Flying Blind, Thomas Merton and Theft

I’ve no idea where my iPad is, so I’m using my iPhone.  Not even the app.  I’ve seen it, possibly tried it (these days are a blur), but it doesn’t compare with using the web app.  Used to it, I think.  Typing with thumbs isn’t too bad.

You know I digress, but I’m just warming up.  You know this, too.  Shoulda called his blog Draft because I’m shooting entirely off the hip.  It’s the medium.  I’ve known it too long to practice editing and revision with blogs.  What comes, comes.  So here’s this …

Merton

i just started emptying my house.  Another Someone I’ve known for years mentioned 40 bags/40 days.  I looked it up and found a ready-made support network to clear out the clutter that’s plagued my home for years.  My time is spent in the presence of my family, I’m afraid.  I cook, mother and maintain, but my joy is to be in the presence of my loved ones.  God gave them to me, you see.  When I am with them — not puttering about with housewifery duties — this is where I feel closest to God outside of Mass.  This is the first time I’m realizing this, yes, with you, in your presence (isn’t that cool?).  I’ve never thought of my time with them this way, it’s always seemed … wasteful … because like every adult life out there, there are place to see, things to do, projects to complete.  My preference is to be.  With them.  So, logically, what ends up happening, is things pile up.  So, I have clutter.

It’s caused me anxiety and for years, I’ve prayed for the ability to detach from everything and throw out whatever is out of place and bothersome.  Kids’ stuff from Kindergarten, old bills, clothes, random socks, old toys, new toys, old books, used books, new books, professional books, piles, piles, piles…  I would begin dismantling the mountain, and would fall into the smallest sinkhole left by something removed.  Distracted, nervous.  I’d end up shoving everything into a closet.  It just wasn’t time.

Today, though, I can say I have 6 austere corners in my home… *

*its late… To be continued..

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Today, Pray for a Priest during this Christian Holocaust

Jesus at Gethsemane

+  Who is ministering to the persecuted?

When I think of ISIS and what people are suffering at their hands, I wonder if there are priests who are ministering to their spiritual needs.

During the Holocaust, there were priests and nuns like Blessed Titus Brandsma and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross who led those who were being persecuted with them in prayer.  In the midst of their horror, they remembered God.  They helped others remember God.

It’s too easy to feel helpless when we hear about atrocities — new, old … abortion is an ongoing genocide that has affected millions, remember? — and maybe shut down and maybe doubt how we could possibly help.

We are part of the Communion of Saints.  When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ and live in His Grace, we are in union with Him.  Our holy desires are His Holy Desires and when we wish for an end to the death and bloodshedding of our fellow Christians, pray.  He will listen.  Perhaps in ways you will not know in this lifetime, but He will listen.

The blood of these martyrs will renew the Church.  Pray for each unknown soul that is being persecuted, driven like cattle, or faces their death, for the Glory of God.

Pray for a priest to be near them to strengthen them in the face of evil incarnate.

Blessed be God forever.

+

 

An easy way to blog for priests. Tip #1

VATICAN-POPE-ORDINATION-PRIEST

This one is really, really easy.

Add a priest tag to your usual Catholic blog post.  Or tweet.  Or pin. Or whatever.

It’d be cool to let the idea of a priest tag along (pun intended) with the awesome good you’re already doing when you proclaim Catholic ideals to the world in your writing.  IMHO, I don’t think there are enough Catholic bloggers, tweeters, pinterested people, or instagramers to go around to offset the sheer numbers of secularites who woke up thinking it’d be a good joke to rag on the Catholic Church. Again.

It’s just time to deploy some smart PR for the Catholic Church. Jesus didn’t say anything about internet Jedi mind tricks.   If you think about it, adding a priest tag is really a portion of the 5 talents you’re trading with on the internet.  You’re trading bad Catholic Church reputation for good.  Gain more talents.

If a good priest can’t be his own ambassador to let the masses know that there are plenty of good men in the priesthood, then let your priest tag do it for him.

Add the tag to your writing.  It is Good.  Help everyone see priests are good again.. by virtue of your good and holy writing. 🙂

… and the devil didn’t like it.

I said a rosary for you .. the Joyful Mysteries in a particular way*.  Just.. prayed in the company of Mary. For you.

And I came here to tell you about it, to comfort you.  I have no idea what you’re experiencing, but I know discerning can be such a struggle*, especially when we’re being led to a greater spiritual ideal.  Taking those steps, instigating the search to find where, how, if.. that’s all work.  Soul work.  It’s tough.

So I came here and I wrote.  Cleaned it up a little, and went to bed.  Unconcerned.

In the morning, my husband told me a little story.  Apparently, he stirred at about the time I was praying and writing, and that he “searched” for me — he could sense I wasn’t in bed.  I doubt he stuck out his hand;  after 20 years of marriage, you just know when you’re your soulmate isn’t near you.  (It’s one of the sweetest, hidden gifts God bestows on spouses, I think.  Two become one..)

He told me as soon as he realized I wasn’t there, he wondered where I was, and it was in that moment that he heard the aspiration of an evil presence near him.  Horrible and dark.  Very, very angry.  Seething through his breath.  When he told me this, I knew immediately I had provoked something into some sort of huffy and it was telling my husband to get up, get after that wife and make her come to bed.. NOW.  She shouldn’t be up, praying.

What my husband sensed, how he was provoked to respond, this was evil he had never experienced.  We’ve never had this in our home, we have never encountered anything like this.  Ever.

Am we some kind of holy saintly persons?  Who has mystical conversations with the saints?  No.  I watch movies and listen to rock music while I’m on the elliptical.  I like to eat tasty morsels of food.  I let the dishes pile up.  But I try to take care of my soul and pray for the poverty of my soul and purity of my heart.  I live in the world without being of the world, by God’s grace.  I actively cultivate a spirit of goodwill toward my fellow man.  In the meantime, I’m just a broad.  Who’s Catholic.

And this thing visited my home when I was praying for priests.

Do I believe it? Yes.  Should you?  Absolutely. As Catholics, we’re reminded that there’s a war of principalities being waged around us, every moment, for every soul.  Just the other day, Pope Francis with Pope emeritus Benedict consecrated Vatican City to St. Michael the Archangel.  Why would he do that if there wasn’t a spiritual battle to be won? Here.  Now.

Yeah, I believe someone woke my husband last night.  I was in the company of our Blessed Mother, sinless, pure Mary who the devil has no effect over .. and this thing couldn’t affect me.  Not while I was with her.  So it bothered my husband.  I thank God he didn’t bother my children…

Given that I, nor my husband, nor anyone in my little family — throughout this Catholic journey in our lives and in our marriage — have never experienced this before, why did this occur?

I believe it was because I was praying for you.  I was praying for priests for the Church.

Lazy, acedia-filled me, a spiritual bum, really, doing something I normally wouldn’t do — forsaking sleep and the comforts of my pillow to pray for priests in the still of the night.

Was it because of you? Are you supposed to be a priest? .. only God can help you can answer that, I think.  Follow His grace…

Was it because when I prayed for you, just the general intention of praying for priests stoked the fury of Hell?  Yes.

Was it because I paid attention to the wrestlessness of my soul in the still of the night and did what I was told and prayed for the intentions of the Church — for priests? Yes.

I’m so stupid, I can’t articulate this.

Ok.. this is it:  Praying for priests so much disturbed the powers that “had been” (devils prodding to be lazy, as well as my natural tendencies brought on by my own fallen nature) that an evil thing came out to intervene.  Get me to stop.

Get it?

Yeah.. my writing’s a mess.

That’s why I leave nothing to me.  I’d leave a wreck of everything behind me were it not for Him. 🙂

Pretty interesting, isn’t it?

God bless you.. +++

*blogs for later. A note to myself

Really being called to be like Christ and Choosing the Priesthood. Is it Worth it?

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By Seminarian James Baxter.  .. just another guy. Who really loves Christ. 🙂

He answers the questions, Is it worth it? Will I be happy? Can I make it? and my personal favorite, I am still attracted to marriage, to which he answers:

Great! Me too! As our wise old rector, Fr. Baer, said quite bluntly to my class on our first day of seminary, “If you do not feel attracted to marriage… get out! you’re weird!” This is a way of saying, if you, as a young man, do not feel attracted to being a father, you are certainly not called to the priesthood, which is a transformed fatherhood. Regarding your feelings for women, they are not at all suppressed, but transformed, which is a large part of seminary formation and fraternity. In my time in seminary, celibacy has turned from a giving up of marriage to a gaining of an intimacy with Christ that I cannot begin to describe. I thank God for the gift of celibacy, though at times more than a cross, each and every day.

Priest and victim.  Like Christ.

Priests are heroes.

Thoughts on being a pathetic lot, by a bad Catholic.

Eucharist-stomp
would I do this? (Seoul)

Count yourself in if you’re with me.  If not, please, start a blog so I can repost your stuff and we can change how the world views our priests.

I’m going to write this in 5 minutes and then I’m going to go off in a corner and contemplate this until who knows when.. I actually remember having wanted to know more about this, and now it’s come.

Since I began thinking about the preciousness of our priests sometime last week, the greatest thing I could come up with was, well.. without our priests, we wouldn’t have the Eucharist.  We wouldn’t have Jesus.

Let me say that again:

Without my priest, I wouldn’t receive Jesus.

For me. My soul. My salvation. Me, me, me.

Me.  The same person who has problem giving up something for lent.

I.  Am.  Greedy.

Yes, knowing Jesus suffered and died for me has turned me into a petulant babe who wants to be nourished, fed, soothed, assuaged, the whole gambit.   Me?  Sacrifice?  I love my crucifix.  Let me gaze upon it, feel my sorrow and move on about my day!

These dear priests.  Oh, having to put up with the behavior of others, the ruined reputation, the charred mischaracterization of my own parish priest (though I haven’t witnessed it). Is this a pride issue? For me? No! It’s noble.  Please, world, think better of my priest, their priest, your priest, every priest!

But then I read up on priests’ victimhood.

This is the same victimhood Christ asked of many of his saints to prepare them for private revelations. Like St. Margaret Mary Alacoque.  Would you suffer with me? He would ask. Be a victim for souls.

This is beyond my understanding.  That’s just something I’m not inclined to do.  Jesus hasn’t given me that grace, yet, although I’m very well aware that all Jesus’ friends carry a cross like He did.  Am I just grace-filled or something? That he has made my yoke sweet and light? I’m poor, an outcast amongst my friends because of my radical Catholic lifestyle (5 kids, 1 income, 1 car, don’t curse, whoo! radical!).  This is the degree of my cross?

But then there’s the victimhood of our priests.

Every. Single. Time.  there is an utterance against them, Jesus hears it.  It pains Him.  They suffer.  Their humiliation is His humiliation, he’s humiliated all over again…

It’s not just the pedo priest commentary, or the LGBT nonsense.. it’s the “ya know, he was rather rushed during the solemnity of the Mass.. mmmphf!” or “He has no control over his own staff, they’re reckless.  Pathetic.” or “What’s he doing with the money?” or “No one really hangs out with him.  He’s not really involved, right?  Maybe no one likes him.”

Whispers!

This is victimhood!

It’s little, sure.  You can I can put up with a bunch of bunk from countless people.  Hell, we’re free to retaliate, bicker back, punch a tooth!  But do you realize who they are? They can’t!  They’re like Jesus, standing silent in front of Herod — out of deference for the office and for Holy Mother Church, why invite more scandal?

This is victimhood!  Silence!

Have you EVER remained silent in the midst of accusation?

It’s TOUGH!  Blood boils, tempers seethe, just beneath the surface, maybe.   But, again, you can speak.  For the sake of their flock, most priests don’t.

Victimhood.

Trampled on like Christ.

Where do I fit in all this?  I’m going to ponder this.. I want to remember my priests as victims, just like Christ, and I want to think of my own aversion to sacrifice .. I’m so spoiled.

I wouldn’t do it.  Now, I’m going to go off in my corner and think about this.

God bless you.  Always, forever.  May he lift your heart higher than the eagles. +++

I prayed for you…

OurLadyOfMtCarmelNOVELLI16

.. as though I knew you.

Because I know you.  We’re all different, but we are the same Love existing in God, within in His Church.

We go to the same Mass, speak the same language, love the same.. love the same God.

I felt an overwhelming familiarity.  As though this is what I was supposed to do;  I was doing what I was supposed to do.. I had done this before, for someone, years and years ago. An urgent longing for God’s will to be known, understood, fulfilled.

And then there was the powerlessness .. that probably accompanies giving everything.  That, mingled with sleepiness.  If I drift, I have no regrets, because I know my heart rests in God and He still listens.

In those moments, I gave everything to her, Mary, our Mother of All, who has a greater desire — more than anyone of us — to have her son’s will fulfilled perfectly.  She would know what to do.

It was right. And very, very good.  I have a great desire to do more, but I know this is all I can do.  It doesn’t bother me, because I know it’s more .. more than my little stupid thoughts, more than this stupid blogging.  Because it’s in union with the prayers of the saints in heaven.  Within the Church.  O, the magnificence of our Faith!

I love you.  Forever in Christ.  God bless you!

Our Presence Helps Make Them Holy

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Or, Why Their Very Existence is an Issuance of Love from The Sacred Heart and We Should Therefore Love Them.. maybe another time.

I came across Liturgy Guy.  You should check him out.  Shoulder him your support.  Sometimes people really rock when they realize there’s someone who wishes them well.

I’ve tried creative writing.. that fell in a ditch .. but one of the things that has always driven my bloggy endeavors was knowing that I was serving someone’s purpose.  Liken it to St. Francis of Assisi realizing God’s love and then wanting to dance and freely proclaim himself His Jester.  I’d be a fool for you, too, if doing so would help us get to heaven. 🙂

Validation.

That same day I had my priestly ephipahy, I had the pleasure of going to another Mass to see a wonderful priest off.  Our diocese was moving him to a student center at a local University.  Everyone loved this priest. We knew him for 4 years, and from what I can say as an observer, he flourished in our parish.  He appeared to become more holy.  This became more pronounced in his manners and discourse, his homilies and counsel, and when he offered the Lord’s Sacrifice.  (Truly, though, what do I know? Maybe this perceived holiness had already been present;  the more familiar he became with his congregation, the more he could pour his love onto his fellow man.  Do we truly know the hearts of priests? — this could say so much about how we judge some priests (holy! not holy!!) and chose one over another.. just a thought.)

During his last homily, he addressed every part of the Church — from the staff to his fellow priests, from the visitors to the various ministries — but what stayed with me most of all was his telling us that the we made him be a better priest, the same way a husband would tell his wife, “you make me a better man.”  He remarked about an ordination where, as the would-be priests lay prostrate before the altar, someone had seen a little boy also lay prostrate in the central aisle of the Church.  It turned out to be a seminarian’s little brother.  The little boy lay face down, his forehead on the backs of his hands, and every now and then, he’d turn his head to peek at his older brother as he lay face down on the floor before Our Lord.  That newly ordained priest knew he was setting an example for someone .. intimately.  And this was what our priest communicated to us — that simply knowing us, individually and, yes, even as a collective, this made him want to be a holier man.

So.. there we go about the chambers of this particular priest’s heart.  🙂

Father Michael F. Duffy said the same thing:

I’m more away of my own humanity than I ever was before.  I’m constantly amazed and moved by the sanctity of those people I meet in the church, at Mass, and especially in the confessional.

This happened by virtue of our just being around them.  I mean, what have we to offer but sullied souls, pinning for another sacrament, asking for another grace?  A smile, you say? A fraternal embrace? Friendship? A light joke? You cook his dinner once in awhile? Iron his wardrobe?

Yeah.. these things.  It’s Love.  We help make our priests holy.

So .. just like I would ask you to check out Liturgy Dude’s blog to show our moral support, I ask that you do the tiniest of things to show your love to your priest.

Validation.

I can’t tell you what that would be.  You’re very smart.  You can figure that one out.

God gave you the heart and brains and the LOVE to do so.

O, God bless you.  I wish you a sweet and restful evening to break down the doors of that Monday coming tomorrow.  By virtue of You, tell the world you’re Catholic!

Roamings.

Eucharist

I’ve had this window open for about 20 minutes, and now I know what I want to write about.

I was talking with Joseph about my last post.  We were discussing my anonymity.

My name is Veronica. 🙂  I’m on Twitter, too, by the way. Over here under the handle Holy Vocations.  I’m currently overcoming the temptation of pride and whatnot and settling into being myself without being known on the internet.

This isn’t about me.

Do you know what the Devil’s first temptation is to the person who wants to serve God with dedication? It is human respect.” – St. John Vianney

But the more I talk about it, the more it becomes a central point, and at that point, it becomes a problem.  Nuisance.  Conversation I don’t want to hold.  On to more important things, you know?

We’ll move on.

I have been roaming the Catholic blogosphere for about 3 days now.  At least for as many days I created Holy Vocations on twitter.  There are a lot of people talking.  A lot.  I don’t have stats, but I know what I’m already familiar with.  Catholic bloggers have always been pseudo-political.  The secular world made it be this way.  What I’ve noticed these past few days is that we overly engaged.

I mean, that’s just my first impression. I think I’ll explore this later on in this blog when I press the following point I’m about to tell you:

Sometimes the devil does a great job distracting us with a perceived good.

And this perceived good, for many Catholics online, is the verbal defense of the Church and engagement of pretty much anyone who tries to throw sparks on the Rock.

Maybe that’s an over-generalization.

You understand what I’m looking for, right?  I’m starting blogs and twitter feeds to remind Catholics about our priests.  I’m looking for discussions about priests, nuns and all religious, about vocations, about their holiness, about praying for them, about covering the nakedness of their sins as though they were Noah .. you know .. priest talk.  Not priests talking.  But people talking about priests in the affirmative!

Oh!  The internet is rife with the sins of the Church and her laity .. and we’re concerned about the use of words to counter those who we know don’t understand, and wouldn’t understand because they’re not Catholic?  Yes, I’m discussing the hate speech at this point, thrown by Catholic-haters.

Then there’s the info-sharing, the repeats.  They’re wonderful.  It’s needed.. but where is the call to pray and love and wish more for our shepherds?

I’m not seeing it.

If you’re still not with me, let me phrase it another way:  I think the world has been so successful in marring the reputation of our priests and we have allowed them to frame our own perceptions of our religious.

We have been subtly cajoled into silence.

Who in their right mind would want to defend child rapists?

You see? It’s too common.  There’s not enough of a flood of fresh, positive, affirmative tweets, posts, proclamations, and ponderings about the love we have for our priests!

Is the love there?  It doesn’t matter.

My point is they’re overlooked.  Neglected.

It’s magnificent how the pro-life movement brought the plight of the unborn to the forefront.  We have spiritual adoptions of babies in the womb we will never know, except maybe in heaven.  In the meantime, we have the souls of consecrated men and women standing before us, and I know many of us don’t pray for them.  Spiritually adopting a priest isn’t mainstream.

We just need to do more for our priests.  Lord, give us the grace to fully realize this and bring it to fruition.

I love you. +++

Hi. Pray for a priest. And God bless you.

Kneeling-during-Mass_large

This is my first post for this blog, ever, ever, ever.

This doesn’t mean I haven’t been around on the internet.  I have.  But, I know you’re curious, so I’ll explain the rationale for this blog, as I know I’ve done for all the numerous blogs I’ve played with over the years.

First, on anonymity.

I am No One.  I’ve always been no one.  I tried the popular blogging once, and I didn’t like what it did to me.  I was a different person then and wasn’t willing to work through the personality shifts to get to be where I wanted to be, which is, namely.. holy.

Second, on Catholicism.  By now, you’ve figured out I’m Catholic.

Smart one. 🙂  Nothing unusual. Let me tell you where I am.

I’m a happily married cradle catholic lady with 5 kids and have sorted out all my Catholic business.  This means I’m not a cafeteria catholic.. (and on top of that).. nor do I judge anyone who is a cafeteria catholic or who’s sorting their stuff out.  People are where they are, and God will sort them out.  My job is to Love.  Show Love.  Be Love, wholly and entirely, someday.

So.. that should tell you this blog isn’t mean to degenerate any Johnny-come-latelys or Don’t-Know-If Catholics or non-Catholic Christians, for that matter.  I welcome everyone to see what I’m trying to figure out on this blog.  Which brings me to…

Third, This Priestly Blog.

I love my priests.  But I don’t love my priest.  I love all of Christ’s priests, all of them He has chosen and placed on this earth, but I am persnickity.  I have preference of one over the other, when there is something within me that tells me I should have no preference.  Does this have to do with personality conflicts, my level of sanctity (or lack thereof)?  I don’t know.  I’m just like everyone else.  I just know I want to be better with my priest and priests.

Which brings me to…

Fourth, I want everyone to love their priest.  The one right in front of them.

A few days ago, at the beginning of this week, actually, I had an epiphany.  I was given the grace of .. thirsting for souls.  What was it like?  I cried. Like.. nonsense.  I don’t know what it was about or where it came from (well, I know it’s all God).  I do know I had been feeling this for awhile.  I’d cried before.  Every time I cried, like in Mass, it was always the same little feeling.  Just.. cry.  Not out of a feeling of sorrow or remorse.  Just.. moved.  I’ve had this moving feeling for awhile now.

What happened this past week was very, very different, though, because it felt like the whole entirely of my life’s tears were coming out of my face in 2 minutes.  I had a distinct movement welling out of my soul that cried out to heaven.  That movement wanted everyone with me.. every one of my family members, every one of my friends, every one I knew, and every one I didn’t know.  With me.  In communion with Christ.

During Mass, there had been a build-up, you see.. and that rush happened when I received Jesus.

And it was when I kneeling that I finally had clarity about the movement in my soul that had been occurring all that time:  Jesus had been sharing with me His thirst for souls.

It’s a very tender feeling, one where you don’t care who anyone is, what they do, who they are.  You wish you could give them your soul, if only they could see the little bit of insight that you yourself see.  What God has allowed you to see. Because what you see.. well, it’s little, after all.  I know that if we were to see what Jesus has in store for us, we’d die.

So.. this clarity. This thirst for souls.

The Director of Vocations for our diocese was saying Mass when this happened, and without any foresight, I went up to him after Mass and told him I wanted to help him with his office.  Give everything.  Deets are still unknown, but it’s a start.  It’s my little fiat.

Because.. what I’ve understood since those moments (I wasn’t quite thinking through this when this all happened, you see) is that we need more priests.  We need more priests to give us more of Jesus in the Eucharist, more sacraments, more pathways to holiness through Christ’s Holy Roman Catholic Church.

Without these, we are like any other protestant church floating through the wind, hoping for, but not quite anchoring, our salvation.

It’s a Catholic thing.

What makes us distinct is our priests.  Without them, we’d be like any other fellowship group or church gathering.

Our priests.

Ours is the only Faith where there need be only *1* for Jesus to be present.

With every other belief, there need be two or more in His name.

Only a priest can do this. It’s a power bestowed on Him by Christ that makes the dignity of his soul higher than that of the angels.

Why, exactly, aren’t we celebrating this? .. that’s the purpose of this blog.

God bless you, sweetly and always.  +++