Saturday, February 15, 2014

Grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony

“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” G.K.Chesterton, Orthodoxy

Friday, February 7, 2014

The cat with the glowing eyes - scary!

So....this is Cat, or princess, or my precious, or gypsy -- whatever. She is Catter to me. I inherited Catter when my daughter got married several years ago. It seemed reasonable to keep her; after all, this was really the only home she knew. Anyway, Catter is at times a great source of entertainment and sometimes irritation. This story is about entertainment:
A few weeks ago, my daughter's boys, age 3 and 18 months were visiting us and spending the night. Bath-time came before bedtime and they were having a pleasant time playing in the tub while I read them a story. After the bath, both boys were drying off half in the bathroom and half in the hallway when suddenly Joshua screamed, covered his eyes with his hands and ran naked and wet down the entire length of the hall. Of course, this frightened Caleb (the 18 month old) and he promptly copied his brother -- picture two naked boys running down the hall covering their eyes and screaming. I was sort of in shock wondering why are these children acting like this and what could be frightening them so much, when I turned to look into the cat's room (yes, she has her own room) and saw her sitting on top of the dresser, eyes aglow. The room was dark-- remember it was night time. I sort of stifled a laugh and went after the boys and gave them each a hug and reassured them that it was okay. I took the three year old back to the cat room so that he could see that it was only the cat and her eyes glow when it's dark -- nothing to be scared of, okay?
Sometimes God has to do this with me, I admit it. I'm very old now, and one would think that I should have acquired the trust and confidence needed to live my Christian faith. But, more often than not, I find myself wanting to cover my eyes and run screaming down the hall just so I don't have to face something that in His wisdom He wants me to confront. I need to trust God more -- trusting is loving, right?

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Catechism class for adults

I am happy to say that my dear husband has finally decided to convert to the faith, and we have been attending Monday night classes since September. He was confirmed in the Episcopalian church many years ago and we were even married in the Episcopal church in Santa Ana 39 years ago. I'm not sure what triggered his desire to do this, but it is a joy to learn and grow in the faith with my life partner.
We faithfully attend Sunday Mass at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church in our hometown; and whenever we travel, we find a Catholic church to attend Mass -- we don't want to miss a Sunday or Holy Day of Obligation. He says the rosary with me, we read the scriptures almost everyday, and we pray together. Over the years of faithfully attending services and learning about the Catholic faith through the teaching of the priests, EWTN programs, and books that I have read to him, he finally decided to be confirmed. What joy -- what happiness is mine. It's what I've always wanted, yearned for, and dreamed about for him.
However, I must say, that I'm a little disappointed in how liberal some of the people are who come to teach our classes. Last Monday we had one of the Deacons teach (again); he has taught several classes so far to date. He's obviously in the liberal camp and makes it known. Last Monday he spoke about "community" and suggested that attending services, whether it is mass, a wedding, or a funeral, or anything else is because of "community".
When I heard him say this, I sat up straighter in my chair and thought to myself, "No, it is not "community", it is because of Christ that I even attend anything". I, personally, do not go to Mass in order to feel close to those sitting in the pews around me; I go because Jesus said He would NEVER leave me nor forsake me. I believe with all my heart that He is present in the form and disguise of the Host and the Wine. Transubstantiation. I never heard that word until I watched Mother Angelica on EWTN back in the 1990's and she talked to the audience about it. I had an "Epiphany" at that moment; my eyes were opened; my mind was enlightened; I was set free! What!? Jesus is really here? and when I consume the bread and wine I am consuming Him? For a few minutes after I consume Him, He is present in me in all His glory, imparting His graces to me. I was thrilled! I was so happy to learn this! Suddenly, everything Jesus said on earth made sense to me. (read Mtt 26:26-29 and John 6:52-69). I go to Mass and attend services for Jesus and through His graces and teachings that He has imparted through His written Word, I come to love and serve those around me.
As far as the concept of "community" goes, there are many many more protestant churches that are more welcoming than the Catholic church. If I was seeking "community" and all that entails, I wouldn't be going to a Catholic Church -- the only friendly persons I've met there are the priest, our neighbors, and the people that sit behind us during Mass. The husband always offers his hand-sanitizer before going up to recieve communion.
That probably sounded harsh, but never-the-less it is the truth.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Blessing of the Throats and St. Blaise

Today the priests blessed our throats with blessed candles -- a very strange tradition, I thought. I didn't know who St. Blaise was and why he blessed candles and then placed them on peoples throat so that they would have good health. But, hey, God can do anything, right? So, I went up to the altar and got blessed with two candles on my throat today -- a first for me. A strange thing happened when I was there receiving the blessing -- I felt the Holy Spirit fill me completely and bring peace, joy, and comfort to my heart. Isn't God good? He can do anything He wants -- even bless us with candles.
Who is St. Blaise you may ask?

St. Blaise was a physician who became the bishop of a city called Sabastea in what is now Turkey in the latter part of the third century. He died as a martyr for the faith in AD 316 and from soon after his death, he was hailed and venerated as a saint.

Few details are known about St. Blaise. According to tradition, he lived a life of prayer and fasting in a cave just outside of Sabastea. It is said that he healed injured animals and that the sincerity of his faith served as a great inspiration for all who knew him.

One very old story about this holy bishop was that, through his intercession, God miraculously healed a young boy who had a fish bone stuck in his throat. For this reason, the prayers of St. Blaise have long been invoked for those threatened by or suffering from injuries and illnesses of the throat.

Remember: Catholic traditions such as the blessing of the throats are venerable and are a wonderful part of our faith. But they aren't acts of superstition. We should approach this and all "cool Catholic traditions" as an important part of our Catholic patrimony (something that we have inherited and must pass on) that draws us prayerfully closer to our Lord and to his Church.

Happy St. Blaise's Day!