Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Fortunately, Miriam has not allowed her little metaphysical inclination to rest. She has been busy concocting a brand new heresy, which she will combat when she becomes a Dominican (they've been bored ever since the Albigensians disappeared).
I took the time on our morning walk to listen carefully to her formulation of the new Creed.
in God the Father Almighty
the Baker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ,
his one, our Lord,
who was received by the Holy Spirit
bored of the Virgin Mary,
He ascended into hell. (I think we missed something important here.)
He will come again... (distracted by pink flower)
I believe in the Holy Spirit
the Holy Catholic Church
the communion of saints
the give-ness of sins (is that givenness?)
the resurrection of buddy
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Miriam gleans wisdom from Sr. Beatrice, OP. "Mommy! She is named for Saint Beatrix Potter!" Well... sure.
Two philosophy moms--one spiritual, the other biological. Sr. Alexandra and I take a turn.
...revelling in the spousal love of Christ. Sr. Anna, OP, took her final vows--for all her life--on July 24th.
(These are the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia. I was in college with the three pictured here.)
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I experience impetuous desires of acquiring the gift of prayer, humility, gentleness, the love of God; to this I reply: Let us not think so much about our own interests: my duty is to occupy myself simply and quietly with God, to accomplish his will in all that He asks of me at the moment. That is my task; everything else I leave in the care of God; my advancement is his business as mine is to occupy myself ceaselessly with him and to execute his orders.
It occurs to me that I am still so imperfect, so full of defects and meannesses, of infidelities and weaknesses; how long will it be before I am delivered from these things? I reply at once: By the grace of God I do not love my faults, I am resolved to combat them; but I shall only be delivered from them when it may please God to deliver me. That is his affair, mine is to hate these faults and to fight them with patience, penitence, and humility until it pleases God to give me the victory over them.
The thought occurs to me: But I am so blind that I do not even know my faults, yet my duty is to lament them before God and confess them; I at once reply: I wish to know my faults, I no longer live in voluntary dissipation of mind, I spend a certain time quietly examining my conscience. This is what God demands of me; he will give me more light and knowledge when he thinks it well to do so; that is his affair; I have placed all my spiritual progress in his hands; it is, therefore, enough for the present for me to accuse myself of a few daily faults, as God gives me to know them, adding to them a sin of my past life.Father Jean-Pierre de Caussade, SJ
Monday, July 20, 2009
"Spain is a peculiar country... In every instance what is characteristis is a tendency toward the instinctive, toward the individualistic, and toward the anarchic. Spaniards follow men better than they follow ideas, which are judgued not by their content, but by the men who embody them. This accounts for the incelmency of personal relationships, the small respect for laws; this, too, is what causes our periodic civil wars." ~Jose Maria Gironella, 1954, Note for the American Edition
Saturday, July 18, 2009
You’re St. Melito of Sardis!
You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Saints of Carmel
The Institute of Carmelite Studies
Byzantine Carmelite Nuns
Carmelite Sisters (Association of St. Joseph)
Monks making coffee! And praying for the Church...
A biblical perspective of Mt. Carmel
Carmel Decor (I'm a sucker for icons!)
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Fr. Dave Pivonka's Hiking the Camino: 500 Miles With Jesus was a bit of a mental break for me. After the intellectual rigors of Authentic Sexuality, I wanted something lighter to review. Furthermore, pilgrimages have a soft place in my rocky heart: Todd and I were given the pilgrimage to Jasna Gora (in Poland) as a wedding present and hiked there from Krakow in August 2003.
A good, old-fashioned hike--usually 15 to 20 miles per day--is often good medicine for the soul. Even if it does a number on the flesh. (Or, perhaps, because it does number on the flesh!)
This little book tells the story of a much longer hike in little episodes. Fr. Pivonka leads us along his journey through northern Spain, using the physical trials and joys as introductions to the interior transformation he experienced. His self-effacing humor and evident joy in his vocation (I think he says, "I love being a priest," nearly once per page) gain the reader's trust. He also avoids all pretention or superiority. The spiritual reflections are very simple, but always profound. He references Scripture and John Paul II, thus bringing a broader perspective to his own thoughts.
If you want to learn more about a contemporary experience of a medieval pilgrimage, this is a good pick. If you are planning or dreaming of a pilgrimage yourself, it is inspirational.
This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Hiking the Camino.
Monday, July 13, 2009
I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee;
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.
I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.
~William Butler Yeats
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
"Truth," writes Benedict, "needs to be sought, found and expressed within the “economy” of charity, but charity in its turn needs to be understood, confirmed and practised [sic] in the light of truth."
He makes no bones about it: a world that relativizes truth is incapable of practicing charity, just as a world without charity has no knowledge of truth. "Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite."
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.
Friday, July 3, 2009
"Whose minds went dark at the edge of a field,
In the muck of a trench, on the beachhead sand,
In a blst amidships, a burst in the air ....
Grieve for the ways in which we betrayed them,
How we robbed their graves of a reason to die:
The tribes pushed west, and the treaties broken,
The image of God on the auction block,
The Immigrant scorned, and the striker beaten.
The vote denied to liberty's daughters ....
From all that has shamed us, what can we salvage?
Be proud at least that we know we were wrong,
That we need not lie, that our books are open,
Praise to this land for our power to change it,
To confess our misdoings, to mend what we can,
To learn what we mean and make it the law,
To become what we said we were going to be."
Today, remind yourself and your families of what we said we were going to be.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
But in the practical world, how do I find someone with the authority worthy of such obedience? In the confessional, I have found many priests who give great advice ("You should make at least one act of charity toward your husband before he leaves for work every morning." Amen.). I have had very bad advice in the confessional ("Oh, that's not so bad! You really shouldn't worry about it." OR "Well, you're a poor student. Stealing stamps from work is really very understandable."). And so, I obey their advice only upon consideration, not out of obedience to their authority (unless, of course, they prescribe a certain action as my penance).
There are clear cases when one should not obey advice--for example, when the director is unfaithful to the Scriptures or the mind of the Church. Then you must find a different guide.
It would be wrong, however, to disregard a director's advice simply because he contradicts what I want to do. This would point to a lack of will on my part to convert my heart, to allow it to be led "where I do not want to go."
How do you recognize the director who will lead you where you would not go on your own, but at the same time may be obeyed with trust and confidence? Dubay gives an impressive, but nonetheless helpful description of the ideal director:
1. a prayerful person who takes seriously both liturgical worship and contemplation
2. one who thinks "with the Church" and is known for ecclesial fidelity
3. one with an adequate theological education (if not formal, then at least years of extensive reading and serious reflection)
4. one with sound judgment
5. a man (or woman) with an understanding of psychology that enables him/her to recognize when a problem is more psychological or neurotic than spiritual
6. one to whom the directee readily relates and with whom she is at ease.
I feel a little like the astonished disciples, "Lord, who then can be saved?" Or, rather, who then can qualify? It is a daunting list, but not an impossible one. As St. Francis de Sales reminds us, God will provide what we need in order to find Him: "Besides all this beg the Most High to guide your steps in the truth." (Sirach 37:19)
Time to beg.