Monday, February 20, 2012

Shrove Tuesday and the Forgotten Feast of Our Lord

I used to like the idea of Mardi Gras (fat Tuesday) when I was a kid because we always had to give up candy and sweets for Lent but also I liked the bright, deep metallic gem color tones I saw with the beads and masks.  It wasn't until I got much older that I realized what a depravity it was - Mardi Gras, I mean.  Think about it - people with lax morals partying in an atmosphere that is steeped in complete lack of moral fiber... To get the beads from the floats, some cities (not all I admit), women flash their bare breasts at beastilized costumed float attendants, and the float parade itself is interspersed with with scantily-clad women.  Drunken, gluttonous festivity has replaced one of the most honorable feasts of the Catholic Church: the Feast of the Holy Face.  For brief periods of time over our 2000+ year old history as Christians, we have recognized what Lent and Easter were really all about, especially in the nineteenth century with the establishment of the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus.  People don't want to 'do' Lent anymore because it causes them considerable moral trouble.  Well, it should - that's why it's there!  To bring us back in humility and obedience to the Faith, to God our Father who sent His Only Begotten Son to wipe away our sins, and at least once a year we could take the time to acknowledge that more fully than we do the rest of the time.  I only knew of devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus through St. Therese of Liseux's devotion, which began when the feast was solemnly approved by the Church in her lifetime.  It is only of late, with all of the suffering this year has brought, in my increased prayers for my lapsed Catholic brethren and conversion of those who are pro-choice, pro-death, and pro-abortion, that I had come to learn more intimately of this reverential day.  As I struggle with my health tonight as I write this, finding it difficult to even use the right words, and for lack on my part of full understanding, I encourage you to visit this link and at least read the one page if you truly love Jesus.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ever Wonder?

Most people I know of take it for granted that God will answer our prayers positively, and are very disappointed with a "no" or "not yet."  It very much seemed to me that while I was in the convent, I received a positive answer for any prayer I made.  Having left the convent, spurning anything that reminded me of it, I find my prayers less frequently answered.  I had made a novena to St. Therese, requesting a pink rose as a sign that I was doing what God willed - well, what was right anyway.  Last day of the novena I had given up hope, having done several novenas since the convent and signs did not accompany them.  Then I noticed on the card a friend had sent me had two small pink roses...and I only asked for one.  How's the old adage go?  "It's not the size that counts...."  Making a novena to her is like pulling hen's teeth.  At least that's what it has become.  And St. Kateri - my patron saint, chosen for confirmation...  I always caught grief from the other religious sisters (though I had a special spiritual bond with her) that they couldn't understand the fit of choosing her name for mine as a religious sister.  I have very little Apache blood in me, though the traits are there - I was "very white" as the Hispanic sisters would say.  Coupled with that and the PTSD I came home with, I put her out of my mind and prayers for quite some time.  Same with St. Therese.  And with this latest miracle that has sealed Kateri's canonization by the healing of a Lummi boy (if ever a tribe needed spiritual help, it's the Lummi), I have begun to wonder if leaving the convent, distancing myself from 'traiditions' stuffed down my throat at the convent and anything that reminded me of the convent, that the saints weren't in a reciprocating mood because of my leaving and my distance. I don't know - they won't talk to me.  I don't think I'd care if it weren't for the fact that sometimes these saints seem the best to pray to in specific circumstances.  I've got St. Philomena, St. Dymphna, Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Infant of Prague, St. Anthony of Padua, Bl. JPII, and the angels.  I guess all things change over time.  Friends come and go...the love of a woman waxes and wanes like the moon, but the friendship of a man is as steady and as solid as a mountain.  Jesus loves me, I know.  I wonder what it will be like to finally meet Sts. Therese and Kateri in heaven....

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fighting the Good Fight St. Paul said.  Well, having a disagreement with two distantly related cousins about homosexual practice and the Catholic faith has made our relationship even more distant.  At least we don't have the same last name!  They were on the supporting side of the homosexual viewpoints, and I was on the Catholic side.  Then, last night one of my team mates on Mary's Graces (a team on Etsy) posted a prolife message in the team forum and was shot down by the captain for 'imposing her beliefs on others,' esp. since the captain it turns out is prochoice.  So I took up Joan of Arc's banner and went into a battle of morality in words with the captain.  My gut feeling last night was after I had said everything that supported my Catholic faith and being prolife was to quit the group because people like that do not change overnight.  Finding my inner strength in my faith and our Blessed Mother and Christ Jesus, I gave her (the captain) an ultimatum of change/reconsider your views or I leave.  Imagine my non-surprise when I found out she had kicked me out of the group this morning. 

I was having trouble picking a Lenten penance because I was struggling with all the suffering I was going through, but not anymore.  From now until Easter vigil I will pray one rosary for the conversion of my cousins, and one chaplet of Divine Mercy for the conversion of believers and practitioners of abortion (and an end to abortion!) each and every day. Especially since the birth control act was passed into law requiring Catholic healthcare providers to cover birth control in medical situations and insurance. This is most urgent that I will not wait for Ash Wednesday.  Starting earlier will be part of that penance.  And I am rejoicing to suffer for Christ!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


Well, as broad as a subject that is, it is my New Year's resolution to give more of myself - time, effort, energy (money when I have it) to those around me.  Charity begins at home, and this year got off to a really rough start, so I have made it my ultimate goal to be more giving.  Not that I've been stingy in the past, no - my family often voiced their frustrations about me giving away things they had gotten me.  I never intended to offend anyone - it's just that once I've fully enjoyed and appreciated the gift given (like a teddy bear or jewelry or whatnot), I would like someone else to enjoy it too.  So I 'regift.'  Comes from being a nun for 5.5 years.  Sounds crass in writing, doesn't it?  I can't help it.  But there are somethings I will not give away.

Trish's baby is due on Easter Sunday, but we are expecting it will arrive a bit earlier - just not too early!  I have a couple of gifts I want to give, but Trish's in full pregnancy mode and overwhelmed at having 'more stuff' so I guess I'll keep those presents in reserve.  Like the teddy bear rosary I designed to be hung in the nursery.  I have been praying that it sells by Feb. 14th; if it hasn't by then, I intend to pull it out of the shop.  Then I guess I'll hang on to it until Ellie (the baby) makes her first communion. 

Well, I need to do a whip-round and gather all the stuffed animals I've collected that I've 'outgrown' and bag them up for Goodwill.  There are four bears in my room that I'm having trouble giving away.  On the one hand they sit there and are not hugged (and someone else could be enjoying them), but on the other they create a certain ambiance to the different areas in my room that I am hesitant to disturb.  Sounds silly, doesn't it?  I guess I'll pray about it and see what the good Lord wants me to do.