Monday, December 31, 2007

Octave of Christmas and Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, our Lady's greatest title. This feast is the octave of Christmas. In the modern Roman Calendar only Christmas and Easter enjoy the privilege of an octave. Before the Calendar was reformed this was the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord.

"Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary. Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom." — Catechism of the Catholic Church 721

The Eighth Day of Christmas

Mary the Mother of God

Like the Churches of the East, Rome wished to honor the Virgin Mother of God during the days after Christmas. As a result the ("Anniversary of St. Mary") made its appearance on January 1 in the seventh century; it has accurately been called "the first Marian feast of the Roman liturgy." — The Church at Prayer

On New Year's Day, the octave day of Christmas, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Holy Mother of God. The divine and virginal motherhood of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a singular salvific event: for Our Lady it was the foretaste and cause of her extraordinary glory; for us it is a source of grace and salvation because "through her we have received the Author of life" (127).

The solemnity of 1 January, an eminently Marian feast, presents an excellent opportunity for liturgical piety to encounter popular piety: the first celebrates this event in a manner proper to it; the second, when duly catechised, lends joy and happiness to the various expressions of praise offered to Our Lady on the birth of her divine Son, to deepen our understanding of many prayers, beginning with that which says: "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us, sinners."

In the West, 1 January is an inaugural day marking the beginning of the civil year. The faithful are also involved in the celebrations for the beginning of the new year and exchange "new year" greetings. However, they should try to lend a Christian understanding to this custom making of these greetings an expression of popular piety. The faithful, naturally, realize that the "new year" is placed under the patronage of the Lord, and in exchanging new year greetings they implicitly and explicitly place the New Year under the Lord's dominion, since to him belongs all time (cf. Ap 1, 8; 22,13)(128).

A connection between this consciousness and the popular custom of singing the Veni Creator Spiritus can easily be made so that on 1 January the faithful can pray that the Spirit may direct their thoughts and actions, and those of the community during the course of the year (129).

New Year greetings also include an expression of hope for a peaceful New Year. This has profound biblical, Christological and incarnational origins. The "quality of peace" has always been invoked throughout history by all men, and especially during violent and destructive times of war.

The Holy See shares the profound aspirations of man for peace. Since 1967, 1 January has been designated "world day for peace."

Popular piety has not been oblivious to this initiative of the Holy See. In the light of the new born Prince of Peace, it reserves this day for intense prayer for peace, education towards peace and those values inextricably linked with it, such as liberty, fraternal solidarity, the dignity of the human person, respect for nature, the right to work, the sacredness of human life, and the denunciation of injustices which trouble the conscience of man and threaten peace.

Excerpted from the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy.

The Circumcision of Our Lord

The old liturgy celebrated three feasts in one. The first was that which the old Roman sacramentaries called "the octave of the Lord," and indeed the greater part of the Mass was of the octave of Christmas with many extracts from the Masses of Christmas. Various portions of the Mass and Office celebrated the divine maternity of Mary. The third feast was that of the Circumcision which has been celebrated since the sixth century. Eight days after His birth Christ underwent, like all the Jews, this rite enjoined on Abraham by God as a pledge of his faith, and He received the name of Jesus.

When Our Lord submitted to the cut in His flesh at the Circumcision he began His work as Redeemer. He commenced that shedding of Blood which would reach its highest point of generosity in the Passion and Death.

In giving to Abraham the law of circumcision God bestowed on him his new name — Abraham. With the Jews henceforward the giving of a name had a spiritual significance; like circumcision it meant that the person belonged to the people of God. The bestowal of the name of Jesus has an even loftier significance: it is an assertion of His mission as Savior of the world.

The Holy Father's Intentions for the Month of January 2008

General: That the Church may strengthen her commitment to full visible unity in order to manifest ever more clearly her nature as a community of love in which is reflected the communion of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Missionary: That the Church in Africa, preparing to celebrate the second Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa, may continue to be a sign and channel of reconciliation and justice in a continent still suffering from war, exploitation and poverty.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Twelve Days of Christmas

It is Church tradition that the 12 days of Christmas song originated in England during the 16th century persecution of Catholics. The song was developed to help children in particular remember certain important tenants of the faith. The True Love referred to in the song is the True Love that is GOD. The 12 days of Christmas, in most liturgical calendars, starts on Christmas day and runs through January 5th. It leads up to the feast of the Epiphany of the Lord on January 6th.

On the first day of Christmas my true Love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

This is Jesus Christ whose birthday is the first day of Christmas. He is like a partridge who tries to protect its young from predators. He expressed His sadness for the fate of Jerusalem in Luke's gospel. "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often have I longed to gather your children, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you refused! So be it! Your house will be left to you. Yes, I promise you, you shall not see me till the time comes when you say: Blessings on him who comes in the name of the Lord!"

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Two Turtle Doves

This is a reference to the Old and New Testaments. Both are God's revelation to us through history and creation. The story of His people is the story of God to the world.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Three French Hens

In short, there are three things that last: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13) This of course is the three theological virtues.

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Four Calling Birds

What else are there four of in the Bible but the four Gospels. They proclaim the Good News of Jesus, God Incarnate, coming into the world.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Five Gold Rings

There are five books in the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. They give the history of the beginning of the world, the creation of man as a reflection of God, of man's relationship with God, the failure of original sin, the promise of a saviour, and the selection of a people through whom salvation would come.

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Six Geese A-laying

This is a reference to the six days of creation in Genesis chapter one. God's power, majesty, and goodness can still be seen in the beauty of His creation.

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Seven Swans A-swimming

The seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord, and fortitude (or courage).

"Our gifts differ according to the grace given us. If your gift is prophecy, then use it as your faith suggests; if administration, then use it for administration; if teaching, then use it for teaching. Let the preachers deliver sermons, the almsgivers give freely, the official be diligent, and those who do works of mercy do them cheerfully." (Romans 12: 6-8)

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Eight Maids A-milking

The eight Beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit, Blessed are those who mourn, Blessed are the meek, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, Blessed are the merciful, Blessed are the pure in heart, Blessed are the peacemakers, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Nine Ladies Dancing

"What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness [some translations say faithfulness], gentleness, and self-control." (Galatians 5:22) This is the traditional list of nine of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Ten Lords A-leaping

The Ten Commandments:
I. I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me!
II. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain!
III. Remember to keep holy the LORD'S Day!
IV. Honor your father and your mother!
V. You shall not kill!
VI. You shall not commit adultery!
VII. You shall not steal!
VIII. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor!
IX. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife!
X. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods!
(Exodus 20:1-17

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Eleven Pipers Piping

The eleven Faithful Apostles: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the less, Simon the Zealot, Judas known as Thaddeus. (Luke 6:14-16).

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Twelve Drummers Drumming

This is for the 12 points of the Apostle's Creed: (1)I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. (2) I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord, (3) who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, (4) suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. (5) On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and (6) he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

(7)I believe in the Holy Spirit, (8)the holy catholic church, (9) the communion of saints, (10) the forgiveness of sins, (11) the resurrection of the body, and (12) the life everlasting. AMEN.

Monday, December 24, 2007

O COME EMMANUEL (God with us)

O Come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that morns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Wisdom, from on high,
and order all things far and nigh;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, o come, Thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times did give the law,
in cloud, and majesty, and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse's stem,
form ev'ry foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty power to save,
and give them vict'ry o'er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heav'nly home,
make safe the way that leads on high,
that we no more have cause to sigh.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death's dark shadow put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Desire of the nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid every strife and quarrel cease
and fill the world with heaven's peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

St Catherine of Siena on the Incarnation

Incarnation -- Gift of Immeasurable Love
Saint Catherine of Siena

"My sweet Lord, look with mercy upon your people and especially upon the mystical body of your Church. Greater glory is given to your name for pardoning a multitude of your creatures than if I alone were pardoned for my great sins against your majesty. It would be no consolation for me to enjoy your life if your holy people stood in death. For I see that sin darkens the life of your bride the Church - my sin and the sins of others.

It is a special grace I ask for, this pardon for the creatures you have made in your image and likeness. When you created man, you were moved by love to make him in your own image. Surely only love could so dignify your creatures. But I know very well that man lost the dignity you gave him; he deserved to lose it, since he had committed sin.

Moved by love and wishing to reconcile the human race to yourself, you gave us your only-begotten Son. He became our mediator and our justice by taking on all our injustice and sin out of obedience to your will, eternal Father, just as you willed that he take on our human nature. What an immeasurably profound love! Your Son went down from the heights of his divinity to the depths of our humanity. Can any one's heart remain closed and hardened after this?

We image your divinity, but you image our humanity in that union of the two which you have worked in a man. You have veiled the Godhead in a cloud, in the clay of our humanity. Only your love could so dignify the flesh of Adam. And so by reason of this immeasurable love I beg, with all the strength of my soul, that you freely extend your mercy to all your lowly creatures."

This is an excerpt from the Dialogue (4, 13) of St. Catherine of Siena, Doctor of the Church.

My Christmas Tree

You Are a Bright Christmas Tree

For you, the holidays are all about fun and seasonal favorites.

You are into all things Christmas, even if they're a little tacky.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas Shopping Rules for Men

I lifted this from another Blog called Catholic Fire. I think this list is terrific. I hope my husband reads and heeds.

"Since the majority of men purchase gifts for their wives during the final week of Christmas (most often on Christmas Eve), I am not too late with this post.

Getting a personal gift for your wife or woman friend has specific rules, like a size limit on a fish caught in a lake. Here are some that will help keep you out of trouble:

- Avoid sizes. If you have to get her any clothing, get a size too small. This translates in her mind as a compliment.

- No underwear, teddies, or pajamas unless otherwise requested. This is interpreted as a gift for you.

- If it comes from a store you are comfortable in, get something else. There are no personal items for women in sporting goods, hardware, liquor, or fishing/tackle stores. The possible exception is if you are building that romantic porch swing she has bugged you about for years. In this case, have it finished before Christmas, or you will have to go back into the forest for something else.

- No plants, flowers, or cards by themselves. These are for other occasions, weddings, and deaths. These are interpreted as make-do gifts, such as those things you grab at the last minute at the airport, the gas station, or the check-out stand.

- The gift must be personal and impractical. The breadmaker and blender are used by everyone in the house, not just her. It must be hers and hers alone.

- Things that enhance her personal hobby or collection are sure winners.

- Expensive candy is okay, but does not constitute the main gift. Put this in her Christmas stocking with the plastic candy cane you forgot to put back.

- Never purchase cologne, body mist, or perfume, unless you know for certain her specific preference. Getting her the wrong scent is equivalent to her getting you a twelve pack of PBR when you're a Michelob Lite kind of guy.

- Gift cards she can use for after-Holiday shopping sprees are wonderful. However, she will probably not appreciate gift cards from any of the following stores: Bob's Hardware, Dick's Sporting Goods, Peter's Pipe and Cigar Shop, Home Depot, Bubba Jack's Tackle, Golden Moose Liquors, or Big Bear Butt's Gun Shop.

- Most women like jewelry -- it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Something that reminds you of the color of her eyes or hair along with a sentiment -- a personalized poem -- attached is meaningful and will leave a lasting impression. Just make sure you spell her name correctly and that you don't put your ex's name down by mistake or you may not live to enjoy another Christmas season."

Revision of an earlier post.

Posted by Jean M. Heimann

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What Christmas ornament are you?

You Are a Tree

You love every part of the holidays, down to the candy canes and stockings. And you're goofy enough to put a Christmas tree ornament on your tree!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Today is a wonderful celebration in the Church. I enjoyed the vigil Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception this evening. I wish I could remember all of Father F.'s homily. The essence of it was: You have to accept both the terrible cross and its burdens, and the crown of joy in this life. Mary is a perfect example of a person who experienced great joy (the birth of the Son of God, watching Him grow and mature, being present during much of His ministry, and, especially the Resurrection., etc) but she also suffered great agony (Jesus' suffering and death). As a mother, I can really empathize with Mary. I have experienced both heartache and great joy with the blessing of my five children.

Today's Gospel
Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sunday's Gospel

Lk 23:35-43

The rulers sneered at Jesus and said,
"He saved others, let him save himself if he is the chosen one, the Christ of God."
Even the soldiers jeered at him. As they approached to offer him wine they called out, "If you are King of the Jews, save yourself." Above him there was an inscription that read,
"This is the King of the Jews."

Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us."

The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, "Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."

He replied to him, "Amen, I say to you,
today you will be with Me in Paradise."

This Sunday was "Our Lord Jesus Christ the King". Jesus came as our King, the King of the Universe. He just did not do it the way people expected. The King made us and the King came to redeem us. This is the last Sunday of Ordinary Time on the Church calendar. We celebrate His kingship and then we begin our time of preparation for His coming--Advent. We start the Church year by looking forward to and celebrating the King's 'birthday'. What a great time of the year.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I participate in a couple of Catholic-Protestant debate forums. Up until about 2 weeks ago, I had been a very active participant. However, somehow I have fallen out of favor or for some unknown reason am just being ignored. So, since my blog is probably also being ignored in general, I thought I'd publish my latest arguements/ comments here in my own forum. Maybe someone can read it or benefit from it.

Let me set this up. A new person came on the debate forum and asked non-Catholics how they defend believing in God and believing the Bible is a Holy Book from God. Normally this is not the purpose of the forum. The forum is to discuss and defend the Catholic Church's teachings. However, the moderator allowed him to ask the non-Catholics on the forum his questions. After some discussion, this is what transpired:
I have deleted names of the participants and used A=Agnostic, NC=Non-catholic, Me=Me.

A: How can this [the Bible] be the "axiom" if you beleive that it is the revealed word of god. Wouldn't it be the end point?

NC: I don't see why it would be? If a system is going to start it must start somewhere and that *somewhere* is that system's axiom. All that follows needs to be account for by the system's axiom, either that or it's an addition to the axiom (i.e., by objection to Romanism).

Me: [Commenting on her answer to A] What do you mean "addition to the axiom (i.e., by objection to Romanism)?
1) He is asking non-Catholics to LOGICALLY explain why they believe the Bible is the Word of God and not a work of fiction.
2) A somewhat back-handed falsehood/insult about the Church is NOT an arguement supporting YOUR position that the Bible is the Word of God.
3) We've already had this arguement. It can be proven logically and objectively that protestants REMOVED books from the Bible--the Church DID NOT ADD to the Bible.
4) The Catholic Church is so named because it comes from a Greek word that means universal or general. It means that it is for EVERYONE. There is not 'ROMANISM'. There is however, Catholicism, a Christian belief available to any and every one.
5) 'Romanism' would be a completely inaccurate term for the Church even if it were a true label. The Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, while being the largest of the Catholic Rites, is not the only one. There are Byzatine Rite Catholics, Armenian Rite Catholics, etc. for a total of 20 Rites altogether. And, while they acknowledge the pope in Rome as the head of the universal Church, they would not be called 'Romanists' since they are not, per se, 'Roman' Catholics.

NC: [Continuation of comments to A] The principle which became forcefully clarified during the Reformation and to the chagrin and anger of Romanists, is that of sola Scriptura and that Scripture alone is the Word of God.

Me: So, let me get this straight, your arguement that the Bible is the Word of God because the Catholic Church is WRONG. How does that prove anything about how protestants prove the truth of Scripture?

NC: [continuation of comments to A] Consequently, the Christian a [sic] system begins with Scripture alone. The Christian doesn't *arrive* at Scripture as a conclusion; he starts there.

ME: EXCEPT that Christians did NOT have the Scriptures as we know it until the late 3rd to early 4th centuries. So, what did they do before then according to you? We believe the words of Paul and the Gospel writers were passed on by word of mouth at first then LATER written down. That is where Tradition came from. "Stand firm, then, brothers, and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter." 2 Thessalonians 2:15 All Tradition (with the big T) [an example the doctrine of the Trinity] in the Church was passed down from the days of the Apostles. Not all traditions (small t) [an example the color of the walls inside the Church] were passed down.

NC: [Continuation of comments to A] [Good point. If fact, not only do Christians begin with Scripture, but the Roman Catholic Church does as well. The Scripture of Matthew 16:18 is the authority that birthed them.]

Me: Unfortunately, this is only PARTIALLY true. AND, you are not
answering [A]'s question. You are using his question as an excuse to scorn the Church.
1) Matthew 16:18 (and verse 19) does indeed quote Jesus words, "So I now say to you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: Whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in Heaven; whatever you loose on Earth shall be considered loosed in Heaven." These were the words recorded in Matthew's Gospel by a WITNESS.
2) That day Jesus commissioned Peter. Jesus said this to Peter and it was believed and passed on LONG BEFORE it was written down in Matthew's Gospel about 4 decades later.
3) We believe the day of Pentecost is the 'birthday' as it were of Jesus' Church. The Apostles, up until that time, were waiting for Christ's return. They thought He would come back and take them with Him. However, at Pentecost, they received the Holy Spirit.

Act 2: "When Pentecost day came around, they [the Apostles and Mary] had all met in one room, when suddenly they heard what sounded like a powerful wind from Heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in shich they were sitting; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the heads of each of them. They were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them the gift of speech. Now there were devout men who living in Jerusalem from every nation under Heaven, and at this sound they all assembled, each one bewildered to hear these men speaking his own language. They were amazed and astonished. "Surely," they said,"all these men speaking are Galileans? How does it happen that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Edamites; people from Mesopotamia, Jueaea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya around Cyrene; as well as visitors from Rome--. Jews and proselytes alike--Cretans and Arabs; we hear them preaching in our own language about the marvels of God." Everyone was amazed and unable to explain it; they asked one another what it all meant. Some, however, laughed it off....Then Peter stood up with the Eleven and addressed them in a loud voice: 'Men of Judaea, and all you who live in Jerusalem, make no mistake about this, but listen carefully to what I say....In the days to come-it is the Lord who speaks-I will pour out my Spirit on all mankind....{Read the rest of Peter's speech in Acts 2}...Hearing this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the apostles, "What must we do, brothers?" "You must repent," Peter answered, "and every one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus for forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise that was made is for you and your children, and for all those who are far away, for all those whom the Lord our God will call to Himself."..."Save yourselves from this perverse generation." They were convinced by his arguments, and they accepted what he [Peter] said and were baptized. That very day three thousand were added to their number."

This is the birth of our Church, [NC]. This is the day of the universality of the Church. This is when Peter preached to all in Jerusalem who would listen. Our Church started on the day of Pentecost--50 days after the Resurrection; 10 days after the ascension. It started long before Luke wrote down the testimony of witnesses [Luke was not there]. This IS the 'birth' of our Church not the WORDS written on paper. Jesus commissioned Peter, as witnessed in Matthew's gospel. The Holy Spirit was given to Peter and the Apostles, as witnessed to by the Book of Acts.

Afterwords: My comments to the NC on this forum were never acknowledged or answered. I am sure she is still going on her merry little ignorant way spreading lies about the Church and about Catholics. Bishop Sheen is credited with saying that most people do not object to what the Catholic Church teaches so much as to what they THINK the Catholic teaches. At least, this NC hasn't come right out and said Catholics are not Christians as many NCs on the forum have. Anti-Catholic sentiment is on the rise in the US and it is becoming more and more blatant and hate filled. I fear for my children's future on earth, at times. But, I do not fear for their souls. I do believe God is with our family and we are giving our children a Christian heritage and culture that cannot be equalled. Peace to all who actually read my blog.

The image above, right is wonderful image of St. Peter in prayer.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Psalm for Today

I wanted to contemplate God's goodness today.
Here is Claude Monet's 'Arm of the Seine near Giverny'. Monet is one of my all time favorite artists. What a beautiful recreation of the majesty of God's handiwork.

Something beautiful to look at while contemplating today's Psalm.
Today's Psalm is 145:1-5 and 10-11.

I sing your praises, God my King,
I bless Your Name for ever and ever,
blessing You day after day,
and praising Your Name for ever and ever.
Can anyone measure the magnificence of
Yahweh the great, and his inexpressible grandeur?

Celebrating your acts of power,
one age shall praise Your doings to another.
Oh, the spendor of Your glory, Your renown!
I tell myself the story of Your marvelous deeds.

Yahweh, all your creatures thank You,
and your faithful bless You.
Kingly and glorious they proclaim You,
they affirm Your might.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


This is a passage of scripture that has hit home lately.

"No one can hurt you if you are determined to do only what is right; if you do have to suffer for being good, you will count it a blessing. There is no need to be afraid or to worry about them.(1) Simply reverence the Lord(2) Christ in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you all have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander you when you are living a good life in Christ may be proved wrong in the accusations that they bring. And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong." I Peter 3:13-17

(1) "Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, do not be afraid of them. It is Yahweh Sabaoth, whom you must hold in veneration, him you must fear, him you must dread." Isaiah 8: 12-13

(2) "Have no fear of sudden terror or of assault from wicked men, since Yahweh will by your guarantor, he will keep your steps from the snare." Proverbs 3:25-26

Not only does Peter teach that we can keep our heads up high knowing that what we believe is right, he teaches us that we should have no fear of those who slander us. In light of the Old Testament verses referenced in the Jerusalem Bible I quoted here, we are told what an awesome and powerful God we have. Why do we fear those who despise us?

I have been having a hard time lately on a Catholic debate group in which I have been participating. Many of the protestantants not only call Catholics on the forum names but most believe we don't 'deserve' to be called Christians. After all, they say, we don't follow the teachings of Christ. I and a couple of others have fallen into the pitfalls. Then they say "Ah ha, see how unChristian you are!!!" Of course their conduct is justified because we, Catholics, are not Christians therefore not on the same level with them.

I have been struggling with Peter. I need to listen to his words and remember I have nothing to fear. I have nothing to be angry about even when they call me names, call me stupid, call me crazy and evil. I have no real connection with these people. They cannot hurt me in my real world--with my Jesus, my family, my life. They are sad, strange people who call themselves Christians and then talk to people like they are not worthy wipe off their shoes.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name..." These words from an old hymn just popped into my head. That is what I need to do.

I leave this message from the Book of Wisdom, attributed to King Solomon. A book newly discovered by me--boy is it full of WISDOM--pun intended.

"Love virtue, you who are judges on earth, let honesty prompt your thinking about the Lord, seek Him in simplicity of heart; since He is to be found by those who do not put Him to the test, He shows Himself to those who do not distrust Him. But selfish intentions divorce from God; and Omnipotence, put to the test, confounds the foolish....Wisdom is spirit, a friend to man,...The spirit of the Lord, indeed, fills the whole world, and that which holds all things together knows every word that is said." Wisdom 1:1-3,6a,7

(The image above, right is an image of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) with her 'daughters,' Faith, Hope, and Charity. This is a beautiful image personifying those Godly virtues.)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Long Week

This week has been a long one. BUT it went by fast. How does that happen? It seems like it was a month long but it all happened in one day.

Today I am very proud of my two altar boys participating in the Holy Day Mass for All Saints. There was not much of a crowd for a holy day of obligation. Most people probably went to the vigil Mass last night because they have to work. My oldest got to ring the bells during the consecration for the first time. He did very well and I am very proud of him. The 'baby' (he's 2) only fussed once when he hit the back of his head on the pew. He didn't even fuss when I went up to do the second reading. They were all great today. Some days just go well.

Of course, no school got done today. I just had to take a breather. The plan tomorrow is to do some study in the morning and then do our usual Friday art activities. Art is a joyous activity all the kids look forward to. They get to do little art activities during the week but they have a good long art lesson--drawing, coloring, cutting, painting, whatever--on Friday as a reward for a long week of work. I believe art is just as important as math and science for a growing child's mind. The creative thinking helps them in those areas, too. And, the walls get a boost from their boredom.

Right now, I need to get Spiderman to bed so the kids can go to bed.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


We did have a long day today. Mom almost went nuts. She stayed just this side of sanity. HOWEVER, we finally did get pumpkins today.

We got one pumpkin for each of us. Tonight we made a glorious mess of the dining room. We covered everything with newspaper and started to cut and scoop away. Once the messy part was done the fun part could begin. I carved a wonderful arched back cat in the side of my very large pumpkin. I tried it out with a candle and I was pretty proud of myself. Then, my second son drew out his design but wanted me to carve it because he was scared of cutting himself. So, I carved his frowning, angry-faced pumpkin. My oldest came back from his Junior High youth group party then. He cleaned out the inside of his pumpkin. While I was bathing my daughter and the 'baby', he proceeded to draw out an extremely intricate "berserker" design. I took one look and went "WOW!" hoping he was not going to ask me to do the carving. Guess what. He asked if I could 'help' him carve it. He carved the nose...It looks wonderful but it took a while. My third son will have to paint his tomorrow. He and his sister got in a fight so he was sent to bed. Oh well, it really was a fun time of creativity and activity as a family. Sorry dad missed out.

Happy Halloween everyone.

One of those Days

Do you ever have one of those days?

I forgot to turn on my alarm clock last night. I awoke at 7:15; too late to get five kids up and to Mass by 8:15 by myself. I got everyone up, fixed breakfast, and tried to get everyone dressed. I pride myself in not yelling at my kids as much as their father does---But when it is 9:20, CCD starts at 9:30, and two of the kids still do not have shoes on, the voice starts to get loud. We only live two blocks from church but it can be an awfully loooooong walk sometimes. I had to teach a CCD class I absolutely do not enjoy. (I don't think personal "health and safety" belongs in CCD class). At least, I got to spent a few precious minutes introducing the kids to All Saints' Day coming up on Thursday. I tried to emphasize to the 4 students that did show up that November 1st is a Holy Day of obligation. After class, the other two teachers and I were trying to organize a planning day when I had 3 students running around tearing up the school room, 2 kids with the "come-on-mom-let's-go" syndrome, and 2 kids who disappeared on me. Mass was extra crowded and extra long today because of a ceremony for the confirmation class. After Mass, the kids scatter in different directions again. I try to have a conversation with one adult but the nasy "come-on-mom-let's go" sets in again. I must retrieve my 2 year old from the nursery where the lady already has all the hall lights and gate locked. I guess she had other plans. My 2-year old takes off in the opposite direction from the car. I have to drag him kicking and screaming to the car while carrying everyone elses 'crap' too. My two younger kids race, pushing and shoving, of course, to see who can make it to the car first; everybody calling 'dibs' on the seat next to the 'baby'. I have to wrestle the baby into his seat, kicking and screaming because I wouldn't let him tear across the parking lot like his brothers and sister. Then my daughter starts bawling at the top of her 6 year old lungs because of some perceived injustice (I did not answer a question I didn't hear). My 13 year old is yelling at the 8 year old to behave. Then the two in the back start yelling at each other. Well, guess what? Moms head just popped right off, right there in the front seat. I am sure if people could see me in that van, they saw actual steam coming out of my neck cavity. There are days when life with kids is soooooo overwhelming, it is all you can do to stay sane.

I love it when people say "You're the one who decided to have ALL THOSE KIDS". Ever feeling like socking someone in the mouth?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Apostles' Creed

For anyone who would like to know what the Catholic Church teaches. The Apostles' Creed is a great summary of all of our Faith.

The Apostles' Creed

"We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth, of all that is seen and unseen.

"We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten, not made, one in Being with the Father. Through Him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation He came down from Heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit He was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.

"For our sake He was crucified under Pontius Pilate; He suffered, died, and was buried. On the third day He rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

"We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, with the Father and the Son He is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the prophets.

"We believ in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen"

Questions or comments are welcome. See Catholic Answers or EWTN websites for more on Catholic Apologetics.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Halloween and Walpurgisnacht

To My Readers,

If you are interested in more information on a Catholic view of Halloween, please go to:

For more on Walpurgisnact go to:

Fish Eaters is a website for Catholics and non-Catholics to learn something about Catholic Apologetics. There are many places on the site to explain Catholic Teaching, Customs and Traditions. It is a good starting place for those who don't understand the Catholic view on things. After that, one should seek out a Church in their area to find out about classes on the Faith. Look on the papal website, EWTN website, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and, along with that, the Bible. There are many resources out there that are not biased against the Church if someone would like to know more about it.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Happy Hallowe'en

To all my friends, don't be surprised if I say "Happy Halloween!" I know and you know that we are just having a bit of fun on the day before All Saints' Day on November 1st. The 'holiday' (from the term holy day) may have been a night used by those with evil intentions but has become a day of camp, fun, and parties. No one of my circle goes to Tarot readings, seances, celebrations of witches or evil spirits of any kind. If any Catholic participates in anything of the like they are endangering their souls. Having said that, I enjoy letting my kids dress up and fantasize about being an Egyptian prince, an archangel, a princess, even Batman or Spiderman for a day. It is healthy imagination at work and it is all in fun. They are not crossing any line into any darkside. My children have been taught and understand the difference between fantasy and reality. If no one kept bring up the so-called origins of Halloween, they would be lost to history and no one would be the wiser.

I am doing my best to teach my children about their Catholic faith heritage. St. Walburga understands this. One of her feast days is May 1st, the day her remains were translated to a Cathedral named in her honor. April 30th was taken over as Walpurgisnacht in parts of Germany. It is now a celebration day for neo-witches and occultists who can celebrate their rituals until the dawn of the saint's day when they are banished. It is similar to our Halloween for neo-pagans and wiccans here. And, it is just as bogus a 'holiday' for them. However, there is no trick or treating or kids having fun on that day.

Saint Walburga's primary feast day is February 25th, the day she was born into the communion of saints in about 779. I will continue to honor this holy woman as I honor all the saints on All Saints Day.

So, Happy Hallowe'en. Have a fun day with your kids and don't stress about the evil One. Remember God promised Satan would never prevail. Bring up your kids right. Help them understand the difference between good and evil. Help them to have a healthy fantasy life while they are young. It will be all too soon when the cares of the world will be put on their shoulders.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Feeling Sorry

Since this is MY blog, I am allowed to whine if I want to. "It's my party. I can cry if I want to...." I have been feeling down lately. I had been feeling, spiritually dry for quite sometime. I went to confession 2 weeks ago and was as high and as free as a bird. But, the ordinary pressures of life with 5 kids and my husband out of town has me depressed all of a sudden. I seem to be getting nothing accomplished, my house is a mess, I have had no time with friends in quite awhile. I feel that I am now being ignored by family, friends, those on my debate forum, I don't know any neighbors. Almost as if I've disappeared. Do you ever feel that way?

I hope that lots of prayers and Scripture reading and confession this weekend will help. I do love my family. Every day is precious with them. It will be all too soon before they are all gone. I want to give them the gift of a sane, loving, Godly mom. I am doing my best Lord. I plan to say a prayer to the Divine Mercy. When I get a chance I will post it on my site.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Can Only Imagine - Catholic Version

St. Walburga loves Christian music. She found a Catholic version of 'I Can Only Imagine' by Mercy Me. The song combined with the images is so beautiful St. Walburga and I had a good cry together. It was tears of joy at the beauty of the song and images and tears of sorrow for those who don't know and don't understand the beauty of Our Lord and Savior's Church. The video is attached at the bottom. Click the picture of the monstrance for the Catholic version--Simply beautiful. Blessings

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Eric Clapton sings to Our Lady

Eric Clapton sings a tribute to the Blessed Virgin. It is sweet. This lovely song comes right out of my favorite era of popular music. He is one of my favorite musicians. The link is at the bottom of the page--enjoy.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Why St. Walburga

When I converted to Catholicism almost a decade ago, I took St. Walburga as my patron saint. We were living in Germany at the time. I had seen a triptych (Webster's 2 a: a picture (as an altarpiece) or carving in three panels side by side ) with a woman holding a bishop's crook in her hand. I was fascinated by who she could be.

1) She lived in the 8th century.
2) Born in England.
3) Became a nun then an abbess in Heidenheim in what is now Germany.
4) Abbots were equal to Bishops in the Church hierarcy and often depicted in paintings with bishop's crooks. St. Walburga became the Abbess of a dual (monks and nuns) upon the death of her brother, St. Wunibald, the Abbott.
5) She is also depicted with a book and a bottle of medicine. She was very learned and was the 8th century equivalent of a doctor of medicine.
6) She was known for gentleness, humility and charity.

I fell in love with her and took her as my patroness.

Prayer to St. Walburga
St. Walburga, by your blessed life of love,
God blessed you with the power to heal,
to make whole the soul as well as the body.
Beg for us what we cannot obtain for ourselves,
and heal our world of sickness and sorrow.
May God hear you, who lived so graciously for His glory,
and send us the healing grace we need,
through your powerful intercession.

I will be forming more of my blog and my thoughts as soon as time is available for me.
Construction will be complete soon, I hope.