Best guys ever
Today is my last day of work at my current job. Starting on Tuesday, after the holiday, I begin working with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
Tuesday simply cannot come fast enough. :)
However, today I am doubly grateful for my direct supervisor who has sustained me these last few years. He is a true gem and someone I was always happy to work for. His boss, too. :) My love for and appreciation of both those men are what brought me into work each morning.
Poor thing is shredded
I went on a veil buying binge Wednesday night. It was terrible. And by terrible, I mean amazing. :)
All my Garlands of Grace ones wore themselves out, and due to their verbal misstep a few months back, I've found myself Catholic-friendly vendors with exquisite products.
If you aren't already a fan, may I suggest to you the following for all your veiling needs:
Veils by Lily
A Snood for All Seasons (A Woman's Place)
Vince and Ray
My brother, Ray, bought his very first house! To celebrate, John, Vincent and I took him out for dinner. He chose a new Hibachi place near his house, so Vincent got to experience his first Hibachi!!!
He was super scared of the fire, so he kept covering his eyes, afraid that the chef was going to keep surprising him with huge bursts of flame. He got over it pretty fast, though, and happily ate his rice and noodles.
There was a brief accident before the food came out that had John, Ray and I scrambling to mop up after Vince, but otherwise, it was a great time all around!
Yay family picture!
Vincent also got to experience his first trip to the circus!!!
We have a circus that comes around every year, and John decided that this would be a good time to take Vincent. I agreed, and we were able to enjoy front-and-center tickets to a really amazing show!
I loved the acrobats the most. Vince loved the man running around in a giant hamster ball. John loved the motorbikes riding around in a steel cage.
Now that Vincent is starting to be interested in video games, John (an avid retro gamer) has been introducing him to games like Mega Man, Sonic and Zelda.
On his own, however, he's been playing another older game for nostalgia. It's called Chrono Trigger and it's actually his favorite game from when he was a child.
Anyway, one of the character's names is "Lucca." I caught my breath again when I saw that name randomly pop up as the character introduced itself. Just thought that was interesting, especially because the night before, I had had a dream in which I gave birth to a little boy. I couldn't decide if I should call him Luca or Nathan, but ended up introducing him to my brother as "Luca Nathaniel."
I've had Luca on the brain!
I got to spend an hour and a half at Adoration the other day. There is a beautiful adoration chapel near my home that has a very unique monstrance / tabernacle. The laity is encouraged to approach the Blessed Sacrament that is enclosed within the tabernacle and unhinge the doors so as to "open" the monstrance in order to view the Host.
I wasn't sure if I could approach the monstrance / tabernacle combo, because I felt as part of the laity I was not supposed to touch the sacred vessel. I asked Father Z from WDTPRS about it, and he was kind enough to dedicate an entry to answering me. That can be found here.
Anyway, considering I'm not a EMHC, I won't touch the door. So when I went to adoration and saw that the door was closed, I simply knelt before it and prayed without approaching. Christ is present regardless of if I can see Him or not.
A few minutes later, a woman walked in for adoration and opened the monstrance. I could feel her laughing at me... as if I didn't know I was supposed to open the door. She stayed for about five or ten minutes, but when she left, she said "Please make sure you close the door."
I silently nodded. I was thinking "Okay, Lord, you know I don't want to touch Your door because I don't think I'm supposed to. If you don't want me touching it either, just send someone else to do it for me."
Don't ya know about 10 minutes later, someone else came for adoration? :) God is good. I'm taking this as the sign similar to that I got last year. Steer clear of touching His sacred vessels, because even with the best of intentions, it's not His Will. For me, anyway. Ha!
Very early this morning I had a dream of St. Michael. It was very brief, but incredibly intense.
I was home with Vincent. I was on the phone with John (who was at work) trying to warn him of an approaching storm. I looked out the window, and I saw a huge tornado swirling down the road towards John (who, for some reason, was on the roof several doors down). It was sucking up buildings, trees, etc. I saw it tearing apart everything. I remember feeling intensely scared for John. I kept yelling for him to take cover.
The tornado suddenly stopped and lost its fury. I watched as the debris began spilling forth from the mouth of the once furious tornado. John, now thinking he was safe, didn't realize that the debris posed more of a threat than the tornado. I was still yelling for him to take cover when I saw him.
It was Saint Michael. I knew it the instant I saw him. He was coming down from the sky, just off from where I saw John, and he was holding his sword above his head as if he were leading a battle charge.
What's odd about how he appeared to me is that he didn't appear as a full-colored "body" like I've seen in paintings and such. Instead, he was an actual entity, but he was almost in negative... sorta like this:
Sorry for the creepy effect, but I couldn't actually make out any of St. Michael's facial features. He was enveloped in such a bright, bright light that it almost seemed to be coming out of him. It was as if he was made out of light and the armor he wore somehow clung to the light that formed him. Strange, right? I dunno. A photo-negative is the closest thing I can think of to what he looked like.
When I saw him, I felt such peace. I knew that everything was going to be okay, but I also knew that we were in for a world of chaos. He brought the knowledge that peace was coming, but before that peace, we'd be dealing with an incredibly destructive tornado of chaos.
Upon seeing him, I turned back to find Vincent. I dropped to my knees and began saying the Prayer to St. Michael over and over again. Before I could find Vincent, though, my alarm woke me up. Regardless, it was an amazing dream, and it's thus far stuck with me through the entire day. St. Michael, pray for us.
So those are mine! For more quick takes, check out Conversion Diary (and start your own!).
Please be warned - the linked article has a moderately graphic image for some of you involving blood. No bodies are shown, but blood smeared on the wall in letters is.
This is an article regarding the wave of anti-Christian crime that's been sweeping through Russia and the surrounding areas in the wake of the Riot sentencing. A few people are now dead in connection to the crime-spree (whether capitalizing on the fame of the trial or not is to be determined) and countless churches and communities have been victimized through desecration, theft and violence.
We are to be tried once more in the public square. Anti-Christian fervor is building, and we can expect more of this to spread even to within our own borders.
Arm yourselves, Church Militant. Prayer is your sword; the saints are your armor. Your battle cry is Truth and that Truth is Christ.
Fr. Levi over at The Way Out There posted another article regarding the slipping of society as it falls further into the cesspool of degradation and disorder it seems hellbent on creating for itself.
The article deals with the "plight" of pedophiles who are demanding to be accepted as normal in the same way that homosexuals are now deemed "normal." Incredibly, there are psychologists who want to help this along by removing Pedophilia from the list of mental disorders they list in their version of the Bible - the DSM.
In an attempt to make people more aware that this was happening, I posted the link (along with the following commentary) onto my Facebook page:
'Cause no one saw this coming...
NAMBLA has been attempting to push for declassification of pedophilia for a while. So has IASHS. Homosexuality issue aside, this is severely disturbing that anyone in their right damn mind thinks it's even remotely okay to declassify this as a mental disorder.
Adults wanting to have sex with children is mentally disordered. There's simply no other way of looking at it.
"Oh, but these poor men and women who abused children must live with the stigma attached! They've gotta warn parents when they move into the area! They've gotta have 'the talk' with potential employers!"
Oh flippin' well. What about the children whose lives you shattered? What about what THEY are forced to endure for the rest of their lives?
You get to deal with moments of social awkwardness every now and again. They get to deal with shattered innocence, a void of trust, a shamed self-image, and the stigma of having endured your barbarity.
Your whining behind is lucky we don't still brand people on the forehead. Stop attempting to justify your mental disorder and just accept it for what it is so you can seek help to protect those children who you seek to harm!
BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE DOING! I don't care how much you think you love these children, you're outta your dang mind.
About 30 seconds later I got a "like" and an "AGREED!" comment (both from a family member of mine). Another minute or so later, my good friend posted a video of the South Park parody that deals with NAMBLA's insistence that pedophilia is normal. Otherwise, there was complete radio silence.
Now I'm not upset that I didn't get "likes" or "comments." That's not why I post things. I post them to educate... to make others aware. However, I have to admit being slightly unsettled by the lack of feedback regarding this particular post. Typically things this upsetting in nature solicit SOMETHING.
My first thought was "Folks are steering clear of this because of the connection with homosexuality. It makes them uneasy."
Well of course it does. No one likes to look at the truth of this logic because it's somewhat similar to the crazy folks out there shouting that once we accept homosexuality, we'll accept people marrying goats, sheep or dinosaurs.
However, the fact remains that when a minority of folks force others to accept disordered conduct as a product of "It's just the way I am" then other minorities are able to do the same. They're able to use the same arguments and the same tactics because from a logical standpoint, they've got accepted precedence.
So I chalked it up to the fact that the majority of my friends are very pro-homosexual marriage and were bristling at the idea that I was advocating homosexuality and pedophilia being on the same wavelength (which I'm not... but people tend to automatically assume that about those of us who disagree with homosexual unions).
The next morning, though, I got two supremely disturbing messages through Facebook from a family member and an acquaintance I had gone to school with. The first was from a family member who is both a woman, and a mother. A MOTHER. Keep that in mind. The second was also from a woman (though she has no children).
Both stated very similar things, so I'll give you a quick summary.
Gina, I would've posted this on your thread, but I didn't want to look like I condoned molestation. The psychologists make a good argument for why pedophilia should be removed from the disorder list because they (the pedophilies) really can't help themselves. It's unfair to be stigmatized for your entire life because of feelings you can't help. They shouldn't have to suffer so cruelly just because they have strong affection for children. They're good people, and they really try to love everyone. There are chemical imbalances that make them aroused around children, and with the proper medicines, they could live out normal lives that don't involve harming children.
One even went so far as to suggest that children SHOULD be allowed to make the decision for themselves by the time they're 12 because "by that age, I was fully capable of deciding who I should or should not have sex with."
Go ahead and let that digest a little bit.
This person was 12 years old and already felt capable of deciding who she should or should not have sex with. This means she was ALREADY deciding she SHOULD have sex with some folks (note that 'folks' is plural) at 12 years of age.
Below is exactly how I felt upon reading those two letters. I wanted to blast myself off the Earth because no... there is just no way that people can really, truly feel this way. I simply do not want to live in a world that wishes to allow such perversion to walk around unabated because it's "just how they are." NO. My SON lives in this world, and allowing these folks to just "be who they are" without needing to warn ANY of the surrounding families leaves him open to some terrible, terrible things!
I promptly wrote back (with less charity than I should have, I'm ashamed to admit) that they were part of the problem.
I was so taken aback by the mother who agreed with this declassification. She has children! How would she feel if we just allowed these people to move from town to town completely undetected so they could harm more children? If her son or her daughter were abused by a pedophile who was disordered to the point of thinking the abuse is not only OK, but DESIRED by her child, how would she feel when this person was allowed to move on to a new city to begin the process again? How would she feel knowing her child could have been protected had society treated pedophilia as the mental disorder it is???
She wrote back that people do take pedophilia seriously. No one wants to see children hurt by adults in any manner. There were ways to control those desires, she said.
I agree. There ARE ways of controlling those desires, but ya know what's a great deterrent? Knowing that everyone is keeping an eye on you.
And the only way that folks really learn you're a pedophile is when you get caught... which means that you've already abused someone in the past in some way. So guess what? Punishment is that you get marked going forward as someone likely to harm a child. Ya know why? Because studies have shown that much like homosexuality, pedophilia isn't something that can be "cured." It's simply a disorder of the brain. It is a lifelong cross for those who bear it.
Does that make pedophilias horrible, awful people? No. Not at all. Much like the rest of us, they've got a particular cross to bear, and this is it. It's a terrible one. But considering how much danger they pose to children - the most innocent among us - this cross NEEDS to be public. It NEEDS to be shared, because it is only in sharing this cross that they will be given the proper direction and support necessary to shoulder it properly. The public NEEDS to help them, and that help will arrive in the form of policing their activities. Not necessarily in an over-bearing "Who are you seeing today?" sort of way, but in an "We know you have an issue and we want to make sure that no temptations come your way... and if they do, you are able to handle them in the proper way because you know we're looking out for you" sort of way.
The only way for us to be able to "look out" for them is through knowing they've got an issue. Knowing they've got a disorder is the only way we know to remove the temptation should it arise.
Bah - I'll have to write more coherently later. I just wanted to get that out there because I've been meaning to write about it for a while. It's been banging around in my head since first reading it, and I can't help but feel completely unsettled that there are folks out there trying to push for this declassification.
Anyone have experience with this? Any words of wisdom on language to use to counter-act this line of thinking?
So I was involved in a slight fender-bender at lunch today. I'm okay, and my car is mostly okay.
However, the entire situation is both entertaining and, in my mind, miraculous.
Let's begin with the hilarious.
I had just left my lawyer's office having finally signed the settlement papers regarding the car accident that left me with a herniated disc four years ago. I was feeling pretty good. Four years of torturous litigation finally over! I never have to look at another lawyer again!!!
I think I enjoyed that euphoria for all of five minutes.
As I was driving through lunch-rush traffic in Center Philadelphia, I watch as a man begins to swerve into my lane, completely oblivious to the fact that my car is in his way. In order to avoid being hit, I swerve away from him towards the parking lane.
The angels must've taken over the wheel (or the tires, or something!) because I somehow managed to miss the jaywalkers milling about the lunch trucks, the construction workers directing traffic, and the pedestrians on the sidewalk. I also didn't hit ANY OTHER CARS (moving or otherwise!). Can you believe that???
I did, however, scrape my passenger side up against the cement median that was protecting an area of construction. And thank God that barrier was there. I might've jumped the curb and hit someone on their way to lunch! Heaven forbid!!!
Anyway, here comes the entertaining part.
As I shakily got out to inspect the damage, every lawyer in the universe swooped down on my car and began throwing business cards into it. The first question out of one guy's mouth was "Do you know what kind of insurance you have?"
WHAT?! Are you KIDDING ME?
Yes, sir, I'm great. Thanks for asking!!!
It was like a cartoon. Vulture hour! I'd heard of ambulance chasers in the past, but seriously? Wow. C'mon now. Decency, people. Where is your humanity?
Anyway, a cop must've been behind us, because he had already taken off after the guy who swerved into me. He caught him a couple blocks up, because I saw he had pulled someone over. I'm hoping it was that guy.
I waited around for the other cop to come and take my statement. I passed along all my info and he told me where I could call to get a copy of his report. He was going to hook up with the other officer and then let me know when I could get everything to pass along to insurance (since the other guy will luckily be easily proven at-fault for the damage).
But wow... ha ha. Can you imagine that??? I shredded the business cards. I just got done with 4 years of this nonsense. I'm certainly not beginning it again on the same day the last chapter closed. No thank you!
Our Lady cradles Jesus
I just got back from picking up lunch on my break. While I was waiting in line, a father came over to the condiment counter for napkins in order to wipe his son's face. The little boy was about Vincent's age. I smiled at him, and he smiled back with this huge, "the world is amazing" grin. I laughed to myself and gave his father an appreciative nod - he's raising a beautiful little boy.
The little boy's older brother came over and "nuggied" his head. The younger brother giggled as the older tousled his hair, then they both ran off to play. Their father called after them, "Vince, make sure you look after Luca."
And even remembering him calling that out makes me choke up.
I understand why I immediately felt like a ton of bricks smashed against my chest, but it still catches me off-guard.
Those little moments when I become so overcome with jealousy and grief that I don't think I can resume breathing... they give no warning. They spring upon me with no sympathy for where I am or who might see my heart break.
Luca. It wasn't even Vince's name as the older brother that knifed me to my core. It was Luca's... the little one who is about Vince's age. As soon as I heard his name, my heart first melted. What a beautiful name, I thought. I'd love to have a little Luca.
That tender appreciation for such a simple, eloquent name quickly turned into intense longing and grief. Yes, I admit there was jealousy there. But it isn't as if I wanted to snatch the child away from his father and run home. It wasn't as if I was envious to the point of wishing he were mine instead of belonging to that family. I was just a little jealous that they got to have a Luca and I did not.
Then I tried to console myself with the fact that my next little one wouldn't have been a Luca anyway. If we were to have another boy, he'd've been a Nathan. But Luca... something about that little boy's name was like a fire-brand to my heart. It just made me long for a newborn and painfully aware of my inability to have one.
And then came all the familiar self-assaults: You're cheating Vincent out of siblings. You're disappointing your parents (in-laws, too) because they deserve to have the grandkids they, too, long for. You're with-holding playmates from Arianna and Alliya. You're cheating yourself out of the fullness of your motherhood. You're... you're... you're!!!
So for those of you who ask me how I do it... or say I'm a saint for dealing with John, I assure you... I'm no saint. This is a daily struggle that sometimes becomes almost impossible. It attacks when you least expect it, and it's a daunting challenge to contain the interior emotions that threaten to suffocate you. My only advice to those of you (men and women alike) who are struggling with this cross - immediately call out to Our Lady. Offer it and just accept those sudden moments of unbearable emotional lashing as atonement for someone on the brink of mortal sin.
That thought gives me solace.
Maybe, just maybe, God allows us those tiny moments of sacrifice for someone half-way around the globe in need of spiritual assistance. I imagine that's what Christ clung to as He stumbled under the weight of the Cross along Calvary.
Hang on... call out for assistance. Those are the moments in which we are closest to Him. As such, hand over those moments immediately for whatever uses He needs them for. In return, He will promptly give you the graces necessary to prop yourself back up again.
You might not feel it right away... but in time, peace will settle back into your heart.
Just suppose that you could have pre-existed your own mother, in much the same way that an artist pre-exists his painting. Furthermore, suppose that you had an infinite power to make your mother anything that you pleased, just as a great artist like Raphael has the power of realizing his artistic ideals. Suppose you had this double power, what kind of mother would you have made for yourself?
Would you have made her of such a type that would make you blush because of her un-womanly and un-motherlike actions? Would you have in any way stained and soiled her with the selfishness that would make her unattractive not only to you, but to your fellow-man? Would you have made her exteriorly and interiorly of such a character as to make you ashamed of her, or would you have made her, so far as human beauty goes, the most beautiful woman in the world; and so far as beauty of the soul goes, one who would radiate every virtue, every manner of kindness and charity and loveliness; one who by the purity of her life and her mind and her heart would be an inspiration not only to you, but even to your fellow-men, so that all would look up to her as the very incarnation of what is best in motherhood?
Now if you who are an imperfect being and who have not the most delicate conception of all that is fine in life would have wished for the loveliest of mothers, do you think that our Blessed Lord, who not only pre-existed His own mother but who had an infinite power to make her just what He chose, would in virtue of all the infinite delicacy of His spirit make her any less pure and loving and beautiful than you would have made your own mother? If you who hate selfishness would have made her selfless and you who hate ugliness would have made her beautiful, do you not think that the Son of God, who hates sin, would have made His own mother sinless and He who hates moral ugliness would have made her immaculately beautiful?
Today's blog entry today brought to you by the Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen. :)
Enjoy some more of his love for Christ's Church:
I went to my first baseball game in (*thinks about it*) about eight years. I hate sports. I really do. I find them to be incredibly boring, and I'm honestly very wary of Philadelphia sports events considering the not-so-nice experiences I've had with them. I tend to steer clear of any and all sports-related activities if I can help it.
Why, then, did I marry a sports-junkie???
I try to consider it part of my purgatory on earth. Ha!
In all seriousness, though, I had a good time. Upon getting to the park, we headed straight for the kid-zone they've got, and Vince delighted in running around through the obstacles and going up and down slides. I was pretty amazed by how clean everything was. There was also plenty of staff on-hand to supervise the children should one of them attempt sneaking away from the corralled area without an adult. Very nice!
While Vince and I were enjoying the "Phun Zone" John hurried off to purchase Phillies attire for me so I didn't stick out like a sore thumb. I can't believe he paid $28 for a flippin' T-shirt. $28? C'mon, now. But pay it he did. I think he's looking at it as an investment. $28 now and he doesn't ever have to be embarrassed by his non-Phillies-fan wife any other time we go to games together. I'll happily wear it to games, because I decided that if they're all this nice, I wouldn't mind going back as a family.
It was very sweet of him, even though I have to admit being surprised he was that sure I'd enjoy myself enough to think of coming back. Ha ha. He's got patience to spare, that one.
After we finished running Vincent out, we decided to get some food and then head for our seats. Walking through the stadium is like walking down the boardwalk in Ocean City. There are so many various vendors and everything smells so good. All you want to do is take a little bit of everything. Unlike OC, however, everything is jacked up in price about a bazillion times. I wasn't so happy about that. We ended up getting two hot dogs and fries.
Upon finding our seats, Vincent was happy to dig into his fries. He happily sat through the beginning announcements and was delighted by the lights and videos that would come up on the screen. He stood up for the National Anthem and clapped for everyone in turn. I think he really enjoyed seeing everyone come out and liked applauding with the crowd. You could see he felt like he was a part of something. It was so sweet!
And of course John had to get him some cotton candy. :)
Vincent thoroughly enjoyed his bag of blue and pink sugar, though Mommy snuck it into her purse when he was about half-way through. Shhhh!
He ended up patiently sitting in his seat (or on one of our laps) for the duration of 4 innings. Since it was already pretty late, we figured we wouldn't push our luck and gathered him up to go.
On the way out, we met up with my good friend and his wife. We swapped out tickets since we weren't staying anyway, and even got a picture to prove that I was at the game! As always, it was great to see them, but it was a shame we couldn't hang out for longer. I miss them!
All in all, it was a really fun night. I was pleasantly surprised by how smoothly everything went. For the most part, everyone was very nice. I'm looking forward to creating a scrapbook of this and future games for Vincent to look back on with his own kids someday.
As you can probably tell from the photo, I was a little overzealous in purchasing the potty for Vince at Christmas when he was only 15 months old.
Now that he's almost three, I'm glad I didn't wait. He got to mess with his potty for almost two whole years before I began to potty train him. He spent those two years getting to know his potty... playing with his potty... and using his potty as a ramp, step-stool and yes, even a seat.
Once I started to coax him into using it for its actual purpose, he wasn't really scared of it. From all the horror stories I've heard of parents trying to prove to their toddlers that monsters don't exist in their potties, or that the seat wouldn't swallow their bottoms, etc, I'm just really, really glad that Vince had a good, happy relationship with his special seat. No fear of the unknown for him, thank goodness!
However, trying to get him to figure out just what that "Uh oh, I gotta go!" sensation actually meant was an entirely different ballgame. As some of you may recall from my 1st foray into Potty Training, I was less than successful. In fact, I was pretty miserable and felt like an all-star failure.
I'd even accepted failure. Almost.
Instead, I didn't give up. John and I just altered our approach. Sure, Vince still had a few accidents over the last two weeks, but ya know what? He's only had a handful! That first weekend of hell really made him incredibly self-aware. Sure it took several hours of me scrubbing my carpets and floors. Sure it took several extra loads of laundry and a couple extra trips to shower, but in the end, I can see what it was all for.
I haven't bought any diapers this month!
Vincent requests to go to the potty now - frequently.
He's in big-boy underwear all day. He hasn't had an accident in three days. THREE DAYS!
And last night? Last night he woke up from his sleep just so he could ask to use the potty.
I think I've died and gone to Heaven.
My little boy... I'm so proud of him.
Several of my friends asked if we did a reward system to see results so fast. We haven't. We've just been very diligent about asking him - over and over again - if he needs to use the potty. Every time he does use the potty, we praise him like you wouldn't believe. In fact, I think we over-praise him.
Twice Vincent stopped playing while we were in Chick-Fil-A's playroom on Wednesday so he could run to the potty. He only went once, but he expected a huge round of applause both times.
Ah well - I'm just so proud of the progress he's making. So moral of the story - Don'T Give Up!
No child goes to high school in diapers. :)
So I've seen a lot of my blogger friends take part in Conversion Diary's Quick Take Fridays. I've also been an avid follower of Jennifer Fulwiler's for a while. I'd considered taking part in the past, but my life is honestly not interesting enough to do a weekly "catch-all." Maybe a quarterly one.
Anyway, today I lucked upon some great articles that totaled seven in number. I thought Hey now! That's just enough to make an actual Quick Take Friday post! Then I wondered, Is it cheating to use articles for my quick takes as opposed to using items about my actual life?
The answer I arrived at was "Yes. Yes, it's cheating, but who cares? Doubtful anyone's gonna come after me with some sort of blogging demerits."
So, my 7 Quick Takes:
From Esquire Magazine comes an open letter to the world from a Christian who aims to correct the negative perceptions of an anti-Christian world. My favorite quote:
"... at one point God even speaks to a guy named Balaam through his donkey. Some say God spoke to Balaam through his ass and has been speaking through asses ever since. So if God should choose to use us, then we should be grateful but not think too highly of ourselves. And if upon meeting someone we think God could never use, we should think again."
NBC reports that some yahoo decided to drop raw bacon in the field where Muslims were celebrating the close of Ramadan. This person (people?) also left a note and police are investigating it as a hate crime.
I'm all for investigating this as a hate crime because it's obvious this person (or these people) was attempting to bully others on the grounds of their religion, but I find it interesting that this had no effect on their celebrations and this wasn't even done on sacred grounds / with sacred objects. It's rightly being investigated as a hate crime, but folks are still indignant that the Russian women - who desecrated the main altar of a Cathedral - were convicted of religious intolerance. Color me incredulous.
A high school valedictorian has been denied her diploma by her school because of the use of "Hell" in her speech. They haven't denied her transcripts (which she needs for college), but the diploma is symbolic of her achievements.
I think the approach is heavy-handed, but I do believe she owes the school the written apology it asked for in punishment for her misstep. Her reaction and continued "I'm right, I'm right, I'm right" when she is CLEARLY in the wrong only serves to show how arrogant she is. She provided them with an approved speech, then she decided to throw unnecessary vulgarity in there. As punishment, they with-held the diploma and simply asked for an apology.
I'm sorta bothered by everyone coming to her defense in saying this is an attack of freedom of speech. It's a SCHOOL SPEECH that everyone knows must be approved first by the board (or whoever is in charge of the ceremony). It's to both protect the school and the student from embarrassment. This girl simply thought she was above the rules because of her intelligence and achievements.
Sorry, honey, but you've still gotta play by the rules. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech. It has everything to do with following procedure during a solemn ceremony. Get over yourself. If this is how you respond to situations that call you out for trying to place yourself above authority, you're in for a rude awakening when you make it to the real world.
Fr. Levi over at The Way Out There came across the last words of St. David Lewis, a martyred priest whose story is incredibly touching.
After reading both his life overview and then his final address, I couldn't help but thank God for granting us so brave and faithful witnesses to His Love. Bless our priests.
God certainly knows how to choose them!
This is for all my fellow educators out there. In a special way, it's for those who are part of the unique group of people who work with children who have speech delays (my son being one of those children!).
I have no words to properly express the appreciation I have for your dedication and your love. Michelle at Liturgical Time does a fabulous job of expressing so well just how much we love the children we're blessed to work with, and I think being an educator myself, knowing that love on a personal level and seeing it doled out to my son just makes me that much more appreciative and awe-struck. Those who work with children are special, special people.
By Erika V of CS!
This is almost another cheat, but CatholicSistas has absolutely been on a roll this week. It's like someone swapped their coffee for Red Bull and they've been hammering out gold on a daily basis. Two of their articles REALLY touched me this week and I wanted to highlight them for you.
The first is Infant Death and Scared Parenting. A perinatal loss nurse is interviewed and she gives an inside look into this oft-overlooked area of holistic medicine. Incredibly inspiring and moving.
The second is titled The Trauma and Pain of Abortion After Rape and is written by a woman who conceived through rape. Exceedingly well-written, honest and poignant.
Finally, and maybe this isn't an article so much as a Book Release, but a mystic I've been following for a while, Maria Divine Mercy, has finally had the messages bundled into a book.
However, you don't need to purchase the book to read the messages. You can simply go to the website dedicated to collecting them all and download the PDF.
Again, typical warning goes into effect with mystics. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance as these are all considered personal revelations. Also, try to forgive the horrific formatting of the website. It's set up very much like a yellow-journalism rag and whoever is in charge of it is definitely trying to capitalize off fear and panic. I don't approve of that. Ignore the terrible formatting and focus on the messages and the Crusade Prayers. I promise you'll thank me later for it.
For more Quick Takes, check out Conversion Diary (who hosts this entertaining weekly blogroll!
Written by a Muslim professor who was friends with this saintly priest, a call for victory comes... but not through violence or retaliation. Instead, this wise man understands that victory comes through prayer... through the unflinching dedication to truth and love.
Bless not only this man and this priest, but all those in Iraq - Christian or otherwise - who cling fast to this hope.
Read the brief letter here, and remember to pray for our Suffering Church in Need.
So many prayer requests have been pouring in recently. Please keep these folks in your prayers.
A young mother went into pre-term labor, delivering her little girl at 16 weeks. This little soul was able to briefly feel the love of her parents before entering the gates of Heaven. Her family could use spiritual support.
Another mother lost her little boy a few hours after birth due to a rare genetic mutation. Again, God blessed his parents with the opportunity to meet this little saint before he entered Heaven as their personal intercessor, but the wounds left behind will take God's Divine Mercy to heal.
A friend is struggling with his belief in Catholicism. Bright and active within his community, he's fallen prey to pride and has begun actively opposing the very theology that he has vowed to uphold. His errors are poised to spread to others, so please... keep this man and those he is responsible for in your prayers.
A wonderful priest is feeling isolated. He is witnessing the tragic desecration of his beloved faith and can do little to stop it. Oh, how this betrayal strikes at his heart! Please keep him and all priests in your prayers.
Someone very close to me is struggling with a deep depression. I've run out of options regarding things I can do to help pull him out of this rut. At this juncture, prayer is about the only recourse I have.
Finally, and selfishly, myself. I've been struggling interiorly with a personal matter that is simply mine to shoulder. Again, it's sometimes a terrible cross to bear, but I accept it for what it is. At the present, I'm stumbling around more than usual and would appreciate a spare Memorare if you've got one.
As always, I'll continue praying for those intercessions you've e-mailed in. I'm contemplating opening a page specifically dedicated to these intercessions. Forming a sort of on-line community in which we can support one-another may very well be beneficial. In the meantime, know that my prayers are with all of you, and know that you have my appreciation for any words you shoot up in favor of the above intentions. Bless you always.
"How do you know you have a soul?"
"How do you not know? Where do you think your unshed tears collect? Where do you think the anguished cries of your inner-most miseries echo? Where do you think the incomprehensible ocean of love for your family and friends deepens?
It is not your heart. Your heart is a physical thing that pumps blood throughout your mortal body. Your soul, however, is the respite for the unseen emotions that animate that heart.
So yes, I know I have a soul. Just like I'm able to feel the physical world with my body, I'm able to feel the emotional and spiritual ones with my soul. And in the end, isn't that the truth of feeling?"
Vince's face says it all.
I'm going to try really hard to remain civil. I apologize in advance if If am less than perfect in my attempt.
Some of you may have been following the deplorable media frenzy over a certain Russian 'band' that decided to stage a blasphemous protest inside the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. For those of you that haven't, do yourselves a favor and simply skip this particular entry so you can remain blissfully unaware that such disregard for common decency exists in the world.
A couple months ago, members of this feminist group trespassed on sacred Cathedral grounds and brassly went up to the main sanctuary to the soleas (the platform in front of the gates that enclose the altar) and shrieked out an incredibly offensive string of lines aimed at denigrating Christians under the guise of opposing Putin.
Judging from the lyrics (and really... don't search them out unless you really want to upset yourself), they were mostly looking to humiliate Christians and drag our beliefs through the mud. To do this in front of the main altar where Christ is present... oh Heaven! Forgive us this travesty.
When these yahoos were finally brought before a judge, they were found guilty of hooliganism and sentenced to two years in prison.
Of course everyone and their brother cried foul over this. The media kicked into high gear blasting the government for stifling freedom of speech. Instead of being viewed as a hate crime aimed at humiliating Christians, folks painted the picture of innocent women who just wanted to speak out against the injustice of Russian big-wigs.
How anyone could possibly write this off as simply the government trying to stifle free speech is beyond me - especially given that these same women have landed themselves in prison before. The ONLY reason they've attracted so much attention this time around is because of where they staged their antics.
They chose the central Cathedral of Moscow because it'd garner the most publicity. And instead of just staging this in front of the cathedral (where I doubt I'd've had an issue with it), they chose to go INSIDE the church and dare to go up to the sanctuary.
I won't even go near the sanctuary, and I'm a practicing Catholic!
And yet everyone who I've spoke to about this defends these women because the media is portraying this as an issue of free speech. Instead, the media completely neglects the incredibly horrible injustice done to the Christians of that community. Because most folks don't care about the beliefs of these people, they don't CARE that this injustice has been done.
*Shakes head* That really worries me.
An incredible article that details just how distrurbing this is was written by Janice Shaw Crouse of The American Thinker.
In attempting to explain this to atheist / agnostic / disagreeing friends, I likened it to a stunt orchestrated by a Christian in the middle of a homosexual support group. Let's say Bob wants to protest President Obama because he believes President Obama is in bed with the homosexual lobby. Instead of protesting someplace normal and open to the public, he decides to break into a homosexual support group meeting (or support community home) and yell anti-homosexual things.
Should Bob be arrested? YES! For goodness sakes, he trespassed with the willful intent to denegrate homosexuals! He'd be immediately labeled a homophobe, would probably be arrested and charged with a hate crime, and face an extremely publicized trial that would laugh at his attempt to use "freedom of speech" as a defense for his actions.
This is because most folks are in agreement with the homosexual lobby. Most folks would rightly be offended that anyone would THINK to enter such a safe, sacred spot and begin bullying homosexuals in so offensive a manner - even under the guise of raging against the President.
Why, then, is this same outrage not shown to the Christians who are now left with months of restitution to serve in atonement for the treachery committed against their community by these women?
Ah yes - because it's perfectly acceptable to bully Christians. It's perfectly acceptable - respected, even - to humiliate and denigrate Christianity.
Again - this should be HIGHLY alarming to folks. It certainly is to me.
Long time readers of this blog are familiar with Fr. Trad (short for Traditional). You may remember him from such entertaining posts as "An Impromptu Confession Sans-Stole" and my very first memory of him (and his parish) in "New Church."
Well, you are in for a real treat today!!! Not only am I going to reveal Fr. Trad's identity, I'm going to give you a sneak peek into his beautiful church and tell you how you can experience Fr. Trad in the comfort of your own home!
As is typical for Holy Days of Obligation, I attended this parish for their evening mass (my parish doesn't offer evening mass unless it's a vigil). This is also the parish with the beautiful Adoration Chapel that I usually attend.
Anyway, as soon as I stepped foot through the doors, I was overcome with awe. Everything - and I mean EVERYTHING - was meticulous. Flowers were everywhere, banners for Our Lady were hung high, her gorgeous statue was bathed in candlelight, and Father was already busy censing the church.
I know I've said this about a bazillion times, but I LOVE THIS PRIEST! He's traditional and he's super Marian. He spares no expense attending to Our Lady, and it shows in everything he does. It shows in everything that the parishioners do as a result.
There's an anonymous saying that this blessed priest reminds me of. It goes:
If the priest is a saint, his people will be holy. If the priest is holy, his people will be good. If the priest is good, his people will be fair. If the priest is fair, his people will be mediocre. If the priest is mediocre, his people will be bad.
Priests are meant to be a step above us in their example of holiness. They're meant to draw us closer to God by, in fact, being closer to God through purity of heart. This man exemplifies this for me, and it shows in how reverent his flock acts during Mass.
I'm always struck by how in-sync the lectors / ministers are... how attentive the altar servers are... how unassuming even the choir is (though their music is phenomenal). Considering how many parishes I've been to that have lectors brassly refusing to reverence the Blessed Sacrament, that have Extraordinary Ministers acting like the Communion line is some sort of popularity test, etc, I fully appreciate a cohesive parishioner base that understands the Mass is a prayer meant to worship God... not a place to showcase their presumed skill-set.
Anyway, I decided after Mass that I needed to come back and finally snap some photos of this church to share with you. One day I might do the same for my current home parish, but for issues of privacy I'd rather not at this point.
The reason I'm brazenly posting all of this knowing it will "out" Fr. Trad's identity is because I just learned that he is on YouTube! All of his homilies are there, so I emphatically suggest you check out his page! His real name is Fr. Carmel, and though he uses a cane to get around, he is a true warrior for Christ. I imagine he might try to politely shove St. Michael out of the way when he gets to Heaven so he could serve as Our Lady's personal bodyguard. Ha ha!
I wanted to give you this fuller appreciation for Fr. Carmel before I showcase his beautiful church. Why? Because a beautiful church is just a building. The REAL Church is made up of the priests and parishioners that work to make that building beautiful and holy. So with that in mind, enjoy the slideshow. Keep this priest in your prayers. Keep all priests in your prayers. May they all strive to live their vows faithfully, and may they all rely on the intercession of Our Lady in so gracious and attentive a manner. Bless them.
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