Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Even though I'm in discernment, I still have to adjust my way of thinking and acting. I suppose I can go around thinking that some guy is really cute or someone would make a really good marriage partner down the line, but it does me a disservice. I have to take the idea of marriage and lay it to rest, and let it be expunged from the options in my life. "People who have to choose between two good alternatives are frequently attracted to both of them. Once an alternative has been selected, the other alternative hthat has been rejected will have to be mourned" (Kiechle, 2005, p. 76). Now I'm not mourning, but I'm also forcing myself to realize that thinking about compatability will never get me very far in discernment. God has always made good-looking Catholics, and He will continue to do so. Like late last week I looked online at wedding rings and wedding gowns. I'm never going to wear one. I will never wear a wedding gown, I will never have a wedding ring with a diamond. I will never have "my day." I will never have a husband or children of my own.
But then on the other hand, I look online at who was my best friend in grade school, the one I had the hugest crush on for the longest time. I still like the memory I have of who he was. He's gay. All the guys I have liked down through the years have been unavailable to me by no fault of my own. I'm hedged in, so I can only turn to Him. I can only Love Him. I have come to love and to desire celibacy/chastity, and the vocation call, only because He Loves it into me. If it weren't for God inviting me into it, I wouldn't give discernment the time of day. I have learned that if I love Him, my will conforms to His; leading me all the way back to "thy will be done."
Friday, November 30, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
"Give thanks to the LORD who is good, whose love endures forever!"
Let that be the prayer of the LORD'S redeemed, those redeemed from the hand of the foe,
Those gathered from foreign lands, from east and west, from north and south.
Some had lost their way in a barren desert; found no path toward a city to live in.
They were hungry and thirsty; their life was ebbing away.
In their distress they cried to the LORD, who rescued them in their peril,
Guided them by a direct path so they reached a city to live in.
Let them thank the LORD for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals.
For he satisfied the thirsty, filled the hungry with good things.
Some lived in darkness and gloom, in prison, bound with chains,
Because they rebelled against God's word, scorned the counsel of the Most High,
Who humbled their hearts through hardship; they stumbled with no one to help.
In their distress they cried to the LORD, who saved them in their peril,
Led them forth from darkness and gloom and broke their chains asunder.
Let them thank the LORD for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals.
For he broke down the gates of bronze and snapped the bars of iron.
Some fell sick from their wicked ways, afflicted because of their sins.
They loathed all manner of food; they were at the gates of death.
In their distress they cried to the LORD, who saved them in their peril,
Sent forth the word to heal them, snatched them from the grave.
Let them thank the LORD for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals.
Let them offer a sacrifice in thanks, declare his works with shouts of joy.
Some went off to sea in ships, plied their trade on the deep waters.
They saw the works of the LORD, the wonders of God in the deep.
He spoke and roused a storm wind; it tossed the waves on high.
They rose up to the heavens, sank to the depths; their hearts trembled at the danger.
They reeled, staggered like drunkards; their skill was of no avail.
In their distress they cried to the LORD, who brought them out of their peril,
Hushed the storm to a murmur; the waves of the sea were stilled.
They rejoiced that the sea grew calm, that God brought them to the harbor they longed for.
Let them thank the LORD for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals.
Let them praise him in the assembly of the people, give thanks in the council of the elders.
2 God changed rivers into desert, springs of water into thirsty ground,
Fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the wickedness of its people.
He changed the desert into pools of water, arid land into springs of water,
And settled the hungry there; they built a city to live in.
They sowed fields and planted vineyards, brought in an abundant harvest.
God blessed them, they became very many, and their livestock did not decrease.
But he poured out contempt on princes, made them wander the trackless wastes,
Where they were diminished and brought low through misery and cruel oppression,
While the poor were released from their affliction; their families increased like their flocks.
The upright saw this and rejoiced; all wickedness shut its mouth.
Whoever is wise will take note of these things, will ponder the merciful deeds of the LORD.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I want to cry out of sheer frustration. All I can say is that right now I want God alone and nothing else, yet I'm stuck in the world. I am beholden to loans, school, internships, parents, siblings, papers, and other class assignments. In the meantime all I want to do is read about the Church history, the desert Fathers, Merton, and many of the Saints. I want to pray. I want to sit alone with God.
I want to be rid of all my things, all the junk and clutter in my life. I want to be rid of so many of my possessions; I don't even care about the quilting! Throw it all in the trash or walk away from it all.
I don't want to be part of this secular world any more. Not that I'm a member of it, but I don't want to dwell in it any longer.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
I was curious. I went to Planned Parenthood online and plugged in my ZIP code.
Friday, November 2, 2007
The women who came a spoke were very nice and kind, I do think they were sincere. However, the ways in which they spoke of Mary was toeing the line: suggesting that she was higher or some how more worthy than Christ.
St. Maximilian Kolbe is quoted on the front cover of their pamphlet: To lead every individual with Mary to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I find it very unique that the Saint proposes that we are not lead to Mary, but with Mary to Christ Jesus. This suggests that we all implore and praise God alone.
To directly quote the MI as to their purpose:
[...] is a worldwide evangelizations movement founded by St. Maximillian Kolbe in 1917. It encourages a total consecration to Mary Immaculate as a means of spiritual renewal for individuals and society.
Marian consecration in the MI is a formal act of self-giving that does not stop at Mary, but is Christ-directed. It is really a consecration to Jesus. [...]
The MI employs prayer as the main weapon in the spiritual battle with evil. MIs also immerse themselves in apostolic initiatives throughout society, either individually or in groups, to deepen the knowledge of the Gospel and our Catholic Faith in themselves and others.
By joining the MI, members become willing instruments of Our Lady, the handmaid of the Lord and the immaculate instrument of God. You become a member of an international movement sharing in the maternal mission of Mary, the conversion and sanctification of all souls. The goals of the MI are personal sanctification, the conversion of the world, and ultimately the universal reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The MI is one of the few Vatican-approved public associations whose mission, like that of the Cathlic Church, is universal. Although the MI is open to Catholics only, it encourages all people of good will to develop a trusting relationship with our Lady.
I have an issue with "members become willing instruments of Our Lady." It is St. Francis of Assissi who tells us to be instrument of our Lord, not Mary. Just as we are like clay in the hands of the Lord, so too are we to be used by the Lord for the fulfillment of His will (Jer. 18:6).
I want to make clear that not in any way am I saying that the whole of the MI is wrong, but that some members may enjoin themselves so close to Mary that they don't look beyound her. I know that we need to honor Mary and love her as our Lord's Mother. However I want to caution the thought that without Mary's "yes" there would be no salvation in Christ on the Cross. I think that honor and praise of Mary could literally turn into worship of Mary if one begins to think that Mary is the source of Christ (per His conception and birth) and hence salvation would come from her.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
The extreme identity confusion caused by membership in a cult can follow an ex-member for years, causing flashbacks in which the person "floats" back to the time of his involvement. In an instant, the cult identity can be triggered by a stimulus, such as an image, sound, or smell, that was instrumental in their manipulation. During my first year ould of the cult (1976), the word "moon" would cause me to thing "Father," see an image of Sun Myung Moon, and begin to think from within my cult identity.
This dissociative state, which is known as "floating," can be a significant obstacle for former cult members. Involuntary episodes are most common among people who were exposed to trance-inducing techniques, such as chanting, meditation, and speaking in tongues. Floating is particularly scary for those who lack an understanding of mind control. People who leave a cult without counseling are often confused and terrified by the experience, and begin to feel irrational guilt and fear over having left the group.
So what has been the last few weeks been like for me? Well, I've found myself automatically entering to prayer just like I used to with the Local Church, wanting to go back when I know that I don't want to, thinking about the people I left behind, fearing God - like He might change His mind about me, the depression, the darkness, the pain, and pain for the people still locked into the Local Church.
It hasn't been a pleasant experience. On Thursday I went to Daily Mass, and I could barely recieve Communion, I thought I was going to drop the chalice. Friday wasn't much better, with a phone call to a priest-friend, which made me late to class (we've a 20 minute break for our 3 hour classes). I return to class, and the professor has just begun our weekly meditation session, which usually lasts for 15 minutes. It's more than I can take, so I walk out again and spend the 15 minutes the class mediates crying in a bathroom stall. Later on Friday I sent an apologetic email to the professor excusing my poor behavior.
I feel pain for the people still in the Local Church, and even more for the knowledge that anyone who leaves will have similar experiences to mine. Not everyone survives the ex-member process. Some people commit suicide. I could still be in there, or I could be dead either by my own hand or by the deteriorating life-style on which I was subsisting. These people are just like me, and they are on the fringe edge of the cult hierarchy, so they're just blindly believing that this is truth. They may not know any better.
It's like being shut in a room at night where there aren't any lights. The darkness seems thick, but with the dilation of the pupils, one can begin to see furniture and other fixtures. If one sticks around in the room long enough, they can mistake the gray formations for actually being in the light. That's what cults are about: mistaking the Darkness for Light. if you offer them the stub of a candle, they refuse it.
Hassan, S. A. (2000) Planning and holding an intervention (pp. 322-323). In Releasing the bonds: Empowering people to think for themselves. Somerville: Freedom of Mind Press
Friday, October 19, 2007
Betrayal, lies and deceit -- that's the reality of cults on campus.
When university officials sat with me in their offices and admitted in private and confidentiality that there are cults on campus, but they permit them to add to the religious freedoms of students, that is troubling.
When these same officials write to the student newspaper and say that cults do not exist on campus, that is a very dangerous message.
The omittance of the presence of cults on campus is dangerous because students are made vulnerable, they are not educated about what a cult is, what to do if they or a friend is involved in one.
Perhaps more dangerously it tells me and other former cult members that our experiences in the various cults were for naught. In essence, never existed.
What does that translate to? Very tearful prayer, despair, anger, and I want to beat Satan with my bare hands. If satan were a tangible person before me right now, I'd beat him up, then let God send him to Hell -- no, something worse than Hell -- if that were possible.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
May the Lord abundantly bless and keep those who work towards awareness and/or eradication of cults on campuses and in other locations.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
A long while has passed since the last time I found prayer painful. In fact, when I did used to find prayer painful it was because I despised God, so this kind of pain is not related.
Perhaps pain is not the right word to use, but I also cannot say that the pain dwells only in my soul. Maybe it's the closest we can get to begging God without actually begging, although I certainly have done that!
But I really need to go, I have a paper due on Thursday and I am merely procrastinating here while I conjucture what it is that I feel each time I pray the Divine Mercy. All I know is that I avoid it. Prayed the DM yesterday with a group before the Blessed Sacrament and before the first 'decade' I was so close to tears that I could hardly finish the decade. If it hadn't been for the recitation of the group I do not think I would have finished praying it on my own.
have you ever encountered similar problems in prayer?
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
- social systems theory
- ecological perspectives theory
- psychoanalytic theory
- ego psychology
- object relations theory
- attachment theory
I am well versed in attachment theory, but I do need to brush up on it. I have been working on Object relations theory all day, and I have about 5 pages of typed notes thus far. I have further to go. However I really do dread the aspect of ego psychology and psychoanalytic theory.
Next Thursday I have a policy paper where I have to apply AB 490 to my field practicum. Easy enough, I'm just frustrated with my lack of resources - I'm so used to have too many references and citations that I feel rather lost on how to start this paper (I love literature reviews in journal articles).
Here's what object relations is (briefly, I promise!):
OBJECT RELATIONS is the process of internalizing the images of objects and understanding the impact this has on personality and interpersonal relationships. In other words, an infant internalizes the mother as a "good object" or a "bad object" (ie, good/bad breast), and then uses the internalized construct of the object to inform further relationships and personality.
Contemporary Object Relations“Object relations theory describes internal mental representations of relationships between self and other rather than actual external interpersonal relationships” (Applegate). The theory cannot ignore the importance of process and context. Two patterns emerge from the intrapsychic reality of process and experience: self-representations and object-representations; these are later formed into enduring relationships.Child must internalize the self and have reliable caregivers to allow the child to feel secure when the primary caregiver is absent. Object relations impacted by culture, family formation, race and ethnicity, and child rearing practices; may remove one or more particular of object relations theory (ie, transitional objects or separation anxiety).
Spitz thought that infants develop these pathologies from psychic disruptions in critical periods. Normally, infants are ambivalent towards the mother/object upon realizing that the bad object and good object are one entity; this unifying of the libidinal object is fusion, the lack of fusion leads to pathology.
On the other hand, Margaret Mahler worked with psychotic and autistic children. She rephrases object relations as the way an infant’s basic ego organizes during the first 3.5 years of life. Infant has to differentiate between the self and the (m)other (ie, “me” and “not me”).
ad infinitum (correct?)
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
I think I might actually like this research paper I have to do...not sure I like policy though. So much to do. Hyper: sleep deprived & 2+ cups of coffee. So, when I'm writing this the voice in side my head is like a munchkin ... keeps life interesting. =)
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
During Mass on Sunday, I had the thought "This is the Lord thy God, whom you will serve all the rest of your life" right between recieving the Eucharist and the wine/Blood. The "amen" seemed insufficient after that great thought. Not great as in "gee, wow, what insight" but great in magnitude and gravity. Part of that thought was due to the fact that the rector of St Johns Seminary in Camarillo CA had given the sermon. He put in the plug for male vocations. It left me feeling kind of invisible because he did not address female vocations. I know that we need male vocations, but for Heaven's sake, don't kick me to the curbside! Then I remembered that although my life may be invisible to the world, it is not invisible to our Lord.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
I cannot convey with words the urgency I felt about this change in prayer. It still feels "now or never."
There are changes occuring in the LA Archdiocese:
- Mahony is not liturgically "correct"
- the huge settlement for the sexual abuse lawsuit has to be funded
- selling convents to pay off the settlement
- selling the Wilshire buildings that houses Archdiocese offices including Vocations, to pay off the settlement as well
- Sr. Kathy Bryant is leaving her post as Vocations Director
However, aside from these changes I sense through prayer an impending spiritual trial that will challenge the LA Archdiocese.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
My thoughts were that God forgives as He is Love, and if there is anyone in need of salvation it would be Satan. Satan does commit the overarching sin of Pride, a Pride so strong and defiant that it cast him out of Heaven, and not only to Earth, but eternal damnation.
Now, we know that satan was cast out, but is he really damned? Can we know how God will judge someone? Can we say that Satan is actually damned?
Can we pray for Satan?
Still focusing on my disorder, so that's also draining some mental energy, but not as bad as last week. Waiting on the shrink to call me back with some referrals: preferably Christian and experienced with the disorder ~ I want to be the client, not the educator.
My body is still reacting to all the stress from last week's episode ... can't believe it was just last week, seems so long ago. I need to bring ibuprofen with me to school, these headaches aren't doing me much good.
I should stop complaining, Christ didn't complain on the cross about His burdens. That's something I learned in Adoration last week.
Friday, September 14, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Now though, I don't have any gum and I've long since quit biting my nails ... so I'm left with all this tension because I refuse to give in ..... okay, so I give in every half hour or so ... but that's still progress. On the other hand, the longer I hold out, the more likely I am to resort to other things like skin picking, scratching, or digging my nails into my palms. All because I only learned one behavior modification technique five years ago when I quit therapy.
I should have bought gum at lunch time.
I thought I had one piece left.
Normally I'd just go at it, but there's lots more people around me than I usually allow there to be when I do it. I mean, there's a difference to being in the center of the room and visible from the line of people waiting for a computer than there is to being tucked in a corner or against the wall so people can't see me as well.
If this is what one day is like, then October 1-7th is gonna be the pits. I don't know if I can go a whole week like this, but then maybe I'd actually remember to buy gum.
The tension from my homework is kind of gone now because I've replaced it with tension and a sense of powerlessness since I don't have my chewing gum.
Honestly, you don't know how I feel. Yet, these people do.
Friday, September 7, 2007
I apologize for this email going to all of you en masse, however although I would like to communicate with all of you individually, because of the time demands I now face as a full time graduate student I have significantly cut my time on the computer. In order to shorten the amount of time, I'm doing this massive email to anyone I think would be of interest: friends, acquaintances, and sisters who have been so kind to help me during the past year as I discerned religious life.
I am called to be a religious, but over the last week God has really spoken to me in my heart and I am now seriously considering the Dominican order. I have set things into motion to discern more carefully within the Domincan order. Now, if things were to fall through, I'd still like to be in touch with you (especially those who are in frequent contact - letter, email, etc - and you know who you are).
As for my friends who are getting this, I know it's different that what some of you would be expecting, but I've been in discernment for little more than a year now and I'm so glad and happy and at peace when I think of following the Lord. I pray that you understand.
Why I have been away:
Middle of August: Cape Cod and Boston, Massachusetts 2 week vacation
Late August: MSW orientation Aug 21-24th, then first week of school on Aug 27th
I have so much reading to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I go to bed around 12-1pm each night and I get up at 5am for my commute downtown for my 8am classes. A little less than sane.
I would love to share more with you, but I didn't bring my notebook with me that has my reflections in it. I can only share the two below:
- Our God is a God of Honor.
- We have physical union with Christ in the Eucharist.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
You can email me, leave comments, or even write letters. All I will not be able to respond to until I return ... but I'd love it all the same!
If you do want to write:
PO Box 2939
Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA 90274
I'll see you all in a short while. By then I should have done sufficient reading to have some pithy quotes to post, at least!
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Could there be a lifestyle that would embody this likeness of Christ? We could say we find it in the life of priests, sisters, monks, nuns, and brothers.
If we are called to be like Christ, and to embrace Him, as the Son of God and the Son of Man ... why do we find a rejection of those who endeavor to live like Him?
In fewer words, why among even devout Catholics, is there such a distancing from those with a vocation?
** Thursday Edit**
Hidden One, I think you hit the nail on the head. Many people say "Lord bring us more vocations, but not my son or daughter!" It's guilt-tripping us for actually "daring" to listen to the Lord. Heck, I don't want to be one of those Christians, who say they love God and give their life to Him, but don't. I don't want to have to learn what that means on Judgment Day! Already we know that the Lord will be disgusted by those who are complacent (ie, Revelation's passage that says He will spit out the complacent like cold soup); what will be His reaction to those who truly are hipocrites (spelling?) ?
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
-- Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk
Friday, July 6, 2007
I don't speak spanish very well at all, I guess that's why I'm taking a class for it this summer. I can read it though, so if you want to leave comments in spanish, be my guest! = o) It helps me a lot when I have a spanish speaking customer at the store, because I can kind of direct them to the crafts, floral, fabrics &c.; or I can tell them how to exchange an item. I can understand if it's written or spoken to me; I repeat it because I get some incredulous looks from people. I think it is very easy to understand a language from just reading it or listening to it, but if you don't speak it often, there's little chance of maintaining the quality of your speech.
I did find the verses from Matthew about 2 weeks ago while I was looking at some other verses related to some family drama that occurred in May and has continued to upset my Gramma. I really like the verse, it tells me that celibacy isn't extraordinarily abnormal, but is normal if it's not out of fear or disgust of sexuality, family, or relationships.
Hay nadia mas. = o)
Thursday, June 28, 2007
Psychology was on my mind a lot yesterday. I keep interviewing with psychology oriented field recruiters: LCSWs. PhD, MFTs, etc. I can't help but feel that they are psyching me out, and all the while I'm trying to psych them out. Make sense? That's more along the lines of funny and awkward, whereas, each encounter always wants to know if I've ever had to handle a crisis situation, and the only one that I was proactive with was Rachel/Hershey.
Thinking about Rachel invariably brings back the months after I left the Local Church. Rachel's situation was entangled with mine, with me being the main contact point and friend for Rachel, and later she became my pathway into more negativity than I had cause to lead myself into. For as messed up as the two of us were together, we helped each other as well. I can only see Rachel as the only "crisis" I've ever had to handle, because I certainly did not handle myself. Some of you here on Xanga, certainly did so for me. I'm probably your "crisis"? Albeit, it was over the internet and those who remember were at least a couple 1,000 miles away.
Therefore I've been too introspective the last few days, in such a way that yesterday when I had spanish class I had trouble switching gears, and everything was a giggle fest. A girl/woman I like talking to in the class, Debra, told me my face had flushed as well. The spanish reflexives were giving me trouble, and I was thinking all the while how I would write my brief personal history and self description for the job application to the internship I interviewed for on Tuesday.
The internship is with a group called Outreach Concern, Inc., which puts interns like myself into an elementary or high school setting where I would see kids during an 8:30 am to 2:30 pm school day and counsel them. Then I would have a support team of other interns was well as an on-site supervisor and a weekly meeting with a clinician to make sure I'm not doing anything drastically wrong. I have agreed to do one day per week (Fridays) at a hopefully Catholic school in Long Beach near Cal State Dominguez Hills. The field recruiter asked if I had any problems working at a Catholic school (my medals of St Benedict & the Blessed Virgin were hidden beneath my blouse for the sake of Equal Opportunity Employment) and I said no. He said that the Sister (he said Nun, but we know that's the wrong term!) was "very proper and set in her ways. I smiled and said that would not be a problem at all. Personally I wonder what order she is, and if I've met her at the Vocation retreat in late January, or if I've sent her community a vocation letter yet. LOL Outreach is non-profit, and the reason they are available at Catholic schools is because they were recently taken under the wing of Cardinal Mahoney's Catholic Charities. (Why do I keep interviewing with people under the Mahoney's pet projects??) Nonetheless, I am looking forward to working with Outreach.
I'm going to post the personal history blurb I've written in Protected, and maybe some of you can give me pointers/proofread? I've tried to think of how to say that I've never be in material need, but I have struggled with my own issues and conflicts, to perhaps show that I can relate to the kids I'll be counseling. I also have to have a self-description which I'll put in the same Protected post.
JoAnn's is going nowhere. At Old Navy, I was trained to do everything, and at JoAnn's that translates to job responsibilities that are at the managerial level (ie, returns, exchanges, crediting credit cards, etc). Yet, I'm relinquished to the level of the baby, and cannot do returns. Excuse my momentary frustration, at being realy cheap hire for them. I'm a college graduate and I don't get paid more than 8 bucks an hour, gotta be kidding me! They haven't had me work since Sunday. I'm available for immediate hire, and they hired me, but they won't put me to work. I thought people get hired because the company needs someone to be working for them soon, to fill a void. Yet, I don't have a single day scheduled?!? Tell me, please, am I off-base here?
In the meantime, I am still looking for other jobs and also need to find time to get fingerprinted, again, for Outreach. The Attorney General's office, like any other bureaucratic system is too tangled for me to just request a transfer form to send the fingerprint scan results from Didi Hirsch over to Outreach Concern. Grr. It is just much easier to avoid the bureaucracy and just get fingerprinted all over again. LiveScan is kinda cool, though.
Box.net has been updated, so you can see all the things I've written, although they are just undergraduate research papers. Some are on assigned topics, others were chosen by me.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
In school I was able to build up a routine of prayer between my class lecture hours, the extracirricular activities, and study periods. Graduation took away that schedule, and I spend all day, ALL day mind you, looking for jobs. If I'm not online actively looking or driving out to an interview, I'm nagged by my parents for why I'm not looking for a job. Well, let's see: I've been looking since April. It is now the middle of June. If I were to have a job, wouldn't I be having one by now, especially since its the only way for me to pay for graduate school? Mommy & daddy aint gonna pay for me. This university and these two degrees have done nothing but close doors in my face!
I've tried to set up a schedule of prayer and Bible reading for myself. I would like to do it everyday, but because I need to get up early, in order to get the prayers and job hunt done in the same 24 hour period, it's only every other day (MWF). I get up at 5:20am, pray the Rosary, read some psalms, & pray the Angelic Chaplet. Then in the evening I re-read the psalms and note/scribble in a notebook. Sometimes it's prayer, other times its frustrated questions.
I had what I would call a "Samuel Moment" Tuesday evening (~3 AM). It's frustrating to have that sense to just walk out on your life, and ask God "but WHERE do I go?!?"
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Monday, June 4, 2007
This connectedness also forces me to read your comments, and because I haven't had these many different people reading my site in the past, I do take the time to carefully read the comments.
I know that Ginger & J.A. have left comments about love regarding the last (personal) post.
It is difficult, as I'm sure you all know. Family has that special ability to love, but also hurt, like few other social institutions of people can muster. It's easy to love when things are going well, and easy to hate when things have gone sour. The trick is to always love.
When I was at university for my undergraduate, I talked on quite a few occasions to Fr. Lawrence at the Catholic Center. Last time I spoke with him he said, and I'm going to paraphrase it: You [Megan] have the double bind of having to obey God's Word and Will, and having to honor father and mother as well.
It's no easier today than it was back in November 2006 or any other time before that.
I keep thinking of what I wrote the other day: it's like faith in God threatens them, it's something frightening and to be escaped. I phrase it "faith in God" because it appears to be easy to put thier faith into things like "luck," "chance," false gods & idols.
When there is behavior they want me to change, or they need an arguing point (a "get out of jail free" card to save their butt), religion comes up, and it's always my fault. They address it like one addresses "dirty laundry."
So I cleaned my room today. Religious icons out where they have always been, but letters and vocational packages have been discreetly hidden in plain sight. I am not going to stop them if they choose to rifle through my drawers and look at my Bibles, prayer cards, Christian & Catholic books.
I haven't been in the best of moods recently because I don't want to go out into the world and make $8.00 per hour with a 4-year degree. Yesterday, mom was less than sympathetic about it, and decided that prayer cards and Catholicism was a good thing to throw in my face, because surely that would "straighten" me "out." All she had to say, "Megan, when you graduated, there was no expectation of you from me that you would be employed at something other than a grocery store, bank, or clothing store." That's all! I felt like upon graduation it was expected that I find a job earning around $13+ per hour.
Meanwhile, Deus est Caritas sits on my bookshelf unread.
*Please, I know I don't sound loving on many of my posts, but know that I am trying.
Sunday, June 3, 2007
I could potentially phrase it that way, and I wouldn't be twisting and bending the truth THAT much.
I was 9 months out of the Local Church, but also 9 months out of any organized religion, and drifting aimlessly. I had finally figured out how to regain my 15 lost pounds, and how to "live" without religion. If you could call that living.
I did not want to go to that funeral Mass for an old Catholic elementary school classmate. My parents insisted at 10pm the night before that I attend it.
Just before Communion, I told God "I'm giving you one last chance, and this time it better be good, or I'm gone forever!"
Well, He's certainly made it good, hasn't He?
Now, nearly two years later mom and dad complain and whine about my faith. They put more energy into trying to sway me. They vigorously speak against Catholicism although they raised me in it, and it's almost as if they feel threatened by it. Why not take some of that energy and put it towards understanding the Catholic Church, and realize its not a "big bad wolf" at all?
I've been in their faithless world for 9 months, and folks, it was dark and hellish.
You can't get me to trade the Light for all that darkness; not a thing in the world will convince me.
Dad, the only one who knows about the Local Church, tries to use it against me. Says that I can't let religion be dominant, and that I've had trouble before. Hah! That's because I did not know my Bible, now I drop quotes and verses often enough because some of my best college friends are Baptists and other Protestants (memorising verses are important to them). Don't try to tell me what is and is not Catholicism or a genuine Christian doctrine or dogma if you yourself are ignorant of what is!
Aye, a little to late they are. I love it, even when it gets me trouble from my parents; well, when they don't like it, I like God even better. Just like two disgruntled teenagers whose parents don't want them to be seeing each other; the relationship grows stronger. Not the direction that my parents desire, is it?
I laughed when I first read that religiousity was my VIA strength, ahd how the top strenght is usually reported to be fun, great, and also a point of trouble for people.
Saturday, June 2, 2007
When I was writing about my mom and said that I don't care about what she wants, I didn't mean it. I care about what she wants, but I also care deeply for what she doesn't care, or want, to percieve: the eternal destination of her soul.
I have a prayer card to St. Josemaria, and I prayed to him every day for the month of May for the acceptance to the MSW program at my alma mater.
Mom likes to "clean" my room in my absence. Read: snoop. Honestly, the mark of a good snooper is putting things back the same exact way you found them. She doesn't.
I asked Dad permission (at 22 years of age) this morning to attend Mass today, as I won't be able to go tomorrow because we are celebrating Gramma's birthday. He said that I could if my sister came home from her retail job on time, but to not make it a big deal if I couldn't go.
Then he says "when Mom was cleaning your room, I noticed you had a prayer card for Opus Dei..." Ignore the obvious misunderstanding of the pronouns of "I" and "mom."
He told me to not let religion become dominant in my life.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father. "Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man 'against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's enemies will be those of his household.'
Polish Father Simon of Lipnica
ROME, JUNE 1, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Father Simon of Lipnica, a 15th-century Polish Franciscan who gave his life for those suffering from the plague, will soon be proclaimed a saint.
Benedict XVI will canonize the Franciscan on Sunday in St. Peter's Square.
Simon was born in Lipnica Murowana, in the south of Poland, between the years 1435-1440. He moved to Krakow in 1545, to attend the Jagiellonian University.
Inspired by the preaching of the Franciscan St. John of Capistrano, Simon asked to be received into the convent of the Friars Minor at the convent of St. Bernardine, in Krakow, in 1457. He was ordained a priest around the year 1460.
Like St. Bernardino of Siena and St. John of Capistrano, Father Simon spread devotion to the name of Jesus, obtaining the conversion of innumerable sinners. He was also given the honor of the first of the Friars Minor to be the preacher at the Cathedral of Wawel, the home of Poland's monarchy, in Krakow, in 1463.
A plague epidemic broke out in Krakow from July 1482 to 1483. Father Simon offered his own life for those afflicted with the disease. He comforted and aided the sick and administered the sacraments, until he too was infected.
Father Simon, while suffering the pain of the disease, expressed his desire to be buried under the threshold of the church so that all could trample on him. On the sixth day of suffering the disease, Father Simon died on July 18, 1482.
Father Simon was beatified by Pope Innocent XI on Feb. 24, 1685, and the cause for his canonization was taken up by Pope Pius XII on June 25, 1948.
Benedict XVI will pray as his special intention this June for sailors and the Church in Africa.
The Apostleship of Prayer announced the general intention chosen by the Pope: "That the Lord may protect sailors and all those involved in maritime activities."
The Holy Father also chooses an apostolic intention for each month. In June he will pray "that the Church in North Africa may bear witness, with its presence and its action, to God's love for every individual and all peoples."
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Still job hunting, but I have an interview tomorrow at 9am, down in Los Angeles. in the meantime I am still applying for jobs, which means being online. I went online on Saturday to post my resume and apply for jobs; I got kicked off the server twice. Yesterday mom was online, for about 2 hours, and she got barely anything done. Sometimes it can take more than a few minutes for a page to load. Today, though things are faster.
One good thing about college, and saving nearly everything from notebooks to recommended resources, is that when you can no longer find them online, I can find them under the bed or crammed into the book shelf. I found the packet of volunteer sites, which was no longer listed at the university's psychology department webpage. The bad thing is that I'm running out of room in my bookshelf, and my text books are so heavy that the shelves sag. That's not good is it?
Have I read your comments? Yes! I decided to stop drifting as Sr. Rita told me not to do back in January/February over the phone. Since then I have been drifting, as you've clearly seen from my most recent posts. I don't like drifting, but I also don't like making choices until I'm absolutely certain that I'm doing the right thing. . . . makes discernment a difficult process, this needing to be sure beyond all doubt. So, as the first paragraph says, I have asked for a spiritual director, and I will likely have Sister's phone number by the end of this week. In fact, I might not have to wait for R. to send it to me, when I have a booklet of I don't know how many religious orders, and I know that I've seen the DMJ in it.
In the mean time, I am job hunting, as I have already said above. But I am also sewing. I've finished one table topper, and about to finish another. The one that is done is in black and bright colors so that the red, yellow, blue and green stand out. I manipulated the color placement on the fifty-forty block so that it looks like tulips, or flowers. I'll probably sell it online as mom doesn't like dark colors at all. . . .
Anyway, back to the job hunt.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Heard from God two days ago. He simply showed me to read Isaiah 51. I've perused it. Will probably look at it in depth again.
I'm somewhat apathetic right now because I'm unemployed and can't find too much in my field; useless without a license and at least a M.A. / M. S. degree.
Questions arose in comments as to why I was going to Opus Dei meetings but not speaking to anyone there. Firstly, I've got to know someone there otherwise I wouldn't know when meetings and recollections are. I know a numerary (right term?), one of those celibate members, and I know her from OD first, and University second; she works at the university and I attended it.
Why don't I have a spiritual director? I began discernment late last July, and when school started I honestly thought I was smart enough to land myself a spot as a graduate student in a psychology PhD program. That bottomed out in April this spring as I got several rejections. I thought that if spiritual directors were "life coaches" for one's soul, there was little point in finding one in September when I might have to pull up roots and go to the PhD program in Davis or Riverside or Santa Barabra. Sisters and others that I talked to seemed to agree; the LA Archdiocese women's vocation director seemed to as well.
I still don't know where I am going for grad school as I have an application pending still and will not hear from them for at least another month; know, however, that I have tentatively accepted a state school for a M.A. program in psychology.
That's why I don't have spiritual director.
Why do you enjoy participating in Opus Dei activities? I enjoy most Catholic activities, if they are filled with faith and a deep reverence and belief that Christ actually exists; the kind of faith that admits there is a Purgatory, a Heaven, and Hell. So, why do I like this kind of faith, and the life of Opus Dei members, probably because the nature of Christ's and St. Josemaria's teachings ask that they actually live it out. That it's a part of who they are and its not swept under the rug when company comes over. Faith, as I've seen it in OD and in the religious life, is not a trifling matter. Maybe I've seen and lived with those who take faith as a trifling matter too long.
Is that enjoyment possibly a sign that God is leading you in that direction? Sure, anything's possible. I don't believe in concoidences.
If you are participating in their activities, why haven't you talked with an Opus Dei priest or numerary? I have through confession. I have talked with other priests (not OD) and vocation directresses and such many times over. Some express doubt, others don't say much at all.
Is the fact that you haven't talked to one a sign that God is not leading you in that direction? or you just did not think of having an Opus Dei spiritual director and are thinking of it still? I'm waiting for my academic life to come into focus. What is the point of having a spiritual director in Los Angeles if I'm down in Long Beach, or vice versa? I have to wait for the dust to settle before making a decision. Indecision is my companion.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The post that I just wrote below, clearly lost its focus about 2 paragraphs in. Began to tell you about my discernment process, but trailed off and started to project onto you (any reader) about my mom.
This past semester I took a class on positive psychology and one of our many assignments was to take Seligman's VIA (Values in Action) questionnaire of 200+ questions. My top strength was religiousity. No big surprise there at all! Seligman wrote in one version of his book Authentic Happiness that many people find that they really enjoy and define themselves by their first strength, and I'd have to agree that I do the same. He also went on to write that it also proves to be a point of contention and oftentimes gets them into trouble and hassels as well, to which I also agree.
My faith, and the strength of my faith, is fun, I love it, and it also creates a lot of trouble for me; most of this trouble, clearly, is at home.
I am the only practicing Catholic at home. I attend Mass every Sunday, Saturday vigil if I foresee that I will not be able to attend Sunday's Mass. I am quickly developing devotions to some saints, and of course to our Mother, the Blessed Virgin. I've pulled various religious gifts over the years out of hiding and place them on the dresser or on my night table, so everything's in easy sight or easy reach.
This August, it'll be two years since I began to believe again; judging by the strength and steadfastness of my faith, "born again" is an apt phrase to use.
Right now, there's no trouble for me being a Catholic at home. Except when you count the Sundays that I've been invited to Recollection and Mom asks where was the Church and it's name. How do I say that the Mass was held at Opus Dei Center for women in Los Angeles? How do I answer Dad's yearly lectures on why I would be smart to meet and get engaged to a man while in college, when I have no desire to get married? What do I do when people say that I should be a Sister, or say that I look like a Sister? Honestly, what does a Sister look like anyway? I hope people don't say that just because I have self-respect and don't want to become some man's next near ocassion of sin!
My outlook on my profession is quickly shifting from therapist to Licenced Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). I am alright with that shift. I like how it enables me to further help people -- not the rich-needy, but those who are actually in need. Now all that mom tells me over the past few days is that "it's not pretty work" and "you're going to see nasty things." *Really, gee, did not know that* She asked how I planned to handle it, I said I'd be fine. I'm reminded of an email that a friend sent me a while ago and he wrote that of all the people he knew as counselors and social workers, the few that were not burnt out after a few years were Christians. How will I handle it? By the Grace of God. Just like everything else.
Discernment is a process. It's difficult, I know that; I've felt how difficult it can be.
Problem is that I haven't heard from God in months (Since February, to be truthful).
He takes His time, meanwhile the world goes by and I have to find work and enroll in graduate school.
God, I'm making time for you. I'm making sacrifices for you. I'm talking with you.
When you gonna realize this isn't a therapy session, decide to reciprocate, and actually offer a clear-cut reply that will help me know what it is that You want for (or, of) me and this life You've given me?
Returning to the present, it wasn't until the Pastor Emeritus at my home parish celebrated his 50th anniversary of his ordination as a priest that I was happy again to be in discernment. Prayer's good, but it'll gradually become better. I'm pulling the vocation mail out from under my bed again, although it's still hard to think of myself as possibly becoming a sister. I had a lot of introspection, a lot of indepth consideration of a friend's doubt.
The majority of what stands in my way of becoming a sister is the stark reality of my personality, my emotions, and quirks. I wrote draft posts, then never posted. My friend said that until I could love my blood relations like I treat the homeless I fed on Skid Row every week, I wouldn't be able to be a Sister. He said that religious life was hard work, and draining, and unless I could unconditionally love, I wouldn't be able to take it. I see his point. He also told me a week later, in person, that there's a lot of passion, a lot of energy in me, but also a lot of anger. I need to work on that anger.
I know that I need to forgive someone in particular, but I don't see a consequence in her life at all. She's blessed: a family, a wonderful neighborhood. She's got friends and people inquire of her when I go to Mass every Sunday. She's got more than most people have, or would think to ask of. There's no consequence. She sins. Doesn't care at all, and throws God out of her life like you throw the garbage out on Monday morning for the trash collector and his smelly truck. Replaces God with mimickry and falsehood. Then has the nerve to yell at me last November that the RCC is a cult. Woman, I know what a cult is better than you ever could.
But she doesn't care. She doesn't want to understand so many things. so many things.
Like the way she's fanantic about her idols, I am like that towards God. The way she's concerned about the status quo and the perfect life, I'm concerned about eternal life/damnation in the same way.
She gets upset with my attitude and tone of voice; woman now you understand what it was like to be the brunt of your disgust back when you had that job and that boss, and all those late hours. You couldn't stand my bad grades; I can't stand your blithe attitude towards sin - like it all don't matter.
Two say its up to me to repair the relationship. Their idea of repairing the relationship is to just go along with whatever she says. She might say "you don't have to go to church, you're already saved," I go anyway. She might drag me to her voodoo and make me participate, but you could read the ridicule and disbelief on my face. She might not like the rosary, the chaplet to St. Michael, and the statue of Mary surrounded by dried flowers, and I just add more flowers, prayer cards, and holy water in vials.
I don't care about what you want, desire in this life. It's not about you. It's about God. God gives and He takes away. You cannot decide to just take, and think there's no consequence. But God's forgiving, and I'm not. Maybe judgment day will come and He decides that He loves her, and there's no consequence for her. So I don't like her, I don't forgive her, I don't love her very much. Hard to love someone who thinks abortion's okie-dokie and only Catholic on paper, a mere technicality, a blip on a baptismal record and a confirmation record and a marriage license.
There is a Hell.
There is a Heaven.
I'm trying to make my way to Heaven, but woman you make it so darn difficult with your sin and your idols and your concern for the World.
You love the status quo. I fear what you'll do and think and say when you find out that I don't want a part of it. All I want is your approval but I'll never get it.
I'm Catholic, you think it's unattractive.
I'm Catholic, you think it's a cult.
I'm Catholic, you think you don't have to make sacrifices for Faith & Love.
I'm Catholic, and I believe in a Hell and a Heaven that is more than just a symbolic removal from God. I'm trying to work towards one, and you just blindly slide toward the other, but you don't care.
You don't care.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
I am incredibly comfortable with myself.
- I'm Catholic and I really love being so.
- Same goes for being single.
So the thought that has been nagging me for the past 2 days has been that hopefully its not some how selfish to enjoy being single, Catholic, and virgin; and to be comfortable with it that I don't cherish the idea of ever being married and having to give up the virginity.
I don't want to lose it. I want to keep it forever.
Does that make sense to any of you?
It's not really a point of confusion for me; it seems to come naturally to me.
Yet, there's this sense of taboo about virginity, and even more so about keeping it. And not just "in the world" but also in the fact that this isn't discussed in the Church. The only time I've ever talked about it with a person is with a friend who's Baptist and she said that she remains pure because God takes pleasure in it. End of conversation.
Marriage is beautiful, as are children. And as attractive as a man might be, I don't have ANY desire to marry him. As cute and adorable babies and little kiddies might be, I don't want to have them. This leaves me with three wonderful choices to make: religious life, consecrated virgin, or be a celibate member in a lay ministry such as Opus Dei, which I really enjoy participating in although I'm not yet a member.
Any yet, although I only have 3 to choose from, the possibilities still seem infinite.
Oh boy, do I need a spiritual advisor or what?
Monday, May 14, 2007
Now I am spending time with family, as my Grandfather who lives in Michigan and whom I have not seen for 7 years is in town and staying with us. Actually, he sleeps in my room while I share my sister's bed. I am also looking for a job, mainly for the summer, but if I can find one that I can work close to where I'll be attending for graduate school, it'd be great. I will be attending a CSU, and while that is much more less expensive that what tuition has been for the last four years, it's now all on my shoulders, and any small amount of money looks like a lot to me.
Graduation gifts rock! I have gotten nothing but money, and it's all going towards a new (used) car for me to own. Hopefully this one will have A/C and at least a tape deck.
When I'm not online looking for jobs, or taking Grandpa around town, I'm sewing. I'm half-done with a "Double Wedding Ring" quilt that I've done with my scrap fabrics. Mom wants me to sell it online because she doesn't like anything that I sew: she likes pastel colors, while I like vibrants like purple and yellow or dark colors like sage green or burgundy.
That's pretty much what I'm doing these days.
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
St. Luke tells us that those first brothers and sisters of ours in the faith “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” And, he adds: “the company of those that believed were of one heart and soul.”
An immediate consequence of knowing and feeling themselves to be God’s family was apostolic daring, the courage to speak about Jesus to the persons they met, without fear or human respects. “They spoke the word of God with boldness,” notes the evangelist. And he emphasizes: “with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.”
Underlying this marvelous picture, which highlights the first Christians’ logical enthusiasm for the risen Jesus and their apostolic zeal, one can make out, as I already said, the awareness of being God’s family on earth. It is the family, united by bonds much stronger than those of blood, that our Lord had proclaimed in his preaching: “Here are my mother and my brethren! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister, and mother.”
Jesus’ words refer first of all to our Lady, for thanks to Mary’s full adherence to what the Archangel had announced to her on God’s behalf, the great mystery of the incarnation of the Word took place. The first Christians learned from our Lady to conduct themselves as God’s children, as brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
Some Fathers of the Church emphasize Mary’s indispensable role as Mother in the early Church, after Jesus’ ascension to heaven and the coming of the Paraclete. For example, in a book attributed to St. Maximus the Confessor, we read that “when the apostles dispersed throughout the whole world, the holy Mother of Christ, as Queen of all mankind, dwelt at the center of the world, in Jerusalem, in Sion, with the beloved apostle whom Christ the Lord had given to her as her son.”
These considerations are very timely for the month of May, especially dedicated, in a great part of the world, to our Lady. Fulfilling the mission her Son entrusted to her on the Cross, Mary conducts herself at every moment as the Mother of Christians, as the Mother of the Church. I invite you to consider St. Josemaría’s joy when, at the beginning of this month, he points out that “devotion to our Lady...is always alive, awakening in Christians a supernatural desire to act as domestici Dei, as members of God’s household (Eph 2:19).”6]
I would dare to say that St. Josemaría was an innovator or, if you prefer, a saint who drew out immense riches and insights from Sacred Scripture. He used to stress that a Christian—and specifically, a man or woman of Opus Dei—makes the street into a temple, by turning one’s occupations into worship and praise of the Blessed Trinity. And I find in those words of the homily I just cited something very characteristic of him, which many people have commented on: in his human dealings and conversations, St. Josemaría converted the many different places where he happened to be into another Bethany. When with the sick, with manual workers, with students, with intellectuals, etc. (and I could point to many specific cases), he created a family atmosphere, teaching everyone how to receive Christ, as did Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
It is only natural that each one, in light of his or her particular needs, should make a specific plan for ways to deal personally with our Lady in the upcoming weeks, with the desire to see those around us as brothers and sisters, at every moment. Perhaps we can put more attention and affection into our daily praying of the Rosary and the contemplation of the mysteries; or undertake a pilgrimage, accompanied perhaps by another person, to a shrine or chapel dedicated to our Lady in the city where we live or in the surrounding area.
In Opus Dei during this month we live the custom of the “May pilgrimage,” begun by our founder in 1935. Let us entrust its spiritual fruit into our Mother’s hands. For as St. Josemaría said, “Mary continually builds the Church and keeps it together. It is difficult to have devotion to our Lady and not feel closer to the other members of the Mystical Body and more united to its visible head, the Pope.”
The consideration of the Church as God’s family also brings to mind the need to spread the truth about the family, founded on the marriage “of one man and one woman, forever.” As the Pope said in Valencia a little less than a year ago, “the family is the privileged setting where every person learns to give and receive love.” We can never do enough to spread the Church’s teaching on this point, when in many countries people are undermining, by means of unjust laws and customs, the natural foundations of the family. A few weeks back, I had the joy of meeting in Rome with a large group of married couples who were taking part in an International Conference on the Family. Following the teachings of the Church’s Magisterium, I encouraged them to continue strengthening, by their words and their lives, the roots of the institution of the family, which is “a necessary good for peoples, an indispensable foundation for society and a great and lifelong treasure for couples.”
The family is rightfully called the domestic church, “because the family manifests and lives out the communal and familial nature of the Church as the family of God. Each family member, in accord with their own role, exercises the baptismal priesthood and contributes toward making the family a community of grace and of prayer, a school of human and Christian virtue and the place where the faith is first proclaimed to children.”
An essential characteristic of this institution, as a community founded and built on love—a disinterested self-giving to others—is that its members are called to spend themselves daily in an effective and affectionate concern for one another. No one there can act as if the others did not exist; each has to be concerned about the needs of the others: praying for one another, helping one another, suffering and rejoicing over the sorrows and joys of the others. Thus all will contribute to carrying out the most sweet precept, which brings with it Christian fraternity, a sowing of peace and joy that necessarily ends up influencing society.
The duty to “build up the family”in each home is something very pleasing, which falls on everyone: the father and mother, the brothers and sisters, the grandparents, anyone who contributes with their work to the care of the home. It is a task that affects everyone, because all of us have to fight against a “spoiled child” mentality, a clear manifestation of self-centeredness. Logically, this duty especially binds the parents, who have to direct their entire life, before other noble goals, to modeling their own family, as perfectly as possible, on the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Although some disagreements will inevitably occur, Christian spouses have to make an effort to overcome them quickly, asking for and granting forgiveness.
St. Josemaría understood and excused those weaknesses: “since we are human beings, sometimes it’s okay to argue; but not a lot. And afterwards, both of you have to recognize that you are at fault, and tell each other, “Forgive me!” And give each other a big hug, and then, keep going! But make it clear that you are not going to have any more fights for a long time. And never argue in front of the children, whether they are young or older. Even when very small, children notice everything.”
This marvelous panorama, daughters and sons of mine who are living your divine vocation within marriage, is also seen in sacrifices that are generally small, although at times they may seem great to you. The responsibility of bringing forward the home falls integrally on the father and mother, in every area. Perhaps one of the spouses, because of work demands, spends most of their time outside the home; but on returning home, after a day of hard, and even exhausting, work, one cannot dispense oneself from striving to make the life of the other family members pleasant, or dedicate oneself to thinking selfishly about one’s own relaxation. You have to give your spouse the affection and attention to which they have a right, and your children—especially in crucial periods of their physical and emotional development—the time and affection that they need.
Therefore, my daughters and sons who are married, examine your behavior at home. Think about how you can help out more in the tasks at home (which also fall to the men). Consider whether you speak calmly amongst yourselves about each of your children, so as to guide them by common agreement, and whether you are ready, when necessary, to cut back in your activity outside the home, in order to take better care of your family, which is always, as St. Josemaría insisted, the “best business.” Especially, when the children are very young, help the other spouse to fulfill their Christian duties, such as attending Holy Mass or the means of Christian formation. Seek out the opportune means, certain that your effort and sacrifice will redound to the good of the whole family.
In the preceding paragraphs I have spoken more specifically to married people, but I want to stress that these duties and the main points of these counsels can apply to everyone, for we are all responsible—each in his or her own personal circumstances—for creating and maintaining around us a true family atmosphere. How do you pour yourself out for the others? What interest do you show in bringing peace and joy to the others? How do you show your availability for whatever needs to be done at home? At the office, in the workshop, during moments of relaxation, how do you foster fraternity, the environment of a home?
As I write these lines, I am also thinking in a very special way of the Administration of our Centers. Precisely because you carry out work very similar to that of our Lady in the home of Nazareth, how greatly you can influence, my daughters, the good of each person, each Center, each apostolic endeavor, the entire Work, all of society, by your hidden and silent service that creates the savor of a Christian family!
With regard to this marvelous family that is the Work, I have given thanks to God for two recent experiences. Fifteen days ago in Milan; and the day before yesterday when I returned from Berlin. These two stays brought to mind many recollections of the life of St. Josemaría, who wants each and every one of us to “build up the family” at every moment.
Let us go frequently to the Mother of the Church and the Work, asking her to teach us to spread the ideals of the Christian family everywhere, with its various practical, and necessary, consequences. If this should ever entail sacrifice, let us not forget that it is also an inexhaustible source of joy: the joy of those who don’t think about themselves but who give themselves in generous dedication to the others, for God, as Jesus did.
Continue to pray a lot for my intentions. God willed that I be the Father of this supernatural family of the Work. I, alone, cannot do anything; supported by my daughters and sons, with God’s grace, I can do everything: “omnia possum in eo, qui me confortat.”
And pray more, much more, for Benedict XVI, the common Father of Catholics, the Vicar of Christ in this great family of God on earth, which the Holy Church is.
 Acts 2:42.
 Acts 4:32.
 Acts 4:31,33.
 Mt 12:49-50;
 The Life of Mary, attributed to St. Maximus the Confessor, no. 95 (Testi mariani del primo millennio, vol. II, p. 259).
 St. Josemaría, Christ Is Passing By, no. 139.
 Pope Benedict XVI, Address at the World Meeting of Families, July 8, 2006.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Compendium,” no. 350.
 St. Josemaría, Notes taken in a get-together, June 4, 1974 (Hogares luminosos y alegres, p. 26).
 Phil 4:13.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
In an effort to self-motivate to finish a "wretched" final take home essay exam:
"Student: form in yourself a solid and active piety; be outstanding in study; have strong desires for a professional apostolate. And with that vigor in your religious and scientific training, I promise you rapid and far-reaching developments" (The Way 346).
"Make good use of your time. Don't foregt the fig tree cursed by our Lord. And it was doing something: sprouting leaves.
Like you ...
Don't tell me you have excuses. It availed the fig tree little, relates the evangelist, that it was not the season for figs when our Lord came to it to look for them.
And barren it remained forever" (The Way 354).
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Thus one may come to see how I do look up to Joseph both in work and in family matters.
Monday, April 30, 2007
Today Holy Week begins, the most important week of the whole year, because we commemorate the central events of our salvation. Would that each of us may live it—or better yet, “relive” it—personally, accompanying Jesus in the scenes that the liturgy places before our eyes. With Saint Josemaría, I ask God for the grace that we may all be more deeply “amazed” as we contemplate these Mysteries.
During the first days, with our Lord’s triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, it is easy to walk alongside Jesus on his frequent comings and goings from Bethany to Jerusalem and from Jerusalem to Bethany. Let us take up the Holy Gospel and put ourselves into those scenes, so as to accompany him very closely and walk at his pace in everything.
Stop to contemplate the hours that he spends in the Temple, trying to win over the scribes and Pharisees who, in those moments, were scheming only to destroy him. But Jesus does not take into account the apparent “failure” of his invitations to conversion; right up to the final moment, as we see in the scenes at Golgotha, he hopes that souls will open themselves to grace and thus receive salvation. He teaches us to be insistent in our personal apostolate, even though it may sometimes seem that we see no results. The fruit will always come.
Just before his passion, our Lord relates a parable that reflects, in a special way, the zeal for souls that consumes him: the parable of the king who “gave a marriage feast for his son and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come” (Mt 22:2-3). It is easy to imagine the longing in Christ’s most loving Heart as he spoke those words. And we are always struck by his insistence: “I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast” (Mt 22:4).
The same often happens today as well. If we truly strive to identify ourselves with Christ, to be alter Christus, ipse Christus, it is only logical, as Saint Josemaría used to insist, that Jesus’ life be reproduced, in one way or another, in our own. “The scene of the parable is being repeated: it is the same as with those people who were invited to the wedding feast. Some are afraid, others have their own concerns, many ... make up stories or give silly excuses.
“They put up resistance. That is why they feel the way they do: fed up, all in a muddle, listless, bored, bitter. And yet how easy it is to accept the divine invitation at every moment, and live a happy life, full of joy! (Furrow, n. 67). [This is a point of my own spiritual pain for others].
Our reaction, like that of Saint Josemaría, has to be to not let up but to grow in our dedication to the apostolate, fully convinced that no effort is ever lost, despite human resistance.
Let us be diligent specifically in our “apostolate of Confession.” Last year, at this time, the Pope recalled that “for a fruitful celebration of Easter, the Church asks the faithful in these days to receive the Sacrament of Penance, which is like a sort of death and resurrection for each one of us.... Let us be reconciled by Christ,” the Holy Father added, “to enjoy more intensely the joy that he communicates with his resurrection. The forgiveness which Christ gives to us in the Sacrament of Penance is a source of interior and exterior peace and makes us apostles of peace in a world where divisions, suffering and the tragedies of injustice, hatred and violence, unfortunately continue” (General Audience, April 12, 2006).
In the second part of the week we will celebrate the Paschal Triduum, the heart of the liturgical year. Let us put ourselves fully into the liturgical ceremonies during these days. On Holy Thursday, during the Mass In Cena Domini, let us thank Jesus for the institution of the Eucharist and the priesthood, and its perpetuation to the end of time. Let us accompany him in the Altars of Repose, where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved until Good Friday afternoon, in memory of the hours of solitude that Jesus endured, first in the Garden of Olives, and then in the farcical trial on that sad and sorrowful night. You should have the conviction that our vigil close to the Tabernacle in some way brought consolation to Jesus, true God and true man, during those bitter hours.
John Paul II, to whom the Church and the Work owe so much, was a passionate lover of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament: he was drawn by the Tabernacle and invited us to go there frequently. His arrival in heaven, two years ago, must have been as quick as his discovery of a Tabernacle during his apostolic visits and trips.
On Good Friday, when we commemorate the death of our Lord, besides fulfilling, in an exemplary way, the fast and abstinence prescribed for that day—reminding and assisting others to do so as well—let us generously seek out small mortifications during those hours. We can offer them in reparation for our sins and those of others, and in petition for the graces that so many souls, thousands upon thousands, need in order to decide to follow Jesus closely. Let us have no fear of the Cross, my daughters and sons, nor of the criticism of those who are pharisaically scandalized when they see Christians lovingly embrace that holy wood, on which our Lord put to death our own death and ransomed us for eternal life. Do we truly love sacrifice? Are we worried about what others may think?
On Holy Saturday we recall Jesus’ burial. Let us stay very close to our Lady, with the apostles and the holy women who accompanied him. They did not know then that, after those hours of darkness, the new day of the Resurrection was to dawn. But we now do know that this is so. Let us be filled with optimism and hope.
After the Sacred Triduum Easter time begins, which represents the future life that we look forward to receiving from God, and of which we already have a foretaste in hope, especially since in the Holy Eucharist we are offered a pledge and anticipation of our promised eternal happiness. Do we often think of heaven, especially when a setback comes, in order to immediately recover our supernatural peace and joy? Do we frequently go to the Tabernacle, to spend time with Jesus and nourish our theological life? The early Christians represented the virtue of hope by the symbol of an anchor. This signified that beyond the changing circumstances of earthly existence, our security is based on Jesus, who has entered into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father in his Most Holy Humanity, ever living to intercede for us (cfr. Hb 4:14; 7:25).
“Christ is alive. This is the great truth which fills our faith with meaning. Jesus, who died on the cross, has risen. He has triumphed over death; he has overcome sorrow, anguish and the power of darkness,” wrote Saint Josemaría. And he continued: “Christ is alive. Jesus is the Emmanuel: God with us. His resurrection shows us that God does not abandon his own. He promised he would not: ‘Can a woman forget her baby that is still unweaned, pity no longer the son she bore in her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you’ (Is 49:14-15). And he has kept his promise” (Christ is passing by, n. 102).
In his recent post-synodal apostolic exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, Benedict XVI reminds us that “especially in the liturgy of the Eucharist, we are given a real foretaste of the eschatological fulfillment for which every human being and all creation are destined (cf. Rom 8:19ff.). Man is created for that true and eternal happiness which only God’s love can give. But our wounded freedom would go astray were it not already able to experience something of that future fulfillment. Moreover, to move forward in the right direction, we all need to be guided towards our final goal. That goal is Christ himself, the Lord who conquered sin and death, and who makes himself present to us in a special way in the Eucharistic celebration. Even though we remain ‘aliens and exiles’ in this world (1 Pet 2:11), through faith we already share in the fullness of risen life. The Eucharistic banquet, by disclosing its powerful eschatological dimension, comes to the aid of our freedom as we continue our journey” (n. 30).
Jesus is the invisible but real Companion who is always at our side and who awaits us in the Tabernacle, where he shows us how close he is to us. How our days would change if we truly had at every moment the sureness, filled with faith, hope and love, that inspired Saint Josemaría! Let us go trustingly to his intercession, so that he will spur us to be truly Eucharistic men and women. On the 23rd, the anniversary of his first Holy Communion, we will have an excellent opportunity to do so. Let us tell Jesus each day, “Lord, I love you,” and strive to show it with deeds.
Let us pray a lot for the Pope, both for him and for his intentions. The burden that lies on his shoulders is a very heavy one. Divine providence counts on our prayers and sacrifices to give him strength and make his words effective. On the upcoming April 16th, he will turn 80, and the 19th will be the second anniversary of his election. Let us thank God for the gift he has granted the Church in the person of Benedict XVI.
We all recall how at the Mass inaugurating his pontificate, the Holy Father asked Catholics for the help of their prayer. And in 2006, when commemorating the first anniversary of his pontificate, he remarked: “I feel more and more that alone I could not carry out this task, this mission. But I also feel that you are carrying it with me: thus, I am in a great communion and together we can go ahead with the Lord’s mission...I offer very warm thanks to all those who in various ways support me from close at hand or follow me from afar in spirit with their affection and their prayers. I ask each one to continue to support me, praying to God to grant that I may be a gentle and firm Pastor of his Church (General Audience, April 19, 2006).
Let us examine in God’s presence how our union with the Pope is going: a unity of prayers, of affections and of resolutions. Do we pray a lot, every day, for the intentions of the Holy Father? Do we offer up sacrifices and renunciations that cost us a lot? Do we ask other people to pray and offer up periods of work and small mortifications for the Roman Pontiff? Do we spread his teachings, which are the doctrine of Christ, and defend them when they are attacked in the media or in private conversations?
Friday, April 27, 2007
Alone in a crowded & jammed freeway
Mismatch of travel and dreams
Seek senseless stability in everchanging life
Fun, intrigue, & disdain await thee in mail box
Active mind, tired eyes at day's end
Afore moon and stars chance to twinkle thy head rests on pillow
Mind travels merge with dreams