Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas from TeamOPCarm!

Merry Christmas



DS: I went to the Christmas Vigil Mass tonite, and I was struck by the fact that the same flesh and blood that lay in a manger 2,000 years ago was presented to us on the altar, in the hands of the priest at Consecration... Jesus, Our Savior comes to us every day at Mass... how blessed we are!

Father Brian spoke in his homily of a man who didn't believe, and so, instead of going to Christmas vigil Mass with his family, he stayed home... as he sat in his comfy chair by the fire, he was startled by the banging of birds into the window... puzzled, he got dressed and went outside and tried to find ways to dissuade the little critters from hurting themselves. First, he tried to put seed on the ground to keep them from the window. But to his surprise, this did not work. Then he tried to shoo them into the barn... again, no dice. Finally, he thought, "if only I could become one of them, then I could show them the way...."

...and he stopped in his tracks....

This is exactly what Jesus did!!! Jesus, GOD, became man to save us from harm and show us the way!!! That night when this man's family came home, they found their father filled with joy.. the joy of BELIEF in JESUS as HIS SAVIOR...




VEE: Thank you Jesus, for the gift of yourself to us who are so unworthy. Party til Epiphany woo hoo!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Happy Feast of St John of the Cross!!

VEE: Aaaah Juanito. From other people's opinions of him Id thought he was too lofty, cold and only for dark nights. He introduced himself to me though on my first visit to a Carmel. God was spoiling me rotten there and on my bookshelf in my room in the guesthouse were books by or about Therese <_< or John. I was reluctant to pick up John's books because of his supposed loftyness. I didnt want to read Therese though so Juanito it was. The book I picked up was The Living Flame of Love which is fairly understandable without reading much of the commentary, so it was in that that John explained God's love to me. He put into words some of the experience I was having. Id later find that all his works, The Dark Night, The Ascent of Mt Carmel, the Spiritual Canticle would all explain what was going on. All I ask of John is that as I carry my cross and pathetically ascend Mt Carmel that he stay with me, guide me, and help me even though I dont deserve him.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy New Year, Catholics!


Today marks the First Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the new Liturgical Year for Catholics. This new year, we have been given a gift of the new translation of the Roman Missal. It has been a little more than 40 years since Vatican II. In the 1970's the ICEL went to work on the English translation of the Mass. The translation never truly fit with that of the Latin. Today that all ends. Praise be Jesus Christ, we will be praying with the prayers our ancestors prayed before us.



We men should never mess with the Holy Mass....never!! It is not ours to mess with. The Holy Mass was instituted to us by Christ Himself, and no one else is worthy of making the Mass their own possession to alter...I hope and pray Holy Mother Church will heal as we slowly break away from the errors of the past and into the dawn of the new Springtime in the Church...


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving



Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day

October 3, 1863


The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

A. Lincoln


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Solemnity of Christ the King


VEE: Here is our king and since no servant is greater than the master we too must follow the same path.

DS: Behold our King... Jesus the Christ, Our Savior and Our Lord.

"Jesus of Nazareth... is so intrinsically king that the title "King" has actually become his name. By calling ourselves Christians, we label ourselves as followers of the king... God did not intend Israel to have a kingdom. The kingdom was a result of Israel's rebellion against God... The law was to be Israel's king, and, through the law, God himself... God yielded to Israel's obstinacy and so devised a new kind of kingship for them. The King is Jesus; in him God entered humanity and espoused it to himself. This is the usual form of the divine activity in relation to mankind. God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man and even of turning his wrong ways into right ways... The feast of Christ the King is therefore not a feast of those who are subjugated, but a feast of those who know that they are in the hands of the one who writes straight on crooked lines."---Pope Benedict XVI

VEE: I LOVE B16!!!!!! especially this "God does not have a fixed plan that he must carry out; on the contrary, he has many different ways of finding man and even of turning his wrong ways into right ways.."

DS: Yes, I love it that when we make mistakes through the hardness of our hearts, God fixes our mistakes and makes everything infinitely better... when the day comes and I am standing before our King, I pray that He will count me as one of his sheep..

Viva Cristo Rey!

 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

That Others May Live

VEE: The elite men of the United States Air Force Pararescue aka PJs or Pararescue Jumpers undergo very intense training to prepare them to rescue others in hostile environments, on land or sea, in combat or the worse weather possible. They are trained to save someone's life even if it means giving up their own and thus their motto "that others may live." Their creed adds more to it and is as follows "It is my duty as a Pararescueman to save life and to aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform my assigned duties quickly and efficiently, placing these duties before personal desires and comforts. These things I do, that others may live." There is a program on youtube that would give an idea of their training, here is part one if anyone is interested:




Isnt that our job as Catholics too? Shouldnt that be our main focus? Sacrificing ourselves so that other may live spiritually. Isnt that the calling the "vocation" of each and every one of us? Sacrificing ourselves in prayer, in penance, offering everything up to save souls. This involves going beyond our personal comforts and desires and being pushed harder and farther then we ever thought possible by God. Sufferings will come that we didnt ask for but God puts them there to toughen us up, to train us, to make us grow. This may be simply getting up, going to work and living as a good Catholic right where you are.


DS: As for the video series about this extraordinary group of military men... nothing can really compare to the grueling feats the soldiers go through in order to achieve membership in their elite club. But, in a sense, it is very much like what I faced in the convent. The convent was "spiritual boot camp." Our discipline was accomplished through strict obedience and relying completely on our fellow Sisters. Catholics throughout the world are known as the "Church Militant," because we are "God's soldiers," doing battle against satan and his minions, fighting temptations and sins, while depending on fellow Catholics to support us in the battle. Living our lives in complete obedience to the Almighty God and the teachings of Holy Mother Church takes the same level of discipline as shown by these men...and we can not give up the "good fight," we must "finish the race" so that others may live, so that others may come to know the TRUTH, the WAY and the LIFE!

Thursday, November 10, 2011








Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps! Semper Fi!




Monday, November 7, 2011

November: a month for all saints and all sinners


DS: I was six years old when I experienced death for the first time. My cousin, Ruben, decided to go on a midnite trip with friends to west Texas. These guys had just graduated from highschool, and were relishing their new found freedom. I can imagine that the guys set out with a tank filled with gas, an 8 track playing Boston, a few drinks under the belt, and not a care in the world. They would be getting to Lubbock around 10 in the morning if they didn't stop. They didn't plan on stopping.

The monotony of the night took its toll. Soon, all passengers were asleep. Ruben was laying out sprawled in the back seat of the '70 chevy nova. Unfortunately, without anyone to distract him and keep him awake, the teenage driver fell asleep at the wheel. The Nova smashed into the concrete wall of an overpass going 90 mph. Ruben was killed instantly, as his head was nearest to the side that smashed against the wall. The others suffered major injuries---one of the passengers became trapped in the rubble of the crashed car and it took emergency crews more than 3 hours to get him out. He wound up losing a limb and the side of his face.

I remember the effect this had on my aunt and uncle, my mom and my cousins. But it hadn't had any effect on me. I remember going to the funeral home and playing amongst the different parlors. I found it all so much fun. When it was time to settle down and pay my respects, my mom took me to the closed casket, and I looked intently at the picture of Ruben placed over it. I didnt' quite understand why I needed to pray for him. He was dead. At that moment, all I could remember was the way he teased me a lot and made me cry. I told my mom later, "Ruben was mean to me." My mom told me this is why I needed to pray for him. She went on to teach me about Purgatory, and how sinners go there to be purified, because a person with sins cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. She told me, "I just hope he was in the state of grace...because if he wasn't..." and she stopped abruptly and wept...I cried a little, seeing how much pain my mother was in. I think it was at this moment that a fear gripped me, that someday I would lose my mother. Life wasn't forever. I started praying to God that he would keep my mom here for a long long long long time...

The month of November is reserved as a time to remember those we have lost. It is a time to remember not only the Saints who have reached the glory of Heaven, but those poor sinners who are still in Purgatory, going through the purification of their souls in order to get into the gates of Paradise. I believe it is very important that the Church reminds us of this, because too often these days, we Catholics attend funerals and never hear about it. Instead, we're already canonizing the deceased, saying, "Well, he's in a much better place now." No he isn't. He's most probably in Purgatory and needs Masses offered up for him and ceaseless prayers!


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Fall Classic


DS: I am enjoying the cooler weather and watching the Series as it begins...


...guess who we're rootin' for?



VEE: Go Rangers!!! I dont usually watch sports until the play offs when I feel the teams are really giving it their all, then it's exciting.  As for the weather it was -2C or 27F this morning and if that was as cold as it gets I'd be happy.






Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Brown Scapular





VEE

. If a soldier is wounded or killed in combat others can tell by looking at his dog tag who he is right?  We wear our brown scapulars in this life, this battle against the world the flesh and the devil not because we are perfect so we can go through things unscathed. We wear it always always always so that when we fall and are covered in the muck and mud of our sins Mary will come along, recognize her poor child and drag our sorry butt out to her Son the Divine Physician.

 Mary is our mother and like any good mother she goes looking for her missing child, and like any good mother she will ask those around her to help her find that child.   When a solider goes AWOL doesnt the military go after them? You can run, you can try to hide but special forces are after you and will do anything to save your soul.

DS
Beautiful analogy Vee, because we are soldiers in this world, members of the Church Militant, battling satan through the muck and the mire, carrying each other along the Way, the Truth and the Life. I thank God for His Church, because together we support one another in this battle. The Brown Scapular is our dog tag, and the Blessed Mother is one of the Generals of the army....

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Feast of St Thérèse

VEE:

Therese said she would spend her heaven doing good on Earth, however, I think that gets white washed into a generic kind of candy coated do-gooding. like the tooth fairy or Easter bunny.  She is out to save souls. Her relics travel the world but she is not confined to that plexiglass case. She came to me spiritually as not all prisoners are in a literal prison. Remember I wrote that Id been to Confession but not absolved until I changed? At a total loss I prayed that novena to Therese with very low expectations. She beat the crap out of me! Im still sore <_<  Oh and her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love ftw!!!! 

Here is a good video someone posted on phatmass





Friday, September 23, 2011

Novena to St Therese



Yes it's almost her feast day again so start praying!

O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love.
O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands .... (Mention specific requests).
St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day.  Amen.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Accident

Tuesday Sept 20, while stopped at a stop sign some young guy rear-ended DS' car. She went to the doctor and is doing all right, as far as injuries from car wrecks go. She got the car checked too and that will be in the hospital for a while... Pray the repairs go smoothly and that she recovers too, to better than before.











Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11


DS:

Ten years ago today in the early morning, I was settling in for an hour of adoration at the chapel of the convent of the Dominican Sisters of St. Ceceilia in Nashville, TN. I was a postulant only 3 short weeks, having just entered in August. My postulant class was off at school. For some reason, I was the only postulant not scheduled for classes on Tuesdays, so, to take advantage of my free time, I joined the Novices in their special holy hour. After the hour was up, we made our way out of the chapel through the side door leading to the staircase that took us to the novitiate on the very top floor. A Sister was waiting for us on the other side of the doorway. It was Silence, but she broke it in a whisper, "We've been under attack this morning... the Twin Towers are gone." Coming out of an hour of contemplation, I was still trying to get used to the lighting in the hallway. I couldn't quite comprehend what Sister meant, it was stunning news. As we made our way up the stairs, she continued to tell us what had transpired while we were praying in the chapel. She went on to tell us that the Sisters in the infirmary called down to Mother General's office because they couldn't find the "The Price is Right" on their television sets. One of the retired Sisters told Mother that "the same thing is playing over and over on every channel." Mother went up to the Infirmary to investigate, and that's how she discovered that our country had been attacked. The Sisters in the convent that morning all gathered in prayer and watched as the events unfolded right before their eyes on live television. I was shawked and stunned at what was happening, and my first thoughts were to members of my own family who worked in places that could be possible targets of terrorists. I went back down to the chapel, and I prayed for my family. I also prayed for the country I loved so deeply, the victims of this outrage, and I found myself with a new sense of purpose as to why I was in the convent: to be a light in the darkness, even when it looked as if the darkness was winning...

VEE:

This day ten years ago I was not going to Church at all nor living in a state of grace. When I saw what was happening on TV I thought something more along the lines of "Oh great here comes world war three" than of my own or others' salvation. Now, thanks be to God, I can pray for all those involved, those who died, those who lived and still bear the mental and physical scars, and even those who did this. All answers can be found in meditating on Christ's passion.

DS: I found today's readings at Mass very fitting and appropriate to this day. The First Reading in particular struck me as a warning to not be "vengeful."

Sirach 27: 30
30Anger and wrath, these also are abominations, and the sinful man will possess them.

Sirach 28: 1 - 9
1He that takes vengeance will suffer vengeance from the Lord, and he will firmly establish his sins.2Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray.3Does a man harbor anger against another, and yet seek for healing from the Lord?4Does he have no mercy toward a man like himself, and yet pray for his own sins?5If he himself, being flesh, maintains wrath, who will make expiation for his sins?6Remember the end of your life, and cease from enmity, remember destruction and death, and be true to the commandments.7Remember the commandments, and do not be angry with your neighbor; remember the covenant of the Most High, and overlook ignorance.8Refrain from strife, and you will lessen sins; for a man given to anger will kindle strife,9and a sinful man will disturb friends and inject enmity among those who are at peace.

Then, we hear of God being the God of the "living and the dead."

Romans 14: 7 - 9
7None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.8If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.9For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.


And finally, in today's Gospel is the story of the servant who receives mercy at the hands of his master, only to turn around and be unjust to another servant. Jesus tells us that the mercy we dish out is the mercy we will receive. Matthew 18:21-35

I know it is very difficult to hear, but many of us who hold grudges against mortal enemies, or keep people out of our lives need to re-think that situation. Today, of all days, God is asking us to forgive. There is nothing else that can be done about situations that wound or hurt us, so why not forgive? We will realize that it is in forgiving that we receive all the healing we need to mend those broken relationships and heal those wounds.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Confession



VEE:

"Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven."  Jesus' words to the disciples are made real in the image above of the papal emblem, the so called "keys of the kingdom" one representing Earth the other heaven.  Christ has given each validly ordained priest that power of binding and loosing which he exercises in the sacrament of Confession.  A  priest most offen loosens sins in that sacrament but sometimes, for the sake of the sinner in order to correct, the sins are bound.

This happened to me once, several years ago, so I know what it is like.  The priest, after hearing my confession, said basically that it was difficult for him but he could not grant me absolution.  He explained why, he explained what I had to do in order to be granted absolution, and that I was unable to participate in any of the sacraments until absolution was granted.  I left the confessional in a daze.  Mass had already started so I sat in a pew torn between staying and leaving.  Why stay if I cant participate?  What a mean Church not granting me absolution.  If I went to whom shall I go?  To sin and death or obey and be with He who has the words of eternal life?  I stayed.  I had told the priest I would obey him, I would follow what he said, so I sat through Mass.  I left after still in a daze still wondering can he do that?  Research proved that yes priests can.

Needless to say I was given many graces, amended my life, although it was veeeery difficult and was eventually absolved.  God knew what was necessary.  Even though the correction may hurt the eternal fires of Hell hurt a lot more!!  I love the Church and the sacrament of Confession for no such thing exists outside of it.  That apostolic, valid absolution is indescribable.  Go.  You will feel a lot better afterwards.

I also thank God for those who dared to correct me in my sinfulness although it did take a long time and softening of heart to be able to receive it..  As we heard in this Sunday's readings we will be held accountable if we dont even try to say hey what you are doing is wrong.  We may not always go about it in the best manner, which we must admit before God, but we do have that obligation to try and help our brothers and sisters to avoid sin.  We may face their anger but Id rather face that than God's.  Ive upset Him enough

Sorry for the lack of posting lately

Thursday, September 1, 2011

OPCarm Goes to Carmel- among other places

VEE:

The day started off with doing laundry and running errands. Errands such as mailing someone's several month late birthday present! That out of the way we needed food and so it was off to my first first taste of Chik-fil-A









It doesnt look like much but it was delicious and I liked their waffle-cut fries and lemonade. Having eaten we were ready to hit the road for San Antonio!!! YAAY!





Our first stop would be the Basilica of the Little Flower where there was a wedding about to take place so we didnt have much time, however, we did have enough time to look around and take some pictures.



















St Teresa de Jesus dancing because Carmelites are fun unlike OPs who just mope.







Recreation of her real grave in Lisieux





Someone praying, probably asking to enter Carmel.







Wear the brown scapular already!













DS: The day started kind of late. I wanted to get to San Antonio in the early a.m., but we got up late, headed over to my house to do laundry (I think,) and got to San Antonio in the afternoon. The first place on our agenda was the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Little Flower.




IT is probably the most beautiful and poorest basilica in the whole wide world. But it is one of the treasures of San Antonio, and I love going there for prayer and silent recollection. OF course, dragging along Vee, you don't get silence nor recollection. The visit there was still very beneficial. You don't have to do much to soak in the graces of Jesus...just being in His Presence is enough. I'm happy Vee was able to visit this beautiful place, especially since she is getting chased by several Carmelite Saints (I can't figure out why they would want her!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Vee and DS' Excellent Adventure




Day Two


VEE:

DS had to work this day so I spent the morning relaxing and recovering from the trauma of the previous day. :P At lunch she, along with her co worker, picked me up with and we went for Mexican food. It being Friday and me being Catholic I had the spinach enchilada plate. DS is some kind of heretic and had green chicken enchiladas. Heretic. Then again I do think she claimed that it, being the feast of St Mary Magdalene, freed her to eat as she wanted and was NOT a heretic. I liked the restaurant and enjoyed the company. They then dropped me off, went back to work, and I went back to relaxing.

In the evening we met up with one of DS' brothers and a few nephews and nieces (a nice bunch, I dont know how DS ended up being related to them :P) to go watch Captain America. He's cute. End of review lol. Oh before the movie we stopped at Eskimo Hut (why they dont call it "Igloo" I'll never know) to get margaritas which we smuggled into the theatre. Drive through booze vendors like that amuse me because such a magnificent invention doenst exist in my lame country. After the movie we grabbed some crazy bread from a pizza shop, and made my first visit to Walmart Texas. Whats so great about that? Its Texas, they have beer, unlike my Walmart, and the staff are friendly. We then prayed the Rosary and called it a night because tomorrow we were headed to Carmel.





DS: After my work day was done, i went to the hotel to pick up vee and take her to "The Eskimo Hut." Its a place that sells sammiches, soups and cocktails...through a drive thru. Now, they put you on an "honour" system, where you won't touch the alcholic beverage until you reach your destination. Yeah. Right.

After loading up on margaritas, we placed them inside my back pack and went to the movie, Captain America. (Yes, I'm 14 years old.) If the theatre workers knew i smuggled that stuff in, i'd be banned for life. The movie was ur typical Marvel Comics Super hero tripe. But man o man, was Chris Evans drop dead gorgeous in that film! Heck, when is Chris Evans NOT drop dead gorgeous???



In between handfuls of popcorn and swigs of margarita, I looked over at Vee to make sure such American patriotism wasn't wearing her out. Its too bad there is no such thing as Captain Canada, but then he would probably be wimpy and effeminate. hahahahahahhaahhaha

After the movie, we grabbed a bite to eat and called it a nite. Tomorrow was to bring us face to face with a Carmelite Nun. (the horror...)


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

DS and Vee's Excellent Adventure

Part I
DS' perspective of the first day:
Vee arrived in Texas on a hot Thursday afternoon. I think it was in the 100's. Not exactly the kind of temps she's used to. I was parking my car in the short-term when I received a text... "Where are you, I'm scared"
Scared?
Scared cos this was the first time she was meeting me in person. I was scared too. We had grown to know one another through the website Phatmass, and we think we are friends... we think we would get along in real life... now here she was: to spend time, drink beer and travel with me in the span of 17 days!!! What if we HATED each other??
It was too late for that...

Vee's perspective:
Waitaminit! Why is this titled DS and VEEs excellent adventure and not VEE and DS' ??? <_<

I left Canada as the sun was rising on a clear summer morning. The Texas summer had the familiar heat but lacked the humidity Id lived with overseas so I liked it. A short lay-over where I would spot a Dominican Sister would prove to be a precursor of things to come. (Things meaning Id see waaaaaay too many OPs on this trip.) I landed in Texas 30 mins late but I would find out that DS was 30 mins late too. I waited for my checked bag while looking around, where was she? I got a text saying she was at the curbside pick up, so with luggage in hand and my heart in my throat I walked out the airport doors. I called DS, she told me she can see me and I finally spotted her across the road semi hiding beside a pillar. <_< Looks like I wasnt the only chicken. I crossed the road, set down my bags, and the voice and words were no longer a pixel.

DS: My first impression of Vee was... well, she is a bit taller than me... in fact, my neck would eventually suffer from the constant strain of having to look up to talk to her. Also, she was much darker than me. I think she should be the darker one in our header...

Vee: After having verified, that we each were in fact the person we meant to find we headed off on our first adventure. Finding our way out of the parking lot!

DS: It isn't my fault that the airport's short-term garage only has one path out! I'm sorry for driving us around in there for 20 mins, though. You would think I knew my way out of that airport! I've only been there dozens of times!!

I was 30 mins late because I had blown out a tire on the way to the airport. So, Vee's first stop in Texas was an exciting Discount Tire Shoppe. What a way to start a vacation!


VEE: Shoppe? You British now?

After getting her new wheel we headed into DS' home town looking to pray the Rosary and attend Mass. We went to the first chapel she had in mind but had to leave during the first decade because someone else came in to pray and we were laughing too hard and couldnt stop. Parish number two had a couple of people praying but we knelt in the back and I stifled my laughs in my arms so it probably looked like I was crying. I dont know what was so funny but we did finish our first Rosary together. We then went to another parish that had evening Mass yay! There I would see someone who hasnt left me alone for two years and probably thinks its funny. Can you spot her? The cage looking thing on the left is the crying room.


By this time we were ready for some drinks and food.

DS: yup, go to Mass and then the bar afterwards!

Vee: At the pub I would experience my first of many ID checks to verify that I am in fact waaaay over the legal drinking age.

DS: It got annoying after awhile. Okay, i'm just jealous cos I wasn't even carded when I was illegal!!!

Vee: The beer and food were excellent (yum Shiner!) although the company left something to be desired :P Im joking. DS was great company and I was relieved that, as far as day one went, we got along. Pictured is a pint of Guinness and a bigger Shiner Blonde.



DS: I had the Woodchuck Amber Cider, which had a fruity sweet aftertaste. It was very yummy. I ended when an amaretto sour, which took the sweetness of the beer from my tastebuds and raised it a notch. Despite its name, its not sour at all. I also introduced Vee to this bar's famous hamburger, which is one of the best hamburgers in the whole wide world. The bun has a honey taste to it, so, along with the ground beef patty makes for an interesting combination...

Over all, the first day of our adventure was not disappointing at all. It started with a tire blow out, and a delayed flight, but over all ended on a very positive note.

I found myself feeling like I've known this person all my life! And I looked forward to what tomorrow would bring. :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Little Things With Great Love



VEE: For the past several days Ive been helping my mom move and it has been especially trying because she doesnt like moving and is in a bad mood. Good thing she doesnt know about this blog! :P Yesterday in the midst of the final load (we still have to unpack, oh joy) I started to understand more what St Therese meant when she said to do little things with great love. Here I was in the midst of unavoidable and seemingly unpleasant work yet through the grace of God I realized what He sees is my heart. He wants me to first focus on Him then to do whatever job out of love for Him, or as the Jesuits put it, for the greater glory of God. It deosnt matter what task I or anyone else is doing, from sweeping the floor to open heart surgery, if one doesnt have that love of God there. Its so easy to get distracted and carried away in the work and not even think of such things and thats why Therese's little way is so hard. At least for me.

At the same time some people may have trouble because they think they have to consciously be thinking "ok Im doing this with great love, Im doing this with great love" and if they dont think that then whatever task didnt count to God and thats not the case. God is not an accountant! A simple morning offering with the intention to love and please God is enough. He understands if we forget, mess up etc during the day and He isnt going to smite us for not loving Him enough with each task. It is by His grace and love that we are able to do anything good or pleasing to Him anyway. Alone I cannot write even this. Alone I am wretchedness and sinfulness but with God because He loved me first He gives me the ability to not offend Him but rather please Him.
DS: I have just the "little" love to perform this exercise. I feel like I need God more and more to show me how to love. One of the questions I first asked when I began my discernment into religious life was, "God, how does one as small as me, love One as great as you? And really really love, not just with mere words?" I believe now that God is showing me how to love by placing in my path people to love. The love of neighbor is intrisically and profoundly bound to the love we have for the Almighty God. At the same time, St. Terese's "little way" cannot be done as perfectly as when you have another to share your "little way" with. I am grateful to God for those he has put into my life to love and cherish. I feel if I can love my family and friends, I am definitely learning every day how to love God.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy Feast of St Teresa Benedicta



VEE:  Yay Edith Stein!!!!!  What stands out to me about her right now is how she had to wait TEN YEARS to enter Carmel.  TEN.  If my memory serves me correctly she didnt convert until she was around thirty years old, therefor entering Carmel around age forty.  Most popular Carmelite saints entered and died very young but Edith gives comfort to people in their thirties like me.  As pope Benedict said recently in his address for the world day of prayer for vocations "The Lord does not fail to call people at every stage of life to share in his mission and to serve the Church in the ordained ministry and in the consecrated life." source 

For more about her life I like this video (27 mins long) presented by Fr Charles Conner, who may be recognized from EWTN.  Sorry I cant get it to embed so here is the link. click

Sunday, July 31, 2011

We Are Alive

VEE: Sheesh this place is neglected. DS go update something :P Where to start? At the beginning I guess ...on my way to Texas I saw this at my transit airport:








DS: This was started back when VEE was on her way to visit me. Its been more than a week now, and we haven't posted as much as we'd like. Well, it is our first meeting, and it has been one event after another. Lotz of fun had by the both of us, and we are still not through!




Just to comment on the picture VEE posted above ...that's a Nashie, not one of my Ann Arbor Dominicans. Catching a Dominican out in the world is like spotting a rare bird in the wilderness! I love it!




VEE: Blecck OPS <_<


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Meeting!!!



I think we should have a secret handshake as picturered above.  Thursday at noon we shall see what happens! :D

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Peace and Pride

VEE:

I love this prayer of St Francis as I slowly see the depth in it. I used to read it and be like "meh" but gradually it is sinking in and in particular the second half.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.
My problem is Im selfish and I want to be consoled, understood, and loved. by others even though as Teresa of Avila says "God alone suffices" which He does. He has everything Id ever need as He is Love etc itself yet I still feel the sting when other people dont treat me as I think they should. It is pride and I know it so to counter it I like this prayer of St Francis as well as the litany of humility found here
I also find images of the Passion helpful in remembering who needs to be consoled, understood, and loved first. Him. I mope over wounded pride yet He bore the sins of humanity and I think Im suffering most? Sheesh! I dont know how God puts up with us, or at least me.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel!

 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

What is there to say except we love our Mama!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bl Kateri Tekakwitha


VEE: Today is the feast of Bl Kateri Tekakwitha and while I had heard her name many times I had not read about her until today. I was not altogether surprised to learn she died at the age of 24, I tend to be more surprised when saints (and blesseds) make it out of their 20s! While reading this article http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/saint.php?n=521, it reminded me of another I had read in my diocesan paper. What gets on my nerves is the mis-representation or misuse, or something, of Bl Kateri in conjunction with American Indian culture.

In an article titled "Celebrating Bl Kateri and the Medicine Wheel" I read about a parish retreat that was led by two Sisters, based on the teachings of the Ojibway medicine wheel with other ceremonies of hand drumming and smudging also included. The article says nothing about oh I dont know... Bl Kateri and the cross, or Bl Kateri and the Eucharist, or that Jesus guy?

From the CNA article about her life

The life of the Mohawk village had become violent and debauchery was commonplace. Realizing that this was proving too dangerous to her life and her call to perpetual virginity, Kateri escaped to the town of Caughnawaga in Quebec, near Montreal, where she grew in holiness and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

Kateri lived out the last years of her short life here, practicing austere penance and constant prayer. She was said to have reached the highest levels of mystical union with God, and many miracles were attributed to her while she was still alive.

Jesus, the cross, the Eucharist, the Rosary, all transcend cultures, they are universal they are Catholic and it is in them people will understand themselves, and find healing and life. This is what Bl Kateri knew and followed not the religious practices of her tribe.

In Bl Kateri I also think young women, especially young American Indian women, can be taught and find a model of chastity and purity when so many of them become pregnant and/or sexually active at a young age. In her they can see hope and an example even when it means going against the grain. Retreats and seminars need to be taught on this kind of thing and forget the darn medicine wheel.

DS: Bl. Kateri was born in what is today New York state. When she was only a small child, she lost her family to smallpox. She herself was affected physically from the disease. It left her disfigured in her face and with limited eyesight. Her very name, "Tekakwitha" means "she who bumps into things." (Vee says, if she had an Indian name, it would mean, "she who drinks beer." :P)

VEE: (and if DS had an Indian name it would be "hole in head")

DS: <_< Anyways---

When Kateri was a teenager, she converted to Catholicism. Unfortunately, Kateri suffered greatly from the others in her family and her tribe when they persecuted her for her Christian beliefs. She even received death threats. She moved to Canada, to a settlement of Christian Indians. There, she lived out the rest of her short live in prayer, piety, works of charity and devotion to God. She died from the ravages of disease. She is known as "the lily of the Mohawks."

You can find more about her on her shrine's website: http://www.katerishrine.com

To address the abuse of inculturation Vee mentioned, I want to direct readers to take the time to actually read the Vatican II document, "Sacrosanctum Concilium." Inculturation was never meant to include pagan beliefs and pagan rituals as legitimate forms of worshipping God. A person's cultural practices need to conform to the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is the Christian view and understanding that takes precedence over a culture's traditions. If Bl. Kateri could be here, she would have opposed the use of the teachings of the Medicine Wheel at a Christian retreat. The document can be found here: http://www.adoremus.org/SacrosanctumConcilium.html Although it addresses the Mass, we can easily deduce that the same directives should be used in all aspects of our Faith, and the spreading of the Faith.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Adoration




VEE:
He is God and I am not.
That is the short answer on why I go to Adoration even on vacation, because any time is Adoration time. He is Truth, Love, Beauty, Hope, etc. and without Him I am sin, misery, foulness and evil. In His compassion and mercy He allows me to sit in His presence, a presence that in the Old Testament would kill anyone who looked at Him. Remember the Ark of the Covenant? Now, however, thanks to Mary's "yes" which counters Eve's "no" I who am nothing can sit before He who is everything. At Mass, if I am in a state of grace, He even comes to me body, blood, soul, and divinty. I can consume my God and in turn He consumes me and gives me worth, value, and life. So fully does He permit me to enter His presence that my miserable sinful self becomes one with God and what else is there? Is there anything better I could be doing? Even if I am on vacation that doesnt mean a vacation from my Lord and God. I left Him before in my life, God forbid I ever do that again! Without Him it is not really life for He is God and I am not.

DS:
Pope Benedict came out with the following:

Pontiff: Don't Forget the Gospel When Packing for Vacation
VATICAN CITY, JULY 3, 2011 (Zenit.org).- When packing for vacation this summer, leave space in your suitcase for the Gospel, Benedict XVI urges.

The Pope said this today when greeting those gathered in St. Peter's Square today to pray the midday Angelus. Speaking in French, the Holy Father offered a brief reflection on summer vacation.

Vacation, he explained, "it's not about leaving for the sake of leaving and resting, but rather it's about living our relationships with our loved ones in a new way with God."

He noted that the Gospel passage for this Sunday (Matthew 11: 25-30), which speaks of the yoke of Christ, points out to us the need for "rest and serenity."

"Jesus invites us to come to him, to trust him," the Pope added. "Faith in his presence gives us the serenity of one who knows he is always loved by the Father."

"Place an emphasis on reading God's Word, especially the Gospel, which you are sure to put in your holiday luggage," Benedict XVI concluded. "Good pilgrimage to all!"

In English, the Pope added: "At this time of year when so many of you are taking your annual holiday, I pray that you will truly find refreshment for body and spirit and an opportunity to rest in the Lord. May God bestow his blessings of joy and peace upon all of you, and upon your families and loved ones at home."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Weight of the World. The Weight of the Cross



DS: I love this picture. I believe it is the superior of the Missionaries of Charity here in the States. She seems to have the world on her shoulders...

...and so, her hands are clasped tightly as she prays...

No doubt, she is imploring the assistance of her Spouse? The One who teaches us, "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

I could never understand these words from Scripture. What is the Lord trying to tell us? Take from Him his yoke?? His yoke is easy?? But he was brutally crucified! His "yoke" was a heavy wooden cross! What exactly is He trying to tell us? I finally came to understand, when one night I had a dream ...

My mother had just passed away. I found myself sinking in a mire of exhaustion and anguish. I felt no comfort. I felt no hope. I felt all alone. As I did for many a night after her passing, I fell asleep weeping in my bed. One night, I fell into a deep sleep. I began to dream. I dreamt I was standing on a dusty road, and coming toward me was Jesus Christ, carrying His cross. He beckoned me to come to Him and I did. He placed one beam on my shoulders and whispered to me, "If you suffer without love, you will feel the full weight of the cross. SUFFER WITH LOVE, and your burden will become light." The cross was a little heavy at first, but then it became light. I wanted nothing more than to stay here, close to Jesus, carrying the cross.

When life brings us down, and we feel the full weight of the world---our problems, our anxieties, our fears, our concerns for family and loved ones ...we need remember to not suffer in bitterness, not in self-pity, not in despair, but suffer like the One who suffered for us all: with great love and with a purpose...

VEE: Ah to suffer with love and He who is Love... This reminds me of the homily at my parish this past Sunday where the deacon said something along the lines of "if we feel we are being crushed by our burdens then we are trying to carry too much on our own." A yoke is for two animals and likewise Christ's yoke, His cross is for two people you and Him. Even He didnt carry it alone, remember Simon of Cyrene? Jesus doesn't expect us to go it alone! He is always there for it takes two to carry a cross.

I've never been in the military but have heard that the training exercises are intentionally made to be done as a team and one cannot complete them alone. I think the Way of the Cross, the way that we each must take, is not meant to be completed alone either and when we forget that, we feel the weight. I once heard somewhere the following: " the cross without Christ is a curse, the cross with Christ is a blessing."