31 July 2009

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Last week we didn't have a Jeopardy winner, so the prestige of being the first to receive the coveted WNJ award is still up for grabs.

Category: The Sacraments

This "permission" is what a Catholic desiring to enter into a marriage with a non-Catholic Christian would need to get from their local bishop. And, a Catholic desiring to enter into a marriage with a non-Christian would need this from their local bishop.

St. Alex says, please place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, and say a few Hail Marys while you wait for the answer to be revealed.

Demerits for using Google and other sneaky searches. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged. Good luck!!


30 July 2009

The Saints Win

We took the kids to a Saint Paul Saints game last night. It didn't rain.

It had been threatening to rain during the day, with clouds coming in before dinner time and hubby mentioning he had encountered a few periods of light sprinkles on the way home from work. We listened to the weather before we left, not that that is a guarantee, but they said the rain was supposed to hold off until after sunset. So, we plugged ahead with our original plan to go to the game.

Didn't buy tickets in advance since things have been so subject to change around here, and headed to Midway Stadium to try our luck with purchasing them an hour or so before the game started. This worked well since we got tickets right in the front a little to the right of home plate. Perfect for our first outing to a baseball game as a family.

We had planned to get the tickets and then get some dinner nearby, but when we saw all the people already at the stadium and how horrendous the parking situation was, we decided to just park and find something to eat at the stadium. Turns out that was a good plan too, since one vendor was giving away free hot dogs and water. Perfect cheap, baseball game dinner.

Even though I don't think the kids really paid attention to which guys were "our" team, they had fun. It was good we had the seats we did since the kids were in constant motion. At least they didn't have to crawl over people to get out or things would've gotten a little testy.

Ran into folks that my husband works with and they were asking us if we were dedicated Saints fans to get the great seats we had. Nope, just walked up and bought them on game day. The old-duffer-serious-baseball-fans sitting behind us had obviously over heard this conversation. When hubby took the kids to get some water during the 7th inning stretch, I could hear the duffers talking about coveting OUR seats and how we had just walked up and purchased them an hour before the game. They knew all the players, knew their stats, knew where prior players were, had just been to a Twins game the night before -- serious baseball fans.

Which made it even worse that moments earlier in the 7th inning stretch, when the crowd stood to face the announcer's box because they were throwing out bags of free peanuts, a bag came soaring overhead and ricocheted off the back of the head of one of the gentlemen and right into my hands. Momentarily, the thought of handing him back the offending bag crossed my mind, but then I thought how much my kids would like them, so all I mustered was an impish grin before I tossed the peanuts into my bag.

And the Saints managed to beat the fearsomely named Sioux Falls Canaries by a score of 7-1.

29 July 2009

Readings from Total Consecration

Judgment and the Punishment of Sin

In all things consider the end; how you shall stand before the strict Judge from Whom nothing is hidden and Who will pronounce judgment in all justice, accepting neither bribes nor excuses. And you, miserable and wretched sinner, who fear even the countenance of an angry man, what answer will you make to the God Who knows all your sins? Why do you not provide for yourself against the day of judgment when no man can be excused or defended by another because each will have enough to do to answer for himself? In this life your work is profitable, your tears acceptable, your sighs audible, your sorrow satisfying and purifying.

The patient man goes through a great and salutary purgatory when he grieves more over the malice of one who harms him than for his own injury; when he prays readily for his enemies and forgives offenses from his heart; when he does not hesitate to ask pardon of others; when he is more easily moved to pity than to anger; when he does frequent violence to himself and tries to bring the body into complete subjection to the spirit.

It is better to atone for sin now and to cut away vices than to keep them for purgation in the hereafter. In truth, we deceive ourselves by our ill-advised love of the flesh. What will that fire feed upon but our sins? The more we spare ourselves now and the more we satisfy the flesh, the harder will the reckoning be and the more we keep for the burning.

For a man will be more grievously punished in the things in which he has sinned. There the lazy will be driven with burning prongs, and gluttons tormented with unspeakable hunger and thirst; the wanton and lust-loving will be bathed in burning pitch and foul brimstone; the envious will howl in their grief like mad dogs.

Every vice will have its own proper punishment. The proud will be faced with every confusion and the avaricious pinched with the most abject want. One hour of suffering there will be more bitter than a hundred years of the most severe penance here. In this life men sometimes rest from work and enjoy the comfort of friends, but the damned have no rest or consolation.

You must, therefore, take care and repent of your sins now so that on the day of judgment you may rest secure with the blessed. For on that day the just will stand firm against those who tortured and oppressed them, and he who now submits humbly to the judgment of men will arise to pass judgment upon them. The poor and humble will have great confidence, while the proud will be struck with fear. He who learned to be a fool in this world and to be scorned for Christ will then appear to have been wise.

In that day every trial borne in patience will be pleasing and the voice of iniquity will be stilled; the devout will be glad; the irreligious will mourn; and the mortified body will rejoice far more than if it had been pampered with every pleasure. Then the cheap garment will shine with splendor and the rich one become faded and worn; the poor cottage will be more praised than the gilded palace. In that day persevering patience will count more than all the power in this world; simple obedience will be exalted above all worldly cleverness; a good and clean conscience will gladden the heart of man far more than the philosophy of the learned; and contempt for riches will be of more weight than every treasure on earth.

Then you will find more consolation in having prayed devoutly than in having fared daintily; you will be happy that you preferred silence to prolonged gossip.

Then holy works will be of greater value than many fair words; strictness of life and hard penances will be more pleasing than all earthly delights.

Learn, then, to suffer little things now that you may not have to suffer greater ones in eternity. Prove here what you can bear hereafter. If you can suffer only a little now, how will you be able to endure eternal torment? If a little suffering makes you impatient now, what will hell fire do? In truth, you cannot have two joys: you cannot taste the pleasures of this world and afterward reign with Christ.

If your life to this moment had been full of honors and pleasures, what good would it do if at this instant you should die? All is vanity, therefore, except to love God and to serve Him alone.

He who loves God with all his heart does not fear death or punishment or judgment or hell, because perfect love assures access to God.

It is no wonder that he who still delights in sin fears death and judgment.

It is good, however, that even if love does not as yet restrain you from evil, at least the fear of hell does. The man who casts aside the fear of God cannot continue long in goodness but will quickly fall into the snares of the devil.

~The Imitation of Christ, Book 1, Chapter 24
One of the readings for Second Period, First Week, Day 1 of the Total Consecration to Mary

27 July 2009

Let the crisis begin

It is with great sadness that I tell you I finally broke down and did it. I bought a pair of cheaters -- reading glasses.

I can't tell you how much this pains me as I have always prided myself on my extraordinary vision. Although I might have hearing problems, at least my eyes were stellar!

Well, welcome to the beginnings of my mid-life crisis. It's not so much a crisis as it is a annoyance. How am I supposed to keep these things handy anyway? I don't carry a purse and I'm certainly not going to wear a chain around my neck and call them a fashion accessory. It's all very awkward right now.

I couldn't get the DVD player to work this morning. So, I called hubby and he wasn't able to help (it's really interesting how I'm the one home and typically the one to fix things (not to mention homeschool and run the household), but when I'm stumped, I call my husband. The problem this has created is now when anything is wrong, the kids automatically say "Don't worry, dad can fix it," making me feel like a meager stand-in). I had to give in and go get my glasses to read what the buttons on the front of the machine even said. After all that angst, and a good dose of DVD inflicted humility, the durn thing still isn't working.

All I hear in my head the past few day is, "Man you are dust and to dust you shall return."

Here's looking forward to that glorified body.

26 July 2009

Conflicted colors

There were no snakes or bears at the cabin, but it did rain much of the day on Saturday, keeping us inside. The beach club's outdoor wiener roast was held inside. Not much got done around the cabin. So, I came home a bit introspective.

Here's what I was mulling over on the drive home.

During one of the most solemn days of the year, and you know that isn't Christmas, a Protestant parish I know of has a huge turn out. Practically everyone in town shows up -- standing room only. One of those "get there early to get a good seat" occasions.

What is it that brings everyone in? Christ's passion?

The pastor of this parish is locally known for his Friday evening large mural painting event, performed live before the congregation. The theme of the painting is always related to Holy Week somehow, as a form of ministry.

What do you think of this type of thing?

A. Great, it brings in people who wouldn't otherwise be there.
B. Interesting and enjoyable. Nice to see someone share their God-given talent.
C. This is something better done at a separate function in the church hall or basement, not during a service.
D. Inappropriate. He's upstaging the Lord.
E. All of the above.
F. None of the above.

Discuss amongst yourselves.

24 July 2009

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

This week a prize will be awarded for the first correct response. My creative friend, Vincenzo, has come up with the Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy award. This is a major award with an Italian pedigree. Please keep that in mind when answering.

The award will be sent to you in a wooden crate marked "fra-gee-lay."

Play fair, no fighting.

Category: Catholic Universities

Officially, although still contested, this city is home to the first Catholic University established in the New World.

Extra points for providing the name of the University and/or the religious order that founded it.

St. Alex says, please place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, and say a few Hail Marys while you wait for the answer to be revealed. NB: I have turned on comment moderation to see if this works better, allowing multiple people to guess the same answer since they won't be able to see what other people have previously answered. We'll try it and see how it works.

Demerits for using Google and other sneaky searches. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged. Good luck!!

Here's but a glimpse of what could be yours with the correct question.

23 July 2009

The box under the table

Some of the best deals I've found at garage sales or homeschool conferences, or anywhere, are those tucked away in half-opened boxes under folding tables or stashed in corners.

A few years ago, tucked way under a vendor table, I found the first year of the math curriculum I wanted to use with my son, complete with many of the manipulatives still unopened in their packages, all for less than 25% of the retail price. I had come to the conference fully anticipating to have to pay for a brand new set, but was thrilled to find it used.

I found the second year, brand new, for about the same, at this year's conference.

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the great Catholic books I found at a garage sale. Today, hidden in a box with old irons and other junk was an old book covered with a fairly worn blue cover. Curious I thought, since it was odd to have this book thrown in with the old irons, especially when the lady having the sale was a retired teacher who had piles of books gently set out on numerous tables.

The sticker had been priced at $2, but was marked down to fifty cents.

I opened up the cover and found it was, "The St. Gregory Hymnal and Catholic Choir Book." Of course, I nabbed it and quickly tucked it under my arm.

I can't say I've ever seen one of these before. My mom couldn't sing on key, so she never was in choir. I was a public school kid. The only hymnals I had ever encountered were filled with Haugen, Haas and Joncas. This hymnal has so many songs (titles) in Latin that I'm going to have to start teaching Latin in my homeschool just to understand the books I own!

This hymnal was originally printed in the 1920s, but my version is from the 40s. It contains, two versions of Adoro Te Devote, three versions of Laudate Dominum, five versions of the Ave Verum Corpus, and of course, my favorite, the Asperges.

You can buy reprints of this hymnal at various Catholic bookstores or it's also online at Project Gutenberg.

As I went to pay, the lady looked at me and said, "Oh, you got the hymnal. I have the Baltimore Catechism upstairs." I told her I had just bought a copy of the catechism at a garage sale a few weeks ago, but not the older version. She told me she had the original version. I didn't ask, but I'm pretty certain she wasn't willing to sell it.

I mentioned to her that my aunt still frequently recites various things from the Baltimore catechism. She just knowingly shook her head and off I went with my latest treasure.

22 July 2009

Castle blueprint

I am starting back with the Interior Castle. Starting over to be exact. I was given a one-page sheet on Teresian Spirituality written by Father Marie-Eugene that helps explain things a bit.

Father wrote two books on the topic of Carmelite Spirituality, I Want to See God and I am a Daughter of the Church. I know my father had these books at one time, but didn't think they were on my bookshelf. When I got home yesterday after visiting with my friend and spiritual director, I checked my bookcase and couldn't find these titles anywhere.

They are now on my Amazon wish list.

I guess calling this a blue print isn't correct, because even if you can see where you want to go and how to get there, few people venture into the second phase (fourth mansion). Just like the rich man in the bible, they may have good intentions but when Jesus tells the man to give away all he has and follow Him, the man went away sad because he had a great many possessions.

Most of us are the same way in some respect or another, afraid or unwilling to give up goods, comforts, family, health, our own will, and other attachments to venture further into the castle.

Kind of like what Chesterton said, "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried."

Here's the explanation of St. Teresa's Interior Castle according to Father Marie-Eugene.

(God Intervenes with general help)

1st Mansion
Action of God
- No manifestations
Activity of the Soul - Avoids mortal sin
Christ Jesus - Study Jesus Christ in the Gospels and follow Him in His sacred humanity

2nd Mansion - vigorous and painful effort at progress
Action of God - Sensible consolations and aridities
Activity of the Soul - Applies itself to prayer, to recollection, to the correction of faults, to the organization of its spiritual life by a rule, and detachment
Christ Jesus - Study Jesus Christ in the Gospels and follow Him in His sacred humanity

3rd Mansion - Triumph of reasonable activity
Action of God - Facility in recollection
Activity of the Soul - In a well organized life of piety, it carefully avoids sin and practices the prayer of simplicity
Christ Jesus - Study Jesus Christ in the Gospels and follow Him in His sacred humanity

(God intervenes with particular help)

Action of God - God intervenes progressively in the soul through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. He invades it unto the transformation of love.
Activity of the Soul - The soul surrenders to God, gives itself to Him in humility and patience, it favors the growth of His action by an energetic asceticism
Christ Jesus - Holy Wisdom acting in the soul

4th Mansion - Night of the senses, Quiet
Action of God - Interior presence of God manifested by a blinding light (Night), by a sweet captivation (passive recollections quiet)
Activity of the Soul - Respects the action of God in prayer, completes it, peace, silence, moderated activity. Besides prayer, energetic asceticism in order to destroy the spiritual capital sins.
Christ Jesus - Blinding light of the Word. Delight in Holy Wisdom.

5th Mansion - Union of the will
Action of God - Habitual captivation of the will, sometimes after mystical grace of union
Activity of the Soul - Fidelity to the Law, obedience
Christ Jesus - Divine Wisdom takes possession of the will for the realization of His eternal design, the Church.

6th Mansion - Dark night of the spirit. Formation of the saint and the apostle.
Action of God - God purifies and enriches by His touches in the soul and in the operative faculties.
Activity of the Soul - Surrender and silent patience. Poverty and hope
Christ Jesus - Union with Christ the Saviour and with Mary all Mother

7th Mansion - Transforming union
Action of God - The divine conquest completed, utilization for the Church
Activity of the Soul - Perfect chastity and charity. In the service of the Church.
Christ Jesus - Union with the whole Christ.

21 July 2009

Mouse Attack Part 2

Revenge of the ICK

Taking a step back into a previous week's happenings, you may recall that mice chewed up our very large plastic inflatable pool and a plastic Jump-o-lene my parents-in-law had bought the kids for Christmas that they hadn't even had a chance to use.

When we arrived at the cabin this past weekend, I noticed my husband had a strange stash of things in a brown paper bag that he seemed to have an odd relish for and attachment to. It was a bag of mouse traps.

It was on. Man against mouse. Obviously, the prior attacks had been an egregious affront to my husband and his realm. The mice must die.

Aside from hubby's mouse preoccupation over the weekend, we tried to get some things done. The deck is almost painted, although it could stand another coat or two, especially in some areas where you can see the not-so-skillful brush strokes. The deck flooring still needs to be lightly sanded and stained. Got some raking done and hubby borrowed his dad's riding lawn mower and tried to push the woods back where they belong. Long hours were spent with the weed whacker.

Personally, I raked lots of leaves. Yes, it is late July, but I'm just now feeling well enough to tackle these types of projects. The weather was cool and overcast, so we didn't want to risk getting any paint out only to have to close everything up and run in, so I raked the leaves that had gathered around our shed and rock pile.

The reason I mention all this is coming.

My son wasn't feeling well on Saturday, so hubby and I decided to go to the anticipatory Mass while my PIL watched the kids. I finally figured out who the priest reminds me of...Pa Kettle. It's taken a few years to put this connection together, but Pa Kettle it is.

I only mention this because it was one of those "Ah ha" moments. Unfortunately, every time I see this priest, this thought will be in my head.

On the way back from Mass, we spotted another bear. This one was quite a ways north of our cabin and just lumbered out of the woods and across the road. All I can say is, glad we were in the car because they may be cute, but bears are scary.

After we got home from Mass, it was pretty late, but I was back at the raking. I got all the leaves around the shed cleaned up and used the weed whacker to trim all around the shed and the rock pile.

The next morning, as we were getting a few things done before loading the car for the ride back home, hubby loaded up my pile of leaves onto a tarp to dump in our woods while I was doing the domestic things inside like washing the dishes and closing blinds.

My son was feeling a bit better and had been outside with his dad and sister. While I was just finishing up the dishes, my son came in and said, "Mom, do you know what?" Of course, this is what he always says, and my standard response is, "No. What?" He went on to tell me, in great detail, about the rattle snake he saw in the woods. I patiently listened to his story before I told him that it was undoubtedly a garter snake, since we have seen many of those around, but rattle snakes don't tend to come this far north because it's too cold. Like usual, his childhood imagination had been working on over-drive.

After telling me all about the snake, back outside he went.

A few moments later, my husband came in and said I needed to come outside and see the rattle snake. What????

Here, laying in our wood pile, right next to the shed and rock pile I had been working on (in shorts and bare feet), was a good sized rattle snake!! Hubby had already let the kids hear it rattle and asked me if I wanted to hear it too. But, before I could really answer, he took the stick that was already in his hand and got close to the snake with it.

"Did you hear it?" No. All I heard was the ringing in my head, so that was a disappointment. The kids however, thought it was cool. I was kind of missing the bear at this point.

Meanwhile, back in the garage with the strategically placed mouse traps. Hubby managed to exact some revenge and had caught two mice, which he then took over to the wood pile and tossed to the snake.

Hubby and the snake seemed to develop some weird cosmic connection based on shared goals; hubby doesn't want the mice around and the snake needs to eat. I think they made some diabolic pact that I don't even want to know about.

As they say, ignorance is bliss.

Or more recently, what happens at the cabin, stays at the cabin.

16 July 2009

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Since last weekend's question was a complete disaster, I'm staying away from the literature category. Here's one that's not so serious.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Category: Church Tradition

Candles used during Holy Mass must be made up of this percentage of beeswax.

St. Alex says, please place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, and say a few Hail Marys while you wait for the answer to be revealed. NB: I have turned on comment moderation to see if this works better, allowing multiple people to guess the same answer since they won't be able to see what other people have previously answered. We'll try it and see how it works.

Demerits for using Google. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged. Good luck!!

Party time

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I think my son keyed in the word "feast," because he actually asked to go to Mass today. His sweet little head was probably filled last night with dreams of a sumptuous buffet table covered with decadent desserts.

Sorry to disappoint. I hope stopping at the gas station for a slushy smooths things over.

We didn't do the novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel since we had several others going already. Kind of felt like I was letting down Our Lady until a friend mentioned the Total Consecration to Mary.

We've already had our family consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, but that only entailed a few prayers. The Total Consecration is 33 days and has prayers, gospel readings and readings from the Imitation of Christ right now. It starts to pick up speed as it goes along and adds more prayers, litanies and a rosary.

You can go here to get a free packet sent to you in the mail. Or visit Fisheaters for information on St. Louis de Marie Montfort's Total Consecration, and the requisite prayers.

Really liked the meditation from The Imitation of Christ for Day 1 (Chapter 13, 1-4).

Of resisting temptation

1. So long as we live in the world, we cannot be without trouble and trial. Wherefore it is written in Job, The life of man upon the earth is a trial. And therefore ought each of us to give heed concerning trials and temptations, and watch unto prayer, lest the devil find occasion to deceive; for he never sleepeth, but goeth about seeking whom he may devour. No man is so perfect in holiness that he hath never temptations, nor can we ever be wholly free from them.

2. Yet, notwithstanding, temptations turn greatly unto our profit, even though they be great and hard to bear; for through them we are humbled, purified, instructed. All Saints have passed through much tribulation and temptation, and have profited thereby. And they who endured not temptation became reprobate and fell away. There is no position so sacred, no place so secret, that it is without temptations and adversities.

3. There is no man wholly free from temptations so long as he liveth, because we have the root of temptation within ourselves, in that we are born in concupiscence. One temptation or sorrow passeth, and another cometh; and always we shall have somewhat to suffer, for we have fallen from perfect happiness. Many who seek to fly from temptations fall yet more deeply into them. By flight alone we cannot overcome, but by endurance and true humility we are made stronger than all our enemies.

4. He who only resisteth outwardly and pulleth not up by the root, shall profit little; nay, rather temptations will return to him the more quickly, and will be the more terrible. Little by little, through patience and longsuffering, thou shalt conquer by the help of God, rather than by violence and thine own strength of will. In the midst of temptation often seek counsel; and deal not hardly with one who is tempted, but comfort and strengthen him as thou wouldest have done unto thyself.

Top Ten Reasons Why We Should Consecrate Our Lives To Jesus Through Mary
1. To emulate the sanctity of our previous Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, who selected the de Montfort Consecration (True Devotion) for his own Marian Spirituality

2. To provide the easiest, safest, fastest, most secure, and surest path to Jesus and to our own salvation

3. To obtain Our Lady's help in bringing us from our own unworthiness to the level of conversion, holiness, and perfection in our lives needed to enable us to become saintly

4. To turn our lives over completely and without reservation in service to Jesus through Mary to reflect our love and our trust in them now and for all eternity

5. To obtain special graces and protection under Our Lady's sheltering mantle

6. To help bring others to Jesus through Mary for their conversion, holiness, and perfection through this total consecration devotion

7. To hasten the day of the Triumph of Our Lady's Immaculate Heart and the day when Mary and Jesus will reign in all hearts

8. To fulfill Our Lady's request for individual consecration of our lives to her Immaculate Heart, as given to us through Sister Lucia during the Fatima apparitions

9. To become an effective counter-force to the legion of evil so prevalent in the world by offering up our prayers, sacrifices, and sufferings to Jesus through Mary

10. To renew our Baptismal promises and to evangelize the world to Jesus through Mary

Mantilla twitch to Jean

14 July 2009

A week in the life of a big Catholic family

Jarring, shocking and even mundane, all these events happened in my family recently.

* My little baby brother, all 6'4 and 225 pounds of lean muscle, turned 42.
* I met a first-cousin who was back visiting from California who had moved away a very long time ago. He was shocked when I introduced myself to him, never knowing my father had married and had kids. "I thought Uncle X was a bachelor!" Well, he was until he married at the age of 40!
* My aunt celebrated her 90th birthday and members of my father's disjointed, dysfunctional family showed up and everyone had a pleasant day.
* My cousin's husband, a life-long practicing Catholic, committed suicide, rocking this more conservative branch of the family.
* I learned that three of my cousins had been sexually abused as children.
* A divorced cousin remarried outside the Church.
* A cousin's daughter graduated from high school and while my cousin (aunt to the graduate) was at the graduation party, her own daughter went into labor. Her daughter lives across the country, so my cousin flew out as soon as she was able. The baby is breech. No word on how things went.
* Family letters over 100 years old were given to me. One written by my great-grandfather to my great aunt. One containing a lock of my aunt's bright red hair with a blue ribbon around it.
* A cousin who is a nun, is in town and wants to get together to talk genealogy...and we are planning to meet with cousins I have only talked to a few times in my life.
*I've been asked to pray *hard* since several elderly aunts are in poor health.
* One cousin's son is in South Korea teaching and another is in Russia.
* A cousin's two grown children have lost their jobs and are living in my cousin's basement.

That doesn't even include my husband's neo-pagan family!

Not the King of Pop

And not Weird Al Yankovic...

The King of Polka, ladies, Frankie Yankovic

13 July 2009

Servant of God

Both my father and brother were in the military. My father enlisted in the Navy during WWII and survived the sinking of the carrier, USS Princeton. My brother has been in the Army for over 20 years (four years active, the remainder the the Guard or Reserves), just completing his secound tour in Iraq. Four of my five uncles were in the military, along with several of my aunts and great-aunts.

Awhile back, a cousin of mine did a play that dealt a great deal with my uncle, who had served in Korea. Not having known this uncle very well, it was a unique way to gain some insight into his life. And into the Korean War that seemed to permeate so many aspects of his life decades after he laid down his gun.

It was timely that a Carmelite Sister gave me a holy card of Father Emil Kapaun, Servant of God, just last week. In that time, I've looked into Father Kapaun's life, especially since he served in the Army in Korea, just like my uncle. One as a priest, one as a rough and tough sniper.

Oddly, through watching the play my cousin did on her father and read the info on Father Kapaun, I feel as if I've gained some insight into these two men and have a better, albeit quite limited, understanding of what they went through during their time in Korea.

Father Kapaun, was born in Pilsen, Kansas in the Diocese of Wichita, Kansas on Holy Thursday, April 20, 1916. He was ordained as a Priest for the Diocese on June 9, 1940 and entered the U.S. Army Chaplain Corps in 1944.

Separated from the service in 1946, he re-entered the Army in 1948 and was sent to Japan the following year.

In July of 1950 Father Kapaun was ordered to Korea. On November 2 of that same year he was taken as a prisoner of war. In the seven months in prison, Father Kapaun spent himself in heroic service to his fellow prisoners without regard for race, color or creed.

To this there is testimony of men of all faiths. Ignoring his own ill health, he nursed the sick and wounded until a blood clot in his leg prevented his daily rounds. Moved to a so-called hospital, but denied medical assistance, his death soon followed on May 23, 1951.

The Diocese of Wichita and the Vatican have begun the formal process that could lead to Father Kapaun's canonization. In 1993, it was announced that Fr. Kapaun would receive the title of "Servant of God". Source

The other holy card Sister gave me contained St. Therese's Prayer for Priests. In this Year of the Priest, it is good to pray for all our priests, especially those who gave their lives living out their vocation.

A Prayer for Priests
(said daily by S. Therese of Liseux)

‘O Holy Father, may the torrents of love flowing from the sacred wounds of Thy Divine Son bring forth priests like unto the beloved disciple John who stood at the foot of the Cross; priests: who as a pledge of Thine own most tender love will lovingly give Thy Divine Son to the souls of men.

May Thy priests be faithful guardians of Thy Church, as John was of Mary, whom he received into his house. Taught by this loving Mother who suffered so much on Calvary, may they display a mother’s care and thoughtfulness towards Thy children. May they teach souls to enter into close union with Thee through Mary who, as the Gate of Heaven, is specially the guardian of the treasures of Thy Divine Heart.

Give us priests who are on fire, and who are true children of Mary, priests who will give Jesus to souls with the same tenderness and care with which Mary carried the Little Child of Bethlehem.

Mother of sorrows and of love, out of compassion for Thy beloved Son, open in our hearts deep wells of love, so that we may console Him and give Him a generation of priests formed in thy school and having all the tender thoughtfulness of thine own spotless love.’

10 July 2009

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Hopefully, these will test the depth and breadth of your knowledge. At least a few to keep you busy this weekend. Good luck and have a wonderful weekend.

Category: Literature

1. This English philosopher wrote an anti-Catholic tract called "Why I Am Not A Christian."

2. This Trappist monk wrote "The Seven Story Mountain."

3. In the Brothers Karamaov by Dostoevski, this brother was driven by a need for spiritual perfection.

4. This French author wrote, "Hell is other people."

St. Alex says, please place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, and say a few Hail Marys while you wait for the answer to be revealed. Demerits for using Google. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged.

09 July 2009

The Catechism on prayer

Facing temptations in prayer

2732 The most common yet most hidden temptation is our lack of faith. It expresses itself less by declared incredulity than by our actual preferences. When we begin to pray, a thousand labors or cares thought to be urgent vie for priority; once again, it is the moment of truth for the heart: what is its real love? Sometimes we turn to the Lord as a last resort, but do we really believe he is? Sometimes we enlist the Lord as an ally, but our heart remains presumptuous. In each case, our lack of faith reveals that we do not yet share in the disposition of a humble heart: "Apart from me, you can do nothing."

2733 Another temptation, to which presumption opens the gate, is acedia. The spiritual writers understand by this a form of depression due to lax ascetical practice, decreasing vigilance, carelessness of heart. "The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." The greater the height, the harder the fall. Painful as discouragement is, it is the reverse of presumption. The humble are not surprised by their distress; it leads them to trust more, to hold fast in constancy.

2734 Filial trust is tested - it proves itself - in tribulation. The principal difficulty concerns the prayer of petition, for oneself or for others in intercession. Some even stop praying because they think their petition is not heard. Here two questions should be asked: Why do we think our petition has not been heard? How is our prayer heard, how is it "efficacious"?

Why do we complain of not being heard?

2735 In the first place, we ought to be astonished by this fact: when we praise God or give him thanks for his benefits in general, we are not particularly concerned whether or not our prayer is acceptable to him. On the other hand, we demand to see the results of our petitions. What is the image of God that motivates our prayer: an instrument to be used? or the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?

2736 Are we convinced that "we do not know how to pray as we ought"? Are we asking God for "what is good for us"? Our Father knows what we need before we ask him, but he awaits our petition because the dignity of his children lies in their freedom. We must pray, then, with his Spirit of freedom, to be able truly to know what he wants.

08 July 2009

Looks like work

I'm the grand-daughter of a horse trader. Haggling is in my blood.

Back during the depression, my grandfather, a farmer, would buy young, unbroken horses and train them so he could sell the horse and make a small profit. He worked hard and did this to save his farm from foreclosure by paying the interest (boot) and to put food on the table. The family was relatively fortunate, many neighboring farmers lost their farms during this period.

Then there is my aunt. Taking the lessons she learned from her father, she carved out a good career for herself and became very successful. She is a fierce haggler who loves garage sales.

And she passed that on to me.

I can't say I'm any where near the bargain shopper that my aunt is, but I have gotten a few great deals at garage sales. Since my aunt hasn't been going to sales with me lately, I don't feel the pressure to haggle to remain in her good graces. As a result, I haven't haggled over anything in ages.

At one garage sale a few weeks ago I found several good Catholic books for about ten cents each. Some of the items were the Child's Bible History by Knect (Tan Books), Kindergarten Catechism for Young Adults (Seton), The Illustrated Catechism (Redemptorist), along with some other Catholic items for homeschooling.

At another garage sale, I picked up a 1942 Manual of Catholic Devotions in perfect shape. Nice and crisp, with a black leather cover and gold embossing. It is beautiful and has the prayers of the Mass, Vespers, the Asperges (my favorite), the Way of the Cross, and many devotions. It was only a quarter and is ideal for my son since I'm afraid to let him get his hands on the nice missal I bought him when he was born.

And, at a sale by our cabin, I got a nice LARGE wooden shrine for $5. However, this is one of those things my aunt would look at and declare, "Looks like work" when it seems like a good deal but isn't something that is "good to go," an item not requiring something like hemming, painting or moving of furniture.

The shrine is wonderful and in good condition. The only problem is I don't have an outdoor statue large enough for it! Standing in it, my St. Francis looks very lonely.

Wonder when the budget will allow for the purchase of a nice Madonna?

Or I'm able to find one at a garage sale.

Machiavellian understanding of the beatitudes

An interesting conversation was relayed to me. I don't usually discuss politics very much because either I'm among a group of people who vehemently disagree with me or other who are very like-minded. It's seems a waste of time and energy to talk to either camp about politics because both, for good or bad, appear stuck in their positions.

But, there are things that just make you shake your head.

As the story goes, this mom of grown children was giddy at the possibility of universal health care becoming a reality. She was angry, even hostile, that her son hasn't had health insurance since he was in college. The semester he spent at college was a good ten to fifteen years ago.

This son has a home, a big truck, his own business, a motorcycle, an RV, and takes trips camping, trips out west to snow mobile, etc.

Obviously, he could afford health insurance if he wanted to.

But, his mom is all mad at the system because he's not just automatically covered by some government program. Well, if we have universal health insurance, he's going to be paying a lot more than the nothing he's currently paying.

Careful what you wish and vote for.

Along those lines, the lady who is renting my aunt's place is a month behind in her rent. Ir's a nice place, kind of upscale, rent isn't cheap. The woman knew this going in and signed a contract obligating herself for 12 months. The lady hasn't lost her job, she just found a boyfriend who she is spending all her time with. They recently took a trip together.

A few weeks ago some paper work showed up on my aunt's doorstep. It was to verify the rent and other information because this lady was asking the Salvation Army to spot her a month's rent.

Meanwhile, she's oblivious to others in line who've lost a job, can't afford food, can't put gas in their car...

It's amazing that not that long ago, my parents came through the depression and my father fought in WWII -- they were among Brokaw's "Grestest Generation." What happened to the notions that permeated the country of being self-reliant, God-fearing, perseverent, and proud of a job well-done? Not to mention, helping your neighbor in any way you could. Today, regardless of circumstance, everyone has their hand out.

We are all poor in spirit.

07 July 2009


The other day I was talking to a Carmelite sister and asked her for a recommendation on a book that would provide some foundational understanding of the works of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Well, she didn't really give me an answer to that, but suggested I read about Venerable Teresa Quevedo (1930-1950).

From what I have learned so far online is Teresa had a great devotion to Our Lady and that she was very much like St. Therese of Lisieux in that she had a simple faith and tried to do small things well.

During the novitiate she went fully through "The Story of a Soul", the Autobiography of St.Therese of Lisieux. She wrote in her diary: "I will try to imitate her, so that Jesus may find in me all the consolations this little saint gave Him. I really like St.Therese's 'little way'; only, in my opinion, this little way has to pass through Our Lady.". Source
Teresa's own little way dealt with amiability:

The virtue of amiability results from the fusion of several strong virtues. It is the all things to all men that grows out of charity: the knowledge of self that humility teaches; the pure detachment found in mortification; the meekness born of patience; and the undaunted courage won of perseverance... The Code of Amiability obliges one:

1. To smile until a kindly smile forms readily on one's lips.
2. To repress a sign of impatience at the very start.
3. To add a word of benevolence when giving orders.
4. To reply positively when asked to do a favor.
5. To lend a helping hand to the unfortunate.
6. To please those toward whom one feels repugnance.
7. To study and satisfy the tastes of those with whom one lives.
8. To respect everyone.
9. To avoid complaining.
10. To correct, if one must, with kindness.

These are the dispositions which union with the amiable Virgin will place in our heart.

About Venerable Teresa Quevedo
On June 9th 1983, Pope John Paul II declared Venerable a young Spanish girl from Madrid, named Maria Teresa Gonzalez-Quevedo. She was just twenty years old, born on April 14, 1930, she died on April 8, 1950.

Thus the Church officially crowned this short but intensely lived life, which ended in the Charity Carmelite Novitiate in the Congregation, where she wanted to spend her whole life, praying and doing active apostolate and even longing to work in foreign missions.

This Madrid girl's life in many ways is closely connected with the Society of Jesus. As a matter of fact, Teresita (as she was usually called) developed her spiritual life in taking active part in the Marian Sodality at the Charity Carmelite Institute, where she was studying.

As all know, the Marian Sodalities trace their origin to the Society of Jesus. The Jesuit Fathers spread them throughout the Catholic world as her tool for Christian commitment, particularly suited for young people, thus enabling them to spread the spiritual values drawn from the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola - the Founder of the Jesuits - in their families, in their work places, and in all their apostolic activities.

The Marian Sodalities "Way" is based on the theological training at different levels (according to the different types of members), on continual prayer, on the frequent revision of life, strengthened precisely by making the annual Spiritual Exercises, and by special devotion to Our Lady, shown both by listening to God's word and living it, as she did by her eagerness in sharing with others all the treasures received.

The other link with the Society of Jesus is also the fact that the family of the Venerable Maria Teresa counts two Jesuits among her relatives. Teresita's father had two brothers who were Jesuits; Father Antonio Gonzalez-Quevedo is one of them; Teresita received her first communion from him.

She lived in a rather difficult period, marked by the awful Spanish civil war, during which a veritable religious persecution broke out, seven thousand priests and thirteen bishops died. Three brothers of the father of Teresita were among those martyrs.

06 July 2009

Mouse attack

Recently our homeschool group was saying a novena to Our Lady of Good Remedy for a member of the group who is having a hard time ridding her house of mice. At night when my husband and I asked for heavenly intervention for her situation, I said, "And for A, please God send her a spiritual cat to rid her house of mice."

Looks like I need to visit the local shelter and pick up a few cats of the temporal kind myself.

This weekend we were at the cabin. My PIL came over with their compressor so we could blow up a "Jump-o-lene" that they had bought the kids for a Christmas gift. Hubby tried to blow it up last weekend, but didn't get too far with just lung power. It was left in the garage until we could find a fitting to attach it to a pump.

But then my PIL came to the rescue this weekend...only to find that a mouse had eaten a huge hole in it and made a nest.

A check of the shed only made things worse.

If you remember last year, a bear had attacked our shed. Twice. He had ripped the pad-locked doors open to get to the cocoa bean mulch I had inside.

This summer it's mice. They ate a very large hole in the very large inflatable pool! It's toast, not repairable.

The next thing I know, the back of my PIL's truck was full of a mound of mice-chewed plastic rubble.

Fortunately, they didn't get to the canvas inflatable raft. We got that blown up and towed the kids around the lake behind the boat. Had a great time. We hung it fron the rafters in the garage. I hope that's sufficient to keep it intact.

But, that wasn't the end of our ordeal.

On the way home last night we stopped for gas. Everyone got out to stretch and use the facilities. As my son went to get back in the car, he opened the door and hit himself in the mouth (he was quite groggy). The blood started to flow, so I opened the glove box in the car to pull out my stash of napkins. To add insult to injury, the mouse had found its way into the glove box and chewed up all the napkins and made a nest there. INSIDE my car!! YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After grabbing some of the wipes hanging by the pump that you typically use to wipe your oil stick when you check your oil and tending to my son with it, time was spent AGAIN cleaning up after the latest mouse attack.

Our Lady of Good Remedy, there is work to do!!!!

Jeopardy question pics

Regarding my prior Jeopardy post, check out Vincenzo's blog, Sancte Pater, for some great pics of the San Petronio Bascilica and the meridian lines in its floor.

02 July 2009

Weekend Kneeler Jeopardy

Have a wonderful Fourth of July weekend!!

Category: Arts and Sciences

Numerous cathedrals and bascilicas, specifically those at San Petronio, Bologna, Paris and Rome, were designed during the 17th and 18th centuries, to be used for this "secular" function.

St. Alex says, please place your answer in the form of a question in the combox, and say a few Hail Marys while you wait for the answer to be revealed. Demerits for using Google. Educated guesses are welcome and encouraged.

01 July 2009

Crazy connections

Awhile back, my husband read the story of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha to my kids. They really enjoyed it. So when I was looking through a website that had a bunch of lap books, and found one on the Iroquois, I decided the kids and I would make this as a tie in to Kateri's story (since she wonders if she could ever love the fierce Iroquois).

The lap book is based on the story, If you lived with the Iroquois. In reading the story, it tells where the Iroquois lived, so the next thing we found ourselves doing was sitting around and identifying where the Iroquois could be found on the globe. The story mentioned the Iroquois went as far south as Tennessee, and off my son went on a tangent about the penguin and the walrus that lived there.

Actually, he was talking about Tennessee Tuxedo and his pal, Chumley.

That jogged my own memory of Reverend Know-it-all, aka Father Richard Simon, who Ma Beck always used to fondly talk about. The reason I thought of him is that on the website where Father's wise retorts can be found, is a picture of Bullwinkle J. Moose. If you're a Minnesotan, you know the connection.

Anyhow, I finally got a chance to sit down a the computer and went to the site, since it is always interesting, especially Father's great sense of humor and the groanable names he provides for the person posing the question (see the site for "Answers Everything You Always Wanted To Know About God & Religion, But Were Just Too Afraid To Ever Ask....")

As I was reading through the different questions he had answered, I found one I had just been wondering about myself.

And, so here we are, circuitously brought to this point because of a homeschooling moment.

Dear Rev. Know-It-All,

One Sunday after Mass, my son asked me why Catholics have two different creeds; the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed? He argues that the Apostles had first-hand knowledge of Jesus, so why change something that they had already written? I couldn't answer his question, but told him that I would try to find out for him. Also, why does the priest alternate between the two different creeds at Mass? Thank you in advance for clarifying this for us!

Yours truly,

Phil E. O’Kweigh

Dear Phil,
How fortunate! You have a son who is actually paying attention. That in itself should make you proud. Here, however you and your son are accepting an assumption, namely that the Apostles wrote the Apostles’ Creed. They didn’t. A legend arose in the fifth century after Christ to explain the origin of the so called Apostles’ Creed. The legend says that after Pentecost, inspired by the Holy Spirit, each apostle contributed one of the 12 points of the Apostles’ Creed. This pious and charming story has no origin in history. The Apostles’ Creed in its present version is a rather late statement of faith. It seems to have been mentioned by St. Ambrose around 390 AD, but the first complete written version that we have of the Apostles’ Creed appear in Latin around 710 AD. There is a Greek version of the Apostles’ Creed quoted by Marcellus of Ankara in Turkey around 350 AD, but it isn’t called the Apostles’ Creed. It’s called the Roman Symbol. “Symbol” is an interesting Greek word. “Symbol,” or as it’s spelled in Greek “symbolon,” is an entrance ticket, a token, or half of a broken coin that, when reunited to its other half, proves identity. You’ve seen those cutesy half hearts that some people wear as jewelry, their sweetheart having the other half of the heart. That’s a “symbol” in the ancient Greek sense. So the symbol of faith, our trust in one God; Father, Son and Spirit admits us and unites us to the fellowship of believers and to the Church, the Bride of Christ. Different places had different expressions or symbols, but since the Roman Church was (and is) uniquely the leader and example of the whole Church (as St. Irenaeus of Lyon said around 190 AD in his treatise “Against Heresies”) the Old Roman Symbol was quoted throughout the world. Eventually, Eusebius of Caesarea in the Holy Land, also around 350 AD, said that the Nicene Creed was based on this “Apostles Creed.” He was probably referring to some version of the Old Roman Symbol.

The Old Roman Symbol was probably a form of the Rule of Faith, a simple formula used in the preparation of candidates for Baptism. The above mentioned St. Irenaeus of Lyon gives us a version of the rule of faith as follows:

We hold .... this faith: in one God, the Father Almighty who made the heaven and the earth and the seas and all the things that are in them; and in one Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was made flesh for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who made known through the prophets the plan of salvation, and the coming, and the birth from a virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the bodily ascension into heaven of the beloved Christ Jesus, our Lord, and his future appearing from heaven in the glory of the Father to sum up all things and to raise anew all flesh of the whole human race …

As time went along, people started to say some crazy things about Christ. The bishops of the Church, the theological heirs of the apostles would get together to sort things out. These gatherings were called synods, or if they were large; councils. They had the old rules of faith, but as people tried to add things to the Gospel the bishops would amplify the simple rules of faith to explain a particular part of the faith that they had always taught, but that had never needed to be emphasized before. By that process we got both the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed as it was amplified at the Council of Constantinople in 381 AD. In 589 AD, in Toledo, Spain, the Catholics add the phrase “and from the Son” to the Nicene Creed to emphasize that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the Son as well as the Father. They did this because their rulers, the Germanic Visigoths were Arian heretics who believed that Jesus wasn’t quite divine in the same way that the Father was. Catholics believe that Jesus really is God and that the Holy Spirit is the gift of the Father and the Son working together in our lives. This spread throughout the Latin speaking Church. Some people claim it was a new doctrine, but it isn’t. We have always believed it since the earliest days of the Church. Thus was born the famous “filioque” clause that makes the Greek Orthodox crazy. They say it’s heresy and we were wrong to add it to the Nicene Creed.

So, there you have it. Both the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed are descendants of the Old Roman Symbol which is a development of the early Christian rule of faith which we received from the apostles. They are both later and more detailed statements of the faith that we have always held and received from the very first Christians. One is not really more ancient than the other. I have no idea why your parish priest alternates between the two Creeds. In the olden days, which I well remember, being a bit of a fossil myself, we only recited the Nicene Creed in Latin at Mass! We used the Apostles’ Creed for the Rosary and I seem to remember that godparents had to recite it at Baptisms. Perhaps your parish priest wants a shorter version now and then because he has to be somewhere or perhaps he, like you, is under the mistaken notion that the Apostles’ Creed is older than the Nicene Creed.

Yours as always,

Rev. Know-It-All

Two steps back

I'm frustrated. I have been plugging through St. Teresa's Interior Castle and feel like I'm reading the Book of Acts without having all the necessary background to appreciate how significant everything is. Or, that I am taking calculus without understanding algebra first. It seems very difficult, if not impossible, to push forward without establishing a good foundation.

So, I dug out some of the books I have sitting on the shelf to provide an overview of St. Teresa's and St. John of the Cross' works (A Guide to the Stages of Prayer according to St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross, and Carmelite Asceticism.)

I did find a study guide online, but haven't looked at it yet. Secular source, so will look for others. A Carmelite study guide would be best. Any suggestions?

Wish Jeff Cavins had a series on this!

St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross, when they set out to instruct us in the way of perfection, do not content themselves with any common ideal; they put before us the mystical ideal in all its sublimity. The ascetic life is, for them the Way of Perfection, leading to the Interior Castle; it is the Ascent of Mount Carmel, that Mount whereon the mystical strains of the Spiritual Canticle echo ceaselessly, where the soul is ever consumed by the Living Flame of Love.
~Carmelite Asceticism, by Very Reverend Father Anastasius of the Holy Rosary, OCD

It's no wonder I'm floundering; I don't have a sublime bone in my body. Maybe I should take this statement as a road map and start with the Way of Perfection, then the Interior Castle.

I'll be lucky if I even get to the study guide!