Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ways to Use Holy Water

Hi, all!

Haven't had much time for the Internet/blogging in the past month. I'm trying to dig out from under.

Just wanted to share this YouTube piece with you real quick:

Also, please pray for my neice Nicole, who is Mrs. Kenneth Powers as of 2-10-07 and at this very moment is on her honeymoon in Scotland!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Ok, I couldn't resist! I had to get into the fun!

I let the program pick out two for me. Actually, it churned out dozens with the help of the Back button, but these are the two to which my vanity best responded.

The title grantor also suggested as possiblilties "Her Exalted High Dutchess Veronica the Disheveled of Old Tonbridge Wafers," "Milady the Most Honorable Veronica the Infinite of Much Bottom," and most uncomfortably "Empress Veronica the Potential of Lower Hellswicke." Nope. Sorry. Very kind of you, but would rather remain a peasant, thank you.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Grace Lady Veronica the Woebegone of Mousehole by Sea
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Most Serene Highness Lady Veronica the Reticent of Walk upon Water
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Prayer for Father Tim

It is our great joy to be given the Son, Who has won for all of us the right to say "Our Father" when we call out to God. And Fr. Tim is praying along with us. We praise You, Father, for Your tender mercy!

I found this slide show through a link in the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation newsletter to an article in the Minneapolis StarTribune:

To read the article, go to

To subscribe to Terri's Newsletter, go to

Our Father, Who Art in heaven, hallowed by Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Water and Fire

I woke up in tears on Saturday morning, crying because I am lonely for my friend. I find myself still reflecting on it several days later. I'll call my friend "Phoenix" to protect her privacy. I thought of Phoenix as my best friend in junior high school, more than 30 years ago now. But a rift grew between us as I began developing other friendships in high school. I was confused by her rejection, not understanding that it must have come from her own fears of being rejected. And experiencing this loss was not enough to teach me kindness, as in high school a few years later I mercilessly cut off a friendship with another girl. It was for a very small reason, though at the time it seemed to be of monumental importance to my teenaged self.

One year not long before an upcoming high school class reunion, Phoenix called me. We talked hour after hour, the conversation flowing easily as we updated each other on our lives. I was thrilled to rediscover this lost friend. She had married a good man and they had children. They lived in a beautiful home in a new development in a town not far from the Cities.

She had kept up friendships with several people we both knew from school. I had intended to skip the reunion, but decided to go because she (and they) would be there. I was looking forward to meeting them all again. The reunion was to be held at a hotel here in Saint Paul. Phoenix offered to pick me up so I wouldn't have to worry about transportation. To be truthful, there were a couple of bright spots that evening. But on the whole it turned out to be one of the most miserable experiences of my life. And I would gladly re-live every last agony of my adolescence rather than go through a night like that ever again.

In phone conversations with Phoenix, I had mentioned my fledgling involvement in my own Amway distributorship. I was very excited about its potential and all the new people I was meeting at business functions. But I was still unsure about how to sell products or introduce the business to people I was too shy to approach. I really had not been brave enough to tell many people outside of my immediate family. But at the reunion, Phoenix seemed to delight in announcing to every person I attempted conversation with that I was "in Amway."

I was fat, shy, depressed, socially isolated, could not drive, had health problems, had not finished college, was not married, had no children, had no home of my own, was barely able to function in my job as a clerk, and was trying to make small talk with people who were mean to me when we were high school kids. Oh. And I was in Amway. I may as well have rung a small bell and cried out, "Unclean! Unclean!" I couldn't escape, because Phoenix was my ride home! I came home from the reunion feeling confused and upset.

Some time later Phoenix called me while her friends were over. We talked for a little bit. I was uncomfortable because she was talking about the reunion--which I gathered she had enjoyed immensely--and was asking questions about what I thought of seeing this or that person. Then she asked me if I remembered the name of a friend's husband. I had been told it at the reunion, but to save my own life I could not remember the man's name! Suddenly it occurred to me that I wasn't being included in this group of friends by this phone call. No, I had failed a little test and was being used as a silly entertainment. I understand why Phoenix may have acted that way, then and at the reunion, and I forgave her for it even as I hung up the phone. Still, I went to my room after the call, taken over by the sadness of realizing that this had not been a renewal of our long ago friendship after all, but a display of her triumph at my expense.

I can't bring myself to believe that her intention was to hurt me. But neither in all the years since have I been able to bring myself to return her calls or letters. I simply don't have the emotional resources to deal with getting set up and cut down, however unintentional it might be. She usually sends a Christmas card this time of year. I'm always glad when it comes, happy to know that she is doing well and has a good life, and that she thinks of me sometimes. She is a very brave woman who has come through the fire, and every year (so far) she has been willing to risk reaching out to me and getting no answer. I think of her as a Phoenix rising in new glory from the ashes of a difficult childhood.

That high school reunion happened a decade ago. I didn't realize how deeply I had been hurt by it until I dreampt about it and woke up crying. God must have arranged it that I would dream about a lost friend on that particular night. We don't generally get to pick the subjects of our dreams, after all. And knowing better than I ever could what stunning sadness I would feel, He also arranged to comfort me. For in my morning meditation, the passage I read focused on the deep sorrow Mary felt in saying goodbye to her Jesus, knowing He was to face rejection and the most painful of deaths to make us His true friends.

She accepted that bitter separation and her own impending martyrdom at the foot of His Cross because she loved Him and us. She knew she would be a witness to Our Lord's suffering and death. David wept bitterly at the death of his beloved friend Jonathan. Mary's grief, because from an utterly pure and loving heart, was more intense even than David's--certainly more than my cramped little heart can feel. Mary's sorrow is described as a sword piercing her heart, her soul.

It helped me a great deal to know that God knows about our sadnesses and hurts. I am grateful that He has not allowed sadness to destroy me, but instead has used it for His good purposes to increase not only my understanding, compassion and mercy, but also my trust in Him.

I'm not shy anymore. Amway didn't make me rich, but I did learn how to get to know people, and how to let them get to know me without allowing them to trample the barriers of my dignity. Maybe I will call Phoenix this year. I don't know yet. If I do, I'll certainly go into it with different expectations and my guard will be up. I will not be expecting to renew an old friendship so much as to build a new one.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Prayer to Obtain Favors

"Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen."--It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (November 30th) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.

If you're reading this for the first time and it's already past November 30th (likely since I'm posting this very late), you can still join in the prayer on whatever day this is for you. It's not strictly necessary to make up the days you missed, but it's up to you if you want to. I've given this prayer to many people even after the "start date," and God has still been very generous with them!

I've been doing this every year for several years now. Until the first year I did this, I had never had the experience of persevering in prayer--not even for the nine short days of a novena!

The first year, I didn't ask for something too hard. I didn't want to be disappointed if God "didn't come through." The second year, I got a bit bolder and asked for something a little tougher, figuring that if nothing else I would learn that God is up to any challenge. Both of those years, I sort of got what I prayed for, but in unexpected ways.

The third year, I noticed that the prayer asks God to "grant my desires," PLURAL, not singular. So I gave Him several requests that year, and last year I gave Him the whole rundown of my wants and needs. Did I get everything I asked for? Nope. (Duh!) But wow! did He answer a lot of that stuff with Yes! So many blessings in my life since last Christmas!

So believe me, He's getting a big long list again this year!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Fr. Vakoc's First Words

"Goodbye." "Hi." "Mom." "Thank You, God."--Fr. H. Timothy Vakoc, October 26, 2006
Those were Father's first words since May 24, 2004, when he was injured in a roadside bomb blast and fell into a coma in Iraq after celebrating Mass on his 12th anniversary as a priest. The full story today at this Catholic News Agency link:

Praise God, Father is responsive and beginning to make progress. It'll be a long road yet.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

NOT Happy About the Election

This from Penitens this morning []:

Not happy about the election?

Do everything without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like lights in the world, as you hold on to the word of life, so that my boast for the day of Christ may be that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (from today's first reading - Philippians 2:12-18)
I am definately feeling like I need to get my life in order pronto. And not just to be prepared for whatever evil is coming down the pike, but to act effectively against it.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I’m sorry I was away from the blog for so long. I’ve been struggling with topics that are too close in some ways. I have needed to give it all more thought.

It’s the same struggle we all share, to face ourselves and acknowledge the horror of owning sin and its repercussions--not only the sins of others that affect us in various ways, but most especially our own personal sins that sear us from the inside out and seep out from us like poisoned water.

There is no hope until we cry out for help to the One Who loves us, the Only One Who can save us. We must reach out for His Arm, stretched out to draw us back from destruction. Then we can submit in amazement and gratitude to purification. We can resolve to return love for Love, to follow after our Lord. There is no one else we can turn to. Only Him.

A friend of mine posed several intriguing questions to me that I couldn’t begin to answer without doing at least a little bit of research, so that I could understand the issues involved. Her interest is developing in a different direction than mine. But we are in the same rut in the road as regards coming to terms with personal identity and with feeling dissociated or disconnected.

I am 47 years old, and since my last post, prompted by my friend’s search to understand and to grow spiritually, I have begun to understand my own life better. Things that happened in my life when I was only 6 or 7 years old are still affecting me today, forty years later. And understanding these connections has been critical to my spiritual growth.

Reflecting on my past has been painful because I don’t like having to own up to my sins and faults in the first place, let alone their consequences. But it has been most helpful to understand where they started and the weaknesses that feed them. Since the “age of reason” I have been burdened with misplaced feelings of shame and false guilt. Now, freed of the oppression of that falsity, I freely admit that I am blameworthy and I freely repent of my sins and I freely resolve to do penance and become holier!

The odd thing is, I don’t actually feel guilty now that I really know that I am guilty. Can you understand how this surprises me? I had read of great penitent saints, who wept continually because of their sins. Somehow I had imagined that “weeping in sorrow” meant they felt overwhelmed by shame, and I wondered why they would still feel ashamed since they had confessed their sins.

But I understand now that they wept in sorrow, but they didn’t weep in shame. I understand because I can’t stop crying lately.

Tears of sorrow are not for shame or guilt over sins that have been obliterated in the Furnace of God’s Love through the sacraments. They are the tears of sadness over the waste of years spent trying to please and comfort myself instead of turning to God. They are tears of frustration over engrained vices and long-standing habits of sin getting in my way now that I want to do better. They are the tears of regret over the devastation caused to the lives of not only myself but so many others by my fruitless efforts, useless projects, and wasted opportunities. They are tears of longing to truly see and know and love God, tears of desire to please Him, to draw close to Him. They are the tears of a helpless, hurting child reaching for her Father's safe and comforting arms. They are tears of relief and gratitude and joy at being rescued, of being loved, of being His.

In the meantime, as I struggle to connect my distant past to my present life, I’ve been coming across all sorts of interesting things that are helping me break out of the shadowy underbrush and into the light of the clearing. Some of these--Mass readings, bits of homilies, song lyrics, Scripture study, blog posts, prayers and many little serendipities--I will share with you in the next several weeks as I reflect more on them.

I hope one day to be tearless forever and my only cries to be of joy! Pray for us, Saints of Heaven!

May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace, and may perpetual light shine upon them! Pray for us, Holy Souls!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Re: Angels

I discovered this in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

329 St. Augustine says: "'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit', from what they do, 'angel.'"
I stand corrected regarding my original idea of "angelic nature" in the previous post. It would be better said that a creature with a spiritual nature is a spirit.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Just Human Nature

My friend, Lady Fett, was speculating on her blog ( whether it would be possible for a human to have more than one nature. Since I spent all my "blogging time" today composing a comment, I thought I would simply copy it here to my own blog:

It wouldn't be possible for us to have two natures, because we're actually created with a single nature. If we had two natures, we wouldn't be human creatures, we would be something else. If you have a human nature, you are a human man or woman. A creature with an angelic nature is an angel. A creature with a wolf nature is a wolf. What we are is what we are created as.

Jesus can have two natures because He is a Divine Person with a divine nature from all eternity, Who then entered into time and took upon Himself a created human nature (body and soul) at His conception.

Personal identity is different than our nature. Our identities are so complex that we can't even completely know ourselves--there are just too many things hidden from our awareness and understanding. Only God can know us as we really are.

I'm just guessing, but it's more likely that someone could have a secondary identity, not a secondary nature. I don't think it needs to be considered a drawback. If one has taken on elements of an animal identity, the perceived beauty and strength of that animal will still be emulated by a human person.

A simple example: Imagine a duck egg is "orphaned" and placed with a broody hen. The duckling will imprint on the hen when it hatches, and line up with the chicks behind her. It has a duck nature (that is, it was created to be a duck), so it IS a duck. We could say it has a secondary identity as a chicken, because it thinks it's a chicken. But sooner or later, that duck is going to follow its true nature and swim--at which point it will begin to own its true identity as well, even if for a while it "thinks" of itself as a chicken that floats.

So say a human person has imprinted to or identified as a dog, or bear, or eagle. That would be a secondary identity, second to the primary human identity even when the animal identity seems to be stronger or dominant. A human person will do things that an animal cannot do. Just like a duck will do things a chicken cannot do.

A secondary identity would only be a problem if it is acted out in inappropriate ways: A duck trying to prove it's a chicken by fighting for a place in the pecking order is going to get raggedy pretty fast . . . chickens draw blood. I think here of those poor souls who suffer with gender identification issues, and how they are wounded by their struggle to be what they are not. They try to insist they have a right to their place, and fault the chickens for their pecking.