Thursday, August 16, 2012

Two Week Break

I will be taking the next few weeks off from blogging and will return once school starts. I'm sure all you mothers out there can relate (wink, wink).

See you soon!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Practical Power of Penitence

One of the blogs I like to read is Fr. Dwight Longenecker's site Standing on My Head. His most recent post is The Practical Power of Penitence and it was very good. I like the way Father Longenecker lays things on the table in a clear manner - his forthright writing style means I don't have to weed through piles of "excess" to get at the meat of what he is pointing out. It's right there before our eyes. 
The Practical Power of Penitence made me smile, especially the ending:

"Stop blaming others–even if it’s their fault. Take responsibility. Claim the blame. Pick up other people’s trash."

"Grow up."

Well, darned if that post didn't make me want to "grow up" right then and there!

Seriously. I was sitting there saying, "That grumbling he mentions? Yes, I know it well."

Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.

I catch myself grumbling interiorly (oops, Google Chrome says interiorly is not a word) on a regular basis. It's a pride thing. After all, it's much easier to grumble than to repair things, isn't it? 


Could you excuse me for a few moments while I go empty the "trash"? And "clean up" the house a bit?

(I will not put up another picture of Pigpen. I will not put up another picture of Pigpen. I will not put up...)


(Down Freud! Down Jung! )

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nothing Wrong with Believing in Miracles

In some ways being a Catholic Blogger destroys the simplicity of one's faith.  Personally, I've always been of the mind that it's better to believe in miracles than to despise them.

( The parting of the Red Sea.)

As a matter of fact, until I started blogging I didn't realize how many people did despise miracles despite the fact that the Bible is filled with them as is the history of the Church. There has never been a time that God has not stepped into our lives in miraculous ways as far I know.

 (The manna in the desert.)

I simply assumed that others accepted miracles as part of God's provision and love for us.

 (The  Virgin Birth.)

Until I started blogging that is. Once you start blogging you begin to see that there are millions of Catholics who don't believe in miracles anymore.

 ( Lourdes)

 Or even despise them as only necessary for people of small faith.


As in, "You may need to believe that miracles still happen since you are such a spiritual infant but I do not need them myself."

 (St. Faustina... O ye great saint of so little faith!)

The first time I came across this kind of attitude I was a bit shocked.

(You too Little Flower? O the shame of it!)

After all, it seemed to me that if God saw fit to perform a miracle then we should be thankful, right? As in thanking the Giver of all good things?

 (Oh, please say it ain't so St. Paul! Obviously, it was a moment of insanity on your part that brought about so great a conversion.)++

It didn't take me very long to become wary of what I wrote in certain comment boxes. I knew on which blogs it was okay to discuss the miraculous and which blogs to tread very carefully around.

(The lame shall walk.)

I learned this the hard way of course but managed to escape with my head intact.

 (The blind shall see.)

It did occur to me that perhaps there was something wrong with me for believing so easily and maybe I should back down.

(The deaf shall hear.)

Good sense prevailed, thankfully.

(Take this, all of you, and eat of it,
for this is my Body,
which will be given up for you.
Take this, all of you, and drink from it,
for this is the chalice of my Blood,
the Blood of the new and eternal covenant,
which will be poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in memory of me.)

(By the way, you had a lot of nerve bilocating like that, St Pio.)

++ (Sorry, St. Paul, but it was a rather bizarre mystical experience you had and all that. You can' t blame people for questioning it, can you? Can you?)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Marino Restrepo - full testimony in English

I thought the testimony of Gloria Polo was powerful but, for me, this one is even more so. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout Marino Restrepo's testimony and have watched it twice. It's very long but well worth the time it takes to view it. To be honest, I felt like I was under a spotlight the entire time watching it.  When he talked about being grace bearers for others I felt the Holy Spirit's presence so powerfully that it left me stunned. This man's words are anointed. A big thank you to Anabelle who posted this video on her blog Written By the Finger of God.

For those who don't have the time to watch the entire video, you can find it on You Tube in shorter segments.

The "Dump"

We have special junk removal trucks up here in New England because most people have waaaaay too much junk. The business must be doing pretty well because I see their trucks everywhere. You pay the guys to remove your junk and then they either bring it to a dump/recycling center or they sell it to someone else so that the other person has your junk too. When they decide to get rid of it they then pass your junk along with some of their own junk to the next person. Soon, a number of people  have some of your "junk" along with their own and that of others.

Sin is like this. If sin is not stopped in its tracks through repentance and reconciliation with God it spreads like a disease infecting those around us. We can see manifestations of this infection throughout our country and world today. It didn't happen overnight and we are all responsible because we all fall short.  And with God's grace we have to repair the mess we've made - this is made possible through Christ who obtained every sort of grace and blessing for us by His life, death, and resurrection. Reparation is an important aspect of our lives here on earth.

I know I've written about this before but I want to share it once again in a bit more detail.
Years ago I had a dream. Someone led me to the edge of a high cliff and told me to look down. When I did I was stricken to the core by what I saw: there below me was what looked like an enormous dump, but instead of trash it was filled with the sins of humanity. Looking down into this dump I could see  drugs, needles, pornography, TV's, condoms, the Pill, books, weapons, and the list goes on and on. All the things we misuse were there. Our sins stretched as far as the eye could see. I don't know how to explain it but I also saw sins like rape and murder in this pile.  What really, really got to me was that strewn amongst the filth of our sins there were thousands and thousands of tiny little dead babies and even body parts. Someone was holding my hand and as I looked down into the pile I shook my head and said, "No hope. No hope."

But hope was holding my hand. I felt the strength of that hand despite the shaking of my head  and my words as I looked into this cesspool of vice. The Lord was simply showing me in a very clear manner just how far we've fallen today. We are even leading children away from Him through our refusal to correct our lives.

This dream was so vivid that I've never forgotten it. Who could?

It's time to turn back to the Lord. We have strayed far beyond what may be termed "human weakness".  Yes, we have natures prone to sin but we can't simply sit on the fence and watch as our brothers and sisters fall all around us. It's our job to help them up.

We cannot be like Cain and say, "Am I my brother's keeper?"  We have been given the responsibility of lifting others up through our prayer, words, and actions. Each of us has a mission here on earth and bringing others to the Lord is part of this mission. He gives us the grace to accomplish our missions if we trust in Him. Abundant grace. More than we can even imagine.

I came across a beautiful prayer in my Magnificat this month:

O God of mercy and compassion, all our guilt lies open to you, all our secret sins are known to you, all our ugly ways are clear before you, yet you never cease to offer us your redeeming love. Have mercy on us in our pitiful attempts to cloak our sinfulness with false bravado, and grant us the joy that comes with full repentance, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

God sees all things as they are. In His mercy He reveals our sinfulness to us slowly over a period of time (though not always) so we won't feel overwhelmed.  However, when we die our entire lives are laid bare before us all at once. There is no gentle lifting of the veil. We will see everything we have ever done (or left undone), thought, or said, in the clear light of truth Himself.

Are we ready for this?

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Have you ever had someone ask if they can swing by your house for a visit? You say, "Sure! C'mon over!"

And then you look around and realize that your house is a pit and you have about twenty minutes to make it look good enough for company. So you run around like a mad woman in a frenzy hiding the mess as best you can so that your house looks presentable on the surface and hope that your friend doesn't decide to coax your kitten out from under the sofa where he's batting around dust bunnies and shredding your kid's books.


Well, have you ever planned to give your house a thorough cleaning so hubby can come home and say, "Wow! You've been busy!" (UGH...true though - just wanted to pat my own back) but you get caught up on your blog instead? So about half an hour before he is due home from work you give the house a quickie so it looks like you've been doing something besides blogging half the day away?


Well, the truth is that I've done both.  I've fudged in my cleaning plenty of times. Made the surface look good all the while knowing that it's a mess in disguise and hoping I don't get "caught".

It's a pride thing.

You know...Mary the pharisee and all that.

I get caught sometimes though. The other day I walked in the door and my husband said, "Hon, you gotta see this." He then pulled out his phone and showed me a picture of our dog, Caesar, with a pair of underwear around his neck.

Of course...they were mine.

"Ooops! He must have gotten into the laundry basket."

"I think he found them under the bed, Hon. He was wrestling with something under there and then came downstairs like this."

My husband thought it was hilarious.

 I just hope he didn't post it on Facebook.

Sometimes we can sneak things by SOME people but never past God.  He has full knowledge of "hidden things".  I cannot count the number of times during my bedtime prayers when I sheepishly say to God, "I did it again, Lord. Got caught up on the computer. Just call me Mary the Pharisee."

You can't sneak anything past Our Lady either. When she cleans your inner house she doesn't bypass the closets.

I often wonder how many skeletons tumbled out when she opened the doors.


Saturday, August 4, 2012


All my life I have had strange dreams. As a child, I used to beg my parents to leave the hall light on at night because I often had awful nightmares. They were always the same - I would be running and the devil would be chasing me. And I knew, even then, that he was totally and completely devoid of any goodness. His eyes were as cold as death and they petrified me. I would wake up full of panic, my heart beating wildly, wondering what would happen if he ever caught me in my dreams.

Well, he never managed to catch me as a child but he did lay out many snares for me and as a teenager I started falling into these traps. I fell away from the Church and my prayer life went down the tube as well. I would do my night prayers but they were done in a perfunctory manner with little to no reflection involved. I don't remember very many nightmares during this period.

It wasn't until my twenties that the nightmares came back full force. Only this time, the devil wasn't chasing me. He didn't need to anymore. During the night I would have dreams that I was standing in deep muck with reptilian creatures surrounding me. I would wake up and say Hail Marys until the fear left me. Later I would realize that these dreams were warnings that I was knee deep in hell spiritually. When I read my poetry from this period of my life I can see the warnings there too. Many of my poems were dark  and bleak.

Hell is a state of being and I knew that state personally.

Soon after my return to the Church I had a vivid dream. In this dream I opened my mouth and a worm started coming out. A strong hand grabbed the worm and pulled, pulled until it was all the way out. It was the longest, ugliest worm I had ever seen. The next day when I woke up my heart felt lighter. Gross but true.

Many years ago when I first started praying the Rosary regularly, I had a funny dream. In this dream I had a 7 story house . I was walking around this house when I came upon a lady with a broom and dustpan bustling around my house cleaning it. And good grief, was it a mess! But she started on the top floor and was working her way down. The house had no stairways, it had an elevator and she was using it to get from floor to floor. I followed her and then she turned around and looked at me.

It was Our Lady.

Before she turned toward me, she was pulling down cobwebs out of dark corners with her broom and was entirely engrossed (fitting word I think) in the work she was doing. I remember watching her steady and thorough cleaning and wondering why this woman was so determined to clean my house. After I saw who it was I remember waking up and feeling very blessed that she was taking on such a task.

I never saw her cleaning the cellar in this dream. She hadn't yet reached that point in her housecleaning and I'm a bit thankful that I didn't have to follow her down there.

She's cleaning my "cellar" now. Oh, I could tell you that my "cellar"is neat as a pin but I would be lying through my teeth. My "cellar" is a junk pile and Our Lady is shoveling it out. A broom just doesn't work on this mess. My emotions are flying all over the place as the junk pours out. I feel like a little kid in the middle of a trash dump puzzled (and a bit mortified) by my mother's insistence that all my "stuff" must go.

Oh, to think I've been clinging to trash all these years.

Who knew.