Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holy Martyrs of Vietnam parish

Rocky and I went to visit Holy Martyrs of Vietnam in Arlington Virginia. It was breathtaking. Somebody there really knows how to decorate. Their outdoor nativity scene was lovely and then when you walk inside there's another even bigger one. One of the staff turned the lights on in the church for us and we said a decade of the rosary. The tabernacle looks like its made of rosewood  and it is front and center, not shunted off to another room or in a corner. They have two  beautiful statues of Our Lady of LaVang. Vietnamese are hard working people and so they have late night Mass on Saturday and Sunday but they are all in Vietnamese. The parish is served by Dominicans.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

My King, My Little King

This antique holy card says Come to Me and I will bless you.
HT to the lovely Elena Vidal at the Tea at Trianon blog.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Basso Profundos for Christmas

Ann Barnhardt mentioned on her site that Nat King Cole's voice always reminded her of what she imagines God's voice must sound like. Well Nat's voice is angelic and I love him, but when I was child I envisioned God as sounding like Cecil B. DeMille. Now, in my head God sounds like a basso profundo. It's the deepest vocal range and the first time I ever heard one singing I sat up said, "Hot diggity!" It gave me chills becaus it was so incredible.

My second favorite nativity painting

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

random thoughts on hysteria, miracles and stuff

*Whenever Americans freak out and say something must be done....things get worse. In the 1970s there was a mass emptying of insane asylums. Nobody seemed to connect this to the homeless media frenzy of the 80s. On Fr Z'S blog he posted a story about a mayor who's threatening a homeless shelter. One commenter wrote in that church's should pitch in and let homeless people sleep there. That's a nice thought but it also leaves the parish open to lawsuits when some woman goes into the church to pray and gets raped or murdered. I've twice had incidents with homeless men in church. The first was in St. Jospeh's on Capital Hill in DC and it  ended well becuase I and the other woman who was also frightned fled in time. The second, which happened in a wealthy suburb turned out okay because a male parish employee yelled at the guy to leave. Most folks have no idea of how dangerous some of the poor souls living on the streets can be until they volunteer to help out at the homeless ministry and have to sign a legal waiver saying the parish is not liable if they get hurt.

*One Spring day when I was 15, I was walking home from school when I realized that I was being hunted. Two guys in a car were driving very slowly down the street and they were looking at me. I remained calm and pretended I didn't see them. I reached into my bottomless pit of a purse and found my keys. I kept walking until I got to the front steps of my apartment building and then used the element of surprise and got a speed boost from my guardian angel. I ran up the steps got the front door open and slammed it behind me. As I pulled the glass and steel door closed I saw that one of the guys in the car had gotten out and was on the steps. He snapped his fingers and probably cursed in frustration then went back to his accomplice. I let myself inside my apartment, dropped my purse and books on the floor and went straight to my mothers room and lay down on her bed until she came home from work. The experience was so shocking that I never said a word about it for 20 years and to this day I've never mentioned it to my mother. I'm 4 foot eleven inches tall. I'm no speedster. I could never have fought my way to safety and it's a miracle I noticed those guys, ran fast enough and had my keys in my hand.  God saved me that day.

*I'm reading Father Luigi Villa's book on Venerable Paul VI. It's not enjoyable at all. The feelings I get while reading it are painful and  I keep walking away from it but I've never had any use for willful ignorance so I'll keep at it.

*I just received this  handmade holy card made by a delightful mother and daughter in Pennslyvania. They have an Etsy shop and the card is just gorgeous. It's on archival, thick, creamy paper and the colors are stunning. The funny thing is that I have a crocheted veil made  that looks just like the one Our Lady is wearing in the picture.


Friday, December 21, 2012

What not to wear

The people who own this clothing company are Protestants but I've seen stuff like this on young Catholics. Ladies, if you show up to Mass dressed like this you may mean well but I assure you, my dear it's not a good look and it makes Christian women look bad.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Visitation

Venerable Paul VI?

 So, it looks like Pope Paul VI is on his way to being cannonized. He  was an odd figure to me. I can barely remember when he died but I do recall that none of the adults seemed sad. They were excited about who the new pope would be but it was as if Paul VI had never existed. Neither the traditional nuns or Sr. Babs, the super liberal nun at school showed any emotion at all. The folks on Father Z's site didn't seem overly impressed.

Monday, December 17, 2012

One of the oldest icons of Mary

Mary Protectress of the People of Rome, it's said to have  been painted by St. Luke and brought to Rome by St. Helena.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Hell brouhahah

I think it's natural human frailty to hope that Hell is either empty or lightly populated. It's painful to think that your Uncle Lou is in Hell. Lou was great to you, he was fun, okay so he drank and cheated on his wife and had several outside children that he didn't provide one dime for, not to mention that he was nobody to mess with when he was mad as several guys at the local bar found out over the years... you all loved Uncle Lou...he's not in Hell, pretty please?

It's also comforting to think that if God is just going to forgive everybody and that if even Stalin and Hitler are in Purgatory then surely you, a nice person who has never killed or tortured anybody has nothing to worry about.

Lukewarm Catholics casuse a lot of trouble for themselves and others. Trying to pretend the Hell isn't a possible destination is foolish. Either you believe Jesus or not and He talked plainly about Hell. Either you believe Mary or not. At Fatima she talked plainly about Hell.

As for Father Barron, well, he is a priest and I'd rather pray for him than criticize him. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

massacre of the innocents....there's something happening here

This is what the LORD says: "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more."

I won't comment directly about the massacre in Connecticut because too much loose talk has been already spouted and most of it is wrong. I will say that we need to call the media into account. First the shooter was a disgrunted parent, then he was a fired teacher, then he was the son of teacher. First he was one guy and then oops, they admited they had the wrong name. First there were two shooters, and the main killer's brother had been arrested in the woods near the school. Then, it turned out the killer's brother was at work and hasn't spoken to him in years. First his mother was dead at school, now she apparently was the first victim at home. This was not news reporting. This was wild gossip.

Secondly, Michael Bloomberg in New York scares me. That man would've made a great Soviet commisar. He seems to need to control ordinary people.  And finally, can we please face the fact that some mentally ill people are dangerous to themselves and others and really do belong in a safe institution? 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tissot's Annunciation

James Tissot spent ten years in Palestine, studying the clothes, the features of the locals, the flora, fauna, and geography before the displayed his massive life of Christ exhibit. His annunciation is one of my favorites.

Monday, December 10, 2012

random thoughts

*In the olden days lay people who wanted to experience the beauty of monastic life simply moved as close as they could to the monks and nuns. Whole villages grew up around  the monasteries and young families are making the same move today.  I love going to the Franciscan monastery in DC and Rocky is fond of going to the early morning Mass at the Poor Clare monastery in Alexandria on his way to work.

*One of the biggest things a convert or new parishioner can do to make themselves unpopular is to tell everybody how great the ----was at your old parish or denomination and why you wish your new church would do the same. The first normal reaction is to respond, "Oh yeah, then why don't you go back?" I'm not saying that's kind, it's not but it's a normal reaction. 

*  Plain talk from the Early Church Fathers: The first statement of a Church council on homosexual practices was issued by the Council of Elvira (305-306). The decree excludes from communion, even in articulo mortis (at the moment of death), the stupratores puerorum (corrupters of boys).

*After Sunday Mass, Rocky and I witnessed a wedding. It was beautiful. There were less than ten people in the church counting us, and the three other people who were also saying their prayers after Mass. You don't need a huge production and frankly, instead of a Princess fantasy you can use that money to start your home and be just as happy as woman who was married in a Cathedral with a 1000 guests.

*I was at Mass in DC when Father Hurley prayed for all women who has lost children. Thank you, Father! Women who suffer failed pregnancies  get forgotten much of the time. I remember when I returned to work after recuperating from surgery for an ectopic rupture and one of my co-workers turned away from me in the hall and fled. She was pregnant herself and she just didn't know what to say and perhaps she just didn't want to be around me because I represented what could go wrong.

*Since it's Advent that crummy little Nativity movie is probably going to be aired again and someone might even get the idea to show it at the parish hall. Here's a plucky young priest who explains why the movie was blasphemous.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

John, like a speeding bullet..

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
"Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God."

When Father Eagle read these words today an image suddenly popped into my mind of St. John sitting around minding his own business when he is told, "It's time." Did an angel come to him like Gabriel did to his father? Did he have a vision of God or did the Lord send Elijah to him? However the word of God came to John he had his marching orders. The boy who was born to Zachariah and Elizabeth in their old ages was a man now, a man with a mission and like a bullet he was off. He would not tarry, or stop or turn from his path until his death.

At Mass

Monday, December 03, 2012

He bore all our sins....

Give thanks to the Lord

In this work, the artist shows a terribly poor woman who is not whinning, not demanding but gives thanks to the Lord for what she does have. Tired though she may be before she lies down or eats her meal she prays. It's a powerful and inspirational image by a forgotten master.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Plain talk from two popes and random thoughts

*Pope St. Pius X once said that “All evil in the world is due to lukewarm Catholics.”

* "What thou hast done for the poor man, thou has done for Me,"....Christ's words to St. Martin, the soldier who gave half his uniform cloack to a beggar.

When a homeless person gets to the point where they are blistered, freezing and shoeless they probably have mental illness. Most of us don't have the nerve to deal with that. At my old parish, St. Matthew's Cathedral in DC they have a huge homeless ministry and it takes patience, courage and caution to deal with the regulars. Some-- the crack and heroin users really would stab you in a heartbeat if they thought they could get away with it. Some are hustlers with the warmth of a rattlesnake. Some are severely ill with schizophrenia and other mental conditions. They will come get a sandwich or they'll come to the alley and accept a meal but are too timid to engage any more than that. The monsters in their brains are so horrible that they are terrified most of the time.  The only thing that seems to help is the Mass and being in front of the Blessed Sacrament. This officer did a beautiful act of kindness. St. Martin of Tours, pray for us.

*Father Z got a question about whether it’s okay to listen to the hymns at Mass or are we all required to sing. Father says no which is nice for me because I rarely sing at Mass. It irritates my own terrific young pastor, Fr. Eagle who has mentioned the lack of singing from the pews during one of his homilies but I can’t help it. I don’t want to sing. I want ----no---I need to concentrate on Christ at the altar. I know St. Augustine said singing is praying twice but was the saint talking about hymns or was he talking about chanting parts of the Mass? 

* I've noticed that a lot of people seem really angry lately. Maybe it's the election results, maybe it's the horror of joblessness, maybe it's just the feeling that's hanging in the air that the good times are over in this country. A while back, Rocky and I took a day trip to Baltimore and visited the Cathedral of Our Lady the Queen.  I was standing in the nave looking at artwork when a family walked in and headed to the pews. The father paused, looked at me with such an expression of malevolence that I just stared back at him wide eyed.  He half nodded, sharply turned his head away and followed his wife and kids. I really don't want to know what made him so angry and for his family's sake I hope he doesn't pull that stunt again with a man. St. Julian the Hospitaler, who suffered from rage fits, pray for us.

* Fr. Rutler   rocks. Plus, I always learn new words when I read his parish letters. HT to Mary Anne of Les Femmes.


*I've said it before and I'll say it again. Be very careful of professional laymen who go around giving speeches, writing books and setting themselves up as Catholic experts. If you find yourself saying, "Well, So and So says----  so Father Stuffy (who is quoting the catechism, popes, and giving examples from the lives of cannonized saints)is wrong," then you have a problem.  Again, BE CAREFUL. The guy who pays his mortgage with the proceeds of his talks, and media empire is not going to say anything that doesn't appeal to or excite you.
*Many women ... give in to the tyranny of fashion, be it even immodest, in such a way as to appear not even to suspect that it is unbecoming. They have lost the very concept of danger; they have lost the instinct of modesty.' Pope Pius XII.