Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Commenting on Comments

I don't usually post about comments received in my combox but I thought this one (in regard to my post on Fr. Gordon MacRae) should be read by as many people as possible. Ryan A MacDonald is the author of two of the articles I linked to in my previous post and is also the author of the blog A Ram In the Thicket (which I highly recommend). In response to my post he remarked (I omitted a small portion but here is the part that caught my eye):
"As the author of two of the links mentioned in this post, I would like to comment further.... But it's even worse than the writer knows. The mother of this priest's accusers had a career as a child sex abuse investigator for New Hampshire's Child Protective Services. She had worked for years with the detective who choreographed this case. She had also testified many times as a State's witness in child sex abuse cases that came before Father MacRae's judge. By the time she appeared as the aggrieved mother of three men who stood to gain in excess of $650,000 in this case, she was already well-known to the judge. From day one in this trial the judge referred to the priest as "the defendant" and the accuser as "the victim." But there is a lot more. The accusers' mother and the police detective both had awareness of other cases involving other accused priests that had never gone to trial and had been quietly settled. So they lifted elements of those other cases and injected them into the case against Father Gordon MacRae. This had the Kafkaesque effect of causing Father MacRae's Diocese to distance itself from him from day one. Before trial, the Diocese tried to control this information by declaring MacRae guilty before he ever set foot in a courtroom. The levels of betrayal go on and on, but what was betrayed more than anything is the "justice" that we all presume takes place in a modern American court of law."

This fits in with a portion of the police report  I read that I couldn't quite follow as many of the names were blocked out and the report became quite confusing at times because of this. The officer referred a few times to a woman he worked with but I simply assumed that this was a fellow officer or someone employed by the police department. I didn't realize that this was an investigator for N.H. Child Protective Services. This "missing" piece of information casts even more dark shadows on a case that is drawing the attention of people around globe.  It also sheds light on areas of the case that reminded me of "copy cat" crimes (false accusations are certainly crimes) in that other priests were accused of the same exact crime, in the same exact place and even the details of the abuse were exactly the same.  What are the odds of this happening? The same exact scenario? The odds are slim at best.

I'd also like to recommend the post Called as Heralds of Truth written by Karinann at Daughter of the King. In this post she speaks about the clergy abuse scandal, Fr. MacRae, and the organization SNAP. In her comment section she remarks, "In the name of helping victims, organizations like SNAP have begun abuse of another kind." I couldn't help but be struck by the truth in this statement. What began as a group reaching out their hands to survivors of sexual abuse by priests has evolved into something else altogether. This is what happens when the cause itself becomes more important than truth. It's not hard to understand how this may come about when it concerns an issue as sensitive as child abuse but when a group gets carried away by their cause it no longer serves justice but, as Karinann says, it becomes abuse of another kind.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Father Gordon MacRae - Balancing the Scales of Justice

Last week I published my first post regarding the bizarre case of Gordon MacRae and in this second post I continue to express my concern over the very high possibility that an innocent man is spending his life in prison for a crime he did not commit.

"You can't possibly know for certain that he is innocent."

No, I can't. No one can give 100% guarantee of a man's innocence or guilt when there is absolutely no physical evidence in a case. None. No DNA, no videos, no tangible evidence of any kind.  I don't consider  snapshots (taken by the pd)  of the inside of a rectory physical evidence. This simply tells me that a rectory exists. Many of us can describe the inside of a rectory, myself included...all three floors of one in fact. Does this mean I've been abused there? Of course not. It simply says that I've been in one. So has my little girl for that matter. What the lack of evidence DOES tell me is that the odds of a man possibly being innocent of the charges against him begin to rise at this point. Doesn't mean he is innocent but there's already something pointing to this possibility.

"Okay, but the police did a thorough investigation you know."

 Yes, indeed they (excuse me, he) did. In fact, I've never seen anything quite like it. Zealous, fanatical, AND thoroughly misleading. It seemed as if the police officer in charge made sure that every teenager who had ever met Fr. MacRae at some point was asked their opinion on his sexual orientation. He also asked a number of teenagers over and over again in various ways if they were SURE that they didn't have any sexual incidents to report and even after being assured was unconvinced by these assurances and suggested they think about it for a time.

 God forbid a priest hug a troubled teen. Trust me, they don't these days. They are afraid to even touch their arms on accident. Don't believe me? Ask a priest.

So, yes, I'd have to agree that it was thorough. At one point the officer even tried to connect Fr. MacRae to a crime that took place in Florida and despite clear evidence that this never happened (which I found in an AG document) this wasn't pointed out in the police report....at least not in the one that I found.

You can damn a man by the evidence you leave out you know. At least in the eyes of the public. Which then brings us to another point: trial by media. Let's face it, many a man or woman has been found guilty in the "court of public opinion" based on biased and misleading journalism. All the sordid details of an accusation are quick to come out but you never get to hear any kind of a rebuttal from the accused party. It just doesn't work this way. Therefore, the public only gets to hear one side of the story and in the case of Fr. MacRae this is exactly what happened in newspapers all over the state. I should know, I've read them. Living here in N.H. this information is easy for me to find as I know the names of most of the "major" N.H. and Massachusetts papers. People in both states were still reeling over 2 previous cases of sexual abuse by  members of the clergy in  Massachusetts so you can imagine the climate here when Fr. MacRae's case became known. A fair and impartial jury is not easy to find under these circumstances. I have heard people claim that because Fr. MacRae's trial was one of the first in N.H. that bias was not the issue in his case but let me assure you that this is not true. Most of the news in N.H. comes from the much larger Massachusetts TV stations and newspapers.

"Surely the judge wouldn't have sentenced him to spend thirty-three and a half to sixty-seven years in prison if the man wasn't guilty! No one would do that."

 The judge sentenced him to such a lengthy term because Fr. MacRae showed no remorse. Well, to be honest, I wouldn't have shown any remorse either. Why would someone show remorse for a crime they didn't commit?

"The state must have been convinced that the evidence was very strong or they wouldn't have proceeded with it."

Actually, no... obviously they were not convinced because they offered a plea bargain of one to three years if Fr. MacRae would plead guilty. If you truly believe someone is preying on children and that your case is solid you would go all out. But no, this is not the case, Fr. MacRae was offered plea deals a number of times. Which begs the question:

If you were guilty of a crime wouldn't you accept a plea deal?

If you were not guilty wouldn't you refuse it?

I hope that each of you will take the time to read the links below:
- Truth in Justice (A note here - I have seen Fr. Scruton a few times many years ago. He is a real person and the parishes mentioned in this story are real. The only one I haven't been to is the one in Keene.)
- Should the Case against Father Gordon MacRae be Reviewed? ( A must read - one of the accusers recants his story and sheds new light on the case.)

My hope is that by reading this post (and others) people will dig a bit deeper into the case of Fr. MacRae. I'm writing it because there is a prison thirty minutes away that likely holds an innocent man within its cells and my conscience will not allow me to ignore this any longer.

"What about those of us who already believe this man is innocent?"

That's easy to answer. Make a stink. A big one. The more people who read the other side of the story the better. Write letters, write articles, blog about it. Keeping quiet is not an option if you believe someone may be falsely imprisoned. Every Christian knows the high cost of silence.

And most of all....pray.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Now THIS is what I call a Meme!

Please join Victor at Time for Reflections for my favorite meme of all times. All are welcome to join in!

Sabbath Moments - Laughter

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are the moments when we "let go and let God" and live in the present moment.

I love a good laugh. Laughter really IS good medicine and I often get a good dose of this natural remedy at sites run by certain bloggers. (See my post from yesterday.) I once read that humor can actually be a defense mechanism and while this is likely true in certain cases in other cases it's just plain old good fun. It helps us to not take life quite so seriously and at the same time also helps us not take ourselves quite so seriously either. In any case, it's definitely a good thing to have alongside a fallen nature! What would we do without this gift? Laughter is a precious gift from God! We may be born crying but this doesn't last long.

Laughter is catchy, too. I've loved this video from the very first time I saw it :)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Would You Care for a Slice of Humble Pie?

My computer illiteracy isn't limited to just using a computer...it extends to pretty much everything concerning computers in general. My brother is a computer programmer and I have to admit that when he tries to explain how certain programs work my brain processes it as Martian and quickly shuts down to avoid further attempts at alien intrusion.

On occasion, I have noticed that my site stats jump suddenly and inexplicably. Being a somewhat logical person my reactions following these sudden jumps were always, "Wow! Who would have thunk it?! Someone is actually reading ALL my posts." Two plus two equals four, right? "Hmmm....maybe my posts are more interesting than I thought."

Until I read THIS.

Not wanting to be a hog and eat all the pie alone I am kindly sharing it with my fellow bloggers. Enjoy ;)

Some people are just too honest, wouldn't you say?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A spoonful of sugar just doesn't do it for me.

You know that old saying, "A spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down." We've all heard it, right? Well, this all depends on what kind of medicine is being fed to you. When it comes to blogging the medicine can make you wretch at times, sugarcoated or not. When will I ever learn? I like to visit some sites to keep up with Church news and I expect to get exactly that....news on issues in my Church. I even like reading opinions provided they are worded with a certain degree of charity. I don't expect people to see eye to eye on everything and I find it helpful to read the viewpoints of my fellow Catholics. A certain amount of debate is good too...keeps us on our toes.

It seems that my expectations are too high I guess. A lack of charity in the comment sections is one thing but it's another thing altogether when I read a post and see that a good man's name is subtly blackened without thought to the repercussions that may follow in regard to the people who read the posts and for the man himself. That some authors begin their posts with honeyed speech doesn't lessen the damage done later in the post. If you are going to attack someone then please just be upfront about it and admit to your readers what you are about to do. It's deceitful to begin a post with all sorts of kind words about a person and then begin to shred him halfway through. I don't call that criticism ...I call it poison. If you dig up dirt on someone and are about to share said dirt then, please, by all means, do us a favor and just get it over with right from the beginning so that we don't have to read half the post to see where you are going with it. Especially if it's a long post.

Yes, I'm frustrated. It's my own fault of course. My computer has an off button and I guess it's time to use it.

Sigh. Maybe it's time for me to give up blogging.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Evening of the Visitation

I love Thomas Merton's poetry. My favorite poem by him is To the Immaculate Virgin, On a Winter Night  but this one is my second favorite.  Enjoy!

The Evening of the Visitation
Go, roads, to the four quarters of our quiet distance,

While you, full moon, wise queen,

Begin your evening journey to the hills of heaven,

And travel no less stately in the summer sky

Than Mary, going to the house of Zachary.

The woods are silent with the sleep of doves,

The valleys with the sleep of streams,

And all our barns are happy with peace of cattle gone to rest.

Still wakeful, in the fields, the shocks of wheat

Preach and say prayers:

You sheaves, make all your evensongs as sweet as ours,

Whose summer world, all ready for the granary and barn,

Seems to have seen, this day,

Into the secret of the Lord's Nativity.

Now at the fall of night, you shocks,

Still bend your heads like kind and humble kings

The way you did this golden morning when you saw God's

Mother passing,

While all our windows fill and sweeten

With the mild vespers of the hay and barley.

You moon and rising stars, pour on our barns and houses

Your gentle benedictions.

Remind us how our Mother, with far subtler and more holy


Blesses our rooves and eaves,

Our shutters, lattices and sills,

Our doors, and floors, and stairs, and rooms, and bedrooms,

Smiling by night upon her sleeping children:

O gentle Mary! Our lovely Mother in heaven.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Father Gordon MacRae - Scaling the Walls of Injustice

Seems strange to write a post about a priest imprisoned for sexual abuse of a minor a few days after posting about Diane and my horror of crimes of this nature but after pondering it for a while I came to the conclusion that the timing is actually perfect. Truth trumps emotions every time. Regarding the bizzarre case of Father MacRae, I had to throw out my leanings toward those suffering from the effects of abuse and try to look at his case through the eyes of truth... wherever this might lead. And it led me to some strange places indeed.

You cannot live in N.H. and not be aware of the sexual abuse scandal in the Church. This state was hit hard by it. When I first heard about Father MacRae many years ago I  automatically assumed that this man was guilty of the charges against him. After all, he was tried by a jury of his own peers, wasn't he? Surely no one would convict an innocent man, would they? I really didn't give his particular case much more thought after this, other than to be relieved that a pedophile was off of our streets and in prison where he belonged.

Until last year. I started coming across articles about Father MacRae proclaiming his innocence of the charges levied against him. I ignored them for the most part but a niggling little doubt about his guilt planted its seed in my brain and I couldn't quite shake it for some reason. I visited his blog These Stone Walls a few times but that was the extent of my interest at the time. Many guilty people claim innocence. As a matter of fact, it seemed to me that when it came to being accused of a crime, unless they were caught red-handed, MOST people claim innocence. So I kept pushing the "little niggling doubt" to the back of my mind.

It kept returning. I started praying for him and I started thinking more and more about this priest imprisoned 30 minutes away from my home and decided to do some research about his case. I didn't want to start by going through his blog because I didn't want to be biased one way or the other. I tried to clear my mind of any preconceived notions of his guilt so that I could look at the facts of his case honestly, as if this was information I was reading for the first time.  I read a number of newspaper articles and posts by other bloggers but, as convincing as some of these sounded, they still didn't tell me enough about his case. Life works in a funny way though. One day I decided to read his police files and, oddly enough, these very files that damned him so much in the eyes of others had the opposite effect on me...I started to become convinced of his innocence. There was something wrong with the report and right from the start I picked up on it. It became apparent before I was even midway through the report that the officer in charge had no interest in the truth. In his mind he had already condemned this man and was zealously searching for any little bit of dirt he could find on Fr. MacRae regardless of whether that "dirt" had substance or not. It almost seemed as if this officer was pushing the boys interviewed into making comments on the "queerness" of Father MacRae and often putting two and two together and coming up with five. (I'll write a bit more about this in a future post.) I found his manner of investigating very disturbing to say the least. There was little to no regard to the possibility that this man could be innocent. This really bugged me because truth is important to me and a man's honor, good name, and freedom were at stake here. Impartiality is a must when it comes to something so serious. I regretted my own assumption of his guilt when I first heard about him... though in my case I assumed the police department, the state, his defense, and the jury had all done their jobs with the integrity necessary when a man's freedom is at stake. My mistake. The more I read about Fr. MacRae's case the more I see what a travesty of justice the investigation and the trial were. That the Church basically "washed their hands clean" of him distressed me even more. "What is truth?" It began to remind me of  Pontius Pilate washing his hands of the matter of Jesus' guilt or innocence and "handing Him over to the crowds". We all know what happened after that. An innocent man was crucified.

What is truth? I know the "Who" of truth but have not completely learned the what of it. I do, however, know what truth is not:

Truth does not twist information until it fits your own "take" on the matter.
Truth does not abandon a man to his own fate during his time of deepest need.

Please join me and my fellow bloggers in a Novena for Father MacRae starting this Monday, August 22nd and let us also ask Jesus to send the light of HIS truth and mercy upon Father MacRae and all involved in his case.

Sabbath Moments - Hmmm...I surprised even myself

Sabbath Moments is a meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are the moments when we "let go and let God" and live in the present moment.

I haven't been posting much recently for various reasons. Yeah...some of these "reasons" have names and I'm sure many mothers can relate. My brain shuts down when there is too much noise...as joyful as those noises may be!  Sooo, I took a bit of an unplanned break rather than spill out all sorts of nonsense on my blog. After all, if you can't beat 'em you might as well join them. I surprised even myself! I hadn't gone inline skating for many years because of the Myasthenia Gravis but in the last 4 days I went skating twice  and didn't even wipe out once! I didn't dare try it last summer right after my healing because my muscles needed strengthening after years of minimal use - I was out of shape. They've grown stronger and now:

 Hurray! I can skate again!!

Something as simple as rollerblading or biking may not seem like a big deal to most people but after so many years of not being able to enjoy any sort of (fun) exercise... things like these are pure joy. Pure, unadulterated, joy.

Thank you, Jesus.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Their Angels see the Face of God

Earlier today I read this interview with Corey Feldman, who is claiming that pedophilia is the number 1 problem for child stars. Many in Hollywood seems to be waving these accusations away but this isn't the first time he has spoken about this. Here's an article from 2008 where he also speaks about being abused, as does Corey Haim, his co-star who died in 2010. Whenever I read stories of children being sexually abused it sickens me to the very depths of my being. These children have to live with this horror for the rest of their lives ...if they make it that far.

I first met Diane C. when she came to work for my mom about 15 years ago. She was a tiny little thing, never grew much past four and a half feet. She suffered from a condition called Hypopituitary Dwarfism and even as an adult was about the size of a child of about 9 or 10. She showed me a picture of herself as a 7 year old and you wouldn't have taken her to be more than the age of three or four from the picture. She was abandoned by her mother not long after her birth and was raised by her father. She was also raped by this very same father around the age of three and was placed in a foster home. You would think that her problems would have ended there, but she was also abused both physically and sexually in 7 out of the 13 foster homes she lived in.... until she was finally placed with a wonderful woman during her teenage years. According to Diane, this was the only place where she ever received any kind of love or nurturing and she considered this woman her "mom". Diane loved dancing, working out, and had an sweet naivete to her that I still can't explain. She was also an alcoholic, despite trying to give up drinking many times.

I remember one day I pulled into my mom's driveway and saw Diane getting out of her car with tears running down her face. I asked her why she was so upset and she pulled out the picture of herself at seven years old. The picture showed a delicate featured, beautiful and very fragile looking child. I knew what this was about and reached out to hug her but she pulled away. "If you touch me I will break." So we sat on the front steps and I patted her shoulder until she calmed down. "Why, Mary? Why would God allow such things to happen to me?"  I couldn't answer her question...I didn't know why. What do you say to someone who has been wounded so grievously time and time again? You can't spout platitudes like, "It will be okay." It's not okay. All I could say to her was "I'm so sorry, Diane, that anyone would ever do such a thing to you or any child. It's evil...pure evil, and they should be in prison." (I believe her father did spend some time in prison but not the others who abused her.)

Diane was also suicidal. My mom stepped in so many times and tried to get her help but because Diane was an adult there was only so much she could do. Many people loved Diane but she could never see herself as lovable in any way...the childhood wounds were too deep. I used to beg God to heal her. I know that my mother and father prayed for her all the time too.

 I remember the day when I received the phone call that Diane had succeeded in ending her life. She was found in her bathtub by a friend. She had cut her own throat. I cried so hard. I was angry, too, for all the hurt and pain she suffered in her life. I was angry that the people who were given the charge to love her would brutalize a child in such a way. She was a human being, not a thing to be shuffled around from house to house and treated with such brutality.

I pray that God heals what we never could.

Shadow Girl

the gates of never-never land
you entered a broken reed
fallow the field of your youth
no seed of love sown therein
like a deck of cards
shuffled from house to house
where many skeletons lived
in dark cellar closets hidden
home a word you never knew
a tiny dancer lost in shadows
don't snap my wings you cried
i cried
if you hug me i will break
shattered you were, in pieces
too many cracks had weakened
the whole and you leaked throughout
a broken ship listing skyward
a fragile bird, prey for hawks
and other scavengers of the night
look both ways before you cross
too young I could not lead
with a shuttered heart
you could not follow

Please pray for children who have been sexually abused. I shared Diane's story so that people could see a glimpse of the pain those who are abused go through. I'd also like to recommend the book
Third Floor Window  by Colleen Spiro. This book is not only for those who have been sexually abused ...it's a book for everyone who treasures the children of this earth.

"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."   Mt 18:10

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

We Are All Interconnected

I was thinking about The Mystical Body of Christ and how we are all interconnected through Him and I wanted to share a story, as strange as it is, which points to this fact. When I had Myasthenia Gravis I would often have "visual disturbances". Many times half my vision would cut out and I would not be able to see properly for a while.These disturbances are quite common in MG. Sometimes these came with headaches, sometimes not. A bit different from migraines,
I wouldn't get the "halo" effect and get headaches quite that severe but it was still hard to walk around when my vision would cut out, especially in public.

Last month, before we went on vacation, Randy, Michaela and I went out looking for a bathing suit for Michaela. We were at a local department store and I was in the fitting room helping Michaela try on swimsuits when all of a sudden...my vision cut out. I said, "C'mon, Michaela, we have to leave right now! Mommy can't see right." We dashed out of the fitting room and I told Randy what was happening and that we had to get out of there. He looked at me in shock and we left the store. When we got outside Randy this is what Randy said to me:

"While you were in the fitting room helping Michaela my Blackberry dinged so I went to check the new e-mail that had just come in. I read the e-mail, which was for you. You gotta read this."

I couldn't read it, of course, because I didn't have my vision back yet so Randy read it to me. A young woman who had been recently diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis had written me an e-mail. Here are portions from some of her e-mails to me:

"I suffered from severe almost sudden weakness when I was 22 years old, I am 26 now. I take medication everyday for Myasthenia Gravis and I had a thymectomy a couple years ago and that has helped. I am a follower of Jesus Christ and a firm believer in His healing power!! I have never accepted that i will be sick for the rest of my life even though my doctors keep explaining that "MG is a chronic disease that you will have for the rest of your life so you just have to find a way to make your life as manageable as possible." I was very active before i was diagnosed. I have a black belt in Karate and played almost every sport, so needless to say this was a huge life changer and i was so weak at the beginning before I got officially diagnosed that I had fallen down the stairs, I couldn't talk, chew or even walk for most days. I have been on a mission to change my diet and try to exercise and find some way to fight this!! I have noticed some good changes due to my Gluten free diet but i know what it feels like to be normal and even though if feels like a lifetime ago I want that back!!! IN JESUS NAME!! I googled "Jesus healed my Myasthenia Gravis" and i was happy to read your blog explaining your experience being healed from this awful disease. I would love to hear back from you."

From another e-mail she sent after I had asked her to tell me more about her symptoms:

"I did have had the worst symptoms. I was working at target and started noticing that my hands were getting weak and it was difficult to straighten my fingers, I had to wear gloves at some points for work and could hardly get them on well I thought it was bad at first but had no idea how serious it really was.I didnt have insurance so i couldnt go to a regular doctor so when i went to ER the doc spent 5 mins with me and said that bc of my hand weakness he said that i had a "pinched nerve" and gave me a prescription for viacadin!!! i didnt even take it bc i knew he was wrong. I was on the computer looking different things up all the time and within a few short months i was having difficulty raising my arms and holding my head up. One night i was at my dads helping them move into a new place and I couldnt do much but that was not the kind of person i am so i pushed myself ( i know now that is why i became so weak) but i didnt know what is was so i thought i could just fight against it i guess. Well I was by myself unpacking and my neck became so weak that i couldn't keep my head up so i just broke down and literally got on my face and prayed and asked God to help me figure out what was going on ... so i got up of the floor and went to the computer where i had explored many other options but never really found the right one (vitamin B deficiency, seizures ,MS) but some how I at that time found the symptoms for a disease called Myasthenia Gravis and it described everything i had a symptom. That was the beginning and it progressed really fast.. but i have no pain just weakness, debilitating weakness.

To make a long story short i went over a year without medication with my body being so weak I was unable to shower without my husband bc he had to do everything for me. I had problems eating, talking, walking, it effected ALL of my muscles. I went to free clinic with the diagnoses that I MADE and a young helpful doctor FINALLY believed me and wanted to help me so he set up a blood test and within a week i was on medication.

There is a huge improvement from now to when i was first diagnosed but i have never accepted that i would be sick for the rest of my life!! I have fought and prayed and cried!! it has been a long difficult past few years.. and now i feel like something amazing is about to happen. I have talked to everyone in my family about you and shared your story and it really encouraged me!!! "

When Randy read her first e-mail to me... to say I was shocked is a huge understatement. What are the odds that I would have a return of one of the symptoms of Myasthenia Gravis at the precise moment that this e-mail came in? The odds seem slim at best. It was as if the Lord was giving me a nudge to pray for this young woman. But why such a strong nudge? This still puzzles Randy and I. My heart really felt for this young women as I could certainly relate to her suffering. She was not the first person with Myasthenia Gravis to write to me but the other woman had a relatively mild case compared to A. Most people would simply chalk this up to coincidence but I no longer write stuff like this off so easily.

 Myasthenia Gravis can be life threatening. Those with severe cases can have "breathing crises" and can die from these. I warned her in an e-mail that if this should ever happen to make sure that her husband called an ambulance immediately. I am praying for A. and I am hoping that some of my fellow bloggers might join me in praying for her. We are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ and through our prayers we can all assist each other here on earth and our prayers for those who are battling terrible diseases can bring healing and help when they need it most.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Meme - What Would Your Patronage Be?

The idea for this meme began with The Curt Jester's post, Saintly Planning .

In her efforts to kindly assist us all in planning (very funny, Puff)  for our hoped for sainthood, Puff from Puff's Blog About Stuff brings to us this meme:

Assuming you are a saint, and your cause has been executed, your miracles confirmed, your date on the calendar established, all that is required is to select that of which Holy Mother Church will name you Patron (ess) of.

For this meme, you must name your patronage
and then tag 5 other people who would like to play along.

Linking your answer to your nominator's post would make it easier to get your answers.

After reading the post over at The Curt Jester my chances of ever being canonized are slim at best : ) Though one never knows - perhaps I pull a Saint Augustine at some point, or maybe one of the other "wicked saint" maneuvers. Still, it's probably best to presume I was martyred for the Faith for some reason. Yes, that's it. I was defending the Eucharist while infidels were storming my parish and I died during the ensuing firestorm of bullets. (Did I ever tell you that St. Tarcisius was one of my favorite saints when I was young? Having practiced "dying in defense of the Eucharist" a thousand times as a child, this would seem a likely scenario. Lol!)

Sorry. I got distracted for a minute.

 On a more serious note, I think I would be one of the patron saints of the chronically ill or those who suffer from depression and anxiety. Why? Because I can relate to their suffering and I already intercede for them anyway so I would just be continuing to do the same thing except in a greater way. I may have been healed of Myasthenia Gravis but I haven't forgotten just how difficult suffering like this can be.

I tag:
Colleen at Thoughts on Grace
Karinann at Daughter of the King
Kathryn at Heart for God
Anne at Imprisoned in my Bones
Barb at Suffering with Joy

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sabbath Moments - In Stock

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are the moments when we "let go and let God" and live in the present moment.

We have a used bookstore in town that contains a treasure trove of spiritual classics. I can often be found there digging through the shelves searching for books to read. They had so many books in stock this time that I had an easy time browsing for good ones. This week I picked up three books by C. S. Lewis, a book by Mother Teresa, and a book about St. Padre Pio for just over a dollar a piece. What a bargain! The one by Mother Teresa is called Words to Love by...

In one section of the book she speaks about families. Here are a few words from her:

Love begins at home.
If we do not love one another who we see 24 hours
how can we love those we see only once?
We show love by thoughtfulness
                      by kindness
                      by sharing joy
                      by sharing a smile...
Through the little things.

A little child has no difficulty in loving,
has no obstacles to love.
And that is why Jesus said, "Unless you
become like little children...."

Mother Teresa's words are always simple and filled with wisdom. I have read some of the passages
in this book over and over again. Not because they are difficult to understand, but because they are so
filled with truth and beauty it just makes a person want to savor them and reflect on them more deeply.

I'll end this post with a picture Randy took while we were visiting an amusement park this week.

I am quite sure this is NOT what Mother Teresa meant by love. But...hey...you have to discipline your kids somehow and I'm against spanking  :-)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Come, all ye who thirst

A warning for all those who are sticklers concerning children and their behavior at Mass:

Do not read this story.... it will offend you. As for everyone else, read on if you'd like : )

When I was responding to comments on my last post I remembered an incident that took place when my daughter was almost 2. One day at Mass I was in my usual spot at the back of the church trying to pay attention to my prayers while also keeping my eye on my toddler who was walking back and forth inspecting church bulletins and picking up lint and various other stuff off the rug back there. She always had a fascination with the marble Holy Water font and I often spent much of my time trying to keep her away from it. While caught up in praying the Our Father back there, I lost sight of my daughter for a split second. Well...
all those with children realize that a split second is all it takes. When I glanced over, her cupped hands were dipped into the Holy Water font and I bet you all can guess what she did next, can't you? Yep, that little tot, in spite of her mom's "Noooo! Don't do it!" ..... did it. She hurried and raised those cupped hands to her little mouth and drank it. That same Holy Water that thousands of people had recently dipped their hands into was now in my little angel's (wink, wink) tummy. To say I was horrified is an understatement. I picked her up and scolded her asking her why she would do such a thing.

 "But, Mama, I was firsty."

I guess one could call this "living waters" as I suspect that water was indeed teeming with life of every sort.

I won't bother telling you about the time she unscrewed a large screw from a kneeler. It's a good thing the Church doesn't excommunicate two-year-olds.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Children and Mass - A View from the Other Side of the Pew

Earlier today I read a post which spoke about distractions at Mass along with a few other issues. Nothing wrong with this post - I understood what the author was trying to convey as it's something we all experience from time to time.

And then I read the comments. I don't know why I did this. I should have known better but as a mother I wanted to see how people viewed parents who bring their children to Church. It was like stepping into a mine field! The poor author must have been shell-shocked when he saw the number of comments he received after simply speaking about his distractions during Mass. I am writing this in hopes of giving folks a slightly different perspective on children and Mass. Some of the comments, including some from fellow Catholics were beyond lacking in charity, they sickened me. My heart fell to my stomach before I was even halfway through this section. To be honest, it left me reeling and wondering if some of these folks need a reality check and to know that what they may see at Mass is often only a small portion of what can be a much larger picture.

I am one of those "self-absorbed creeps" who bring their child to church and struggle to contain their child's behavior during Mass. As the mother of a child whose "brain works a bit differently" I have to contend patiently with "hand flapping", "body swaying", singing at the wrong times and various other behaviors which some folks have deemed "inappropriate" by, and let me stress this, their own standards. Not God's standards certainly - having created children He certainly knows how their minds work. When my daughter was small, before I understood the difficulties Mass presented for her I used to reprimand her each week. We practically lived in the back of the church. I was trying to keep my child's behavior from "offending" a few people so I rarely got to hear an entire Mass. I didn't understand at the time that "stillness" was beyond her capabilities and the problem was with ME not her. After months of reprimanding she became afraid to go to church, and after a Mass of swaying and odd noises, before I could say a word she would look up at me hopefully and say, "Did I do a good job? Was I good at Mass?" Later, I began to understand that she was trying, in her own little way, to be on her best behavior during Mass.

"Mama, I said all the prayers and sang all the songs! Did you see?! Did you see?!"

 I had not "seen" at all - I was too busy feeling embarrassed and angry  watching my daughter sway back and forth for 15 minutes to notice how she was pouring her little heart out to God in prayer and song. My prayer at the time was, "Please Lord! Can't she behave at Mass just once!"

Then God showed me an inner "picture" of myself and I was struck dumb by my selfish prayer and "unlovingness". I was the one not "behaving" well at Mass. I was the one "lacking", not her. What I was lacking was love. God was pleased with her prayers and her unique way of worshipping Him. Even as I write this tears are welling up in my eyes at how I could be so blind as not to notice her efforts and that I could focus so much on her (what I perceived to be)  flaws, rather than to understand that God loved her special way of praying to Him.

I look at her differently now. When she flaps her hands I imagine the wings of her angel softly flapping with her and when she sways and sings to herself even after the hymns are over I am reminded of the unending hymn of praise which always surrounds the throne of God.

For those who are offended by my child's behavior I can only suggest this:

It may do some good to search your own heart. The things which irritate us so much often come from an area of our own hearts which are closed off and lacking in love. One thing I am certain of is that God WANTS his littlest ones at Mass. They are his delight. Yes, if a baby is screaming the church down, by all means, bring him to the back until he is calm. But let's not nitpick, either. In my life I have noticed that most of the time when I get completely frazzled by the actions of another the fault lies within me. We cannot change others but we can change ourselves. It seems likely to me that a crying baby is music to God's ears. What is crushing to Him, are the silent ones who are never even given the chance to let out their first wail. Rather than praying that parents not bring their babies to Mass and asking them to "please remove your children" when we get irritated, why don't we pray for an end to abortion and end the silent screams that are piercing the heavens day and night. These have become a continuous echo in the ears of God. Do not ask God to spare your own ears....rejoice that there are still children left to disturb them.

An Invitation and a Welcome

Today I posted about apathy versus holy indifference on Community of Catholic Bloggers. For those of you who have not yet visited this new site I invite you to stop in and take a look around this new blog which is the result of the group effort of a number of Catholic writers. I'd also like to welcome our newest author, Isaac from Praeceptorum Deus to the community. Here's a link to his first post for the Community of Catholic Bloggers.

 Welcome aboard, Isaac!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ouch! Get thee behind me Google!

How come Randy gets word verifications like "fromtheiam" and I get words like "puddlepoo"? Yesterday he actually got the word "bible" as a verification word. My mouth dropped. "You are lying, buddy! Noooo way on earth did you get bible!" He just smirked.  I peeked over to the laptop and there it was - "bible".

Once I actually got the word "bigrump" for a verification word. Beat that one, folks. I was a tad offended that Google would refer to my behind in such a way. Politically correct they are not.

A word to the wise:

You would be booted off Webkinz in a flash for that one...and Club Penguin would bar you for at least a month.