Tuesday, October 31, 2006
"The glorious company of the apostles praise Thee.
The goodly fellowship of the prophets praise Thee.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise Thee.
All Thy saints and elect with one voice do acknowledge Thee,
O Blessed Trinity, one God!"
-- Feast of All Saints (November 1), Antiphon at Lauds, from the Te Deum
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Saints Behaving Badly
by Thomas J. Craughwell
This Wednesday is All Saints Day, the holy day when Roman Catholics commemorate the lives and virtues of all the saints. The word "saint," of course, has long since entered our broad cultural lexicon, implying virtue of the highest sort even to nonbelievers. But in practice, saintly virtue is rarely a lifelong possession. Indeed, it sometimes emerges only after a good deal of sin has gone before.
Can a cop killer be a saint, for instance? In recent years, certain Catholics have debated precisely that question. The retired archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean Marie Lustiger, thinks so. In 1987, he began the formal process by which Jacques Fesch, a convicted murderer guillotined by the French state in 1957, might be declared a saint of the Roman Catholic Church. READ MORE
Friday, October 27, 2006
by John Keats
The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;
That is the Grasshopper's--he takes the lead
In summer luxury,--he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.
Seize the moment! "Miracles are coming by you or to you every day" (Oral Roberts). Today was once the future from which you expected so much in the past. Live for today.
Don't let what you have within your grasp today be missed entirely because only the future intrigued you and the past disheartened you. Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.
When can you live if not now? All the answers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today. The future that you long and dream for begins today. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year."
The Bible says, "Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom" (Ps. 90:12). Marie Edgeworth said, "There is no moment like the present. The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh on him can have no hope from them afterwards; for they will be dissipated, lost, and perished in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the slough of indolence."
The regrets that most people experience in life come from failing to act when having an opportunity. Today, well lived, will prepare you for both the opportunities and obstacles of tomorrow.
Few know when to rise to the occasion. Most only know when to sit. Many spend too much time dreaming of the future, never realizing that a little of it arrives every day. I agree with Jonathan Swift when he said, "May you live all the days of your life."
Know the real value of today.
- John Mason, from the book
Conquering An Enemy Called Average
Thursday, October 26, 2006
"I think that I shall never see a billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall, I'll never see a tree at all."
by Ogden Nash
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
God's Yellow Pages
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32
Monday, October 23, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
by George Gordon, Lord Byron
When we two parted
In silence and tears,
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.
The dew of the morning
Sunk chill on my brow--
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.
They name thee before me,
A knell to mine ear;
A shrudder comes o'er me--
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee so well--
Long, long I shall rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.
In secret we met--
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?--
With silence and tears.
Responsibility: when I think of this word, I think: I've got a lot of it! Indeed, what comes first to mind is the added responsibility of home educating our children; an awesome, exhausting and joyful repsonsibility at best. Next, I think of the responsibility of parents in regard to the souls of their children; educating for eternity! This can be altogether too overwhelming in human terms, if the added ingredient, the most important of all is left out: with God, all things are possible.
Reality: strangely, I think of the movie: The Matrix.** While I wouldn't recommend this movie to just anybody, I do believe it caused me to think about my own, our own, reality in a deeper more philosophic way. I recall Deal Hudson, past editor of Crisis Magazine, give an editorial of sorts in his talk at a NACHE conference one year: titled, Rebuilding a Catholic Culture (close enough). I wasn't sure at first what exactly his talk about the movie The Matrix had to do with rebuilding a Catholic culture in our homes.....but, eventually, I think I got it :) Deal explained about the Socratic undertones in the story....that it is better man faces his reality, however horrifying or grim and not live in a fabrication of reality that presents itself as a good and pleasurable when indeed it is a fake good, a front so to speak; when faced with his true reality, man will then have the will to lift himself out of the grimness of his situation and seek a higher good, the truth (God)..... well, it's certainly too much to get into here, but perhaps his audio tape is still available through NACHE.
Renewal: ...there is always a chance of it, isn't there? God is good in that he gives us as many new beginnings as we need. And if you're like me, you might need quite a few! Renewal reminds me of recharging, regrouping; renewing commitments and convictions, and especially of starting anew; an opportunity to begin again......and again, if necessary.
Reflection: It seems I do this a lot. I must have a built-in reflection mechanism, a need to reflect very often. Perhaps the consistent examination of conscience in the evenings helps put one more in a reflective mode. At any rate, once I considered this word, I realized I reflect upon the happenings of the day, week, month and year, in regard to the direction God is leading me. Sometimes, it is only hindsight that tells us the true story......and so reflection is an important aspect of spiritual direction, measurement, growth and progress.
Next four words for those tagged here: Education, Ego, Election, and Elation!
Lynn at Life Is Beauty
Meredith, Sweetness and Light
Cay, Cajun Cottage
** Please note regarding The Matrix. It is rated R and is certainly for mature audiences only; brief language and stylized violence. It's not my usual movie choice...being the romantic I am, but it was an experience.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Prayer by Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
O Father, the first rule of Our dear Savior's life was to do Your Will. Let His Will of the present moment be the first rule of our daily life and work, with no other desire but for its most full and complete accomplishment. Help us to follow it faithfully, so that doing what You wish we will be pleasing to You. Amen.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
Four new saints...how exciting. You can read all about them at the Vatican website, just follow this LINK.
Filippo Smaldone (1848-1923)
Rafael Guízar Valencia (1878-1938)
Rosa Venerini (1656-1728) (Whose image appears here)
Theodore Guérin (1798-1856)
If the Lord rescues me from the snare of my faults, should I not extend the same hand of rescue to my neighbor? Resentment, grudges, retaliation do not help the one who offends me. They merely confirm the breach between us.
Bridge-building is costly, as the cross demonstrates, but the people stranded on both banks are all freed by the bridge.
Magnificat, Oct 12, 2006
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
This program is recommended for around ages 3 to 5. Being a homeschooling mother with a 3 year old in our midst, I am looking into it now. It comes highly recommended. Just follow the LINK to Little Saints.
Recommended by Laura Berquist, Author of Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum, Director of Mother of Divine Grace School and Francis Crotty, Co-founder of Kolbe Academy and the National Association of Private Catholic Independent Schools (NAPCIS).
Monday, October 09, 2006
Re-posted from 20 January 2006
We continue our series with the aspect of "understanding" as it is so important in beginning, fostering, nurturing and maintaining friendships.
"True friendship also means making a heartfelt effort to understand the convictions of our friends, even though we may never come to share them or accept them". ~Saint Josemaría Escrivá~
I have personally pondered and prayed on this quote ever since I came across it several years ago.
It is certainly not always easy to understand the convictions of others when they differ from our own; it does take effort, a caring and a regard for the person. We must, through the grace and strength of God, make a genuine effort toward understanding with a noble Christian spirit. We must be sincere and lay ourselves open to understanding; when we are sincere, perhaps our efforts will be reciprocated by the other party and they too will strive toward understanding our convictions as well, (but being understood yourself isn't your motive; we are asked to attempt to understand others even though it may not be returned in our regard).
And so as we are contemplating authentic friendship and what it is Our Lord desires of us in this area, let us broaden ourselves to open up to the possibilities of where we have fallen short in our efforts of understanding others.
(Following here are various passages from the writings of Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal regarding understanding in association with those nearest and perhaps even farthest from us. Other contributors are indicated within the text).
"The Lord asks us to understand others, even though others may not understand or even try to understand us. Perhaps sometimes they are like the guests invited to the banquet who could not bring themselves to respond to the Lord's invitation. We have to care for other people despite the possibility that they may ignore us. We should be performing acts of service for people who very probably will not do the same for us. Let us make life pleasant for those around us, no matter how they or others treat us. Everything we do should spring from a largeness of heart. We cannot keep a running tally of credits or debits. People who complain about the ingratitude of others should take a close look at their own rectitude of intention. Generosity should not lead to recriminations and collapse. Selfless sacrifice should make the heart bigger. It should uplift it with the consoling thought that God is pleased with our efforts.
The Christian gives for love of God without expecting anything in return. It includes whatever one person can offer another: respect, joy, optimism, companionship, attention.....The more generous you are for God, the happier you will be. [J. Escriva, Furrow, 18]
There are many virtues that make it easier to live with other people, and that even make it possible to do so at all; take kindness and forgiveness for example, which lead us to judge people and the way they behave in a favourable light, without dwelling on their defects and errors; take gratitude, which is that appreciation of a good received, with the desire of acting in some corresponding way. Often we will only be able to say thank you or something similar by way of expressing gratitude; it is not difficult to be grateful and it does a great deal of good.
Affection and friendship are of enormous help in our daily dealings with people;.... making an effort to live those many human virtues that make the growth of friendship possible; lack of self-interest; understanding; a spirit of co-operation; optimism, loyalty.
Mutual respect is another indispensible virtue in our relationships with others. It moves us to consider other people as unrepeatable images of God. In his personal relationship with God, a Christian learns to venerate the image of God that is found in each and every man (St.. J. Escriva, Friends of God, 230). We also have to see the image of God in those who, for whatever reason, we find less lovable, less likable, less amusing. Being with others also teaches us to have respect for things, because they belong to God and are at the service of men. Respect is a necessary condition if we are to help others improve, because if ever we try to lord it over others, our advice, our attempts to correct, and our suggestions become ineffective.
Again, Forgiveness: We would be poor Christians if, at the slighest upset, our charity were to grow cold and we were to distance ourselves.......A Christian should examine himself to see how he reacts to annoyances that being with other people always produces.
Jesus' example inclines us to live in a way that is pleasantly open towards other people; it leads us to understand them, to regard them always with an initial sympathy which will be a growing one. A person who feels understood easily opens his heart and lets himself be helped. Anyone who lives the virtue of charity can easily understand people because he makes it a rule not to judge others' inmost intentions, which are known only to God.
"Our friends, all the different people we come across, have to discover in our friendship or our attitude a firm support of their faith. If we want to be for them a source of strength, then we have to be close to them in their weaknesses....."if we are to serve others, for Christ's sake, we need to be very human...We need to understand everyone; we must live peaceably with everyone; we must forgive everyone." (St. J. Escriva, Christ is Passing By, 182)
How then can we improve our efforts of understanding others and the convictions they hold? Let us pray for the help we need to enable ourselves to be true and thoughtful friends to those God has blessed us with in this life, and those we have yet to meet, as we journey towards everlasting life and friendship eternal.
Next: Part III: Christian Friendship; Generosity in Friendship
Today is my feast day namesake, Saint Denis. Denise, of course being the feminine form of this name. I've never been fond of the depictions of my saint; the ones in which Saint Denis is noted to have carried around his head after being beheaded. Here I have posted one that's not quite so dramatic. To read more about this saint, just follow the link.
Saint Denis and Companions, Pray for Us!
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Friday, October 06, 2006
by James Whitcomb Riley
Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun,
A-listenin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Ef you Don't Watch Out!
Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers, -
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout: -
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you Don't Watch Out!
An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'for she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you Don't Watch Out!
An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'bugs in dew is all squenched away, -
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' cherish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you
Ef you Don't Watch Out!
James Whitcomb Riley was born Oct. 7, 1849 in Greenfield, Indiana, the second son and third of six children raised by Reuben A.--a Civil War veteran and lawyer--and Elizabeth (Marine) Riley. At an early age Riley discovered that he disliked the "iron discipline" of school life but enjoyed books. As a child, Riley often accompanied his father (a noted political orator) on trips to the Hancock County courthouse, where he observed the manners and mores of country society, as well as the countrified dialect he later used in his poetry. He was one of the most popular poets in American history. He died on July 22, 1916.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
About St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)
The son of a rich merchant, Francis spent over a year as a prisoner of war, where he experienced a conversion. Inspired by the Gospels, he dressed in rags and begged for food. When his family disapproved, he formally renounced his wealth and inheritance. He preached in the streets, visited hospitals, served the sick, composed hymns, and regularly performed manual labor. When hundreds started following him, he received the blessing of the pope to start the Franciscans. Soon, his followers numbered in the thousands. While on a retreat meditating, Francis received the stigmata. He died with the words "Bring my soul out of prison" on his lips.
"Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society."
– St. Francis of Assisi
Monday, October 02, 2006
As a homeschooling family living a learning lifestyle, our favorite resources are living books - I think this one that Esther found is certainly that. For a definition of "living book", go to this link: Toward a Definition of a Living Book.
Maurice and Therese
by Patrick Ahern
Format: Hardcover, 284pp
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group
From the Publisher
As Saint Therese lay dying in the Carmel of Lisieux, she overheard a conversation that amused her. Outside her window, two nuns were discussing what they could write in her obituary that might possibly be of any interest, since the twenty-four-year-old nun had never done anything worth noting. Therese was pleased, for she had always kept a low profile. With the posthumous publication of her spiritual autobiography in 1898, however, that unknown person would vanish instantly. She became one of the most beloved saints of all time, and her influence will expand dramatically because of Pope John Paul II's declaration that she is a Doctor of the Church. Amid growing interest in her writings comes the collected correspondence between herself and a humble young seminarian, Maurice Belliere. Though they never met in person, they exchanged twenty-one letters that open a window on the heart of Saint Therese - a window that would have remained forever closed had Maurice not written to the Mother Superior at the convent asking for a nun to pray for him. The Mother Superior chose Therese, and in these conversational letters the Little Flower reveals herself in a way that we would never have known from her autobiography. In his accompanying text, Bishop Patrick Ahern expertly leads the reader into the worlds of Maurice and Therese, and reveals the full beauty of this saint's spirituality.
From The Critics
Ahern, the auxiliary bishop of New York, explores the relationship between the Carmelite nun St. Therese of Lisieux and a struggling young priest, Maurice Belliere, by compiling the 21 letters exchanged between them and providing biographical details. St. Therese had a short life, dying at the age of 24 of tuberculosis, but she expressed in her prose meaning and inspiration that brought peace to troubled souls. Through this correspondence, the reader is able to "listen in" on the intimate conversation she shared with Maurice as she encouraged his self-acceptance. The two became soulmates through their letters from 1896 until St. Therese's death in 1897. Expressing the suffering and passion of two imperfect persons touched by God, their story captures what St. Therese did best: showing by example how to be holy in life.
To carry out this mission, Benedict XVI appealed for the help of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus -- whose memorial the Church celebrates on Oct. 1 -- universal patroness of the missions along with St. Francis Xavier.
The choice of October as the missionary month was made to commemorate the discovery of the American continent. READ ARTICLE HERE.
What a wonderful day: Happy Birthday to my mom who turns 70 today on this very special feast! She has always had great devotion to her guardian angel, even taking the name of Angela Merici for her Confirmation.
Here are some special thoughts regarding your special protector, counselor, consoler, defender......
"We have to deal with our Guardian Angels in a familiar way, while at the same time recognizing their superior nature and grace. Though less palpable in their presence than human friends are, their efficacy for our benefit is far greater. Their counsel and suggestions come from God and penetrate more deeply than any human voice. To reiterate, their capacity for hearing and understanding us is much superior even to that of our most faithful human friend, since, their attendance at our side is continuous; they can enter more deeply into our intentions, desires and petitions than can any human being, since angels can reach our imagination directly without recourse to the comprehension of words. They are able to incite images, provoke memories, and make impressions in order to give us direction....."
In Conversation with God, Vol 7; Fr. Francis Fernandez