Thursday, April 26, 2012

Teresa of the Andes Part 5

VEE:  SHE MADE IT!!!!!!!!!   We see her postulancy and clothing in the novice habit and we also see her family and friends rather miserable at the clothing.  If that was someone I knew, I'd be restraining cheers!  I want that life for DS not myself.  My Carmel is in my heart.  There, amidst the clamor of my daily life is a nun in her cell with Jesus.  This Carmel then extends to everywhere I go.  My hallways and corridors are the city streets on my way to work and home again, sometimes covered with rain and mud, snow and ice, or sunshine and birds merrily singing.  I want the real convent for DS though and not in a happily wishing kind of way but in a way that I take her debts, her obligations over as my own leaving her free to enter..  That would bring me the greatest joy.

So, unlike the movie where Juanita/Teresa's family is sad and unhelpful I would not be like that if it was someone I knew.

DS:   I like to joke around a lot with VEE, pitting Dominican spirituality against Carmelite spirituality ...but in reality, I fell in love with religious life when I had my first experience with Carmelites and the monastic life.    This mini-series captures beautifully, a profound and deep love story between God and man.  We witness this love through Juanita's life.  No longer Juanita, but "Sister Teresa of Jesus," she takes us into the sacred world of Carmel, and I am enjoying every  minute of the journey...  

Again, as I watched, I reminisced...again, I felt a pang of desire... so many girls who are discerning right now, well...they have absolutely no clue what God has in store for them!  I kept saying to myself as I watched, "how lucky Teresa of Jesus is!!!"  Every stage of her formation, every step of her walk in Carmel is beautifully detailed in this episode.  

The happiness radiates from Teresa, but the sadness drips from her family when they come to see her at the convent.  What a contrast to display!  Those who are not yet fully recognizing the radical gift of Love Jesus is, compared to the nuns in the convent who live that radical love every day!    It is as different as black and white.  We see much growth in Teresa, but her brothers and sisters are somewhat at the same stage of grief.  There is a  hint of maturity in Rebecca, but other than that, the family and friends of Teresa still try to convince her and her family that the life of Carmel is misery!

The episode ends with suspense.  We will see what happens to little Teresa as we reach the final episode...

VEE:  We all know what happens to her DS, sheesh.

DS:  <_<

Teresa of the Andes Part 4

VEE:  AAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!  She entered but they ended it right there!!!!!!  I thought this episode really captured the sadness and difficulty of farewells.  I cried.

DS:  In this 4th installment, we see Juanita determined to enter Carmel.  But what will her family do?  It is time to face the biggest cross of religious life:  that of saying goodbye to family and loved ones.  

This episode made me reminisce about my own life, and the times when I said goodbye to my family to enter religious life.  It pulled on my heart strings, and sent me traveling down memory lane.  Vocations to religious life do not belong solely to the individual who is entering, but in reality, it is every family member's vocation---every loved one has their own part in answering the call to radical love.

There was a scene that I found most profound.  Maria, one of the servants, is sitting in the kitchen talking to Lucho, Juanita's brother.  He is  weeping bitterly, heartbroken over the news, and struggles to comprehend Juanita's decision.  Maria tries to talk to him, convince him that this is not as big a deal as they are making it out to be.  "She would have gotten married, and you would not have seen her as much."  Maria tries to sooth the wound.  Lucho retorts, "At least marriage is normal!~"

But Maria is right.  I don't know why loved ones panic when their son or daughter decides to enter religious life.  Marriage takes sons and daughters "away" as much as religious life does.  In fact, I dare to say, marriage is more of a separation than religious life, because when a son or daughter marries, she or he belongs to their spouse.  When a son or daughter enters religious life, she belongs solely to the Almighty  God, and He keeps families together, even with the physical separation.  Nuns, Sisters, priests and brothers will attests to the fact that they even become closer to their families while being away from them in religious life.  God has his ways...

I think I enjoyed this episode the most.  I look forward to the 5th installment.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Teresa of the Andes Review part 3

VEE:  Ugh!  Will she hurry up and enter already!!  Shes not even a late vocation!  On the other hand I'm glad no one has ever done a miniseries on St Therese's life.

DS:  As Amanda commented earlier, the series is moving along very slooooooooooowly.  Yet, I find myself fascinated by the mannerisms of the victorian-aged Chileans.  I like the gowns, and their traditions, and the high society gatherings.  (Like I had mentioned before, this is like watching a religious version of "Downton Abbey.")  It may be a little long-winded, but there's something about it all that makes me want to keep watching.

We see more of a development in the storylines between characters:  Juanita's sisters and their own struggles, as well as Juanita's brothers and father.  In between the storylines, Juanita's spirituality is maturing.  She goes through what seems like the dark night of the soul, feeling absolutely abandoned by God when she has surrendered as much as she can give to him.  Even in that darkness, Juanita holds fast to the calling she feels she is receiving for Carmel.  We see her hesitate a little, and wonder if she is called to a different order.  We see her struggle, but at the last scene, she seems stronger than ever, even in the face of her "coming-out-to-society" luxury and the attention she receives from a good looking man. 

I think most tv/movie shows can never capture the spiritual angst/joy/hope/despair/fear/love one feels when struggling with a religious vocation.  You sense it a bit in this series, but it almost becomes tiresome.  Hearing Juanita say over and over again, "I don't know what is happening to me," makes me just want to bang my head against the wall...

Oh, and Vee, if they made a decent tv series on the Little Flower, I'd definitely watch!

VEE:  I dont know whats happening to me.

DS:  <_< Spoken like a true Carmelite, Vee...

VEE:  I guess Chile was so excited to have their very first saint that they may have gone overboard with her.  Therese on the other hand is one of tons of French saints, so she's not that important!

DS:  You know one Carmelite Saint, you know them all....  

VEE:  At least the Carmelites don't have to import saints from other orders to boost their numbers in litanies.  *cough Dominicans and Franciscans cough cough**

DS:  Get thee to a Carmel, Vee...quick...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Teresa of the Andes part 2

VEE:  Well she's not dead yet!  Not in Carmel either but rather still in school, however, the first hints of her vocation are becoming apparent and she even states to her spiritual director that she wants to be a Carmelite.  More importantly she wants to do whatever pleases God.  Bl Elizabeth of the Trinity also gets a shout out in this episode.

DS:  I am enjoying this mini-series.  The second part takes us to school.  We see how Juanita, her sister, and her friends are learning under the tutelage of a group  of religious sisters.  (I do not know what community they belong to, but they have interesting veils.  Not as beautiful as the Dominican habits, thats for sure!)  

We begin to see Juanita's vocation take root.  In my opinion, she acts as if she's having a nervous breakdown.  It's no surprise, as Carmelite saints seem to always have a few screws loose.    

We finally meet Juanita's beatnik brother.  He lives a frivolous life of partying, wine, and women.  Their father is losing everything and can use Miguel's help, but he's extremely selfish, and tells Juanita that he wants to live life to the fullest.  We see the contrast between his worldly definition of life and that which  Juanita is coming to understand as the true meaning of life.  Miguel lives only for his own pleasures, and has no place for God in his life.    And here is Juanita, who is finding herself struggling between a life of vanity, and her desire to "give God everything" which will eventually lead her to Carmel.

VEE:  A few screws loose eh?  So you'd fit right in ds!!

DS:  I am NOT a Carmelite!  

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Teresa of the Andes Miniseries Movie Review

DS:  We started watching this miniseries tonite...and I have only one thing to say:


VEE:   ugh, ANOTHER Spanish Carmelite miniseries <_<   So far this series has a lot more badminton and a lot less vomiting than the Teresa of Avila show.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Happy Sweet Sixteen to my Niece

VEE:  On this day sixteen years ago my first niece made her appearance.  My older sister had just graduated high school then got pregnant by her stupid boyfriend a few months later.  My sister, realizing he was stupid, got rid of the guy but that meant we all had to help raise my niece.  I was only a couple of years younger than my sister so was a teenage-selfish-know-it-all idiot.  Looking back I regret not helping out more.  I moved out and moved on with my own selfish life when I should've been there for my sister and niece.    Lamenting aside, she has grown up to be the most amazing, talented, incredible, beautiful young woman.  She can sing, paint, is very musical, very athletic, and is just all around awesome.  Like her aunt.  From now on I will pray very hard that she enters a good convent because I think the only man that deserves her is Jesus.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Divine Mercy Sunday

pic stolen from a Catholic Mom in Hawaii's blog because I like Hawaii

VEE:  This time ten years ago I wasn't going to church and was what can be called a lapsed Catholic.  I didnt know much about the faith (heck I didnt even know what a Carmelite or a Dominican was!!) and what I thought I knew didn't sit well with my selfish wants and ways.  This went on until the summer of 2007 when I learned that the Hound of Heaven, the living flame of love, the good shepherd really does flash, shine and break through the darkness, and shout and yell and break through the deafness.  It was His mercy coming to me to show me who He really is.

I still wasn't going to Church, I had come up with every excuse in the book, and contributed in great part to the overall "excuses to not go to Church" book itself.   I would listen to some programs on EWTN, though one of them being the Journey Home.  One day it was a man by the name of Fr Donald Calloway and his story really struck me.  Look him up if you dont know.  Shortly after that was another interview with a man named John Pridmore, a former Londer gangster.  Upon hearing those stories, both touched by Divine Mercy, I thought well if God can help these guys maybe something will happen with me, so I prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet and things slowly but surely started to change, first in my heart but eventually concretely in my life too. 

I had to change my life and get away from certain places, people, things that were sinful and start doing things that were of God,  like going to Church.  It has been the most wonderful adventure.  As Pope Benedict says " God takes nothing away from us" and He really doesn't.   He might take away crap that He knows won't make us happy but He will give back so much more in return for us giving up that crap!  And you"ll praise His mercy and goodness for having done so!!

DS:  One of the intentions during the Divine Mercy Novena calls for us to offer "lukewarm" souls to Jesus' mercy.  It was the lukewarm souls, Jesus told Faustyna, that drove the Lord nutz...

Pope Benedict has preached that the Church needs to remain strong, especially in this day and age when societies are becoming more and more secularized.  Lukewarm souls within the Church are those who are indifferent to their own faith.  They go along with being members of the Catholic church yet, they also go along with the standards set by the society at large, regardless if the two clash.  

The Chaplet given to us by Jesus to Faustyna is very powerful indeed.  It calls upon the Father to look at His Son's great sacrifice and for His sake, pour upon the whole world the mercy we so desperately need...   

This chaplet is very powerful indeed, and it has been my experience that the Lord answers the petitions tied to it---  yes, even changing the hardest hearts!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

OPCarm Goes To Carmel!!!

VEE:  It was a quiet spring Saturday afternoon in Texas.  We decided to stop at a Carmel and see if we could pray in their chapel for a bit.  All was silent and meditative in the stone building as we slipped in the unlocked front door to the lobby.  Before trying to enter the chapel or attempting to speak to the nuns DS first needed to use the washroom.  The silence was shattered by gaseous sounds emitting from the public restroom and echoing off the stone walls.  Poor DS didnt realize the building isnt very soundproof.  She exited the washroom and before we could ring the bell to ask the nuns to unlock the chapel, we heard singing!  The soft chant of the salve Regina comes through the chapel doors and we dissolve into laughter as we realize THEY HAD BEEN IN THE CHOIR AND PROBABLY HEARD EVERYTHING!!   DS ran out in embarrassment and tried to stop laughing, I stayed and tried to record their singing and couldnt help laughing at the noise she kept making going out and coming in again.  We left after this recording.

DS:  *runs out the door*  

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The movie "The Passion"

Where can I go from your Spirit?
   Where can I flee from your presence?  
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
   if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me,
   your right hand will hold me fast. 
-psalm 139

VEE:  Guess which movie and where I was.  I was a lapsed (out of laziness and stupidity) Catholic living near Tokyo.  I didn't go to Church, I didn't do anything except be a selfish lazy idiot.  Then, in a country with 127 million people and one million Catholics a little film comes, much to my surprise, and posters appear all over Tokyo in some of the busiest train stations as displayed in the pic I took above.  There were even a few commercials on TV.  Out of curiosity I went wanting to see what all the fuss was about and determined not to cry as well!  For some reason I didnt pick a  theatre near home but one close to Tokyo Disneyland in a busy shopping mall an hour and a half train ride away.  The showing was in the early afternoon and much to my surprise there were people there and the theater was maybe half full, most of us probably having no idea what we were in for!  People who brought snacks stopped snacking as the movie progressed.  Everyone cried, I bawled, I could hear even the guys crying.    When our showing ended and we all left the theater I saw a line of people waiting to get in for the next showing and I thought, "you guys have no idea what youre in for!"  The movie's dialogue was in the original languages as filmed, with English subtitles on the bottom, and the Japanese subtitles going down the right hand side.

It was a long hour and a half trip home after watching that!  I lost my appetite and had nothing to say to anyone for the rest of the day!  It also started a learning process as I had to explain to myself and non-Catholics what we just saw.  It also started the process of God explaining to me who He is and how much He loves me, thus the psalm quoted above, one of my favorites.  Even to those who have no clue, He comes to them in little ways and big ways.  He will not be stopped.

DS:  I first read about "The Passion" in a celebrity magazine.  It was a critical piece describing the process Mel Gibson was undertaking to bring the story of Jesus to the big screen.  Already, wicked hollywood was not very accepting of the movie, even during its beginning stages.  I remember thinking, "I have to see that when it comes out..." but then, not thinking about it anymore after that.

Fast forward a few years after that article, and I find myself in the convent.  During my postulant year, the movie came out in select theatres across the nation.  A  donor bought tickets for every member of the community.  We were very excited!  In preparation for the movie, another donor sent us the teacher-manual- type study book describing the symbolism and the scenes in the movie.  We read that first.  It made me eager to see it.  When the day finally arrived, we all loaded into our shuttle vans and went downtown to the movieplex.

While in line for the movie, we caught the attention of everybody in the lobby.  Some people smiled as our community, donned in their beautiful white habits, walked about the lobby and talked with friends who decided to join us.  Other people looked at us in disdain and nodded their heads in disapproval.  It hit me how controversial this movie was to some people, and here we were, a very young, vibrant, HAPPY community of Sisters in line to see it... I guess that made it more than religion-haters could bear!

From the get-go, the movie draws  you in.  You see Jesus at the start of His Passion, and the movie takes you through every moment, step by step all the way to the Crucifixion.  To describe the movie as "powerful" is an understatement.  This was a cinematic masterpiece.  The subject was love, and not just any  love but the greatest love of all, that of "laying down one's life for one's friends."  Most people wept from the scourging scene, where Jesus is tied to a small pillar and whipped with sharp objects, iron claws, and bare rods.  But, strangely I didn't weep at that scene.  I wept when Jesus falls for the 3rd time under the weight of His cross, and Mary, His mother comes rushing to His side while remember Him falling down as a toddler.   The love Jesus showed His Mother throughout the film was touching and beautiful.  As He greets her on the way to the crucifixion, He takes her face and tells her, "Look mother, I make all things new!"  And He lifts His cross with a renewed strength, something that Mary seemed to give Him every time He looked at her.

Vee and I watched "The Passion" last night.  We remembered where we were the first time the movie touched our lives.  I believe her life was touched in a very profound way, as it directed her down the path towards a newfound relationship with Jesus.  For me, it renewed in my heart a committment to belong to Him forever.  I may have left the convent, but my desire to belong to Him alone has never left me.

Today is Holy Saturday, and it is a day of anticipation.  Jesus opens the gates of Heaven to those who had fallen asleep.  He descends into hell and pulls these sleepers awake from their slumber.  Their wait is over.  The Messiah has come.  The Church awaits His resurrection as She celebrates the Easter Vigil tonite, the greatest Liturgy the Church possesses.  


Thursday, April 5, 2012




DS:  I'm sad.  Its part of our human nature.  Our God's sacrifice is remembered and it makes me cry.  Hearing of His sufferings, His scourging, His whipping, His being spit on, laughed at, mocked, ridiculed, beat up, lied about, betrayed, abandoned by His closest friends...MAKES ME CRY.  Ultimately, EASTER brings us the JOY....but these next few days, especially tomorrow...the Church is allowed to mourn Her God...

 VEE:  Well we should be sorrowful, for our sins FOR WHICH HE TOOK OUR PUNISHMENT.  All the suffering He endured saves us and sanctifies our sufferings when we unite them to Him.  Yes I will mourn that I am no better than those who treated Him like crap, and I will rejoice in His amazing love.    An amazing love that gave us Himself totally present body blood soul and divinity in the Eucharist BECAUSE HE WANTS TO BE WITH US SO BADLY!!!

Holy Week, Holy Day

VEE: In some religious communities their act of reverence, such as genuflecting, is the same before the exposed and reposed Blessed Sacrament as they see Him equally, fully present and make no distinction based on how much one can see of the Host. Similarly for me, Lent, Advent, etc. are not confined to one part of the year but are present everyday. For example, one hour I'm welcoming Him into my heart as Savior, like on Palm Sunday, and several hours later I've deserted and denied Him. It seems as though I go through the trials and joys of the whole liturgical year everyday, although some days it may be more or less prominent. When Lent ends, some people rejoice in that, their sacrifices are over, no more giving up stuff, and go back to their old ways. Its not supposed to be that way...we're not supposed to go back to the old ways...Lent is supposed to change us...sacrifice is a part of alms shouldn't stop. Mortifications shouldn't stop. The trials and tribulations of walking in the desert for 40 days don't automatically end...hopefully after "practice," (Lent,) we'll be stronger...

DS: We are at the end of Lent and now beginning the Triduum. It begins on Holy Thursday with the Mass of the Last Supper.

Some of you readers may be surprised that Vee came to visit me and we had a little vacation during the holiest days of the year. I kept thinking about how inappropriate it was, only to be reminded of why we took the mini-vacation. It has to do with what Vee explained up above. Lent for her is every day. Her mother is dying... if Vee could just take a few days off from that reality, as well as the hustle and bustle of her active life, I was more than happy to welcome her. I would call this trip "an oasis in the desert," and I don't believe Jesus was offended by it. During this trip Vee and I went to Mass together, prayed together, pilgrimaged to various churches in the area. During her visit, I experienced an intense grace from God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and I found myself overcoming some weaknesses. I feel this is the most important gift I could give Jesus: a contrite heart and a contrite spirit, rather than sacrifices and oblations. But in reality, He gave this gift to me, not I to Him.

As we enter into the holiest days of the season, the suffering, the pain, and even the joys of this Lent all mingle together and provide a backdrop for what we are preparing for next: the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that all of you will provide a place for Jesus to rest His weary head this Triduum...and afterwards, when the sadness of the next days are behind us, glorify Him and praise Him in the Resurrection!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Fun Retro-Commercials

DS: Today I was thinking about past television ads that bring back memories of childhood. I was just a little kid who enjoyed watching them so much, I would stop playing with my toys long enough to see them from beginning to end...

I remember playing with Frito Bandito erasers when I was a kid. I used to burn the heads in the car cigarette lighters. I'm glad the cars never exploded, and better yet--I did not grow up an arsonist...

I dont' know what the appeal of this one is, but all I remember is driving my mom nutz answering her with the catch phrase, "its an Ancient Chinese Secret!" I don't think neither one of these commercials would stand 4 secs of air time in our overly PC world today...

I cringe when i think how often I sang this song at the top of lungs in my house when I was a kid. My mom bought me the baseball monchichi, a little gorilla baseball player who sucked his thumb. Today I think I look just like these famous dolls.... :/

I was not even the age of reason during the 1970's, I guess that's a good enuff excuse for this Texas girl to admit I was a huge fan of the pittsburgh steelers, most especially the "steel curtain." To the horror of my family who were cowboy fans, I was especially a fan of this commercial. It never gets old for me...

And speaking of Coke...

...yet another classic that does something to me... it reminds me of the bad fashions of that era, and makes me think of my corduroy green jeans and bright orange crush t-shirts...


I never burnt erasers in the car lighter because I am more holy than DS, also because we didnt have erasers when I was a child...

I like this old one. I wasnt a little kid anymore but still its lameness was amusing to me.

I wasnt a big fan of that gum but I remember the catchy song.

Something I was a big fan of though, SMARTIES!!

...and we cant forget pacman ish type things and smarties!!!

Next, old tv shows but here is a preview because I had to post this!!