Archive for May, 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sin Shall Feel the Weight of His Unborn Arm

The Visitation

“Truly He is in haste to be about His Father’s business. Truly He is an impatient conqueror, to be thus early beginning His conquests, and laying the foundations of His world wide empire. He cannot bear to be in the world for even so short a while, but sin shall feel the weight of His unborn arm.….His first mission and ministry was in the womb, and the babe unborn the first conquest of His divine apostolate…..and the Unborn Child destroys the sin and abolishes the curse of the unborn child.”

—Father Faber

The Blessed Sacrament


Oh, Blessed Mother, true Ark of the Covenant, I need for you to visit me today.

You know my condition.

I open my heart to welcome your graces.

Draw me ever closer to your Son

whom I long to see.  Let me learn from you to be available to the Holy Spirit

that I may think more of what others need,

and entrust myself to the Father.



posted by Caroline  |   5:20 PM  |   0 comments
Monday, May 30, 2011

Pure Humility

I saw pure humility today. The sweetness and sheer beauty of it seemed to expose the pride of life like an extraordinary super moon which occurs in the night sky only once every eighteen years. It’s possible to see one, but rare.

This morning’s mass for Memorial Day was devoted to those who have given their lives for our freedom. The Knights of Columbus presented the American flag and we had a full choir. Father gave a very thoughtful homily that he said he spent time praying over. Then just before intercessions he had all the men and women who had served, or currently serve our country, stand and more than half the church stood including all the Knights. It was so inspiring and I thank God for their sacrifice and those who have given their lives.

At communion, the Knights were at the end of the line coming around from the altar down my aisle when from the corner of my eye I noticed a young man, one of the new ushers, make his way from the west wing of the church to the aisle where the Knights were walking.

He has Downs Syndrome— and the purest smile I think I ‘ve ever seen. As the Knights made their way back from communion, he turned to face them– and stood at attention, saluting each of them. The morning light was piercing through the stained glass windows shining brightly off the medals that decorated the Knights, but as they passed him, he caught them off guard and as each knight passed, they saluted him too. The young man was so fervent in his pure in his willingness to step out from his seat and give honor to his heroes.

I have to tell you, I’m not one given to public displays of emotion…but I lost it.

Something about the humility and genuineness of his salute shut out everything else around me. That picture is forever etched in my mind’s eye.

On my way to bringing communion to the homebound I thought of the article I’d recently read on Larry Flint’s comments regarding Sarah Palin’s son, Trig;

Then he says, apropos of nothing: “Sarah Palin is the dumbest thing. But I made a fortune off of her. [He made a porn film called Nailin' Palin, based on her]… She did a disservice to every woman in America. She knew from the first month of pregnancy that kid was going to be Down’s Syndrome. It’s brain dead. A virtual vegetable. She carries it to all these different political events against abortion, she did it just because she didn’t want to say she’d had an abortion. How long is it going to live? Another 12, 15 years? Doesn’t even know it’s in this world.

first things

How does such hatred and bigotry continue to exist?

What will be the crown of those who, humble within and humiliated without,

have imitated the humility of our Savior in all its fullness!

– St. Bernadette

God will not be mocked. He will not forget the meek…

Jesus says, they shall inherit the earth and to the the humble, He will lift them up.

And they’re as rare as a super moon.


posted by Caroline  |   5:35 PM  |   0 comments
Sunday, May 29, 2011

One Red Rose and a Leaking Jug

I’m going to take my mom to my father’s grave today. He’s a veteran of the US Navy, ( and 25 years on NYPD ). I will lay 1 red rose on the site,

because that’s the flower I placed in his casket before they closed it and it’s the flower I fully expect him to have in his hand for me when I meet him in eternity.

People ask me,

Why do you write about him so much, especially that you’re childhood with him was no picnic?

That’s a fair question to which I usually answer,

I’m a sinner in constant need of forgiveness too…and he was exactly the father I needed.

There’s a story from the desert fathers about abba Moses;

A brother in Scetis committed a fault. A council was called to which abba Moses was invited, but he refused to go to it. Then the priest sent someone to him, saying, “Come, for everyone is waiting for you”. So he got up and went. He took a leaking jug and filled it with water and carried it with him. The others came out to meet him and said, ” what is this, father?” The old man said to them, “My sins run out behind me, and I do not see them, and today I am coming to judge the errors of another.”

When they heard that, they said no more to the brother but forgave him.

God never reminds us of our sin, that’s the devil’s kind of business.

He is the

accuser of the brethren

—Revelation 12:10

I’m always encouraged by Hebrews 11 and those whom Scripture lists as heroes of the faith. Most of them were very flawed–their stories told in

an unchained melody of terrible failure before restoration: Noah got drunk, Ham sinned and Canaan was cursed, but here we learn,

Noah, by faith became an heir of righteousness. Abraham, lies twice about his wife Sarah each time telling the half-lie, half-truth,

that Sarah was his sister, but here it is said of him that

God is not ashamed to be called his God

—vs. 16

And Sarah, well she laughs at God’s promise– not to mention offers Hagar to her husband when her patience was wearing thin waiting on God’s promise.

But, here we’re reminded that she received the power to conceive even when she was past age,

since she considered Him faithful who had promised.


And Moses, he falls at his most mature..and is kept from the promised land, yet what does God say about this man ?

by faith he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.

—vs. 27

In the end it was their faith God remembered and honored in Scripture. Yes, the sins are recorded as well, but Scripture tells us those are there to show us our lost condition and need of a Savior. It teaches us sin has enormous consequences but, we have an ever ready Father who desires to forgive us and set us right with Him that we may live eternally with Him in heaven.

My ‘jug runneth over’–every day, but thank God, so do His mercies.

All of us who strive to live for Christ can hope that one day we will have, not only a record of our sin for others to learn from,

but a testimony of faith to give witness that we, like those who went before us,

were assured of the things we hoped for, and convicted of the things we could not see.

Blessings and Happy Memorial Day


posted by Caroline  |   4:30 PM  |   3 comments
Friday, May 27, 2011

True Evangelism

Evangelism is not what we tell people, unless what we tell is totally consistent with

who we are.

It is who we are that is going to make the difference….

If we do not have love in our hearts, our words of love will have little meaning.

If we do not truly enjoy our faith, nobody is going to catch the fire of enjoyment from us.

If our lives are not totally centered on Christ, we will not be Christ-bearers for others,

no matter how pious our words.

—Madeleine L’Engle

Consistency is a rare quality these days. Some people say it’s the surest way to live a stagnant life. But I think the lack of it is the reason the church has suffered so much these past years.

A lot of people like to preach and teach…but Jesus says to the teacher comes greater accountability,

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle.

—James 3:1-12

And to the preacher Jesus says,

Then said Jesus to the crowds and to His disciples,

“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses seat;

so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do;

for they preach , but do not practice.”

—Matthew 23: 1-3

If I’m ever going to make a difference in a world given over to humanistic relativism, and idols made with their own hands, I better pray every day for the graces to live what I “preach” and to be consistent in who I claim to be.

We are all preachers and teachers in our own vocations bearing Christ to others by the witness of our lives.

That’s true evangelism.


posted by Caroline  |   4:53 PM  |   1 comments
Friday, May 27, 2011

He Has Turned My Mourning Into Dancing

From tonight’s Evening Prayer :

You have turned my mourning into dancing

Psalm 30

I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up, and did not let my foes rejoice over me.

O Lord my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.

O Lord, you brought up my soul from Sheol, restored me to life from among those gone down to the Pit.

Sing praises to the Lord, O you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.

For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime.

Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”

By your favor, O Lord, you had established me as a strong mountain; you hid your face; I was dismayed.

To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication:

“What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?

Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!”

You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

so that my soul may praise you and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

You have turned my mourning into dancing


Yes, Lord, you have.



Photo Credit:

Oil of Joy

freeman art gallery

posted by Caroline  |   12:03 AM  |   0 comments
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

St Bede, Father of English History

St Bede, Benedictine Monk

Father of English History

673 – 735

“Whatever good thing is done is made perfect only by love.”

St Bede

He was born in northern England and sent to the Benedictine monastery, Wearmouth Abbey, at the age of seven. There he remained for the rest of his life.

It is said that St Bede lived a ‘routine and uneventful life’; his days in the monastery unfolded in the true Benedictine spirit of Ora et Labora.

Yet, from the solace of this small cell where he spent years praying the Hours and studying Scripture his scholarship established Christianity in the west.

This was his missionary window to the world where he equipped Anglo Saxon monks and nuns to carry the Christian message to the people of England and Germany. Even today we benefit from his commentaries and his most famous work, History of the English Church and People.

He continued to write even after he fell ill, but when he knew his time had come to bid farewell to this life, his scribe

helped Bede to sit on the floor facing the place where the saint had always prayed and he died singing the doxology.

—Voices of the Saints

St Bede is the only English Doctor of the Church and one who demonstrated a keen ability to understand the need of his contemporary world as well as how

to judge accurately the historical significance of the events they were living through.

—Living With Christ

Lord, we are weary and worn out by the distractions of this world,

help us to imitate the love and stability of St Bede.

Grant that we may accept our own missionary window to the world

that we may bring the gospel to our contemporaries.


posted by Caroline  |   4:44 PM  |   2 comments
Monday, May 23, 2011

Preach by Your Good Example and Little by Your Voice

Sala parrocchiale

via S.Nazario, Italy

Saying goodbye is never easy for me. My aunt, a winter resident, is leaving tomorrow. She, my mom and I sat around the salon today getting our hair

done together. My husband is the hairdresser…but I digress. Promise I’ll come back with that story another day.

They were telling stories about the old days when she and my mom were growing up in Italy. Both were educated by the Sisters of St Dorothy in a

convent on via Nazario, Genoa, Italy. According to my aunt my mom left an unforgettable mark on those poor sisters. She had trouble …. adjusting.

Apparently, she didn’t think school work was as important as the party going on back home celebrating St Anthony’s feast day. She’d erupt in

uncontrollable tears and the sisters would have to bring my aunt in to calm her down. She also hid chocolates; private stashes were a no no as

everyone was expected to share what they had. Then there was the problem of vanity..No mirrors allowed at the convent so she had to be corrected when seen catching a glimpse of herself  slowly passing a window.

For as long as I can remember my aunt has been my second mom and my translation specialist (along with my dad) when my mom just couldn’t figure out what planet I was on. I spent many hours at her house after school and she never made me feel that I was in the way or overstayed my welcome.

Rosa, is a very stoic woman and most gracious. From her I have learned how to go on~head up high, especially when things are in disarray.

She is the model of the teachings of the sisters who educated her;

…be a true missionary in your community and in this land. Preach by your good example , and little by your voice. Study the Sacred Heart of Jesus to learn and practice well all the necessary virtues… (Letter 707, 9)

dorotee frassinetti

Both my aunt and mom have had plenty of time to learn and practice many virtues. Now 86 and 89, they lived through the terrible poverty and fear of World War II hiding the Partisans from the Germans in a secret room in my grandmother’s house and eating bread made with sawdust because flour

was so scarce.

I had the privilege of seeing some of the history of their lives when I spent the summer in Genoa one year as a young girl and have never forgotten the impact of seeing that secret room.

Can there be any question that theirs is indeed the greatest generation.

Saint Paula Frassinetti


Saint Paula Frassinetti (1809-1882)

Virgin; Foundress of the Congregation of Saint Dorothy

The convent survived the war though it was scourged by many bombing raids on their town. To this day my mom hates the sound of sirens.

Lord willing, I’ll see my aunt again next year after Christmas. My heart goes with her every time she leaves…and sometimes I wonder still —

who will translate for me when she’s gone?

I think the girls have done the sisters proud.

Paula lives on in the deep spirit that animates the Congregation: “to seek always and in all things the greater glory of God through a greater service of humanity.”

Dorotee, dono di dio, per il mondo


posted by Caroline  |   10:41 PM  |   0 comments
Sunday, May 22, 2011

St Rita Sought Wholeness in the Passion of Christ

St Rita of Cascia


One of the few contemporary sources we have to tell us about St. Rita of Cascia is the poem engraved on her casket:

Blessed by God,

you were a light in darkness

through your steadfast courage

when you had to suffer such agony

upon your cross. You turned aside from this vale of tears

to seek wholeness from your hidden wounds

in the great passion of Christ……

You were not content with less than perfect healing,

and so endured the thorn for fifteen years

before you entered into the joy

of your Lord.  1457

Isn’t that beautiful?

Her hidden wounds came from her eighteen year marriage to a man given to a life of sin. Though he finally repented, he was brutally murdered by

his enemies. Strongly influenced by the violence of their father, her two sons vowed vengeance but died before they could carry out their plans.

Rita was at their bedside.

Now free to pursue her hearts desire of becoming a nun she applied to enter the Augustinian convent of Cascia, Italy in 1407, but was refused three times because she had been married. Six years later after much suffering and struggle they finally agreed and installed her as a nun.

Rita was preoccupied with the passion of Christ and His agony.

One good Friday in 1441, as she meditated on His sufferings before a crucifix, she begged Him for a small share in His agony. Upon her forehead opened a single wound as if punctured by a thorn from the Crown of Christ.

For fifteen years it was a daily cause of pain and embarrassment because it’s offensive odor distressed her sisters. It faded only once in 1450, when she went to Rome for the jubilee year, but reappeared upon her return to Cascia and remained with her until her death from tuberculosis on May 22, 1457.

The notary of Cascia, Domenico Angeli, recorded eleven miracles that occurred upon her death.

St. Rita is a saint of desperate situations and has been a close friend of my heart since coming home to the church. Though I ask her intercession on many difficult trials the Lord has seen fit to gift me with, I often remind her that,

I am the most impossible case of all.

St. Rita, Pray for me.

Help me understand how to seek wholeness

in the passion of Christ,

and to be content with nothing less than perfect healing.



For an interesting account of St Rita and the miracle of the white bees

visit: bob and penny lord

Source: Voices of the Saints, Bert Ghezzi

posted by Caroline  |   4:35 AM  |   3 comments
Saturday, May 21, 2011

Waiting for the Lord’s Return

Icon of The Deisis

The subject of this icon is the Second Coming

with Christ as judge inviting all to their reward.

The word Deisis is of Greek origin meaning prayer and petition.

The fact that Pastor Harold Camping was wrong (again) about the end of the world will do a few things:

First, it will continue to propel the skeptics foolish arguments that Christians are idiots who need religion for a crutch because they can’t cope with life.

Second, those who don’t want to face life by God’s standards will use it as another excuse to evade the inevitable…

The day they face the Lord.

Third, this group of disappointed believers will join the countless generations of Christians who have for centuries longed to see the Lord,

but realized it is God’s timetable not ours.

I empathize with their pain, but we must trust God at His Word so that when he does come back for us, He will not find us fixing dates,

but faithful to leaving time in His hands as we continue to carry the gospel to the world;

And the Lord said, ” Hear what the unrighteous judge says,

And will not God vindicate His elect, who cry to Him day and night?

Will he delay long over them?

I tell you He will vindicate them speedily.

Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes,

will He find faith on earth?

—Luke 18:6-8

His delay is not neglect…

But do not ignore this one fact beloved,

that with the Lord, one day is a thousand years,

and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise

as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you ,

not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief….

—2 Peter 3:8-10a

He is coming one day~ on His terms and in His time.


Photo credit:

posted by Caroline  |   5:18 PM  |   1 comments
Friday, May 20, 2011

Purity Requires Modesty

Father Dominic Mary’s, homily this morning on the virtue of purity in the spirit of

St Bernadine of Sienna.

No question that in the spiritual blindness of our day we have become desensitized to our willful surrender to immodesty.

Listen to his message. This is an example of fearlessly preaching the truth in love and calling us back to a holy fear of God.

In my Protestant days, I might have jumped up in the middle of the homily

and shouted,



posted by Caroline  |   7:50 PM  |   0 comments