Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Prayer and Priorities

Having recently returned to a forced schedule of prayer, I can testify that it is not a matter of "feeling" or "making time." It must be a priority and when we make it so then we shall find it is one richly rewarded.
... We must never be taken in by the fiction that prayer in order to be "heartfelt" must be "spontaneous, inward, informal and/or unregularised." Certainly prayer can be spontaneous, informal, and unregularised but that should always be in addition to the ongoing, sustained, purposeful, prayer we are already engaged in. Prayer is purposeful communication with our Creator. There are going to be days when we don't "feel" like it and it is on those days (or in those times) that the value of schedule and habit will carry us through.
She has more to say and is short but to the point. So go read it all.

This was reinforced not only by my own experience but again with this recent reading from In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez.
We may think that our struggle in prayer is not bearing fruit, while God himself is immensely happy at our progress. The Lord will always give us his peace and his strength so that we may accomplish his work. We should never abandon our prayer. St. Teresa of Avila has advised that to lose one's way is -- so it seems to me -- nothing else bu tthe giving up of prayer. Perhaps this is one of the more serious temptations which can afflict souls committed to the Lord's service: to abandon this daily conversation with God for apparent lack of fruit, for the sake of "more important" thinkg, even for apostolic activities ...

Nothing is more important than our daily appointment with Jesus. He is waiting for us. At all costs, the decision to persevere in devoting a set time to private prayr daily must be made and carried out inflexibly. It does not matter if on can do no more than remain on one's knees for the period and only battle with complete lack of success against distractions; one is not wasting time. (E. Boylan).
Yes, God's trying to get something through my thick head and he knows me so well that he is saying it over and over and over to make sure I remember and stick with that forced schedule. Because I'm a quick to fall away once I think something's fixed.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Tired of Reading About Christians Pushing Bella?

Here's a gathering of what the plain old regular movie reviewers say, courtesy of Carl Olson. Let's all remember this movie won The People's Choice Award in Toronto before anyone ever heard of it.

Which is to say that it has a theme which makes bishops and Christians push the movie (not that there's anything wrong with that), but in the end it is a good movie ... at least that's what I hear. I haven't seen it yet and won't have time to for a while so it will probably be the DVD for our house.

Are We Ready for the Week Ahead?

Next Saturday is the wedding of one of Tom's nieces. This, of course, will mean a big family gathering and much merriment and celebration. In this case, where the family has plenty of resources, it means the sort of celebration that puts me in mind of a week-long festival thrown by a medieval lord upon the wedding of his heir. Golf parties, Bride's luncheon, etcetera. Which is a wonderful thing to be able to do, I think, if one has the time and resources.

Let's add to that the fact that I, personally, have hit my busiest time of year at work, doing layout for the Worthington catalogs. I enjoy this work and working with the clients. (We've been working with them since Kevin began the company and if you need school or church furniture, I can honestly recommend them to you. You will not find more honorable or sincere people anywhere.) However, that doesn't change the fact that most of this work is done within about a 1-1/2 month period, and mostly by me as everyone else has their own projects. I bring work home on the weekends and during the height of the frenzy will be working every night at home on it. I began this last week and the weekend work began on Saturday.

Now, how about that phone call from a brother-in-law asking, "Did Mom tell you that she's staying with y'all for the wedding?"

No, no she didn't.

Not that it is a problem. I absolutely adore my mother-in-law. This is made very easy for me as the feeling is mutual.

However, the state of the guest bedroom ... hmmm, well, it needed to be cleaned up anyway as it had become that well-known repository for anything extra that people didn't want to bother with at the time. Stacks of books, school papers, old binders, and much, much more were cleared away this weekend.

And let's not even go into the state of my kitchen floor or the girls' shower ... those will be dealt with during the early part of this week.

So, I had all that on my mind and when the mass announcements included the reminder that All Saint's Day (THURSDAY) is a Holy Day of Obligation, I suddenly realized ...
  • Wednesday: Halloween (note to self: pick up pumpkin before then, carve if time ... if not then wimp out with black Sharpie ... thank goodness I remembered candy already)
  • Thursday: Holy Day of Obligation, pick up my MIL from airport, family dinner at the bride's family's house
  • Friday: get my MIL to and from Bride's Luncheon, First Friday fast and fasting from meat and the rehearsal dinner (at a Mexican restaurant ... I also adore the groom's parents, did I mention that?)
  • Saturday: wedding
Plus being around while my MIL is visiting ... that is not a chore but must be figured into the general mindset. Plus work. Plus Scripture study. Plus the podcast intro and proofing. Plus a couple of other things I promised to people before the insanity hit. Etcetera.

Thank goodness that I can go to the vigil mass on Wednesday for All Saint's Day.

So for the Catholics reading ... the one message to take away from this if nothing else is Thursday is a Holy Day of Obligation.

The second message to take away, for those participating in the First Friday fast ... that's this week, y'all.

Did I mention that I'm thankful for all this?

I definitely am and that is what I must remind myself of when the stress of the schedule starts getting to me.
  • I'm thankful for the work
  • I'm thankful for the loving family and community which we are part of and will definitely see in action this week
  • I'm thankful for the sacrament of marriage and getting to see this couple wed, who seem to me to be meant for each other.
  • I'm thankful for the groom's family's witness of their faith ... a blending of Irish (yes, from the Old World with a lovely accent) and Hispanic (again with a lovely accent) Catholics, with 8 children and a strong and abiding devotion to their faith.
Now if I can just remember that thankfulness and not get overwhelmed ... take it step by step. Lord, multiply my time and my focus! Amen.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Masque of the Red Death and The Judge's House

A classic each from Edgar Allen Poe and Bram Stoker await your listening pleasure in Forgotten Classic's Halloween Special 1. Listen, if you dare!

An Amazing Instance of a Miracle Recorded

Shamelessly lifted from Wittshire. First, read this story ...
Duane Miller was a lifelong preacher with a big problem: his voice was gone. After a bad bout of flu, he couldn't speak above a strained whisper. Over the course of the next five months his doctor and several specialists agreed: the flu had permanently damaged his vocal cords. Just in case they were wrong, they recommended a six-month hiatus from speaking.

So Duane stayed home and stayed quiet. After six more months he had not improved--indeed, the specialists now told him that even his painful whisper was doomed. He was producing sound using the fatty tissue known as "false cords," and they would soon wear away.

Doctors photographed and studied every step in the progression of Duane's muteness. In Switzerland, specialists from all over the world examined photographs of his badly scarred throat.

Meanwhile, Duane found a job doing paperwork and wondered why God had taken away the tool he needed to do the job he'd always thought he'd been called to do.

This went on for several years. Occasionally Duane's friends at the large church he attended in Houston persuaded him to "scream" his whisper into a microphone and teach class. He had mixed feelings about this--it was painful to do, and painful to hear--but every now and then he did teach a short class.

Three years after he'd lost his voice, Duane agreed to be the last-minute substitute teacher for an adult Sunday school class. He was supposed to teach Psalm 103.
Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits--

Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Great. How was he going to have any credibility teaching that God "forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases," and "redeems my life from the pit"? He was in the pit. God had not healed him. In fact, the doctors said he was nearing the time when he'd be completely mute. Moreover, Duane had just lost his job, and a manuscript he'd hoped to get published had been rejected--not because of the text itself, but because he would be unable to promote the book on radio shows and so forth.

But Duane taught. He said that God could do whatever God wanted to do. He said that God wasn't a genie who always performed at our command, but neither was he indifferent to our struggles. He was God.

Teaching hurt. Duane's throat ached from "screaming," and he wasn't sure anyone could really hear him anyway. He was about to cut the lesson short when he got to the "God heals all my diseases" part.

"I have had, and you have had in times past, pit experiences--"

And on the word "pit," his throat opened. People looked up. He sounded different.

Duane kept talking. "We've all had times when our lives seem to be in the pit... in the grave--"His voice was stronger! His wife got up from her seat and ran up to the podium. Duane began to cry.

That was in 1993. When doctors examined his throat, they found it smooth and healthy, completely free of scar tissue.

Today Duane Miller's voice is still fine. And his healing, which took place in a room full of several hundred people, was recorded. You can listen to it here (click on "the moment" at the bottom left).

So praise Him in the light, but praise Him in the dark as well. He has not forgotten you. He knows what he's doing.
... then go to Duane's website and click on "The Moment" at the bottom left-hand side of the page. It is simply amazing. And, of course, I cried.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The facts were these ...

Is anyone else out there enjoying Pushing Daisies as much as we are? The style is "a la Tim Burton" ... that is if Tim Burton sweetened up some. It is truly delightful and our favorite new show of the season.
Pushing Daisies is a "forensic fairy tale" that focuses on Ned, a piemaker with the mysterious ability to make the dead live again. The gift is not without its complications -- if he touches someone that he's revived a second time, they die permanently; and if a person is revived for more than 60 seconds, somebody else nearby dies. According to Ned, "it's a random proximity thing," although it affects beings that are similar in nature to the revived -- leaving an insect alive will kill another insect, while leaving a person alive will kill another person.
The musical number from Grease in episode 3 was a hilarious surprise ... the dandelion costumes for the "spores" car in episode 2 were fantastic ... and how Chuck and

The kicker, of course, was in the second episode when it was revealed that Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) knits when he is upset. He had knit himself a sweater vest (which we also see him wearing in episode 3) and two gun cosies thanks to the worries of that episode. AND a knitting needle concealed on his person saved the day ... just too much fun.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Open Yourself to Grace

How easy it is to believe that Christianity is a life of giving—of striving to be good enough and selfless enough to merit God’s favor. But just the opposite is true! The grace that God wants to shower on us each day comes as we learn to receive. Only then, with the help of grace, can we give in return by being good or laying down our lives for those around us.

Will you be facing some difficult situation today? A trying incident at work, maybe, or a harried time at home? If you do, try to pause in the midst of it to invite the Lord into that situation. Surrender to him and ask for a fresh outpouring of grace. Then watch as he makes you into an overcomer—loving the unlovable, denying selfish desires, saying “no” to the world’s allurements, and receiving the guidance and strength you need.
Ain't that the truth? I start forgetting just whose strength I should be depending on. Should we strive to our utmost? Yes. But we need to remember what the basis is for us being able to reflect God's goodness in those tough times. From Saturday's meditation at Word Among Us..

An Interesting Faith Story

The View from the Foothills has long been a favorite a favorite blog of mine. I really love his book reviews.

Turns out, he's more than just a book reviewer ... he is telling his faith story. He hasn't gotten to the end yet but I am finding it a very interesting read as I think it reflects many of the influences and stresses on our faith in modern times. As I would have expected, he isn't passive but actively considering and contemplating faith throughout all this.

Even more interesting to Catholics, he's calling it: Watching the Tiber Go By

Sunday, October 21, 2007

It's Not Often You Open the Church Bulletin and See A Gorgeous Guy


I've been interested in this movie since it won the People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival. I'm really looking forward to seeing it ... and not simply because of that gorgeous face on the poster.

Here's the synopsis from imdb.
An international soccer star (Eduardo Verástegui) is on his way to sign a multi-million dollar contract when something happens that brings his career to an abrupt end. A waitress (Tammy Blanchard), struggling to make it in New York City, discovers something about herself that she's unprepared for. In one irreversible moment, their lives are turned upside down...until an impetuous action brings them together and turns an ordinary day into an unforgettable experience. Once a famous athlete, and now a cook at his brother's Mexican restaurant, José has retreated from the world but he recognizes something in Nina, a young waitress, and reaches out to her. In the course of a single day, he not only confronts his past but shows her how the healing power of a family can help her embrace the future.
This movie has been promoted heavily among Christians because of the pro-life message. To me, it's strongest hope for reaching the regular, secular audience would be that it also is a very good movie, which is what gets people in the door in the first place (not to mention gorgeous faces on posters ... ahem).

The poster in our bulletin was accompanied by a good letter from our bishop and info about three theaters reserved locally. It is all here for those who are interested.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Special Prayer Request

4-year-old Lori Subialdea suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. She is being hospitalized again and is on a morphine drip. My heart goes out to this little one and her family. Nothing is harder than watching your child suffer. Please pray for this family and for Lori's doctors.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

All the Things I Didn't Know About Mother Teresa

Updated: scroll to the bottom for final remarks upon finishing the book.

Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light
by Mother Teresa, Brian Kolodiejchuk

I am about two-thirds of the way through this book and have been surprised by how it has not matched my preconceptions. I put off beginning it because I expected it to be dreary and full of misery because of Mother Teresa's now well known "dark night of the soul." However, although the first half of the book alludes to that, most of it is about her early life as a nun, her struggles to set up the Missionaries of Charity, and her early days in Calcutta. Most stories I have read about her tend to gloss over those days in order to get to the flowering of her mission in Calcutta so this was a revelation. Also a revelation was the "inner Teresa" that is shown to us in her early letters.

I had no idea that from very early in her days as a nun Mother Teresa was known for her humility, joy, and for extraordinary sacrifice, even when it included going alone into the streets after religious rioting killed over 5,000 in order to find food for the school's students who had nothing to eat. What becomes obvious is her great love and devotion to Jesus and that she is being formed to be a great example to everyone.

I had no idea that her messages from Jesus to go serve the poor of India took the form of her actually being able to hear his voice. She had many recurring and various visions of Jesus, Mary, and the massed poor of India pleading with her to bring them to our Lord. It was the view of her confessor that she was in a state of "near ecstasy" during those times, which brings inevitably to mind St. Teresa of Avila.

It never occurred to me that Teresa would have been taken aback by this call to serve the poor. Perhaps because her mission has always been presented to me as a thing accomplished, I never knew or considered how much she loved her current life and thought she already was where God wanted her to be. This put me forcibly in mind of a conversation I recently had with a friend who passionately proclaimed that she felt herself being led to a place that was not what she had in mind for how her life "should go." The next day I read this passage and thought how real it made Mother Teresa to me, how she thought she knew God's call, and how shocked she was to find out what he really wanted ... which wasn't in her conception of God's will at all. Just as my friend was expressing. Just as many of us have doubtless experienced.
A moving exchange of great beauty went on between Christ and Mother Teresa. With utmost tenderness, He addressed her as "My own spouse" or "My own little one," "My Jesus" or "My own Jesus," replied Mother Teresa, longing to return love for love. In this sacred dialogue, Jesus was revealing His Heart to her: His pain, His love, His compassion, His thirst for those who suffer most. He also revealed His plan to send her to them as a carrier of His love. This revelation had a deep echo in her soul. Many years earlier, writing back home, she had expressed her desire "to bring joy to the lives" of those to whom she had been sent. She had prayed for "the strength to always be the light of their lives and so lead them to You!" However, he call to leave Loreto and be a sign of Christ's presence, a carrier of His love and compassion to the poorest of the poor in the slums, was not the kind of answer she expected in response to her prayer. Yet the "Voice" kept pleading, "Come, come, carry Me into the holes of the poor. Come, be My light." Jesus' invitation was imbued with trust; He counted on her response.
I never realized how Mother Teresa pestered and pestered ... and pestered her Archbishop to try to move things along quickly in being allowed to leave her current vocation and begin her new mission in India. I felt a real sympathy for Archbishop Perier who kept responding with measured requests for her not to be so "hasty" and to allow him time to evaluate, pray, and consider her calling. Of course, with Jesus himself speaking in your ear it is easy to see that one might keep up the pressure so we can easily see Teresa's side of things too. Her persistence, however, was one of the things that impressed him with Teresa's zeal and sincerity so that served its purpose also.

I never thought of Mother Teresa as a young novice, off on her mission to serve God. There is a delight for me in that 18-year-old girl whose openness and joy in beginning her vocation overflow from her letters home. She is so very like Hannah, Rose, and their friends whose enthusiasm and energy abound as they set off on their own missions and vocations to college and beyond. In hindsight, there is even more joy because her request to her family, "Pray much for us that we may be good and courageous missionaries" was answered so far beyond anything that she could have dreamed at the time.

I never realized that Mother Teresa was simply a person. Her letters are usually very simple and served to make me understand that "under her skin" was a person just like you or me. The big difference was that she was in love with Jesus had made a vow to give him "all." For an Albanian that vow, quite simply, was invested with cultural cement that would not break, as well as with all her considerable stubbornness and will. In reading this book, Mother Teresa has gone from an iconic figure to someone whose struggles I can relate to, albeit on a very simple level through my own understanding. She has become someone who I can attempt to emulate in her determination to give Jesus her "all."

I now can see that part of her "dark night of the soul," torture though it was to Teresa, also helped to insulate her against the adulation of the secular world as it became more aware of her mission. I am just beginning this part of the book so will undoubtedly learn more about Mother Teresa, this person who is now real to me, and who has many lessons to teach me about loving and following Jesus.

It also occurs to me that those critics, like the famous Christopher Hitchens, cannot have really read this book (or perhaps did not read it honestly without their own preconceptions) before accusing Mother Teresa of discovering that there is no God and not wanting to admit it to the world. Clearly through her letters, side by side with darkness and abandonment, goes a true love and longing for Christ to return to her. She did not doubt his existence in the depths of her soul, though surely she felt that way sometimes. However, she was too wise to succumb to acting on her feelings.

This also answers some of the comments I've heard from people who remark that they have never felt close to God and that must be a similar experience, albeit admittedly lesser than Teresa's. It makes me think of how facilely many of us leap to self comparisons with St. Jerome when we have a sharp retort simply because of his famous temper, without stopping to think of his many sacrifices, his accomplishments and his love for Jesus ... which I note none of us claim to match. Similarly, none of us have had the actual presence of Jesus as our company for months on end as Teresa did. Surely we would feel that darkness to be bottomless once we were bereft of it, just as she did. Just as surely we would look for answers from any spiritual advisers we had. Hopefully we would be able to do it with her "yes and a big smile," though in my own case ... I am doubtful I could achieve it.

By the way, this is a fairly quick read. I began it Monday night. Obviously it is highly recommended.

UPDATE:
I finished the book last night and was very surprised to find myself in tears through the last two chapters. Reading of Mother Teresa's ability to embrace and even find joy in her "darkness" as God's will and as a reparatory suffering offered for the souls of the poor ... well, it was a beautiful thing is all I can say. To read of her continual widening of her ministry to the poor in her final years was equally beautiful and also reminded me of the personal nature of salvation and the necessity of our ministry to those within our own circles, beginning with our own family and friends.

Do not think that reading the TIME magazine article is adequate for your understanding. Do yourself a favor and read the book itself. Accept no substitutes!

Monday, October 15, 2007

About Those Seeds: Part 2

Much belated, but continuing the examination begun last week of the well known parable from Luke 8:4-15 of the sower and the seeds that fall on various sorts of ground. I especially appreciate this point about prayer because so often it is presented as something that is easy, whereas I struggle with myself every single day just to take the time for individual prayer.
And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. At "the moment of truth" they succumb because their allegince to Christ has been rooted solely in feeling and not in prayer. They have therefore been unabel to endure difficult moments unscathed, or take in their stride the trials of life and periods of spiritual dryness. Many people are pleased by what they hear, and sincerely resolve to pursue the good. Yet when adversity and suffering come, they soon abandon their good works (St. Gregory the Great). How many good resolutions have come to nought when the spiritual life has become a struggle! These souls were seeking themselves rather than God. As St. Augustine pointed out, Some act for one reason. Others act for another. The fact is that few look to Jesus for the sake of Jesus. To look for Jesus is to follow his footsteps wherever they may lead, no matter if the trail is smooth and easy or uphill and arduous. The key thing is to have the firm desire to reach Christ, to look for Jesus for the sake of Jesus. We can accomplish this only if we are faithful to our daily prayer, whether it comes to us easily or is more of a sacrifice.
In Conversation with God (vol. 5, ordinary time weeks 24-34) by Francis Fernandez

2007 Weblog Awards

Just found out that nominations are open ... but only through today. Usually there's more buzz. Guess I'm not hanging out at the right places to hear about such things. I always like seeing who is nominated, whether it is a popularity contest or not, simply because I find good new blogs that way.

One thing that they do that I particularly like is to have categories of blogs based on TTLB ecosystem ranking so everyone has a chance. They also have podcast and video categories which should lead to some good links.

Take a look at the categories in case you're interested in nominating someone, including yourself if you qualify!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

For a Minute, I Though I Was Reading Disputations ...

... because Tom loves nothing more than a good chart or graph to illustrate a point.

But no, I was reading The Grail Code about why we should read great books. He illustrates his point with something from Plato's dialogues where "Socrates asks an ignorant slave boy how he would double the area of a square."

Go read it all.

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Black Moth Finale ...

... yes, we've finally reached the end of The Black Moth, as well as noting the fact that Halloween is the podosphere's favorite holiday with a few links to spots putting on special story-fests ... get it here and enjoy.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

About Those Seeds: part 1

This is from a few weeks (?) ago but only now have I found the time to share it. Jesus tells the well known parable from Luke 8:4-15 of the sower and the seeds that fall on various sorts of ground. I found it worth some meditation and am going to share it in several parts.
And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it. The seed was completely lost without having given any fruit. Later on, Jesus explained to his disciples the parable and the reason for this loss: hearts which have become hardened through a lack of contrition are incapable of receiving the divine word. This bad ground represents the heart which has become accustomed to unclean thoughts, so "parched" as it were that it cannot receive and sustain the seed (St. Gregory the Great). The devil finds in souls of this kind a source of resistance to God's saving Grace.

On the other hand, a soul which reacts to imperfections and transgressions by sincere repentance actually attracts divine mercy. True humility allows God to sow his seed and have it bear abundant fruit. This is why we should use this parable to examine our spirit of reparation for the falls of every day, even in the least serious things. Do we go to Confession frequently and with a sincere yearning for divine assistance?
In Conversation with God (vol. 5, ordinary time weeks 24-34) by Francis Fernandez

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Enbrethiliel is back!

Woohoo!

Thank goodness she pays close attention to her Guardian Angel's comments.

I am just waiting for her next super hero/movie/Catholic connection post now ...

All's Well

Thanks so much to everyone for all the prayers!

Rose was a trooper and we had her home yesterday. Not without a few mishaps but all in all things went quite well. She is getting much better at the "log roll" or "barrel roll" method of getting up from a lying down position. I have become proficient as the nurse-assistant for this maneuver.

Just to add to the fun, she had to be wakened every two hours all night long to make sure she didn't have numbness or tingling in her legs. Since Tom was going to work today, I got those honors.

However, don't think that he got off easy.

When Pepper, our big Black Lab/Great Dane mix, began crying and walking in circles last night, seemingly unable to keep his legs under him. Tom is the one who took him to the vet (thank the Lord for vets open until 10 p.m.).

Turns out that he probably has ... yep ... a slipped disk in his neck!

Is that a contagious thing? Because we've got an epidemic around here seemingly!

So I now am giving him anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers. As well as having to go fetch him when he becomes disoriented and winds up crying in the back yard unable to figure out how to get inside. Because we all tend to forget, the brain is a big muscle too!

Isn't life odd sometimes?

Update:
Pepper is on muscle relaxants. So now he is lying in the shade in the back yard looking boneless and sleeping. Maybe he's feeling bloopy. The Anchoress seems to be enjoying it ...

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Apologies for missing posting about First Friday

Because of the tizzy we were thrown into by the doctor's pronouncement of a Monday morning surgery, as well as rushing around to get bloodwork, preadmission, and school issues settled on Friday, I completely forgot to mention the First Friday devotion.

I am, however, thankful for those who remembered ... you know who you are.

And so does God, which is more important. I'll do better next month, promise!

The Good, the Bad, and the Boring

That's good ...
My recent trip to Springfield confirmed that my father is indeed feeling much better and my parents are doing pretty well all round. What a relief! Much thanks goes to St. Jude and to all of you who held my father in your prayers. Thank you so much!

That's bad ...

I took Rose to the neurosurgeon on Thursday. He took one look at her MRI film and scheduled her for the earliest opening he had for surgery. Which is Monday morning. At 7:15 a.m.

Basically, she has a huge herniation that is pressing on all nerves in her spine and both legs. A very bad thing altogether. The good thing is that some of the more dire consequences that he would normally expect haven't developed in Rose. (Let's all say, thank you, Lord, AMEN, shall we?)

It will be a day surgery sort of thing unless something unexpected pops up. Then she'll be home for two weeks or so.

We're not worried, apart from the natural apprehension that lurks on thinking of what might happen (which is instantly thrust from one's mind with a accompanying prayer), and trust this surgeon because he was the one who did Tom's last back surgery. All along the way through preadmittance and bloodwork precedures at the hospital yesterday, we kept hearing the same thing. "Dr. Weiner? Oh, he's a biggie. He's a really good doctor."

That's boring ... (the details for the few who might care)
She had been experiencing some problems with sciatica for about a year which would come under control with anti-inflammatories under our regular doctor's direction. My own feeling is that with a father who's had three back surgeries, none of which were due to accidents, and my side of the family which tends to have one hip a bit higher than the other ... well, the poor kid had natural genetic weaknesses which were exacerbated by taking yoga and kung fu at the same time. A month or so ago a kung fu kick resulted in much greater pain in one knee, down her leg, and numbness in her foot and calf. None of which was reported instantly to parents ... you know how that goes.

Naturally Rose was quite upset about the idea of surgery and missing school for two weeks, although she is adjusting to the idea. I told her that now is the time to cash in on requests for those CDs and DVDs she's been wanting. This weekend will be devoted to some serious Rose pampering (Do I know how to take care of a sick kid? Of course I do!).

That's Good Too
One of the best things about this is reflecting on our community. We have so many more friends to call on than we did long ago during Tom's surgeries. That's what letting God into your life does.He is overflowing in his generosity and that certainly extends to the circle of people who you know and love. Between our various retreat teams, others we know through St. Thomas, and (certainly not least) this blog, we know that all we have to do is ask and generous, caring friends will cover us with prayer, meals, or anything else we need during this time of crisis. And we are thankful for the visible Body of Christ.

As you can imagine, prayers are much appreciated. I'll update on this again on Tuesday or when the opportunity presents itself.

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Match Made in ... Heaven?



Sweeney Todd, Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham Carter ... it doesn't get much better than this ...

Via Jeffrey Overstreet

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Feast of the Guardian Angels

Reposted from last year ... I don't think I can top it. I also was gone during the Feast of the Archangels so here is last year's post about them.

Also be sure to check out what Mike Aquilina has to say on the subject.




Devotion to the Guardian Angels goes back to the beginnings of Christianity. Pope Clement X proclaimed the feast a universal celebration in the seventeenth century. The Guardian Angels serve as the messengers of God. The Almighty has allocated a Guardian Angel to each one of us for our protection and for the good of our apostolate...

We have to deal with our Guardian Angels in a familiar way, while at the same time recognizing their superior nature and grace. Though less palpable in their presence than human friends are, their efficacy for our benefit is far greater. Their counsel and suggestions come from God, and penetrate more deeply than any human voice. To reiterate, their capacity for hearing and understanding us is much superior even to that of our most faithful human friend, since their attendance at our side is continuous; they can enter more deeply into our intentions, desires and petitions than can any human being, since angels can reach our imagination directly without recourse to the comprehension of words. They are able to incite images, provoke memories, and make impressions in order to give us direction.
As devoted as I am to the Archangels, I am especially fond of my Guardian Angel. He is always there when I need him and has a wicked sense of humor. Perhaps wicked is not the right word. He must, therefore, have an angelic sense of humor! This is one of my favorite feast days.

For my personal angel stories, as well as some general information, you can read more here, here, and here.

Prayer to One's Guardian Angel

Dear Angel,
in his goodness God gave you to me to
guide, protect and enlighten me,
and to being me back to the right way when I go astray.
Encourage me when I am disheartened,
and instruct me when I err in my judgment.
Help me to become more Christlike,
and so some day to be accepted into
the company of Angels and Saints in heaven.
Amen.