Wednesday, May 29, 2013

No Compromise


St Paul Writing His Epistles

Valentin de Boulogne

(c. 1618 – 1620)


I had a kitchen disaster last night. The kind that makes me wonder why, after a challenging day, I would see fit to take on a recipe I’ve never tried before. By eight o’clock the kitchen was still a mess, dinner was in the garbage and I was more than a bit frazzled when the phone rang.


It was a call from a dear friend in law enforcement. We have many of these late night calls that remind me what it was like growing up with a father who was a homicide detective. They see humanity at it’s worst and there comes a time when they must find a way to not lose heart, they must find a way to see beyond the disgraceful condition of a world gone astray from it’s moorings, for they after all, are the ones cleaning up the mess.


Believe me when I tell you after one of our conversations, you’d think we live in a war zone; but my neighborhood and state is no different than yours. Well, some might say, that’s pathetic and so negative, why draw attention to it? Because if our country continues on it’s course it’s not going to get any better..The results are being processed every day in the courts of our cities. We have compromised truth to such a degree and shunned the reality that God exists that the grave consequences of not following Him may one day end in losing our soul as a nation. 


So, what is a Christian to do? How can we avoid being driven to despair in the face of such turmoil and worldly anxiety? Should we wring our hands and cry, “Where are you God? ” Should we raise our fists to Heaven and accuse God of forsaking us? Is He forsaking us?


For it is God who said. “Let light shine out of darkness,”

who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Christ.

—2 Corinthians 4:6


Though a Christian is only an earthen vessel, he must be head and shoulders above the anxieties of the world, in order to show that power belongs to God and not to us-


But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.


We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.


For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

2 Corinthians 4: 7-12



Although we find ourselves living in times of constant distress, the apostle Paul teaches us that God’s grace alone, can keep us from despair; our sufferings, if submitted to the Lord’s mercies, will conform us to Christ. Death might be at work, but obedience and trust will result in life and boundless blessings.


For the apostle Paul, his ‘no compromise’ life in Asia resulted in a great deal of suffering which he shared with the Corinthians so they wouldn’t be ignorant. He experienced so much affliction, was so unbearably crushed, that he almost despaired of life itself.

(2 Cor 1:8-11)


Why did God allow him to experience that?


  • to make him rely– not on himself–but, on God who raises the dead
  • so his hope would always be set on God to deliver him….again and again
  • to call them to pray for him  (1: 8-11)
I don’t know what the future holds for us…I don’t even know if the recipe I’ve picked out for tonight will result in another round of kitchen chaos….but I know this: at this point in our history regardless of the cost, we’d best heed the no compromise example of St Paul and recognize that God alone is able to bring light to the darkness we’re in.

Pray like our lives depend on that truth. 

Pray for the ones cleaning up the mess.






posted by Caroline  |   5:56 PM  |   2 comments
Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Holy Trinity


Holy Trinity 

Sandro Botticelli




The Holy Trinity or Pala delle Convertite is an altarpiece by the Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli,

dating to c. 1491-1493.

It is housed in Courtauld Institute Galleries of London.


It was originally commissioned by the Arte dei Medici e degli Speziali (guild of the Doctors and Pharmacists) for the church of Santa Elisabetta delle Convertite in Florence, a church/monastery housing former prostitutes or fallen women, who had converted from the licentious life to one of honesty, and whose patron saint was Mary Magdalene.


The picture shows the Trinity (Jesus Crucified, God and the Holy Spirit’s Dove) within an almond with seraphim.


In the background is a blue sky within two rocky spurs, in front of which are Mary Magdalene, taken in an intense praying posture, and St. John the Baptist, patron saint of Florence, who, as usual in the pictures of the period, is pointing to the center of the composition. The figure of Magdalene resembles the contemporary “Magdalene Penitent” by Donatello (1453–1455) and that by Desiderio da Settignano (c. 1455) in the church of Santa Trinita.


In the lower part, in a smaller scale, are the Archangel Raphael with Tobias, who is holding the fish that, in the Biblical tale, he had been ordered by angel to capture in order to save his father….”





The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

—2 Cor. 13:14



posted by Caroline  |   11:58 AM  |   4 comments
Friday, May 24, 2013

World Day of Prayer for the Church in China




( Pope Francis has called Christians worldwide to prayer this Friday for our brothers and sisters in China. Speaking at the end of his general audience in Italian, the Holy Father noted that Friday, May 24th, is the day dedicated to the liturgical memory of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Help of Christians, who is venerated with great devotion at the Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai. Emer McCarthy reports:



He said : “I urge all Catholics around the world to join in prayer with our brothers and sisters who are in China, to implore from God the grace to proclaim with humility and joy Christ, who died and rose again; to be faithful to His Church and the Successor of Peter and to live everyday life in service to their country and their fellow citizens in a way that is consistent with the faith they profess.



Making our own a few words of prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan, together with you I would like to invoke Mary : ” Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love. May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus”.

Mary, Virgin most faithful, support Chinese Catholics, render their commitments, which are not easy, more and more precious in the eyes of the Lord, and nurture the affection and the participation of the Church in China in the journey of the Universal Church”.



In May 2008 Pope-emeritus, Benedict XVI, composed a special prayer for the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christians (May 24), venerated at the shrine of Sheshan, near Shanghai. He also designated May 24 as the yearly World Day of Prayer for China and asked that we recite this prayer.


Below we publish the full text of the prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan:


Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother,

venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title “Help of Christians”, the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection.

We come before you today to implore your protection. Look upon the People of God and, with a mother’s care, guide them along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.


When you obediently said “yes” in the house of Nazareth, you allowed God’s eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption.You willingly and generously cooperated in that work, allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul, until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary,

standing beside your Son, who died that we might live. From that moment, you became, in a new way,

the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith and choose to follow in his footsteps by taking up his Cross.

Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter.


 Grant that your children may discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God’s loving presence.

Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trials, continue to believe, to hope, to love.


May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus.

In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high, offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love.


Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love,ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built.

Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever.



Please pray for the underground church in China and all our suffering brothers and sisters.





posted by Caroline  |   1:04 PM  |   2 comments
Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Saint of Impossible Causes



Saint Rita come to my aid!
Faithful, loving wife and mother,
Humble, prayerful widow and nun,
Because of my need, answer my call.


Saint Rita, come to my aid!
Beautiful rose born
from the Savior’s thorns,
Lead me far from anger and hate;
Guide my heart on peaceful paths with charity to all.


Saint Rita, come to my aid!
Helper, healer, holy friend
Hear my petition (make request).
To Christ take this prayer,
For He is my Lord, my God, my All,
My hope in despair,
My strength when afraid.
Saint Rita, come to my aid!
Saint Rita, answer my call.



Blessed feast day.

It’s never too late to pray a novena.

St Rita, I thank you in advance for the answered prayers you will obtain on our behalf.



posted by Caroline  |   3:27 PM  |   4 comments
Monday, May 20, 2013


Saint Bernardino of Siena.PNG


St Bernadine of Sienna, OFM 



St Bernadine of Sienna came from a noble family, but was orphaned at the age of six. Through the gracious love and provision of  relatives, he received an excellent education completing a degree in canon law by the age of twenty-three.


For years he lived a quiet unremarkable life as a Franciscan Friar of the Strict Observance, until in 1417, a novice prophesied to him three times:


“Brother Bernadino,”, he exclaimed, “go to Lombardy where all await you.”


He went to Milan obediently on faith, unsure for a time exactly what he was supposed to do, until he began to preach. Then it became clear when thousands across northern and central Italy came to hear this friars rousing eloquence laced with humor, wisdom and truth– and they converted.


Imagine a humorous exhortation like this from the pulpit today:


A sinner who repents learns to be prudent. He is like an ass, that once he has fallen in a spot, afterwards looks much more carefully where he sets his foot.  For fear of punishment he takes care not to fall into those sins again.


Oh great idiot who keeps on sinning! Why don’t you consider what the ass teaches you about saving your soul?

The ass doesn’t fall again, but you always do.


If you would only turn to God with love, you would learn much about prudence.


And all God’s people said… Amen!


St Bernadine had a special devotion to the name of Jesus, ending every sermon by actually blessing the crowd with a placard marked,




the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus. It is said, that so many people requested a copy it put a local business owner

–who made playing cards used in gambling– right out of business. Seems the placard company out manufactured him.


He refused several bishoprics, becoming instead the vicar general of the Franciscans inspiring many reforms and vocations.


He died in 1444 after delivering a series of fifty sermons in fifty days.


St Bernadine of Sienna, pray for us, that we may fear God and repent of our sins.

And may we devote ourselves in love to the Holy Name of Jesus.






  • link
  • Voices of the Saints, Bert Ghezzi
  • Living With Christ
  • Wikipedia

posted by Caroline  |   4:12 PM  |   2 comments
Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Spirit of Truth and Love

File:The Descent Of The Holy Spirit.png


There’s so much I’m asking the Spirit for this Pentecost.

I hope to be filled anew, that I may learn to love as He loves;


and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

—Romans 5:5


With a renewed presence of the Holy Spirit, I long to understand what it means to abide in Christ..Such a strange word to modern ears, that apart from it’s use in the gospels, one might consider it obsolete. Nothing much continues or perseveres these days; promises kept, once the foundation of our human community, have all but vanished.

No matter, I am still called to abide and I pray the Holy Spirit anchor me to Christ, that it be more that just an abstract truth in my life.


And what about truth? ‘Slim pickens’ on that as well these days, but nevertheless our Lord promises He will send the Counselor who will guide us to all truth.

Truth if it’s given the Lord’s way, must be done in love;



Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.


—Ephesians 4:15-16


Apart from His indwelling power I know this as well–I’d never be able to grasp or absorb any of the gifts He desires to give me:



“We receive the Spirit of truth so that we can know the things of God. In order to grasp this, consider how useless the faculties of the human body would become if they were denied their exercise.

Our eyes cannot fulfill their task without light, either natural or artificial;


our ears cannot react without sound vibrations, and in the absence of any odor our nostrils are ignorant of their function.

 Not that these senses would lose their own nature if they were not used; rather, they demand objects of experience in order to function.


It is the same with the human soul.

Unless it absorbs the gift of the Spirit through faith, the mind has the ability to know God but lacks the light necessary for that knowledge.”


My last request is for the faith to be ready to receive from Him since the gift is,


“everywhere available, but is given to each man in proportion to his readiness to receive it.”


Come Holy Spirit.




  • Quote taken from LOH
    Treatise On the Trinity by Saint Hilary, bishop
    The Father’s gift in Christ

posted by Caroline  |   5:02 PM  |   5 comments
Friday, May 17, 2013

Spiritual Warfare…Fight Like a Knight



In Notebook VI of Divine Mercy In My Soul, the Lord instructs St Faustina to undertake a three day retreat in the days preceding Pentecost and that He Himself will conduct the retreat. He tells her,


You shall not follow any of the rules required for retreats or use any books for meditation .

Your task is to listen attentively to my words.

For spiritual reading you shall read one chapter from the Gospel of John.



On the first day, after her second meditation, the Lord gives her a Conference on Spiritual Warfare“, which I found particularly interesting and helpful;


“My daughter, I want to teach you about spiritual warfare. Never trust in yourself, but abandon yourself totally to My will.

In desolation, darkness and various doubts, have recourse to Me and your spiritual director. He will always answer you in my name.


Do not bargain with any temptation; lock yourself immediately in My Heart and,

at the first opportunity reveal the temptation to the confessor. 

Put your self-love in the last place, so that it doesn’t taint your deeds.


Bear with yourself with great patience. Do not neglect interior mortifications. 

Always justify to yourself the opinion of your superiors and of your confessor.

Shun murmurers like a plague. 


Let all act as they like;

you are to act as I want you too. 

Observe the rule as faithfully as you can. If someone causes you trouble, think what good you can do for that person who caused you to suffer.


Do not pour out your feelings. be silent when you are rebuked. 

Do not ask everyone’s opinion, but only the opinion of your confessor;

be as frank and simple as a child with him. 


Do not become discouraged by ingratitude.

Do not examine with curiosity the roads down which I lead you. 

When boredom and discouragement beat against your heart, run away from yourself and hide in My heart.


Do not fear struggle;

courage itself often intimidates temptations, and they dare not attack us. 

Always fight with the deep conviction that I am with you. Do not be guided by feeling, because  it is not always under your control; but all merit lies in the will. 


Always depend upon your superiors, even in the smallest things.

I do not delude you with prospects of peace and consolations;

on the contrary prepare for great battles.


Know that you are on a great stage where all Heaven and earth are watching you.

Fight like a knight, so that I can reward you.

Do not be unduly fearful, because you are not alone.”



The rest of the retreat He gives Faustina is just as amazing and beautiful.


Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.

Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.

And You shall renew the face of the earth. 






posted by Caroline  |   3:15 PM  |   4 comments
Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How Long Will You Grieve Over…..




I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. She told me that transition is something she looks forward to ~ anticipating what new thing God is championing in her life.

After a long silence she asked,


“Are you still there? ”

“Yes, I just don’t think I’ve ever had a woman tell me she loves transition and change.”


We continued our discussion, but after I hung up, I gave thought to what she said. I recalled the many times transition came to my young life; changes I had no control over, people who decided things I didn’t approve of, things God decided were best, but only wild horses could drag me to the departing station.  And the older I get, it doesn’t seem any easier to let go of that pastor or friend, who decides to move on, that person who concludes living the Christian life is not their cup of tea, or occasionally that past memory that can still resurrect pain.


There’s grief involved in transition, especially the big ones, and I think God’s OK with letting us have our time to process. But, I’m awful slow on giving up what I think I’ve longed for most of my life..a sense of stability. The lack of it is very unsettling to me and these days change seems to come at breakneck speed.


It was in this mindset I came across 1 Samuel 16: 1-6 this week.


The Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul?

I have rejected him from being king over Israel. Fill your horn with oil and set out;

I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”


Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me.” And the Lord said, “Take a heifer with you, and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’


Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do; and you shall anoint for me the one whom I name to you.”


Samuel did what the Lord commanded, and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling, and said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord; sanctify yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he sanctified Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.



Samuel had to learn an important lesson in the transition from the reign of King Saul to David, and from his I gleaned mine.

The Lord had rejected Saul for his disobedience and had a plan for Israel in David, but Samuel would have to let go of his grief in order for the plan of God to move along.


“How long will you grieve over Saul? the Lord asks.


First lesson,


  • time’s up on looking back and wishing things could have been different. It happened.. God knows about it. It grieved Him as well..but it’s done.
“Fill your horn with oil and set out”
  • I have work for you to do. Get up, dust yourself off and do what I am calling you to do. Let go of those people who made bad decisions that affected your life and disappointed you. None of it, was a surprise to me.
“I will send you to Jesse…. I have provided”
  • God doesn’t have to check His plan with me….He asks me to trust in His provision over what I can understand.
 ”How can I go? If Saul hears of it, he will kill me”
  • Recall from Jonah– that there is more danger in not doing God’s will..
And lastly
Samuel did what the Lord commanded
  • Obedience is how the Lord knows I trust Him, even when to do so doesn’t make any sense to me.

What do you suppose would have happened to Israel if Samuel never got over his grief ?

What if the Lord is asking me to endure instability so that I may provide stability for others?

A pastor I know said, “In order to get on with it, you have to get over it.”






posted by Caroline  |   9:16 PM  |   8 comments
Monday, May 13, 2013

Catholic Woman’s Almanac


 The Faith of the  Syrophoenician Woman


Now brethren, we urge you to praise God. That is what we are all telling each other when we say, 


—St Augustine      


It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these with the ladies at Suscipio


Thankful for


:: my lungs ~ each inhale and exhale reminds me it was a gift from  The Breath of Life


:: my heart ~ each involuntary pump reminds me …it didn’t start with me


:: my hands ~ I can type out all my inconsequential thoughts


:: my teeth ~ if I can’t see my teeth when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I know I’m not smiling


:: nature ~ which many times is my best teacher


:: books ~ can never have enough of them


:: kindness from strangers ~ they remind me to do the same




:: Commentary for Benedictine Oblates G.A. Simon ~ took me 3 years, but I finally found one I like


:: Re-reading:  True Devotion to Mary Preparation Consecration


:: Lectio in the Gospel of Mark: this verse struck me yesterday ~



And He entered a house, and would not have anyone know it;

yet He could not be hidden. 

— Mark 7:24b



If He’s in your house…You can’t hide Him; and His power is available when– like the Syrophoenician woman–

we fall at His feet trusting for even the crumbs of His mercy.




Beginning a novena to Saint Rita of Cascia to end on her feast day, Wednesday, May 22nd


Kitchen Adventures 


:: Moroccan Lentil Soup

:: Vegetarian Spinach Enchilada’s

:: Pecan Berry Raspberry Coffee Cake ( yes, it was a craving)





“My Immaculate Heart will triumph”


Our Lady of Fatima,

pray for us







posted by Caroline  |   3:41 PM  |   6 comments
Friday, May 10, 2013

The Orchid Resurrection



There’s an orchid that sits on a green table on my porch. It was a Mother’s Day present from my son several years ago, which he vaguely remembers.


When he first gave it to me, the purple and white striped blooms had this delicate magical beauty, but unsure of my limited green thumb skills, I was concerned. Could I mother such a delicate plant? I put it on the porch and followed some basic orchid care instructions for dummies I found on the internet.


Next to the green table is the chair where I often sit to pray the evening office; where day after day, week after week, the orchid blossomed and thrived and gave me such joy. While praying there, I offered up the many concerns I had about my son; prayed when there were days I didn’t hear from him, prayed when I knew with that motherly instinct that something was wrong, but I didn’t know what.


Then one day, I could see the blooms dying off..One by one they dropped away, until all that was left of those purple veined beauties was a plant with thick green leaves.  The flowers were gone mirroring almost simultaneously a dark time in my relationship with my son.


Winters came, summers passed, no more blooms. At one point I thought the plant died. It had all these strange twisty rootish looking things growing out of it, but I just couldn’t part with it. My first born had trusted me with it’s care.


Maybe it will never blossom again, I thought.


One day just strolling through the flea market I came upon a nursery that sold the most incredible orchids—purple, white red, yellow, and striped of every color. It was a sea of blooming majesties.


This is the man to ask for advice.


The orchid master explained everything to me: that the squirmy rooty things were exactly that–don’t cut them, let them grow, replant it, because the potting material had broken down and was no longer allowing air to flow.  


Keep it in the same place, he said, water it only once a week….

And wait. 


I followed his instructions to the tee. The leaves came up greener, stronger and heartier. The rooty things kept coming up for air;

but no blooms.



This week. Almost another two years after my encounter with the orchid master…all of a sudden like magic from some undisclosed vein of gold within the plant…came a stem with buds.


It shot up so fast I thought I was imagining it. Within days the buds were multiplying and one by one the purple veined beauties reappeared just in time for Mother’s Day, gifting me with a visual of the same renewal–which after many years–has taken place with my son. 


As in years gone by, I’ve been praying beside it every evening thanking the Lord, when it dawned on me, how much like orchids motherhood really is.

Children are delicate and they require great patience, much prayer, unwavering hope, trust in the Orchid Master ~

and acceptance that they will bloom in their own time.


Becoming a mother, makes you a mother of all children. From now on each wounded, abandoned, frightened child is yours.

You live in the suffering of mother’s of every race and creed and weep with them.

You long to comfort all who are desolate.

—Charlotte Gray


Happy Mother’s Day to all the lovely ladies who read here. I’m praying for ‘Orchid Resurrection’s’ in all our children’s lives.





posted by Caroline  |   7:52 PM  |   6 comments