Monday, October 31, 2011

On the Holy Souls: A Mini Round-Up

Tomorrow, November 1st, is All Saints Day and the beginning of the All Souls Octave. For the past few years we have visited a local cemetery that is home to the graves of family members; we are going to try a different one this time, also with family graves.

Praying for the holy souls in Purgatory is a wonderful devotion any time, but it's especially appropriate this month. Same with offering masses for them*. I have wanted to be more faithful about offering masses for my loved ones' souls; and I've also got a few friends in religious orders here and there, whom I would like to help support in a tangible way. So I had the thought that perhaps I could request mass intentions from the priests of these orders. It's customary to give a stipend of about $5 or 10 for a single mass intention, which in times past helped to provide for the material needs of the priest saying the mass. Nowadays, with diocesan priests, it's not so necessary to their support, but I would think that with any religious order that relies on donations it could be a great help.

I'm looking into it. One of my friends is a Franciscan priest--I think that would be the easiest case. One order is a group of religious brothers--most are not ordained as priests, but they do have a few, so I'm asking about it. I'm not really sure about the religious sisters, though... naturally they do not offer mass; but, as they attend mass daily, I wonder, would it be appropriate (or possible) to request a mass intention from the priest(s) who attend to their spiritual needs? Again, I'll ask...

Here are some additional thoughts about these next few days:

Susan Tassone tells the National Catholic Register how to help the holy souls in Purgatory. (New to me: the Gregorian masses.)

Julie Davis at Happy Catholic had some near, dear thoughts on the mystery of who just might be in Purgatory. (Yes, I've been praying these kinds of prayers with recent events.)

And Julie links to Frank Weathers at Why I Am Catholic, who writes about how Vlad the Impaler was Catholic.

I don't know if it's related, but I've been praying for years for Mozart, whose image in my mind, I am afraid, is unjustly but certainly corrupted by the movie "Amadeus." And because I live in a heavily Protestant area, I frequently wonder at how many die in the friendship of God, and yet must go through this purgation without the aid of anyone, other than the general, collective assistance of the Church Militant.

I think I was thinking of them when I made a heroic act of charity several years ago. At the time it was a great inspiration to me, as I would seek out ways to practice virtue and thus increase my assistance to them. I'm afraid I've grown a little cold; but that must mean it's a perfect time to renew my efforts to grow in love. I can't find the formula I used from Fr. William Faber's Purgatory, but this might be it:
O MY GOD! for Your greater glory, and to imitate as closely as possible the generous Heart of Jesus, my Redeemer, and also to testify my devotion to the Blessed Virgin, my Mother, who is also the Mother of the Souls in Purgatory, I place in her hands all my satisfactory works, as well as the fruit of all those which may be offered for my intention after my death, that she may apply them to the Souls in Purgatory according to her wisdom and good pleasure. Amen.

* But don't forget to offer masses for the living, too! It's even better for them!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Scourging at the Pillar

Flagellation of Christ, Caravaggio. c. 1606-1607.

Next mystery: The Crowning with Thorns

Experiment in Pie

From December 2007. Hey, it's new to you, right? :-)

Last night I made an apple pie. I don't bake a lot, and this recipe looked inspiringly easy. I had the ingredients on hand. I had what might be considered free time before I started dinner. I enlisted the kids and got started almost gleefully.

New recipes should always--at least in my kitchen--be considered doubtful affairs. There will inevitably be dismaying discoveries and necessary coping strategies. This was no exception. On the down side, the quantities in the recipe somehow were wrong for my store-bought pie crust in its little aluminum pan. I ended up using only two thirds of the filling, with a sticky mess on the kitchen island when I overfilled the pie pan, and leftover crust dough after I rolled out the top crust.

This top crust broke up before I managed to place it, so at least it vented itself, but fluting the edges was a mess because the liquid from the filling kept oozing through the cracks before I finally threw it in the oven. It continued to ooze, onto the cookie sheet as it baked, where it quickly blackened and smoked and filled the kitchen with the smell of scorched maple syrup (from which my husband was blessedly spared by being on the road), and probably ruined the cookie sheet.

The crust turned golden about a third of the way through the baking time given by the recipe. The recipe did not mention anything about covering the crust to prevent overbrowning. It did say that the filling should be bubbly in the center at the same time that the crust was ready. No bubbling. So I moved the pie to the lowest rack and "shielded" it with a miniature version of pie, using a little casserole dish and the leftover filling and crust. Then I turned the exhaust fan to "high," opened a window to air the place out, and removed the pie with 20 minutes of cooking time supposedly left to go.

Thanks to the oozing filling in its sticky glory, the aluminum pie plate was baked onto the nonstick cookie sheet. I had to remove it with a plastic spatula, and in the process I almost folded the pie in half. I finally managed to get it on a wire rack to cool.


Jason came home and had two slices after his dinner. He said it was the best apple pie he ever tasted.

Quick Takes Friday

--- 1 ---

I'm trying Jen's Quick Takes template. Maybe it will help me join in a little more often! I think I might actually try to keep a few of these for the other regular link-ups I have participated in. I'm no web wizard, but I think I have tampered with enough HTML to make something work. For {phfr}, for example.

--- 2 ---

Give it up for my kids at this year's fair!

They are already planning for next year.

--- 3 ---

Inspired by our successes at the fair, the cold weather, and the desire to return to a more self-sufficient lifestyle, we are BAKING. Caleb and I made a rosemary bread in the bread machine yesterday, and we tried a honey wheat sandwich loaf that I will have to tweak, but hey--we like it enough to finish the loaf. I made my first pie of the season, an apple pie which Jason loved but was way too soupy. I think I used too much liquids AND sliced the apples too thin. Anybody out there have any other ideas about what can make a pie filling runny? Care to way in and help a housewife out?

--- 4 ---

I never posted about my first essay into making pie, did I? It's been sitting in my drafts for years. Seriously.

I'll post it later today. Consider it Quick Take #4.

--- 5 ---

Which brings the total number of promised posts that I have yet to make good on up to eight, I think. I have 50 drafts in my dashboard, not including the rosary fine art posts (those are scheduled). That's not crazy, is it?

--- 6 ---

I got this link and this link at Pinterest. (Are you there? Look me up!) I haven't really explored them yet--just skimmed them-- but they look great. I've been looking for a way to do a nature table that's compatible with all of the little ones we have around, and the kids are having a ball finding new treasures in the glorious, newly nippy weather we're having. These links look ridiculously fun.

--- 7 ---

What I'm living by today and for days to come:

To rectify. A little each day.--This must be your constant concern if you really want to become a saint.

--St. Josemaría Escríva,
The Way

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Agony in the Garden

Original image source unknown, but possibly here

The Agony in the Garden, Hans Leonhard Schäufelein. (year unknown)

Next mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Novena to St. Jude

...starts today. I'm a little late posting about it, so I hope the people at Pray More Novenas won't mind if I post the prayer for today below. If you decide to join in, sign up over there and they'll send you e-mail reminders with the prayers for each day. There's also a place for you to publish your intentions, which is part of the tradition for this very popular novena.

I've never done a novena to St. Jude--as patron saint of impossible causes, he always seemed to me to be a "big gun" to be saved for the major stuff. But I think he and I need to be on better terms--I named a son after him, after all!


O St. Jude, holy Apostle, faithful servant and friend of Jesus, you are honored and petitioned by the universal Church, as the patron of desperate, hopeless and impossible cases. Pray for me. I am so very helpless and I feel alone.

Intercede for me that Almighty God may bring swift aid where it is needed most. Come to my assistance in my great time of need!

Pray for me that I may be given the comfort and help of Jesus. Most importantly, I ask that you pray that I may one day join you and all of the saints in heaven to praise God in consolation, rest and joy for all eternity.

I will remember your prayers, O Holy St. Jude. I will honor you as my patron as so many have before me because of the graces God deigns to give freely at your request.

O blessed apostle St. Jude, who labored zealously among the Gentiles in many lands, and performed numerous miracles in needy and despairing cases, I ask you to take interest in my needs. I know that you understand me. Please hear my prayers and my petitions. Please beg God for me and my deepest needs.

(State your intentions)

I pray that I will be patient in learning God's holy will for me and then courageously carry it out in my life.


St. Jude, pray for me!

Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner!


May the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus be adored, and loved in all the tabernacles until the end of time. -- Amen.

May the most Sacred Heart of Jesus be praised and glorified now and forever. -- Amen.

St. Jude pray for us and hear our prayers. -- Amen.

Blessed be the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Blessed be the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Blessed be St. Jude Thaddeus, in all the world and for all Eternity.

Our Father...

Hail Mary...


St. Jude Novena

The Institution of the Eucharist

The Sacrament of the Last Supper, Salvador Dalí. 1955.

Next: The Sorrowful Mysteries

Thursday, October 13, 2011


I've been seeing this sort of thing around (great list). Elizabeth Scalia says everything I'd like to say.
Socialism does not work, but one of the reasons socialist movements succeed is because capitalists and the free market fall prey to that all-too-human failing: yeah, greed.

Those who support capitalism and free markets have a responsibility to demand that manufacturers and suppliers do the right thing. In a case such as this — where a multi-billion dollar industry is based on something human beings want, but do not really need — it should not be nearly enough to simply get the child-workers out of these forests. The U.S. chocolate industry can afford to pay adult workers a living wage and — here’s an idea — help subsidize the creation of a water system for the villages that exist to harvest their cocoa beans.

I mean…a little running water?

We already had some chocolate in the house--we've been using chocolate almost medicinally around here (wink)--but I can't eat it now without thinking about the children. I have already had to swear off Nestlé. I mean, this isn't vaccinations here, just a little endorphin kick... Sure, it's not dead children's tissue in our medicine and food tests. Just a little child labor. Right?

As Ms. Scalia says, we should be able to do better than this.

Read the rest of the piece at The Anchoress, including the update. At least one comment there, and the first link too, give lists of sources for chocolate that do not exploit children for labor.

Light to the World

This is wonderful. It may be a pretty simple application of science, but still--the human mind astounds me.

H/T Creative Minority Report

The Transfiguration

The Transfiguration, Theophanes the Greek. Early 15th century.

Next mystery: The Institution of the Eucharist

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Proclamation of the Kingdom

Jesus Prechant Sur La Montagne, Gustave Doré.

Next mystery: The Transfiguration

This heartbreaking story...

...occurred close to our town:
Students for Life of America, the national organization for pro-life college and university students, has suffered a terrible loss, as one of its staffers and her unborn baby perish and another staffer was injured in a fatal automobile accident Saturday night.

Around 8:00 p.m. local time, SFLA field director Kortney Blythe Gordon was driving back from the Students for Life of America Georgia conference when her vehicle was struck by another head on in a massive collision. Gordon and her unborn child, Sophy, were immediately killed upon impact and another SFLA staff member, Jon Scharfenberger, is in critical condition following the accident.

The local coverage gives the names of the other victims, including another fatality.

This is sad on so many levels. Please pray for all involved.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Feast of the Holy Rosary

I love this thought from a Dominican priest, brought to us by A Catholic Mom in Hawaii:
Prayer is the raising of the mind and heart to God. We should PRAY the Rosary rather than say it. Counting prayers on beads was in vogue before St. Dominic's time. When Mary gave the Rosary to him, the new thing added was meditation on the mysteries. This method of teaching the mysteries of religion produces in souls the life of Christ.

The Dominican Rosary Center has a simple page with instructions on how to pray the rosary.

Our Lady made fifteen promises for those who pray and teach others to pray the rosary.

At Lilies Among Thorns (my site) you can find an image for each of the mysteries of the rosary as an aid for meditation.

(My Rosary Through Fine Art page is still not completely migrated over. I keep forgetting. But I'll get it done this month!)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Songs to Sing to Kids

I've actually been meaning to do this post for quite a long time. We're very short on time (and inclination to blog) these days, although I really do miss checking in and posting every now and then, So, since Charlotte has shared and asked, I'll do a quick little list of some of the songs we've enjoyed singing to our little ones.

Natalie was born in the middle of Advent, to be cozied up in our new little family trinity. Her infancy was a cloister of sleep and warmth and dark, when we would listen over and over to this album, which was one of the very first baby gifts we received. The piano and flute washed over our wakeful daze like water, seamlessly from one song to the next. I learned a lot of tunes I didn't know, although I had to have help from other sources to match the lyrics up to them. The one that stands out from that time is "Raisins and Almonds." There are some beautiful versions on YouTube, but I'm giving you the one that I would have needed as a beginner, and probably the only one I could sing along to.

(The lyrics as I learned them)

To my little one's cradle in the night
Comes a new little goat snowy white
The goat will trot to the market
While mother her watch will keep
To bring you back raisins and almonds
Sleep, my little one, sleep

When Aidan came along, I learned the second verse of "Rock-a-bye Baby." (Never did learn the third one.)

With Catherine, for whose homecoming we waited five weeks after she was born, well, there was a little song, "La Mariposa," on our Spanish for Kids cd. I wish I could find it online, or at least give you a short little clip, iTunes style. It was about beckoning a butterfly to fly over and be friends.

Vuela, vuela, mariposa.
Vuela, vuela, ven a mi.
Con tus alitas abiertas,
Mariposa, ven a mi.

So sweet, and eminently singable.

I learned a new song--really an old song--when Jude was a baby. I sang "A Bushel and a Peck" every time he cried, whether it worked or not. Usually, it worked--especially when we added little hand motions, which he tried to copy in his baby way.

Gabe and Cora sort of share a song or two. Gabe would quiet during the worst tantrums for this song--as long as you kept singing it, the full version, over and over. I was still singing it for him when Cora was born, so he would sing it to her, too.

They both love Signing Time.

Of course, "Colors of the Rainbow" led to this one. I can't hear "The Rainbow Connection" without thinking of some far-flung friends of mine, so it's not uncommon for me to cry a little with this one. I think, though, I might not be the only one.

So that was not so quick. And I'm leaving out a few. I'll get to them later, when I can.


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