Archive for June, 2011

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Signal Grace and My Big Girl Pants

My sister and I were on the hunt for a condo for my mom… She’s the ‘decision is made let’s get on it girl’ and I’m OK, but let’s pray while we’re searching.

We had several requests..needs to be a real deal, close by and somehow my mom would have to be sold on it because ~ she hates condo’s…..

She never wanted to leave the house either. My sister calls me just 2 days after we started to look.

Check your e-mail and the pictures of what I found.

The two she found were beautiful and only five minutes away from the two of us. She says..

Let’s go see it with the realtor

I’m thinking …I’m not ready for this and it’s happening so fast. Saturday comes, my husband and I take my mom to church and out to dinner. Mom decides out of the blue she wants to see what we found. My husband knows me..He knows I have to work things through in my own way in my own time.

This is such a big piece of me to let go of.

If you don’t want to go ..I’ll drop you home first. He says.

I thought to myself…Put on your big girl pants…and just go with them. I did …sat in the car as he walked her around the property to show her the outside of her unit..He’d be better company than I under the circumstances. When they came back from their little tour my husband says to me,

Did you see what her neighbor across the street has at her front entrance?

Of course I did not…too wrapped up in my own pain of having to let something go I’m not ready to.

When I turned to look I almost fell over … Facing the front door from across the street was the most beautiful statue of The Blessed Mother set in a little alcove.

What is a Signal Grace?

Signal Graces are signs sent by God to help us make the right decisions in life. Moses saw a burning bush as a sign from God, and other people received signs from God daily. Signal graces usually come about as subtle hints to help keep us moving in the right direction – these signs are truly gifts from God.

Remember – there is no such thing as a coincidence, everything happens for a reason! By praying the rosary you will be more conscious of the way that God tries to help you and speak to you every day.

—via ~ erosary.com

We were stunned..as if The Blessed Mother had waited for us to arrive. I took it as a signal grace.  Two days later my mom and her ‘entourage’ saw the condo– she walked out and told my sister and I,

That’s it…That’s the one I want. Make an offer.

It was literally the deal of the century..and it’s done. Looks like I really am going to be saying good-bye to the house.

On July 4th we’re having a family party at….the house. To celebrate the beginning of the new chapter.

I told everybody I can’t make it a good-bye party….yet.

But I know the Lord is saying ..Let go. And He sent His mother to give us the signal… and the grace to move on.

I guess I’ll be wearing my big girl pants on the 4th.

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   10:26 PM  |   2 comments
Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It’s Time to Move On

And the Rock Was Christ

My family is entering another chapter in our life. It’s time to sell my mom’s house and move her into a condo. It’s a rite of passage in Florida and one I hoped we wouldn’t have to do. I think she’ll be happier. Financially it’s a good move; she’ll be closer to my sister and I …. but it’s the house that holds the last memories of my father and it’s where 28 years ago my mother catered our wedding reception. All evening a good friend played for the guests in our living room on my childhood baby grand piano. In the entrance of the house my mother still has a vase of artificial roses designed by the florist that survived all the weathering of our years together. They stand like a testament to the grace of God that that house was built on the Rock of Christ and that’s the reason we all still stand.

The foyer with the gray slate is perhaps my personal reminder of how long of a journey it’s been, and how much I treasure the memories that house has guarded for so many years.

For those who regularly read here you may recall that I sometimes refer to the fact that I am a rape survivor. I took down a piece where I said it ‘out loud’ with a few of the details. Sometimes I’m good with ‘just saying it’…sometimes I’m not. That hallway was where I collapsed after my kidnapper left me to die and I somehow found the strength to drive myself home. My father, the retired NYPD detective, had to literally pick his daughter up off the floor and help her begin the long road to justice and healing.

Though he lived long enough to see justice served…he did not live long enough to see me healed. Several months later it was in that same foyer that I embraced him after I found out he had terminal cancer. Now it was my turn to give him the courage he so selflessly gave me that hot afternoon in July.

That house was my haven of restoration when my life was in shambles after my dad’s death and my first husband deserted me because he couldn’t handle the aftershocks of a rape victim. It was in my blue bedroom with the white Queen Anne desk  I heard his last words to me;

Go on with your life because as far as we’re concerned…it will never be anything but…no

It was the room where I fell on my knees and gave my life to Christ and He began to rebuild with the promises of His Word what no other man or counselor could do.

And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

—Matthew 7:25

I fought some deep spiritual battles in that house trusting that God would,

revive the stones out of a heap of burned rubbish.

—Nehemiah 4:2

Somehow, I just can’t imagine the realtor parading  potential buyers through that hallway to the back bedroom highlighting all the physical features of

this beautiful home, when every time I pass through it I thank God I’m still alive and I hear my father’s voice.

My sister’s going to have to hold me up in this…She’s as tough as they come…and I love her for it. Last night on the phone…we traded places..She was the older sister saying it’s OK to let it go and it’s time to continue the story and make some new memories. This is the sister who helped my mom hang on to that house after he died….the one who accepted the challenge of my father’s last words to her;

Make sure that b…t….d never gets out of prison.

In that house— alone in the world—my sister, my mom and I fought as the rain fell and the floods came. We remembered,

the Lord, who is great and terrible and we fought

—Nehemiah 4:14

for our future and for our home. And by God’s grace…

We won.

It’s time to move on….

But I’ll never forget.

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   6:22 PM  |   4 comments
Monday, June 27, 2011

In Defense of Not Being…Posers

I’m sure Mr. Warner means this in the nicest way….

From: Matt Warner ncregister.com

We need more authentic Catholics online. What I mean is – we need more people just being Catholic and living an authentically Catholic life…and then that being reflected online. (All of this applies to offline as well, really.)

I have met more authentic Catholic people online than I have time to keep up with.

And by authentic I certainly don’t mean perfect. In fact, I mean the opposite. The last thing we need are Catholics pretending to be something we’re not: perfect. Authentic means being humble and honest about our flaws and our need for the Church and the Eucharist (Jesus). People hunger for that kind of authenticity. And the Holy Spirit works powerfully within it.

In case I haven’t communicated it frequently enough ..I am NOT perfect nor could I even pretend to be..but it’s not very nice to assume anyone is pretending. That would make them….a phony. I can’t think of one blog I’ve read where I thought someone was pretending to be perfect.

And by Catholic I don’t mean pictures of Catholic stuff……

And I don’t mean more scripture verses and quotes from saints. I don’t mean more Catholic websites or newspapers. More of those would be good, too. But not in lieu of Catholics themselves.

Wait…what? Actually, I think if all some of us did was put up Catholic pictures and Scriptures and prayers quoted from saints we’d be evangelizing a culture and media that has a lot of words going on, and often a little too much authenticity….

We don’t just need more pictures and polemics. And we definitely don’t need more posers. We need you.

Well, thanks, but I do put up a lot of pictures, scriptures and prayers. They are an expression of my love for Christ who is the treasure of my heart and I hope that doesn’t make me a poser.

If you stop by here often enough, you’ll know plenty about my struggles to live an authentic Catholic life..I intersperse them between the pictures, prayers and, Scriptures and any other helps I encounter along my journey…..They are the light on the path.

Don’t let the pictures and Scriptures fool you…I’m not perfect…and I’m very thankful that any of you even stop by to read my two cents.

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   3:51 AM  |   5 comments
Sunday, June 26, 2011

Lauda Sion

Benedictine Monks of Clervaux

Oh precious and wonderful banquet that brings us salvation and contains all sweetness!

Could anything be of more intrinsic value?

Under the old law it was the flesh of calves and goats that was offered, but here

Christ Himself, the true God is set before us as our food.

What could be more wonderful than this?

No other sacrament has greater healing power;

through it~ sins are purged away, virtues are increased, and the soul is enriched

with an abundance of every spiritual gift.

—St Thomas Aquinas: Work

Praise the Lord for His great gift to us.

+PAX

*Digitalized from the original record made in 1958



posted by Caroline  |   2:53 PM  |   0 comments
Saturday, June 25, 2011

What Do You See?

[The+Holy+Sacrament+of+the+Altar+tribute.jpg]

Jean Colombe

The Body of Christ

(b. Bourges ca. 1430; d. ca. 1493)

This masterpiece is painted by Jean Colombe and illustrates the service with two superimposed scenes. The large one represents the interior of a Gothic church, with lavishly decorated pillars, in which two groups of figures pay tribute to the veritable presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

On the right, representing the Old Testament, are three men with oriental headdresses, probably Melchizedek (who offered bread and wine to Abraham), Moses (who received manna), and Elijah (who was fed by an angel). On the left, representing the New Testament, are several bareheaded men, probably the four Evangelists. All raise their heads to worship and appear to proclaim the grandeur of this sacrament, repeating the words of Thomas Aquinas in the Pange lingua, a hymn composed for the feast of the Holy Sacrament: “Tantum ergo sacramentum veneremur cernui. ” “Let us kneel in veneration before such a great sacrament.” In the choir at the back of the church, behind a jubé of fine openwork, two priests seem to join in the tribute.

The scene below depicts a story of Saint Anthony of Padua and the mule. The story tells of a heretic of Toulouse who obstinately refused to believe in Christ’s presence unless a mule knelt before the Sacrament. After a few moments of prayer, Saint Anthony presented a mule with the Eucharist in one hand and some oats in the other. To the amazement of the onlookers, the animal refused the grain and knelt before the Eucharist. Convinced by this experience, the heretic believed henceforth.

—via~

floscarmelivitisflorigera.blogspot.com

One of the things my CCD class most enjoyed was when we studied an art piece after our lesson to illustrate the Scripture or concept we had learned. I grew to enjoy it so much that I’m still doing it even though class is done for the year. It was amazing to see how they peered into a classic like it was a story come to life.

After I’d give my amateur explanation of the artist and the summary of the picture, I’d ask them…

What do you see?

Most times after hearing their insights I felt more like the student than the teacher.

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   2:06 PM  |   0 comments
Friday, June 24, 2011

He Made My Mouth Like a Sharp Sword

Birth of John the Baptist,

late 14th century Nicolo da Bologna

Rosenwald Collection

1949.5.86

Listen to me, O coastlands, and hearken, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb,  from the body of my mother he named my name.

He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away.

And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”

But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my right is with the LORD, and my recompense with my God.”

And now the LORD says, who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength –

he says: “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”

—Isaiah 49:1-6

Every word spoken by John was to increase the Glory and love for the Bridegroom ~ Jesus,

….to humble himself and bring to us the word of salvation.

Oh Lord, teach us to labor for you in the Spirit of John the Baptist…

Let every word we speak be a polished arrow to point to our Savior and Lord,

Jesus Christ.

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   3:04 PM  |   0 comments
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nothing Can Come, But What God Allows

The prison cell of St. Thomas More

Tower of London/Bell Tower

I think we’ve turned ‘discipleship’ in our culture into a celebrity contest. It’s become how much you know, who you know, how strategically you’ve positioned yourself; did you write a book, or are you at least a famous blogger? Most important–can you at all costs avoid looking like ….a loser.

Unfortunately, I’m talking about Christians. Somehow we’ve lost the whole concept of what it means to be a follower of Christ. It seems the worse abuse anyone can suffer these days is to have their reputation in question or suffer the injustice of a public rebuke.

God forbid anyone should step on your toes unjustly. You’ll go to the tower and your days are numbered.

What have we done with the message of being willing to suffer for Christ, until death?

The English Martyr St Thomas More was a layperson like us. A brilliant man who served as a barrister, member Parliament and eventually lord chancellor of England. Talk about a reputation. He was known to be devoted to the crucified Christ spending hours on Friday’s, kneeling before a crucifix and meditating on the Lord’s passion. He was a flawless Renaissance man full of integrity and favor with King Henry VIII…that is until Henry decides to divorce his wife and declare himself head of the church of England. Thomas scrupulously stood by the king until…he required an oath of support.

Then, when More refuses– it was ‘off with his head.’ For a true disciple, whether the occasion of death is of reputation or life, we are to rejoice. From prison he penned a letter to his daughter telling her how thankful he was for his circumstance,

I thank God Meg, for I think God makes me a wanton and sets me on His lap and dangles me.

Nothing can come, but what God allows.

Several years ago I had the occasion to live through someone try, not only to smear my reputation, but ruin my Christian testimony and destroy my family.

She almost succeeded.

It was a terrible suffering, but one I know He allowed in my life that I might have the opportunity to totally trust Him in the face of overwhelming opposition…

St Thomas More had everything our culture idolizes but, was willing to give up not only his prominent postion and reputation, but his life. No political correctness to keep him from the gallows, no fear of looking like a loser…no indignation at his plight though his enemy had even once been his friend.

He knew what it meant to be a disciple.

I will not mistrust God,

though I shall feel myself weakening

and in the verge of being overcome

with fear….I trust

He shall place his Holy Hand on me

and in the stormy seas

hold me up from

drowning.

—St Thomas More

+PAX

Photo Credit:

Priestman1′s Photostream

Flicker


posted by Caroline  |   9:47 PM  |   0 comments
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

An Afternoon With Father Andrew Apostoli

Our Lady of Divine Providence

House of Prayer

Mark Mallett has an excellent piece up titled “When Cedars Fall”,

We can no longer afford to leave any room for Satan to wedge his way into our lives. He is on a rampage, for he knows his time is short. It’s not so much that God has changed, but that He has permitted Satan to “sift us like wheat”, and this we must…

Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour.

(1 Pet 5:8)

The so-called “little sins” are now “big openings”; we cannot afford to be casual about our spiritual lives.

I met with Divine Providence today.

This morning on my drive to the Cenacle, I carried a deep sense of the seriousness of our times in my heart and I couldn’t wait to share the heaviness with my spiritual director. But I never did get to meet with her. Instead Father Andrew Apostoli was there to say Mass and speak with us about his new book, Fatima For Today.

He reminded us of Mary’s role in the struggle with evil from Genesis to Revelation. Echoing Pope John Paul II, Father said more than other time in history, the whole Christian culture is at stake and Mary is in it with us. She and the Eucharist are the two means by which the church can be saved.

For over an hour he taught us how God sent Mary to us at Fatima to sum up the 20th century and how this message is urgent to us– now— in the 21st century. She is our reason to hope.

Father’s warm gentle spirit was so counter to the swirling mess around us, it touched me like a providential balm of healing I wasn’t even smart enough to ask for.

He blessed us, prayed for our healing and sent us off with a blessing and request;

Learn

Live

Spread

the message of Fatima.

+PAX

Divine Providence


posted by Caroline  |   12:59 AM  |   4 comments
Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Enduring Correction Gladly…Is a Difficult Gift

A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

—Proverbs 13:1

As the wreckage from the John Corapi F-6 tornado continues to unravel, I’ve been crying out to the Lord..

Give us wisdom.

The man who finds fault with himself accepts all things cheerfully – misfortune, loss, disgrace, dishonor and any other kind of adversity. He believes that he is deserving of all these things and nothing can disturb him. No one could be more at peace than this man….. [Again] the reason for all disturbance, if we look to its roots, is that no one finds fault with himself. This is the source of all annoyance and distress [in the matter of correction]. . This is why we sometimes have no rest.”

But perhaps you will offer me this objection: “Suppose my brother injures me, and on examining myself I find that I have not given him any cause. Why should I blame myself?” Certainly if someone examines himself carefully and with fear of God, he will never find himself completely innocent. He will see that he has given some provocation by an action, a word or by his manner. If he does find that he is not guilty in any of these ways, certainly he must have injured that brother somehow at some other time. Or perhaps he has been a source of annoyance to some other brother. For this reason he deserves to endure the injury because of many other sins that he has committed on other occasions.

We must not be surprised when we are rebuked by holy men. We have no other path to peace but this. ….If a person is engaged in prayer or contemplation, he can easily take a rebuke from his brother and be unmoved by it. On other occasions affection toward a brother is a strong reason; love bears all things with the utmost patience.

—St Dorotheus of Gaza

Christian monk and abbot, 7th Century

One of the most difficult things for any of us to do is to accept correction…Even harder is to accept it gladly.

We’d rather run…defend ourselves with detailed stories..blame…quit…ANYTHING but admit we really blew it.

I could point it out as the speck in my brother John’s eye…but too many times it’s been the plank in my own.

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   2:28 AM  |   0 comments
Sunday, June 19, 2011

Adoration of the Holy Trinity

Adoration of the Holy Trinity

Albrecht Durer

1511

Oil on panel

Vienna, Kunshistorisches Museum

This work was commissioned by the Nuremberg metal trader Matthus Landauer. Also known as the Landauer Altarpiece, it was ordered for the chapel of the Twelve-Brothers House, which he endowed for a dozen impoverished artisans. In the centre of the painted panel at the top is the Trinity. God the Father is shown as emperor, holding Christ on the Cross and surmounted by the dove of the Holy Ghost. Around the figure of God are two rings of angels. Below them, to the right, are Old Testament figures and, to the left, followers of Christ bearing palm branches. Nearer the base of the picture are the slightly larger figures of the living, led by the Pope (with a blue tiara) and the Emperor (with a golden crown). The grey-haired figure of Matthus Landauer, the donor, is depicted on the left, being welcomed into the throng by the outstretched hand of a cardinal. The landscape at the bottom of the panel stretches into the far distance. A lone figure stands on the land – the artist, who has depicted the earthly community being reunited with the realm of heaven. His hand rests on a panel which is inscribed: `Albrecht Durer of Nuremberg made this 1511 years after the Virgin.’

—Via ~ Steve Art Gallery .se

Come, let us worship the true God: One in Trinity, Trinity in one.

—Invitatory Ant. LOH

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   2:10 PM  |   0 comments