Sunday, June 24, 2012

Celtic Heart Knot

My new project. My friends should expect Celtic Heart necklaces for Christmas this year. I can't wait to get started knitting the icord from a beautiful green silk yarn I just got from Listia.





Saturday, June 23, 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Ultimate Sacrifice and The Body of Christ

Yesterday was the Feast of Corpus Christi,  the feast day when we celebrate the ultimate sacrifice that our Lord Jesus Christ gave to us, his own body and blood as our food and drink.  He gave us this not just as nourishment, but also as an act of transformation.  As Saint Augustine said when we consume the Eucharist (body and blood of our Lord) we consume it so that we can become it.

When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist we become the Body of Christ.  We are here to do the work of Christ in order that his kingdom be fulfilled on this earth.  Each one of us is an integral part of that body, and when one of us rejoices we all share in that joy.

At Mass yesterday at Our Lady of The Desert Catholic Community Mass at the Base Chapel at China Lake Navy Base, Fr. James Dowds C.Ss.R. made that very clear by announcing as part of his homily all of the joyful bits of news concerning the members of the small tight knit community.  

A little 6 year old  girl was able to to return to Loma Linda Children's Hospital last week to present a check for $2000 from the parish community as a gift of thanksgiving for all they did for her there while she was recovering from a grave illness in their Pediatric Intensive Care Unit a year ago.

A young newly married Lieutenant just back from Afghanistan and his bride were sitting just in front of us at Mass.  He was welcomed home at Mass with a special blessing and cheerful greetings from the parishioners.

There was a nice recognition of the Base's Rear Admiral who is a member of the parish and has been reassigned and will be leaving to take up a new post soon at another base on the east coast.

There will also be a send off of another kind,  a longstanding member of the community had lost her battle with cancer and would be laid to rest with a Mass of Resurrection next week.  The prayers of the community go with her on her final journey.

All of these little reminders of how interconnected we are, helped me to remember just why it is that I love to attend Mass with this small community when I come to Ridgecrest, CA with my husband.  But there is one other aspect of the Mass that really made the aspect of all of us being one body in Christ very real to me yesterday.

At the end of the Prayers of the Faithful the lector says a special prayer for those men and women of the allied armed services who lost their lives as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom (or in any other capacity around the globe) in the last week.  Then the church bell tolls once  as each name is read along with the age, rank, branch of service and field of deployment.    The names are read slowly and reverently.  It had been two years since the last time I had experienced this, and I had forgotten just how powerful it is.

by the time the final name had been read and the final bell tone was fading away, I was wiping tears from my eyes (as were many in the congregation).  This is not something that was done simply because this is Corpus Christi though,  this intercession happens each and every Sunday so long as their are names to be read.  And I imagine that each Sunday that I am here I will be affected in the same way by the beauty and solemnity of this small tribute to those who have offered the ultimate sacrifice to the Body of Christ and the Kingdom of God.

We are all connected, we are all one,  we share joy and sorrow.

Pax.

Monday, April 30, 2012

The Ironic Catholic: The great big giveaway for a new life for Harper!

The Ironic Catholic: The great big giveaway for a new life for Harper!: Oh, this is going to be so much fun .  But first, you need to read this! Many of you know my husband and I are adopting a little boy thro...

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Surely it is Not I, Rabbi?

Today we have Mark's account of the Last Supper and the betrayal by Judas.  When Jesus tells his twelve closest friends that one of them will betray him they are all quick to say, of course it won't be me!  Interestingly enough, in this account we know that Judas has already gone to the Sanhedrin and made a bargain for the life of Jesus in exchange for thirty pieces of silver.  So, how much sincerity is Judas showing when he utters the phrase "Surely it is not I. Rabbi?"


How often do we betray our faith in Christ and His teachings in very overt ways and yet we come to the Eucharist and present ourselves among those who are worthy to receive him, body, blood, soul and divinity?


One of the changes to the New Translation of the Roman Missal that I was really happy about was that we went back to the original wording of the prayer we say just before we proceed up to receive communion:


Lord, I am not worthy
that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word
and my soul shall be healed.


When I am at my most vulnerable, when I am confronted with my sinfulness by the Confetior at the beginning of mass (in my thoughts in my deeds. in what I have done and in what I have failed to do. Through my fault, through my fault. through my most grievous fault)  My only response to the thought that I have betrayed my Lord is "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?"  When I know full  well that it is I that have made these errors in judgement and strayed from the path and taken my equivalent of thirty pieces of silver.  But I can stand before Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament I am about to receive and say the above words and know that even though I stumble and fall in my attempts to follow Him, he will accept me and heal me and make me stronger.  

And with the strength of the Eucharist within me, hopefully I can reject the offer of the thirty pieces of silver the next time it is extended.

Just for today, be honest with yourself about how faithful you are to following God's plan for your life.  Ask for his mercy and healing, and if you get a chance go to Mass or Confession, or both. 

PAX

Tuesday, April 03, 2012



"Master, why can I not follow you now?
I will lay down my life for you."

In today's gospel we hear a snippet of the story of the Last Supper according to John.  Jesus has just sent Judas away to betray him, and is trying to prepare the remaining apostles for his impending death on the cross.  But none of them, least of all Peter wants to hear that Jesus will die soon.  Jesus tells them that where he is going they cannot follow.  and Peter (you have to love how impetuous Peter is) replies with the line above, I will lay down my life for you.  

We all know the end of that story;  in the early hours of the morning after the arrest of Jesus Peter denies any knowledge of him to protect himself on three different occasions, just as Jesus said he would.  

How often are we, when confronted with a situation where it is uncomfortable to stand up and be counted as a Christian, willing to act like Peter and remain silent, or worse yet, deny that we have any connection to Christianity. In American culture today it becomes very easy to "deny Jesus" in the name of "it was just a joke" or "I personally don't believe in it, but I shouldn't force my beliefs on others. or I don't want to seem to much of s stick in the mud so I will go along a little just to fit in what will it hurt.

Does Jesus send a cock to crow in our lives to remind us that we have been found out?  Maybe if he did we would be more willing to admit that we do deny our Christianity all too often. 

Just for today. stand up and be counted for something that really matters in the lives of not only Christians, but people everywhere.  You decide what that stand should be, just be willing to stand up for the truth even if you are the only one standing in the entire crowd in which you find yourself.   Remember, if you truly are living In Christ, you are never really alone. 

PAX

Monday, April 02, 2012

You will always have . . .

In today's gospel story Jesus has come to the home of his dear friends Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha.  Martha as usual is busy taking care of the physical needs of the guests, but Mary does somethg very extraordinary.  Mary takes a bottle of expensive perfume and annoints Jesus' feet with it and then dries them with her hair. 

Judas, who kept the money purse for the apostles, and would soon betray Christ is indignant at the waste of the expensive perfume which "could have been used for the poor".  In response to Judas' indignation Jesus says something very puzzeling. 

You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me."



What is Jesus telling his apostles here? Hasn't her promised that he will always be with them?  Is he preparing them for his eventual (and soon) death on the cross).  He is giving them a hint about how they can find him after he is no longer physically present to them.

 He has constantly told them that they must reach out to the poor, and in fact what they do for the poor and weak and downtrodden they are doing for Jesus himself.  Aha!  Perhaps this is one of those times when he is giving them a puzzle that can be solved only by action.

If they work for the poor, they will continue to have Jesus with them always in their daily lives.  They will see him in the face of every person they encounter as they go about their work. 

Are you able to see Jesus in everyone you encounter in your day. especially those people who demand the most of you?  That should be your challenge today.  Encounter Jesus in everyone you meet.  How will that change how you respond to them?

PAX

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Am I the Naked Boy?


Now a young man followed him
wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body.

They seized him,
but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.


Do you remember this line from today's account of the Passion of Christ at Mass?  It is such a throwaway line, the sad young man doesn't even merit a name and is never mentioned again in scripture.  What is God trying to teach us in these two short sentences about the "streaking boy" as my daughter calls him?

He is only wearing a linen garment, which we can infer as the garment that symbolizes our Baptism.  When confronted by the guards he doesn't stand and proclaim his faith in the One True Son of God, he flees.  If we place ourselves in his position,  how often when our faith is attacked do we choose to run away, or stay under the radar rather than stand up for what we believe?  Especially in this time, when one is more than likely going to be derided for a belief in God, natural law, fundamental truths such as the sacredness of all life, and the belief that marriage is a covenant between one man and one woman.  


If we stand up for these beliefs in today's society we are more often than not going to feel exactly like the poor young man in the scripture today; stripped of our defenses and left naked in front of our enemies.  But we have to remember, that we must stand up for our beliefs.  It is not only our right to do so, but it is our duty given to us at our Baptism and sealed upon us at our Confirmation, to not only live the truth of our faith, but to proclaim the truth, even if we are the only ones who believe it to be true.


So, my goal for this Holy Week is to become a bold proclaimer of the truth, even when I am stripped naked by my enemies.  Who's with me?


PAX

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

For My Aspie Children: Awareness in Claymation


Max talks about Aspergers from Gerald Thompson on Vimeo.



This is a snippet from a movie about a young girl who is a pen-pal with a middle aged man with Asperger's Syndrome.  In this scene he tells her a little about what it is like in his world.  It is a wonderfully accurate and compassionate portrayal of these amazing people.  I should know, I am mom to three of them.

PAX

Monday, February 20, 2012

Looking For Something to Deepen Your Lent?

An Ignatian Prayer Adventure

PAX


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, January 27, 2012

Learn To Live In Loneliness

Learn to Live in Loneliness
Carl Sandburg


A man must get away
now and then
to experience loneliness.

Only those who learn how to live
in loneliness
can come to know themselves
and life.

I go out there and walk
and look at the trees and sky.
I listen to the sounds of loneliness.
I sit on a rock or stump
and say to myself,

"Who are you, Sandburg?
Where have you been,
and where are you going?"


I needed to read this today. I needed to be reminded that Time by myself is not punishment, or wasted, but rather, time to get to know who I really am.

PAX

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Times They Are . . .

So, I got a contract to write a book. I gave myself a "grace period/vacation" over Christmas, and didn't work on it. It was really nice not thinking about it through the holiday rush. But now the holidays are over, and I am writing. I wanted to let you know so that my two loyal readers wouldn't think I was ignoring them. I am probably sitting staring at my manuscript wondering what the devil I am going to write next. So, if you come here and I haven't posted in a while please say a prayer for me. I am sure the writing is going well, but a little extra prayer can't hurt. PAX - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

When Things Start to Fall Into Place

It usually means that the fight is just beginning. Or so I have found.

I have known for years that I needed to get into shape and take my health more seriously, but for whatever reason I never really got past the thought and on toward any real plan of action. I would take the matter of my slothful nature into the confessional and try to find help there. I tried to get more exercise, and I have been on every diet on the planet. Nothing seemed to work.

I would make excuses like, well at least my spiritual life is on track, does it really matter that my the other areas of my life are a mess?

Then a little over a year ago my world got turned upside down. My mom died after a long illness, and a close friend died after a battle with cancer. I fell into a deep depression from which I could not emerge on my own because my reserves were empty.

Many years ago I had suffered a similar depression after the birth of one of my children. I remember how bad I felt for so long. When I finally came out of that depression, I promised myself that if it ever happened again I would ask for help. So this time, when I found myself in that dark lonely place, and realized that I had been in a similar place before.

This time I did what I had promised myself the last time, and asked for help. With the help of my devoted husband, my Dr., my pastor Fr. Bill, and my spiritual director, I began to see a light. The light came from not carrying my burden by myself, and letting go enough to allow room for God to enter in and begin the healing process. It wasn't what one of them did, but what they all did together.

I started to see my entire life as a whole -- mind,body,soul and spirit. Without working on all the areas together, I cannot move out of the darkness. It is only when each of the areas of my life is in balance that I will become the person God intended me to be.

Now I realize that I cannot be satisfied with two thirds of a life. And interestingly, as I begin to see my plan to get into shape begin to work I an seeing that there is a spiritual component to what I am doing. I am learning about fasting and discipline and obedience and virtue. Not to mention all the extra prayer time I am getting as I work out and walk.

And as the changes in my diet and exercise affect my overall health, I am realizing that it feels really good to feel good.But, now that things are falling into place, I have a long road ahead to get to where I am what God sees as my best self.

At least I have a great team of people surrounding me helping me to reach the goal.

PAX

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Till There Was This . . .

So, it is no secret that I am a huge fan of Ignatian Spirituality and especially the concept of "finding God in all things", which to me is simply an awareness that everything we are and have comes from God, so whatever we find in the world in some way can lead us back to God.

About a month ago I got a new CD from one of my favorite singing groups that has roots right here in my beloved Bloomington:  Straight No Chaser.  Among the songs on the CD is the most amazing arrangement of the song "Till There Was You" from the musical The Music Man.   If you aren't familiar with the story, this song is sung by Marian the Librarian when she realizes that she has fallen for Harold Hill.

Only when I heard this particular arrangement, sung by these ten amazing men it wasn't a love song between a woman and a man, but to me it was someone realizing that the entire world looks and sounds different when one becomes aware of God in his or her life.  Everything changes,  colors are brighter, music is sweeter, and somehow the whole world looks so amazing.  There is Love all around,  because God is Love, and those who live in Love live in God, and God in them.

Listen to the lyrics, and put yourself in the place of the singer.  How has your world changed because you are aware that God is a part of all that you do?





Pax


Monday, September 26, 2011

God is Completely Satisfied With You Just The Way You Are . . .

the problem is, you have no idea who you are.

That was one of the messages that I got from a retreat on Practical Christianity this weekend.  I spent the weekend listening to that still small voice from within.  It was telling me that as much as I want to love God, I need to also learn to love myself as God loves me.  God loves the authentic me, and in my ego-centeredness I may or may not be close at all to knowing who that person is.  

I know who I think I should be, but does that mean that my opinion of  who I am and where I am going is the same as God's?   Probably far from it.  It is only through lots of intentional prayer, and discernment that I will ever come to know who it is that God sees when God looks at me. 

Fr. Adrian, (our retreat master) said we should look at it as though we are athletes training for competition.  We can't become elite level Christians without intentionally setting aside time to make ourselves fit enough to be the person God sees us to be.  We have to work on our whole self;  mind, body and spirit.

I am good at working on the spirit and mind part of my elite level training program.  I love to learn new things, I am constantly reading spiritual books and the bible and spending time in prayer and meditation.  I spend time offering my services to others in volunteer activities and share my joy of salvation with others every chance I get.

Where I fall down is taking care of my body.  I need to get more exercise, and learn to eat better to control my blood pressure and blood sugar.   Exercise would help my arthritis.  Eating right coupled with the exercise would lead to weight loss which would in turn be good for my knees.

So,  I am going to try really hard to work on myself.  I am going to spend some time every day being intentional about taking care of my body which is a temple of the Holy Spirit; the place where God resides.  Because from now on it is not I but Christ who lives in and through me, and He shouldn't have to live in a place that looks like it ought to be condemned.

PAX


Sunday, September 04, 2011

My Swiss Cheese Memory Worked in Our Favor For Once

So, Saturday afternoon I was sitting with two of my daughters watching How to Train Your Dragon when mrangelmeg came into the room and asked if we wanted to go to Mass that night and sleep in on Sunday morning.  We all looked at each other and said, sure.  We stopped the tape and went got ready for Mass.  When we were ready to leave we realized that our amazing autistic daughter hadn't yet come out of her room.

When I asked if she was ready to leave she said no, she wasn't planning on coming to Mass with us.  So since we had to leave immediately to get there on time we left without her.  But this is where my Swiss Cheese memory comes in to play.  As soon as we sat down in Church my angelbaby looked over at me and said, "Mom, we are supposed to sing at ten o'clock Mass tomorrow."   I just chuckled and said, "Well I guess we get to go to Mass twice this weekend then."

Does everyone remember what the lesson of the readings was though?  It was about our responsibility in giving fraternal correction when needed.  And Fr. used as an example from his own life going to Mass as one of the times when it is our chance to help people who don't go to Mass to want to come to Mass.

So, when we got home, over dinner we told Molly that Fr. Tom had talked about her during his homily.  She asked what he had said about her but we told her that she would have to come to ten o'clock Mass when we went to sing in the choir to find out what he had said.  She was so intrigued, that she was up, dressed and waiting for us when we were ready to leave in the morning.

After Mass as we were driving home I asked her if she heard what Fr. had said about her.  She said, "Yes, he said, it is important to go to Mass."    It was a great lesson, thanks to my Swiss cheese memory and a great homily by our parish priest and a lazy daughter who will probably not miss another mass for a while.

Pax

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Dirty Little Relationship Secret of Women and Purses

I have uncovered the root of the age old dilemma of why a rational woman can be in a monogamous relationship with one man for an entire lifetime but cannot remain faithful to one purse for longer than six months. Admit it ladies, we all have the pile of cast offs in the back of our closet to prove it.


A woman goes out and finds a purse that she absolutely loves, and for a short time that purse is everything she will ever need. Eventually though the purse's flaws begin to show; the cell phone pocket is on the wrong side, there is no place to secure a pen so everytime you need one you have to practically dump out the entire contents of the purse just to find one, not enough space for all your credit cards -- how on earth can you live with that -- I ask you?


After exhaustive discussion with many of my women friends, and looking over all of my stash of old purses for evidence I have come to a conclusion about why it is that women can't remain with one purse for the long haul. It is because we don't get to date our purses!


When we see a purse we like in the store we have to make a full time commitment to it. We don't get the chance to try it out for a while and see what flaws it might have before we decide to take it on. I don't know about the rest of you, but if I had had to make a decision about mrangelmeg on the first day we met, chances are he would have not made the cut, as cute as he was at the time it took a while for his charms to grow on me. On the other hand some of the guys I thought I really liked on that first look turned out to be really really not worth a second or third date (one wasn't even worth the first date, but that is entirely another story).


Yet, when we pick up that purse in the store and look it over and decide that it is the right color, or has the right kind of pockets and amenities we have to make a commitment to it. It is only after we are committed to it that we find out that it has flaws.


In a relationship with a person, you tend to learn their flaws before you make a commitment to them, and you can decide if you are willing to live with the flaws, or if you are wiling to put in the effort to help them overcome their flaws. Not so with purses. A purse has flaws that will never go away, so you just have to live with them, and they begin to grate on your nerves.


That is why a woman will put a perfectly good purse on the pile at the back of her closet at the start of a "new season" and go off to hunt for a new model. The old one let us down. We are looking for perfection.


I noticed in my research that I tend to buy almost the exact same purse, just in different colors each new season. It has a pocket for my IPod and another for my cell phone. It has a built in wallet and is medium in size. I considered for a moment just going back to one of my old purses when the latest one let me down, but as I looked through the pile all I saw were the flaws in the old ones.


Sigh, I suppose it is time to go out and try to find a new, perfect match. Maybe, just maybe this one will be exactly what I am looking for in a purse.


Hey, stop laughing, it could happen!

Pax

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A New Year


It has been a year since my mom's death.  In the Victorian era it would be time to take the black wreath off of the door and stop wearing black clothing.  It is time to move on, get on with the stuff of living. They had the right idea.

Now I feel as though I can move on.  My regrets are fewer, and my memories are sweeter.  I can imagine a life without my mother in it now.  I am ready to get on with the stuff of living again.  I love my mother, but I know that she is where she wants to be, in heaven with my dad.   And I can be happy that she is there now in a way I couldn't be a year ago.

My year of mourning is over.

Pax

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Class Act from a Classy Kid

Glee is getting a new foreign exchange student this season thanks to The Glee Project.

Damian McGinty won a 7 episode arc on Glee last night on the finally of The Glee project.  He did such an amazing job singing Beyond the Sea and giving it his own unique twist (in a way that no one on Glee has ever done to my way of thinking.  A kid with an old world, Sinatra-esque charm will be a nice addition to the show's cast.

What is most impressive to me is that throughout the entire Glee Project Damian was the most humble, consistently nice and endearing, and real contestant of all of them.  Of course he was trying to win, but he didn't have to be fake or hurtful of others in order to do it.  That is just the kind of kid that he is.

And his class really showed through in this letter that was posted on the Celtic Thunder Website today.  He has been with Celtic Thunder since he was 14 years old (oh yeah, that is why he looks so familiar, you are saying to yourself).  While he is sad to have to leave them, he knows that being on Glee is just the start of a whole new part of his life.

I wish him all the best.