platform of the Democrats.

Enough politics…..I could stay on that soapbox forever but this isn’t really a political blog.

The day before Clean Monday we had our 2nd annual “Fat Sunday” gathering here, and it was a great success.  Lots of good non-Lent food and munchies, fellowship, and we closed the evening with Second Vespers from the Divine Office.  This year’s attendance was 28, the same as last year, but we had some new folks from out of town and a couple of families had sick family members and had to send regrets.  Our priest even stopped by for a bit and seemed to enjoy himself.

I’ll post the link to the other blog as soon as I have some more substance to it; there’s not much to see there at the moment.

Confirmation: Graduation or Commencement?

I was very humbled (and thrilled) to be asked to sponsor one of the wonderful young women in our Catholic homeschoolers group for her Confirmation, which Mass is this evening in a beautiful Church about an hour from here.  I’ve been thinking over the past couple of weeks about the Sacrament, and how saddened I have been to hear some confirmandi speak of it as a sort of graduation ceremony – you know, no more CCD and all that.  It’s almost as if they think that in the decade-plus they have attended CCD they have learned all there is to know about their Faith and that of their Church, and now they can be turned loose upon the parish and the world.

Wrong.

It’s a commencement.  To commence something means to begin.  Certainly the Sacrament of Confirmation is the last of those of Initiation (Illumination to us Easterners), but by no means does that mean one is finished with formation as a mature Catholic Christian.  Au contraire!

In the Confraternity of Penitents, we go through four years of formation before permission may be granted by our respective spiritual directors for us to pledge to live our Rule and Constitutions either for one year or for life.  And after our pledging, we are committed to continue our study of the Faith as guided by the same spiritual director for the rest of our lives on earth.  We read the Church Fathers, Council documents, Papal Encyclicals; we study Scripture; we pray, adore the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, meditate; we continue to “work out our salvation”.

Confirmation is truly the ‘commencement’ of that working out of salvation.  Not that we can ever earn it, but confirmandi ought to be taught that following their reception of the Sacrament, they must be sure to have a plan by which they will try to continue to grow in Faith, Hope and Charity as fully Illumined members of the Body of Christ, the Church Militant.

I have every confidence that the young woman who honored me by asking me to sponsor her for Confirmation will do exactly that.

And I have been praying (and will continue to pray) that God makes me worthy to be what a sponsor ought to be, now and unto the ages of ages.

Ever traveled back in time?

I did, yesterday afternoon at St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Weston, West Virginia.  The checs and I, along with ByzCat and her family and literally hundreds of other Catholics from all over, assisted at the Solemn High Mass for the Second Sunday after Easter, according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Tridentine Mass, for those of you who missed B16’s motu proprio).

You’re going to have to be patient and wait for pictures until I get the film developed, as the Church was too pretty to entrust images to my little cheesy camera phone.

Father Grassi, the celebrant, was richly and ornately vested in a gorgeous gold fiddleback chasuble that looked like it had been borrowed from His Holiness himself.  The servers were elegant and reverent in black cassocks and blinding white surplices.  A friend’s son was the crucifer.

The organist was imported, as were the members of the choir.  All volunteer and EXTREMELY well done.

Did I mention the Church was packed?  Practically to the rafters.  I saw room for 3 people to sit down, and that’s it.

I have to admit, when I first heard about this Mass and made plans to attend, I thought maybe 75 to 100 people would be a good turnout.  After all, if you look at where Weston is on the map, it’s not exactly in the middle of things.  And I’ve posted before about some pretty pitiful things that have gone on in NO parishes in my neck of the woods (same diocese, although a different vicariate).  From the state of affairs here locally, I thought any love for tradition had long been lost, replaced with that odd apathy that in my snarkier moments I equate with a wilful loss of Faith.

I have never been happier to have been shown to be wrong.  I think it’s entirely possible that now, after a very long (40 years…..where have we heard about people wandering for that length of time…..) winter, the Latin Rite is about to see that ‘new springtime’ that was supposed to happen way back when.

The Spirituality of Gardening

I’ve been mulling over the subject of this post for a couple of weeks now, having taken some time off for the Great Fast and then trying to catch up on some other things.  As I look at the yard and the flower beds around my house, I notice that although the same things come back year after year, nothing looks exactly the same as it did in previous years.

I have tulips in a long, narrow bed along the rear wall of my house.  The year I moved in we planted 25 bulbs, scattered evenly in the soil.  The following spring about 15 of them bloomed, and over the past few years they have increased and though I haven’t counted them this spring, last year I had 50 blooms.  Maybe this is how our souls grow…..God plants the seeds of grace in us, and if the soil is fertile the seeds will germinate.  I believe that only in rare cases does a soul go from infancy in the spiritual life to maturity – this kind of growth takes time and if probably pretty much impossible.  If we plant 25 tulip bulbs it would be silly to expect 50 tulips the very next spring!  But with proper care and nurturing, those 25 bulbs can multiply to 50 in a relatively short time.

So it may be with our souls?

Those seeds are planted in many different ways; by family and friends; by circumstances and experiences; by prayer, fasting and almsgiving…..sometimes it takes a while for them to germinate.  Maybe soil of our souls is not as fertile as it ought to be, or maybe it hasn’t been tilled enough by life – and living – for the seeds to bear any fruit at all.  But I think that at some point when I look back upon where I have been and where I am now, I see the Gardener…..cultivating, rooting out weeds of indifference and discouragement, pruning off the suckers of pride and fertilizing the new green shoots of humility and obedience to His will.

At the corner of my lot there is a small triangular bed where I have tried, without much success, to grow various things in differing seasons.  Two years ago I frustratedly crammed into the ground about 12 daffodil bulbs given to me by someone who thinks I have more space than I actually do, for flowers.  Last spring they came up but none of them bloomed; this year two of them have blossoms.

We can be given gifts that nourish our faith by those who don’t even realize what they are doing.  In some seemingly random comment, a magazine article forwarded through email, a card in the snail mail, God in His infinite wisdom and goodness send what He knows we need, before we can identify the need ourselves.  After a time it takes root and we remember, thinking “if it hadn’t been for _______________ I would never have ___________________” and if the eyes of our souls are open we see that God has taken care of us once more.

I enjoy the digging, weeding, deciding what to grow, planting, cultivating and harvesting, but in these flower beds I have a chance to watch God at work.  How very blessed I am, and how utterly unable to ever thank Him enough for caring for me the way He does.

I leave you with a picture:

Signs of spring!