Saturday, June 30, 2012

Today in my diocese... daughter Natalie got to see the ordination of our newest priest. And the priest who vested him is the former pastor of the parish where I grew up.

Praise God!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Today's reading

The first reading for today, from 2 Kings 19,  shows how Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, threatens and taunts Hezekiah, the king of Judah, which was the only tribe left after God permitted the deportation of the Israelites after they had forgotten him and rejected his statutes.
'Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you
by saying that Jerusalem will not be handed over
to the king of Assyria.
You have heard what the kings of Assyria have done
to all other countries: they doomed them!
Will you, then, be saved?'
Hezekiah does not respond to this menace, not before he takes it to the Lord in prayer and supplication.
Truly, O LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations
and their lands, and cast their gods into the fire;
they destroyed them because they were not gods,
but the work of human hands, wood and stone.
Therefore, O LORD, our God, save us from the power of this man,
that all the kingdoms of the earth may know
that you alone, O LORD, are God.
Then the Lord responds by basically saying, "I've got this under control. No worries."
Then Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent this message to Hezekiah:
"Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel,
in answer to your prayer for help against Sennacherib, king of Assyria:
I have listened!
This is the word the LORD has spoken concerning him:

"'She despises you, laughs you to scorn,
the virgin daughter Zion!
Behind you she wags her head,
daughter Jerusalem.

"'For out of Jerusalem shall come a remnant,
and from Mount Zion, survivors.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.'

Today's gospel is worth checking out too.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Did you say "envy"?

As someone trying to be a writer (yeah, I know, "writers write." I'm a writer), let me just hint at how funny I find it to read an exchange like this:

And that was how I left it when I "liked" that last comment (see one of those two likes, that's me there). 

Seriously, do you see those names? 

So this is me, promoting Ms. McPortland's piece on envy, and taking mental notes (particularly that "ouch" moment toward the end). Being grateful (since that is the remedy for envy) to be able to read and commiserate with my fellow travelers.

"Freedom" link

Computer's a bit slow today, and so am I. Here's a link to an NPR story about the Fortnight for Freedom, with a hat tip to Frank Weathers.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops launches what it's calling the "Fortnight for Freedom" on Thursday — two weeks of praying and fasting because the bishops believe the church's religious freedom is being threatened by the Obama administration's health care policies.

"This is the first time that I've felt personally attacked by my government," parishioner Kathleen Burke says after a service at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Bethesda, Md.
That's about how I feel.

O God, come to my assistance.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday links

For day three of the Fortnight for Freedom, here are some links to keep you busy. Steve Greydanus at the National Catholic Register gives us a list of a fortnight's worth of movies that "reflect on how the themes of religious liberty, moral conscience and commitment to one’s faith in the face of pressure and persecution have been reflected in film." Maybe you can get one for tonight!

Matthew Warner, also at the Register, has posted 14 things you can do to get involved in the Fortnight for Freedom.

Since I didn't already, here's an explanation of what is at stake with the HHS mandate.

At Fr. Longnecker's blog is a reminder that the erosion of freedom starts small. Make sure you read--thoroughly--the post linked at the end.

Friday, June 22, 2012

An observation for the Feast of St. Thomas More

I noticed a little something the other day. St. Thomas More is, of course, a great patron saint of politics no matter what is at issue. But think about what he faced back in his day--a crisis about the identity of the Church, with the question of the nature of marriage at its heart. Sir Thomas More was a prominent statesman and friend of King Henry VIII, until Henry decided to take onto himself the headship of the Church in his country and divorce his wife. Quietly More withdrew from his favored place in society and government, saying nothing publicly against the king's move but also doing nothing that would violate his conscience. Basically, Henry said, "Tolerance is not enough. You MUST approve."

So, two things. from this. One: Remaining prudently silent in the face of the government-religion-marriage collision course in order to protect yourself and your family does not necessarily make you less holy or saintly.

Two: Remaining prudently silent won't necessarily keep you from being a martyr.

LItany for Liberty

Today's link is a litany for religious liberty that the USCCB has published. It can be prayed in a group setting or by yourself. 

Litany for Liberty

Christ the Lord has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. Let us turn to him in humble but fervent petition, seeking the grace to root out from our hearts all trace of darkness, and all that holds us back from walking in the full freedom of the children of God. As Christ is our great model for that inner freedom, which enables us to do the right, let us turn to him with confidence that we, too, may follow him to the fullness of spiritual freedom.

Lord, have mercy; R. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy; R. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy; R. Lord, have mercy.

Jesus, victor over sin and death...  Free our hearts.
Jesus, source of light and hope... Free our hearts.
Jesus, fullness of truth and mystery... Free our hearts.
Jesus, teacher of seeking hearts... 
Jesus, healer of body and soul... 
Jesus, bringer of mercy and justice... 
Jesus, who humble the heart and mind... 
Jesus, release of captives... 
Jesus, voice against violence... 
Jesus, courage for the lowly/downtrodden... 
Jesus, origin of all authority and power... 
Jesus, true lawgiver... 
Jesus, unity of order and passion... 
Jesus, freedom of the Spirit... 
Jesus, obedient Son of the Father...

For the freedom to love... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to believe... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to hope... Give us your grace.
For the freedom to worship... 
For the freedom to serve in charity... 
For the freedom to care for the suffering... 
For the freedom to comfort the sick... 
For the freedom to feed the hungry... 
For the freedom to shelter the homeless... 
For the freedom to proclaim the Gospel... 
For the freedom to walk in chastity... 
For the freedom to live in peace... 
For the freedom to work in good conscience... 
For the freedom to stand in solidarity... 
For the freedom to seek justice...
For the freedom to reject sin... 
For the freedom to reject coercion... For the freedom to reject falsehood... 
For the freedom to reject evil temptations... 
For the freedom to reject injustice...

O God, who gave one origin to all peoples and willed to gather from them one family for yourself, fill all hearts, we pray, with the fire of your love and kindle in them a desire for the just advancement of their neighbor, that, through the good things which you richly bestow upon all, each human person may be brought to perfection, every division may be removed, and equity and justice may be established in human society. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fortnight for Freedom

Today begins the Fortnight for Freedom! With this dedicated span of days we appeal to God, in whom we trust rather than any worldly power, and stand up for true liberty, the freedom to do what is right. There's a lot of cyber ink out there so I'm going to be sharing a lot of links over the next two weeks.

Our parish is reciting the Leonine prayers after all our masses during this Fortnight for Freedom. Our pastor has also encouraged everyone to pray them as a private devotion for this intention as well. Today, I share them with you.


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
(three times)

Hail, holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary.

P: Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R: That we be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

P: Let us pray. O God, our refuge and our strength, look down with favor upon Thy people who cry to Thee; and through the intercession of the glorious and immaculate Virgin Mary, Mother of God, of her spouse, blessed Joseph, of Thy holy apostles, Peter and Paul, and all the saints, mercifully and graciously hear the prayers which we pour forth to Thee for the conversion of sinners and for the liberty and exaltation of holy mother Church. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Michael, the archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. We humbly beseech God to command him. And do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the divine power thrust into hell Satan and the other evil spirits who roam through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

P: Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.
R: Have mercy on us!
(three times)

Image Credit: USCCB

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"The moon is its to lay itself a egg."

Somewhere in that statement is a great story, don't you think?

What happened was, I was doing a little free writing a few nights ago after everyone had gone to bed. It must have been long after everyone had gone to bed, and I must have laid my head down...I did get up  after that and I went to bed properly. The next morning I found this, at the top of its own page. I have no idea what I was trying to say, or write. But I recognized the scrawl, from the times in college when I would be taking notes in class but I just. couldn't. keep my eyes open.

Anyway. Yesterday I hit 37,305 words, target 39,500. (Here's the check-in. I guess you'll have to come back here for my end post tomorrow.) Today I'm in the home stretch: 1 day and 2,695 words to go...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Prayer request

Please pray for Deacon Bill O'Neal at my hometown parish, whose funeral was this morning. I remember Deacon Bill from my school days. I found a sweet tribute to him from people who knew him from a more secular setting. "He never met a stranger"--true. I think I'd be hard-pressed to find a person with a bigger heart.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

My poor, little neglected blog!

It's not that I haven't had much to share with you! I've had a slew of post ideas that are (or were, before they got stale) in various stages of development. Then there are 27 tabs and windows open in my browser, full of interesting items to link to--and that's after I closed two thirds of them to try and rehabilitate my computer's operating speed! It's just that there are only so many hours in the day... I know you know. I'll try to make it up to you in the next few days. First order of business, though, is to update on my Round of Words in 80 Days. The last time I posted, I was ahead of my goal, but life was catching up to me. One of the reasons I let Wednesday's check-in slip by was that I had nothing to report. A week went by when I wrote almost nothing but lists. Such is life and I have started my game of word catch-up now. As I write this, I am at 35,003 words. Next Tuesday's goal is 39,500; another check-in Wednesday; and Thursday's the end of this round. Will I make it? You bet I will.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Frozen Strawberry Torte

Not quite in time for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but there are plenty of other feast days that make good use of strawberries. I'm thinking maybe the Assumption in August, or next year in May. Or this: at Catholic Cuisine I just found an inspired example of a strawberry garnish that you can use for tomorrow's feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, if you want to hurry and mix this up tonight (since it has to be frozen ahead of time). Check it out--it's beautiful!

This is a simple summer dessert that my husband loves. When I was a kid I used to request it instead of a birthday cake, despite my birthday falling around Thanksgiving every year. Originally it had a crust made with nuts, but out of expediency, and for a husband who doesn't care for nuts, I now use a graham cracker crust.


Frozen Strawberry Torte

1/2 cup egg substitute (originally 2 egg whites)
15 ounces frozen sliced, sweetened strawberries
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup sugar
16 ounces whip cream*
2 graham cracker crusts

Beat the egg substitute, adding sugar gradually. Add the lemon juice and strawberries and mix lightly. Fold in the whip cream. Pour the mixture into the two graham cracker crusts. (If you're making your own, you could just use a 9x13 dish and make one big one--that's the way I remember it.) Freeze  overnight. Before serving, let it sit at room temperature for just a few minutes to make slicing it easier. Slice it right before serving, garnish each slice with a dollop of whip cream and a sliced strawberry.

* When I say "whip cream" I mean that I use the frozen stuff you buy at the store that I don't want to violate trade marks by mentioning. I don't want to say "whipped topping," though; because, although I have never actually whipped my own cream for this so I don't know how it would turn out, I don't want to discourage any of you who do like to use their own whipped cream. It would probably be great. If you do try it, let me know how it turns out! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

ROW80--Another week (or two)

Yesterday's target was 32,500. I'm at 32,890. And I know I missed last week and I've been quiet, but really I'm lucky I'm here at all. We're implementing some (by themselves) minor but numerous (read: countless) lifestyle changes, and since I can't undertake such an upheaval on my own, I'm following my husband's lead in a fairly strict, as in focused, schedule of work and play. This includes running or working out twice a day (don't know how long that will last) and some late spring cleaning (more like summer detox) for which I really should be taking before-and-after pictures.

So my word count has mostly been churning out words, any words, just to keep in the habit of committing thoughts to paper (or the cloud). But I think I might have a few bitty diamonds in the rough, some material for pipe dreaming, and some cathartic scrawls. Anyway, it makes me happy.

Link to ROW80 round-up here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Notion of Perfectibility

The notion of the perfectibility of man came about at the time of the Enlightenment in the 18th century. This is what the South has traditionally opposed. "How far we have fallen" means the fall of Adam, the fall from innocence, from sanctifying grace. The South in other words still believes that man has fallen and that he is only perfectible by God's grace, not by his own unaided efforts. The Liberal approach is that man has never fallen, never incurred guilt, and is ultimately perfectible by his own efforts. Therefore, evil in this light is a problem of better housing, sanitation, health, etc. and all mysteries will eventually be cleared up. Judgment is out of place because man is not responsible. Of course there are degrees of adherence to this, all sorts of mixtures, but it is the direction the modern heads toward. 
- Flannery O'Connor

Monday, June 4, 2012

An Interesting Juxtaposition

From Pat Archbold at the National Catholic Register, How the West Was Done:
I feel like a Roman at the end of the empire watching the whole thing going down and remarking simply, "Duh!"

Of all the articles I read this weekend on this topic, only one actually explained the real reason for the collapse of Europe (and eventually the entire west including the U.S.). It is all because we are spoiled and selfish. We have lived way beyond our means for generations.
And via The Anchoress, with a longer quote, comes then-Cardinal Ratzinger on how to find fulfillment:
A fantasy [that people have, of possessing] property takes no account of the fact that, for the great majority of mankind, life is a struggle. On those grounds I would see this idea of choosing one’s own path in life as a selfish attitude and as a waste of one’s vocation. Anyone who thinks he already has it all, so that he can take what he wants and center everything on himself is depriving himself of giving what he otherwise could.
And what I'm listening to right now--Rich Mullins from his album The World As Best As I Remember It, Vol. 2:
And we both feel lost,
But I remember what Susan said,
How love is found in the things we've given up
More than in the things we have kept.
And ain't it funny what people say,
And ain't it funny what people write,
And ain't it funny how it hits you so hard
In the middle of the night.
And if your home is just another place where you're a stranger
And far away is just somewhere you've never been
I hope that you'll remember, I was your friend.


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