Click the pic for the link to FB
So I came across this on my Facebook page through several Catholic friends of mine. The newsfeed was buzzing with this picture, so I followed a link to the page that originated it.
Considering that I, too, am appalled by this ridiculous mandate, I willingly reposted my support of the opposition to my page.
In the past, I've used Facebook as a means to inform folks about everything from politics and social issues to zombie make-up and adorable kittens. As my husband became increasingly embarrassed by my outspoken tirades (usually of the political / religious variety), I had agreed to abdicate my "soapbox" (his words, not mine) in order to make him feel less embarrassed by his outspoken and passionate wife.
However, with the advent of this threat against the faith that I hold dear, I reasserted my rightful place as Newsfeed Nancy, willfully blasting my opinion to anyone who would hear me. A few friends commented, a few more messaged me, and one actually left a nasty note on my wall that I had to delete (my mother, nephew or young cousins could've seen it - eeps!).
Anyway, the prevailing consensus with these comments (both in the thread and the messages sent to my inbox) was that this wasn't a big deal and the government wasn't actually trying to force anything on anyone. Catholics could simply "not take advantage" of birth control and all would be well.
It would force the Church to pay for the option... it's akin to forcing us to buy a gun for someone we know aims to kill a child. After all, the Church doesn't only hire practicing Catholics.
Besides, this is about forcing us to participate in something that goes against everything we teach. This isn't as simple as just "preaching against" birth control or suggesting folks not "take advantage."
We'd still be footing the bill for abortions (abortifacients). That is against the Catholic faith, and to be forced by a government into abiding by such a thing is against the 1st Amendment.
Much as in other countries, it would force Catholic institutions to shutter as opposed to stoop so low as to adhere to this grave offense.
My belief is that is part of our government's intent, anyway. They were successful with Catholic adoption agencies that refused to cater to homosexuals, in Germany with the entire Church for refusing to marry homosexuals, and now they're attempting it here through subversive laws that aim to cripple our institution in the eyes of everyone else who doesn't seem to think there's anything even remotely wrong with their actions.
And again, by "us" I don't simply mean Catholics. I mean anyone with the intelligence and decency to realize we're being quietly bent over a barrel to feel the steel end of someone's rifle up our behinds...
And again, the Catholic Church doesn't only cater to Catholics - they serve non-Catholics, too... and as the Catholic institutions shutter as they refuse to be a party to this nonsense, there are going to be a ton of people who lose their jobs and even more people who go without healthcare / education / work that they would otherwise have access to.
If Obama had stuck by his promise to allow religious institutions a pass on paying for this stuff, I wouldn't be opening my mouth against him. But since he went back on his word, and is now opening the door to all sorts of persecution against us for simply living our faith and not expecting to pay for things that go directly against it... he should be absolutely ashamed of himself. This goes against the 1st Amendment... DIRECTLY. Shameful."It's not a big deal" they say. "It's just birth control" they say. Yeah, and already look at the wide-reaching consequences of this being "not a big deal." And if they're willing to start with an issue "so small" that reaches its tentacles out so far, what next? I shudder to think of the rights they are eying to siphon from us next...
Well, at least they're showing just how asnine they really are. I love how they label those of us who disagree with their agenda "anti-women's health groups." What a load of BS there. Pregnancy isn't an illness, though it's interesting to note that most BC actually causes illness... including the Pill.
But hey - admitting that would defeat their entire thrust to make money off the uneducated (or willfully ignorant).
Okay, so I was listening to the tail-end of that CD I mentioned earlier when I caught a snippet of Dr. Scott Hahn's talk on Confession. In this brief teaser for that CD, I heard the most moving, amazing, awesome story about Pope John Paul II ever. I was almost moved to tears!
Here it is, transcribed for your benefit. May your heart sing just as joyously as mine with gratitude for so holy and wise a leader. Our God certainly knows how to pick them, and our saintly Pope John Paul II will certainly be remembered as "the Great."I did some research into this story. I'm still waiting to hear back from St. Mary's Basilica in Rome, but I think the "Fr. Jim" from the story would likely be there if this story proves true. I can't imagine Scott Hahn lying, but the fact that no names are given for the Spiritual Director / priest kinda gives the journalist in me the "dig a little deeper" vibe. Until I'm proven otherwise, though, I'll promote this story as a beautiful testament to the pious, holy character of our late, great pontiff. Enjoy!
I received a wonderful CD from Lighthouse Media this week. It's a talk given about the Humanity / Divinity of Jesus, and I apologize for not remembering the title or speaker at present. The disk is in my car, and it's simply too cold for me to run out in my jammies to get it. :)
Anyway, the priest asked a question of the audience: Why was John the Baptist running around the wilderness, anyway? Why wasn't he at home or preaching in the middle of Jerusalem. His father, Zachariah, was a priest of the Temple, so it would've made sense for little John to have followed suit and made himself at home preaching to Jews in Jerusalem.
The priest answered that John was preaching in the wilderness due to the corruption of the Temple.
That is probably true, but it glosses over a HUGE reason of how little John found himself in the wilderness in the first place...
Everyone seems to forget that John the Baptist was only a few months older than his cousin, Jesus. The Blessed Mother visted Elizabeth, John's mother, when she, herself, was pregnant with Christ. That puts John about 4-6 months ahead of Jesus.
Anyway, if the Holy Family had to high-tail it away from Herod due to his desire to kill all young boys from birth to age 2, little John would've been a prime target, especially since he resided so close to Jerusalem (what with Daddy being a priest and all). As a result, little John was taken by his mother, St. Elizabeth, to the wilderness where she stayed with him until it was safe to return home.
However, the fact that little John escaped from the slaughter made many people very suspicious. Folks were angry and jealous that Zachariah had somehow managed to keep his son alive while theirs were cruelly murdered. They constantly would've been asking him "Where is little John? Where is that son of yours, Zachariah?" Off little John would've been sent to the caves once more to hide away until the anger passed.
John the Baptist was made quite at home in the wilderness in his early years. As Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich wrote of him, nature was his school house. The birds, flowers, elements and grasses were God's own alphabet, and little John was a quick study. He was well acquainted with his guardian angel who was sure to teach him the finer points of what would soon become his Advent message.
So yes... while there was plenty of corruption within the Temple at the time of John's preaching, that was not "why he was in the wilderness." He was in the wilderness because from a very, VERY early age, he was forced to find refuge in the wild - away from hateful eyes, vice-filled souls, and yes, the corrupt teachings of the Temple.
I love this little image of Jesus. I imagine He's at St. Joseph's workbench, as you can just make out two carpentry nails forming a cross beyond His clasped Hands.
He's looking up in prayer, and one can only wonder what interior dialogue He's having with His Father.
When I finally got onto my knees in prayer - for the first time in what seems like forever - I felt very much the same. I was just looking up at God the Father and speaking to Him without words (since my mouth was bound shut anyway).
I prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet silently and realized that in praying each bead silently, I focused more on the words. Don't get me wrong - my mind still wandered to everything from Vincent to why Lucy (my cat) chose that particular moment to whip her tail in my face - but I definitely focused more on what I was "saying" without actually uttering anything.
There's something to be said for silence, after all... :)
So I visited the dentist on both the 25th and the 26th. The 25th was exactly what I had feared it to be. I was given another dry socket in an attempt to drain whatever infection had ravaged my cheek. The whole process took about an hour, and I once again left the office a crying mess.
The night of the 25th I was in so much pain that I ended up taking 3 percosets. Part of me worried about an overdose, but the other part of me was so knotted up in pain that I didn't care. Besides, considering how clean-cut I've always been, I doubted a 3rd pill would do much to tempt me into a prescription drug addiction.
I think that 3rd pill brought me as close as I'll ever get to being drunk. I did NOT like that feeling at all. Everything felt incredibly slow and wobbly, and I was an emotional wreck. That being said, I was completely in my mind and fully recall everything that happened. I was even aware of my slurred speech and that I was repeating things or stalling on a story because the words took so long getting from my brain to my tongue. I didn't feel pain, though!
I called Mary to come down as I'd been having a really tough time of it. My constant trips back and forth to the doctor were wearing on John as he's also been busy with work, Vince and films. I hate that feeling of helplessness. I wasn't able to drive anywhere, and I certainly didn't trust myself to watch over Vincent (God forbid I try to hold him and drop him, or fall asleep or any other number of things). The sitter was able to come to watch him that night, so that was a relief.
However, I was incredulous at my inability to sleep. Even having taken the three pills, not having slept the night before due to anxiety, and the lack of strength from not eating properly in a week... even with all that going on, I could not sleep. So it was good of Mary to come and let me vent all my frustrations to her. I drank some soup with her and felt better as the effects of the drugs wore off. Even though my face was beginning to hurt again, I was relieved that I wasn't so "foggy."
I cannot figure out why people would willingly do that to themselves through either alcohol or medicine. I hated that feeling... even being in an aware state! To slip further into an unconscious state where you can't be held accountable for your actions / speech... and for what? The "buzz" of feeling like you're stuck in a bowl of jello - everything around you slightly blurry from the wobble of your surroundings?
Shoot - I will never understand that.
Anyway, when I went back today, I was told the large lump on the side of my face was an infected hematoma that will likely take several weeks to "dissolve" on its own. I get to continue taking the antibiotics (which, BTW, are a huge pain in the butt as I need to take them six hours apart, meaning I inevitably miss the dose I need around 2 or 3 in the morning), but I probably won't need nearly as much pain medicine as they'll leave my teeth (and sockets) alone for a while. Progress!
Maybe I can start working on building back those 6 lbs I lost this week... LoL.
Photo of my silk-bouquets!
Father Z had an interesting post today that got the cogs in my little brain churning today.
Someone had asked him about the tradition of giving the Blessed Mother a bouquet of flowers during a wedding ceremony / Mass.
He basically answered, "I have no idea how it started, but since it's not in the rubrics, it shouldn't be done during a Nuptial Mass."
I'm neither here nor there with his answer, especially since he opened the combox for others to chime in since he wasn't sure of these traditions. I'd say that's fair.
However, I'd have to say I disagree with his assessment that it "shouldn't be done" at the Mass. As many of the commentators posted, this could easily be something as simple as a bride wishing to pray before a saint after Communion. So what if instead of just prayer offerings, she's got a little fistful of flowers?
For my own wedding, this was my most cherished moment. Considering I had planned my whole wedding around the Blessed Mother (month of May, my colors were "Blessed Mother Blue" and I got married at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, etc, etc, etc), I wanted to be SURE to pay her this respect during the Ave Maria reflection after Communion.
I know - 110% KNOW - she interceded for John and I. I know it. She's still doing it. So when I got down on my knees before her with my bouquet of flowers (the only real ones I used the entire day as my sister is allergic to them), I sobbed like a little baby in gratitude. It was the only time I cried that whole day. I was so elated, so thankful, so touched by her maternal love that I couldn't contain myself and needed SOME way to express my gratitude. My flowers, prayers, and tears were all I had to offer. I also entrusted my marriage to her then, too.
So there is, in my opinion, a beauty to that gesture. I can't speak for other brides, but that moment wasn't about me - it was about Our Lady and the knowledge that she interceded for our marriage at the Throne of God before we had even met. I really do believe that.
***BTW, I'd love to claim that I created those gorgeous bouquets, but I did not. My best friend, Mary, and her mother spent hours hand-crafting those beauties. They're silk flowers, believe it or not, because my one sister is allergic to the real thing! So they created 7 smaller bouquets, my larger, cascading one, 10+ boutineers, several corsages, and probably several pew arrangements, too!***
Got any room under that paper for me?
It's just after midnight and I can't sleep. I have no idea why. I've taken the full dose of percoset, the ibuprofen, and the two little antibiotic pill thingies. I can definitely feel myself in a half "Am I really here, or am I just imagining myself doing this" state.
But I still can't sleep.
I've gotta go to the dentist later on today, and I am absolutely scared out of my mind.
I still have this huge lump on my face that's been drained twice now. Though my eye and neck have gotten better, this lump in my cheek will simply not quit, and I'm terrified they're going to open the other tooth on this side of my face in order to try again.
I don't know if I'm cold, anxious, or fighting off the effects of the medicine, but I cannot stop shaking right now!
Ugh - I went and pulled a Mary (I'm blaming this on you, Mar, simply because it makes me feel better... lol). I looked up "cheek abscess" on Youtube and got exactly what I was looking for. Since this particular problem still hasn't gone away, I can't imagine what else it could be. There's always MRSA. But this abscess scenario is a lot more likely which means they're probably going to have to give me another dry socket in order to help alleviate the infection. Either that, or they'll simply cut open my face and allow it to drain that way.
Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. I am so freaking out right now!
With all the times I've been to the doctor for fun stuff like spinal headaches, kidney stones, or even child-birth, I was never really nervous. I just wanted to get whatever the necessary procedures were done and over with as quickly as possible. There were no nerves. Just the calm understanding that these things were important and conducive to my overall well-being.
Even understanding that these things might very well be necessary, and obviously good for my overall health, I am STILL freaking out. Dental procedures just have that effect!
When I was about... I guess about 7ish? Yeah, let's go with seven. My brother knocked out part of my front tooth. My mom took me to a dentist to get it capped. It was a horrific experience. He was super mean, I felt like I was suffocating the whole time, he was obviously annoyed at my attempts to breathe, and everything he did hurt.
When my cap eventually fell off, I refused to go back. I endured some pretty creative taunting as a result of my chipped tooth, but I would much rather be the loser with the chipped tooth than endure another stint in the dentist's chair. I fought against my mother any time I even sniffed at the thought she might take me to the dentist.
As a result, I never stepped foot in another dentist's office until two days before my wedding. I finally caved and got the dang tooth fixed - but that was it. That deep-rooted fear of dentists was too cemented for me to do more than what was absolutely necessary. Having that tooth fixed for wedding pictures seemed like something I could sacrifice for John.
Now here I am - almost five years after that wedding day, and I've been forced to see a dentist because of these stupid, stupid wisdom teeth. I was hoping this would be a quick in-and-out procedure since most of my other friends assured me that'd be the case. But no... it's like Fate turned out to be a Dentist and he's getting me back for all those years I hid away from him. Now I've been found out, and he's not letting me get away from him without a fight.
I am honestly, honestly petrified of what they're going to do to me tomorrow. How stupid is this? I realize I'm insane right now - I'd like to blame the meds, but I was like this before I even took them. I've tried praying on it... even attempted to say, "Hey God, feel free to take this psychotic fear as some sort of offering." Nothing is helping, though. I just want to curl into a ball and cry because I know that no matter what, I'm going to be strapped into a dentist's chair at some point this afternoon, and that's the last place in the universe I ever want to be.
John thinks I'm out of my mind. He has every right. Most people probably think I am. Folks have said that I'm blowing things out of proportion, or that I'm looking to solicit sympathy for all that's been going on.
Sympathy does nothing to get me out of a dentist's chair, and it certainly doesn't help once I'm in one. John, however, is right. I am probably out of my mind, but I accept that on this one. I don't fear heights, rats, the streets of Philadelphia or even chasing down folks who break into my house at the buttcrack of dawn. Dentists, though? I admit it - they absolutely terrify me, and the thought of tomorrow will simply not let me sleep tonight.
Doubtful any amount of sedative is going to help on this one. Geez - if I'm shaking this badly already, what the heck am I going to be like when I actually get there? *Shakes head* God help me - I need some serious prayers today...
So I went back to my oral surgeon on Monday as requested by the ER surgeon who saw me on Sunday. I saw this doctor about an hour after writing up my previous entry.
I should've waited. Ha.
I went into my surgeon, fully expecting this to be an in-and-out venture with her signing off on the meds that the ER doc had parceled out. Instead, I got an impromput surgery and yet another IV drip of the new antibiotics.
She also gave me dry socket. On purpose.
When she did a more thorough search of my mouth, she, too, noted that all her incisions were puss-free. Everything looked clean, but she couldn't figure out why my face / eye / throat swelled out the way it did. On a hunch, she opened my bottom back socket and realized that the clot had trapped the infection, not letting it drain properly. So she and her nurse suctioned a bunch of it out, then started "milking" my infected cheek / eye in an effort to expel the built-up infection.
Again - all while I was awake, and this time, I DID care. I could feel an awful lot of what they were doing, and I was crying like an idiot. They had to stop periodically to wipe away tears, snot and let me hyperventilate it out. I cannot remember a time I was so scared. The only time that trumps this, I think, is news that I might've miscarried Vince. Otherwise - this takes the "Oh my gosh, I'm gonna die, aren't I?" cake.
I kept saying "Hail Mary, Hail Mary, Hail Mary" over and over as she was scraping away at my socket. She didn't even tell me not to talk. The nurse just patted my hand saying, "We're really sorry, but we've gotta do this" as if that would magically make me not freaked out about it.
Ugh - I felt insane. I was in so much pain, but I was more scared than anything else. I tried to tell them that, and they seemed to get it, which is why they let up on me every so often so I could kinda cry it out. They didn't rush me, which was nice, and they were very kind and reassuring. But dear God - I was shaking so uncontrollably that even the sedative that they pumped into me didn't do much of anything. The nurse suggested giving me more, but the doctor thought I was just fighting it off and didn't want to give me "too much" on account of needing me not to breathe the infection in.
She put in another stitch, but left the dry socket open to give the infection a place to drain. She did put some clove-oil gauze into the hole to help expedite the healing (and boy does it taste horrific!).
On the plus side, it's now 6 in the morning and my eye is no longer swollen half-shut. My temple has gone back to normal, and my cheek is about half the size it was yesterday. My throat, though still a little swollen, isn't causing me any pain when I swallow anymore, either.
All in all, I'd say that's some massive progress!
However, I'm still scared insane of having to go back there on Wednesday. When I told John about what happened, I couldn't contain my sobbing. I've always known myself to be scared of dentists, but going over what happened in there and then explaining I'll have to go back - I was a wreck! Ugh - I don't even want to think about it at this point. Considering my current progress, I doubt she'll do anything to me again, but I no longer wanna hope for that and then get side-swiped by something else. *Shudder*
I'm just ready for this all to be over with.
Oh - and the new antibiotics they gave me? My stomach hates them. *Sigh* Go figure, right?
Click the pic for more of Dave's wit!
So yesterday was entirely too much fun. When I typed out that last entry, my mind was still sorta blurry from the residual morphine they'd given me. I didn't feel as though I had the time or ability to properly express my weeble-wobble feelings.
I held off taking a full dose of percoset so I could properly write out my thoughts without feeling like I was attempting to swim through mud. Here goes nothin', right?
I had to miss Mass yesterday. Part of me realized I had a legit reason for doing so, but another part of me kept thinking, "If I'm able to sit half dazed through an episode or two of Lie to Me (great show, BTW), I should be able to sit through a Mass."
Of course, that brings up the problem of who would've taken me? Surely not John. He might've had I not been visibly ill. But with me sick, he'd've probably gotten highly irritated at my stubborness. I don't really know anyone else who would've been able (or willing) to take me, and I couldn't exactly drive there myself. So I realize that the obligation wasn't really "on me" this weekend. That, however, didn't stop me from missing Mass. I felt like I had misplaced something all day. It wasn't just the drugs talking, either. My heart simply knew it had missed out on something awesome, and there was nothing I could do to fix it right away. The best I could muster was a Spiritual Communion, but I felt that fell short due to my lack of brain capacity. I didn't feel as though I could focus properly, so even that was lackluster.
Even my prayers last night... I didn't pray the Rosary at all. I basically apologized to the Blessed Mother and said, "Look, I'll add this to the last three I haven't been able to pray properly, okay?" I did give the Divine Mercy chaplet a go, because I thought, even during Jesus' Passion, I doubt He ever said to God the Father, "Look, I'm really not feeling with it today... mind if I just talk to You another time or something?"
So I said the Divine Mercy chaplet. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I prayed it, because I recited it more than focused on what I was actually saying. I felt bad about it, but I added, "Jesus, go ahead and do what You will with this. It's not much, but You don't really need much to do great things, do You?"
I dunno - what does anyone else do in these situations? I get that we can offer up whatever situation we're in, but... I dunno. Maybe I'm just so used to my routine that the praying has stopped being about God and more about my expectations? That's not a very good thought, but considering how I've reacted these last couple days to the lack of "proper prayers," maybe that's what God wants to shake into me.
Maybe I focus / rely so much on those "routine prayers" that I miss all the other opportunities to offer things up, too. I don't remember which saint it was, but when she was little, she and her sister would have to share a Sunday dress. That meant only one of them could go to Mass, and they'd swap every other Sunday. The saint would offer up missing Mass for whatever intentions she had, since missing Mass was, in fact, a sacrifice for her.
Little Francisco (of Fatima fame) was unable to say the Rosary on his death bed. He begged Jacinta and Lucia to say it aloud so he could at least hear it. I bet he offered up his inability to pray with them for something.
Even Jacinta - while she was super sick, she could barely eat. She would refuse all sorts of broth until Lucia reminded her to offer up the nausea and pain for souls in Purgatory. Jacinta never gave her mother a problem again and offered even that up for the souls in Purgatory.
So really - who am I to be sitting here whining and complaining that I couldn't attend Mass? Or feeling guilty for not saying all of my prayers properly? Geez... typing really can be therapeutic, 'cause I feel like a jerk now. Instead of being happy that I've got something to really offer up, I'm being all sulky about it because it detracts from my typical offering.
Alrighty, God. You win. I'm sorry for being a sulky little wimp. You can take my disfigured face, my gross and smelly jaw, and my blurry little mind and use it for whatever You see fit. :) Far be it from me to question Your ideas again. :)