Dear Friends,

Dear Friends,

This morning, I came out onto the back porch before anyone else was up.  I sat in my rocker just talking to God enjoying the peace and quiet.  Something came to my mind while I was praying.  I asked the Lord if He wanted me to share it with you – and if He did, would He send me a cardinal to land in my tree?  At that very moment one perched in my crab apple tree filled with pink blossoms and another landed on my birdfeeder to eat.  I took that as a “go ahead.”  Even now, five hours after that prayer, I’ve returned to the rocker on the porch to compose, and have been greeted by another beautiful cardinal.

h_a1_3725_3_northern-cardinal_carole_wiley_kk_adult-male-and-adult-female_0

I’ve always been a bit of an open book, perhaps sometimes sharing too much of myself.  My hope has always been (in sharing so much) that my struggles and the miracles God has wrought in my life might inspire others to a deeper faith and trust in Him.   So here goes…

First, I want to speak of that thing that came to my mind this morning before I forget.  During this quarantine/shut down due to the C. virus (and perhaps other reasons as well), it has been so wonderful to see families out walking together, riding bikes, playing, etc.  Many fathers and mothers are home getting to spend time with their children that they wouldn’t normally have had.  What a blessing/silver lining!  However, if we stop there, we are missing the other, even more important opportunity that God wants to bless us with during this time of isolation.  What we need to do most right now is draw closer to the Lord with our families.

Now is the perfect time to go to that daily mass you always wished you could attend.  It’s on television and on Youtube – not the same, but a start!  Since we cannot receive Jesus in the Eucharist, you can make a spiritual communion.  Do your children know what that is?  Teach them.  Perhaps you could say the Angelus at noon before lunch and a rosary in the evening or Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 p.m., the hour of mercy.  Read from your bibles together, or read the daily mass readings.

89505310_3096416617046094_7714476208167059456_n

We may not be able to attend Mass and to receive Holy Communion right now.  Your Archbishop (like mine) may have given all parishioners a dispensation from mass for a time, in an effort to keep this virus from spreading further. We have not, however, received a dispensation from daily prayer, instructing our children in the faith and keeping Holy the Lord’s Day.  Taking a break from God during this time would be foolish, indeed.

It’s funny.  I’ve been restless for the last couple of years, yearning for a more simple life – a deep desire to live how I believe God intended families to live – working together, praying together, supporting and helping each other and neighbors – eating more simply…  One morning about 6 months ago, I was on my way to work praying out loud.  At the end of my prayer, I said to God, “I believe you are calling us to live more simply.  Am I hearing you correctly?”  No answer – so after a pause of a few seconds, I made the sign of the cross and turned on the radio.  A country artist immediately bellowed, “ S-I-M-P-L-E.  It’s as simple as can be…”  There was my answer.

I began daydreaming about moving out the country – into a little barren cottage, living mostly off of the land and spending my day in manual work and prayer.  Clearly, that has not come to pass yet, however, we all find ourselves forced to live much more simply right now.  It’s funny, I believe that God often gives me inspirations, so to speak, but they rarely play out the way that I envision.  I believe that He has given us the gift of simple living right now, and we need to pray that we use it wisely, and learn from it what we must.

I’ll share one more word of wisdom I received several months ago.  I was having a moment of self-pity/jealousy as I scrolled through Facebook at many of my friends on fabulous vacations.  (I don’t begrudge them, by any means.)  I asked the Lord why we could not take a vacation, even if a frugal one. (how I miss the Smoky Mountains!)  These words came to me. “It’s not time for vacation but for reparation.”  Wow.  That put me in my place quickly.

There is indeed a tremendous amount of evil that we are living in the midst of in our world today.  (But remember that wherever evil/sin abound, grace abounds all the more!) Many don’t want to know about it.  Many make excuses for it.  Many simple can’t think about it because it is too disturbing.  I get it!  As evil advances, we must fight through much prayer, fasting and sacrifices! We must care about the souls of our brothers and sisters in the world who are (seemingly) joyfully jumping head first into the fiery pit!  Hell is forever, ya’ll!  We need to pray for them and make reparation for them if they will not do it for themselves.  We need to make reparation for our own sins.  (Ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind to learn what sins you may not be aware of that offend God the most.) For my protestant friends, I know that Jesus died for our sins in a once and for all sacrifice.  I believe that when I am repentant that my sins are forgiven, but that there are still consequences/motives for my actions that need to be purified.

 

To recap, this is what I believe God is asking of us now:

*to remain faithful and steadfast

*to draw closer to Him through scripture and prayer – especially

the rosary (if you are Catholic)

*to live more simply

*to support each other

*to make reparation for our own sins & the grave sins of the

world

*to surrender and to trust Him completely to provide for us and

to protect us

 

Speaking of surrender, my family is going through a big test of trust right now – just like many of you are, I’m sure.  We are physically fine – no worries.  Perhaps, I can share more about this is the months to come.  Suffice it to say for now, that as long as I stay close to the Lord in His Word and in prayer, and cling to Mother Mary (with my rosary in hand), I have total peace – and so should you!

It is my prayer that this time of testing and trial produce much good fruit in all our families, in our country and in our whole world!

 

Sincerely, Dana

 

P.S.  I heard someone say something to me that made sense.  It is suggested that we pray especially each day for those who die of the virus alone.  Those who are succumbing to this are often dying in a room without family of friends, because it is highly contagious.  May the angels and the Holy Family comfort them at the hour of death and lead their souls to eternal peace.

 

 

 

Posted in adoration, Blessed Sacrament, Catholic, Catholicism, education/teaching, faith, Faith & Children, family, Prayer, suffering | Tagged , ,

Just What I Needed

I spent my Christmas Eve morning walking in the woods.  I have so longed for the peace that comes from being quiet and (nearly) alone in the forest.  The weekends have either been packed with activity or showered with rain.  Finally, the shopping is done and the sun has come out!!!

I haven’t done a picture post in a long time – felt like sharing today – Merry Christmas everyone!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Prayer

A Burning Desire

 

 

Over the past few years, I’ve developed a burning, burning desire to live more simply, more quietly – surrounded by nature.  I want to work and to pray – to pray and to work, much like the Benedictines – only I’m not a Benedictine.  I’m a wife and a mom with a job.  That makes it tough.

 

Could the Lord have placed this burning desire within my heart?  It is a dream and a desire that I simply cannot let go of, though I still see no way to make it happen of my own accord.  I’m guessing that it is only He who can fulfill this dream, just as it is only He who can fill me.

 

I feel closest to God when in an empty, beautiful church, sitting in the adoration chapel or outdoors , beneath the trees or beside a stream.  With all of the noise and confusion and chaos in the world today, I sometimes succumb to despair and feeling just plain overwhelmed.  I want to retreat.  I long to simplify my days so that I can spend more time connected to the Lord in work and in prayer.  Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy teaching, but I just feel change on the horizon.

 

I want natural surroundings – like wood.  I want more land and less house.  I want to wash dishes and maybe hang clothes on a line with clothespins.  I wouldn’t mind if I lived where there was terrible cable or internet.  Somehow, I think we’d all be better off without so much stimulation and information.  I’m not sure my family members would feel the same:)

 

I want to return to a life I’ve never really lived.  Does that make sense? I want to go back to the way that I’m sure God intended families to live.  I wonder if it’s possible…

“For nothing is impossible with God. ”  Luke 1:37

 

 

Posted in Prayer

A Soliloquy

I am so thankful for my church – a little haven in the midst of this messed up world.   One of the ways my husband and I have chosen to deal with the ongoing confusion in the Catholic Church is to return to tradition.   We have rediscovered the Latin Mass.   I know that there have been periods of corruption in the church when the mass was then said in Latin.  The Latin language itself does not necessarily repel corruption (though it is interesting to note that exorcism prayers are most often said in Latin.  Hmm.)

 

What I like about Latin is that it is a dead language, and so the script cannot change.  We pray the same exact prayers every week.  If you’ve never looked at the modern prayers of the mass and compared them to the traditional version, you might notice some changed or omitted words.  Here is an example:

 

The Confetior

I confess to Almighty God, to Blessed Mary ever Virgin, to Blessed Michael the Archangel, to Blessed John the Baptist, to the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, to all the angels and saints, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, deed. (He strikes his breast three times saying) through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault, and I ask Blessed Mary ever Virgin, Blessed Michael the Archangel, Blessed John the Baptist, the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, all the Angels and Saints, and you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

 

With the new form of the prayer, we leave out asking for the intercession of Michael the Archangel, John the Baptist, Peter and Paul…  I don’t know about you, but I’ll take all the help I can get!

 

Another prayer said by the priest after communion:

P: May Thy Body, O Lord, which I have received, and Thy Blood which I have drunk cleave to mine inmost parts: and do Thou grant that no stain of sin remain in me, whom pure and holy mysteries have refreshed: Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

 

Just Beautiful!

 

For me, it’s not about the Latin so much – though it does sound absolutely angelic when sung – as the reverence and the fullness and beauty of the old prayers.  All of the hymns are traditional hymns focused upon praising God – not of peace and love and what we can do for the world.  I believe those songs have their place, but not in the Holy Mass.

 

I love being able to receive Jesus on my knees, as it feels appropriate to the magnitude of the gift.   I also love that we receive on the tongue with an altar boy holding a gold paten – 2 ways to try to keep the Eucharist from accidentally falling to the floor.  It seems prudent to me.  I mean, this is Jesus’ body, and it deserves to be treated with extreme reverence.  I also think of receiving on the tongue like a baby bird being fed by the momma/daddy bird.  I (the baby bird) am starving (spiritually) and helpless to do anything about it of my own accord.  Then momma bird swoops in and fills the emptiness.  (I hope you are not offended by my analogy.)

 

For an hour, I feel as though I’ve experienced just a hint of what heaven must be like.  The hour passes so quickly.

 

 

I particularly love the part right after the offertory when the altar boy incenses Father, then the other altar servers, then the congregation.  What awesome symbolism!  Another thing I love is that at the beginning of each mass, the whole congregation is sprinkled with Holy Water – just like what happens at Easter – only every week!  So in two (additional) ways, we beg pardon and are prepared to receive Jesus at Holy Communion.  (BTW -The Kyrie Eleison/Christe Eleison is sung 6 times instead of 3.)

 

Speaking of being prepared, confessions are held before each mass, just like in the old days!  I don’t know about you, but I didn’t go for a long time, because the longer you lapse, the harder it is to make yourself go to confession.  I once told a priest that going to confession was like going to the OB/GYN.  No matter how many times you go and how many babies you have, it never gets easier!  He told me to remember that it was Jesus that I was going to see – not him – and that Jesus already knows me inside and out. Anyway, having confession available weekly (super convenient) has made me feel so much more comfortable.  It has become easier and I feel so much better about receiving Jesus knowing that I’ve been washed clean just before!

 

Some people think that the Latin Mass goers are a “self -righteous” group who look down upon “outsiders.”   I have not found that to be the case at all.  I have found most very friendly and welcoming.   Most women do veil at the Latin Mass.  Rest assured, there are no “veil police” there shaming those who choose not to do so.  There are many women who attend without veils/hats.  Modesty is super important (at any mass) however.

 

I think that veiling has to be a personal decision.  I have to be honest and say that I struggled with the decision to veil for many years.  Currently, I do so in my private worship life.   I hope to have the courage to do so anytime that I enter a church soon – praying!

 

There were a couple of things stopping me for years, as I prayed about it.  There was the fear of being equated with Muslim women and how they are seen as less than their husbands in dignity.  There was the fear of what others would think of me – “Oh, who does she think she is?  She thinks she is so holy…”You’d have to know me to know that this is surely not the case.  I almost never feel holy, but I keep praying for holiness.

 

In the end, I have to say that it just feels right to me – veiling.  I received a veil that belonged to someone that passed away whose dedication to and love for God I really respected.  I decided to give it a try.  It did feel weird at first.  I felt self-conscious.  At the same time, when I would place that veil on my head just before walking into the Church, I felt that I was dressing like a bride for Jesus who I was going to be with in an intimate way at Holy Communion.   I think that the veil is a silent but powerful witness to our belief that it is truly Jesus in that tabernacle – not just bread.

 

In the old days (and still today), men removed their hats (helmets) as a sign of reverence and peace – kind of like laying down a weapon showing you are not going to fight.   Women, veiled their heads to cover their vanity – their beauty – their hair- to show respect.  It’s supposed to keep the focus on Jesus alone.

 

My hair is definitely not my vanity or beauty – it’s rather fine and straggly.  No, I don’t wear a veil to cover my sad hair. I wear the veil as a silent testimony to my belief in the REAL Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and to show that I believe in the spousal relationship between Christ and His Church.  I am not bothered that some people think that this shows submission to my husband.  I am fine enough with myself to allow him to be the spiritual head of our family as God intended him to be.   We are equal in dignity, but our roles are different.  I am o.k. with that.

 

Call me crazy, but I don’t think we have advanced so much in the last 100 years.  The way that families are living now is not the way that God intended and created us to live.  And guess what??  We are suffering!  Oh how we are suffering!

 

I want to get back to the basics – to live more simply and more remotely – away from this crazy traffic that has taken over our once peaceful town.  I want to grow my own food and actually wash dishes by hand (with help drying of course!)  I want to use less and give more.

 

All I know in this confusion is that this is not a time to be apathetic, or lukewarm, or hopeless.  This is certainly not time to jump ship!  This is not the time to be quiet.  Returning to tradition has helped my family hold onto our faith and our hope!  I pray for you and your families that God will shower you with grace & strength for these times and that you may be wholly open to it!

Posted in Prayer

Amazonian Synod Has Begun – Something worth watching

I watched this from LifeSite News this morning.  It is really something worth watching in regard to the Amazonian Synod which is just getting started.  It is 30 minutes long – You should watch it from beginning to the end.

May God Bless you and your families.

Sincerely,

Dana

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZgLgyKIgvM

Posted in Prayer

What I’m Reading, Watching and Listening to… How about You?

Besides obsessing over things best left in the capable hands of God,  I’ve become a Youtube geek!  Honestly, I have spent a lot of time taking things in, instead of putting things out there myself.  It’s time to get back to work!

So I’d like to share what I’ve been, reading, watching and listening to:

READING:

I’ve just finished Infiltration by Dr. Taylor Marshall.  It kind of puts the puzzle pieces together for those who are wondering what has happened to our beloved Church.  I have to say that it is meticulously referenced.  As a reader, I really appreciate those citations.  The best part to me was the ending, when Taylor gave ( I think) 5 options for how to deal with what has happened and what is still happening.  I agree wholeheartedly with him that it is not time to “jump ship.”  It is time to stay and to fight!

th

Along that same line, I am reading Bishop Barron’s Letter to a Suffering Church.    I’m about half way through it.  It seems sincere and genuine.  I’ll let you know what I think when I’m finished.

letter-cover-3d-1

A priest gave me the book, In Sinu Jesu, to read.  It is about a Benedictine monk whom God allegedly began speaking to in 2007 during his time in Eucharistic adoration.  These are inner locutions that he has written down that speak of the renewal of the Catholic priesthood.  I’m reading the book as a prayer aid – one or two entries at a time.  It does give me great hope for the future Church!  Hope is good, and it is necessary!

51avuH-j7hL._AC_UL160_

WATCHING:

Confessions time!   I told you I’ve become a Youtube junkie.   My husband and I love to watch the latest posts by IPOT (In Pursuit of Truth), and And We Know (Q Anon/anti- main stream media related news).

I also love watching “TNT” – the Dr. Taylor Marshall and Tim Gordon Show (“Glad Trads”) as well as survival and homesteading videos.  I hope to live out in the country someday – away from the ever growing traffic in our highly populated (and still growing) area.   I crave quiet, alone time and especially love spending that time out in nature, admiring Almighty God’s handiwork.

 

LISTENING

Well, my son is taking a music appreciation course, so I’m ever so glad to have some Beethoven and Bach back in the house!   When I’m cleaning or doing paperwork, I love to listen to uplifting Christian music.  Two current releases really speak to me.  I love to sing them like a anthem when no one is around to hear!  They are Symphony by Switch and Rescue by Lauren Daigle.   (As a side note, I think that Symphony is a great stand alone song and did not need the rap solo, but I get who they are trying to appeal to.)  When I’m in a more reverent or prayerful mood, I LOVE Kitty Cleveland –  particularly her Sacred Arias and Sublime Chant. 

Sometimes, I feel I am imprudent in sharing too much of myself with others.   I’m almost an “open book.”   I thought at least here, it may do some good??

I’ve turned off comments on my wordpress site, because I simply do not have the time to read and respond properly to them all.  I’d love it if my Facebook friends would share something edifying that they are watching, listening to or reading in the comments.  (No Big Brother or Kardashians, o.k:)

 

 

Posted in Book Review, Catholic, Christian Music, Prayer | Tagged , ,

Silent No More

perhaps-you-were-born-for-such-a-time-as-thisIt’s funny how total strangers – even people from another place and time can enter one’s life to teach a lesson!  On my classroom windowsills, I have colorful, wooden blocks with bible verses and inspirational quotes.  One of them says, “Perhaps you were born for such a time as this -“  a verse from the magnificent story of Queen Esther in the Old Testament.   (If you haven’t read it, you really should! )

In life there are times of routine, times of chaos, times of joy, times of sadness…There are also times that are defining moments for each of us – a change in course or in standing up for something for which we really believe.  Queen Esther faced one of these defining moments “with a heart frozen with fear” (15:5) and “with deathly anxiety” (14:1).   (I can relate!  Can you?)

Esther was very beautiful, and the King was enamored with her.  Hence, she was asked to go to plead the cause of her people – to try to change the King’s mind about killing the Jews.  Unbeknownst to the King, Esther was a Jew – one in disguise – so to speak.  If the King found out about her heritage, surely Esther would be killed – and the people whom she hoped to save would perish as well.  Everything was riding on Esther – or was it?

Mordecai, Esther’s guardian, encouraged her with these words, “For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s house will perish.   And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (4: 14)

Esther’s response was truly inspiring and showed her deep, trusting relationship with God.  She humbled her body before the Lord and asked her people to fast and to pray along with her for three days and nights.  Esther prayed, “Lord, make yourself known in this time of affliction, and give me courage.” (14:12)  She asked God to rescue her people and to also “turn (the evil ones’) plan against themselves.” (14:11)  Esther was successful in saving her people, but only because she allowed herself to be completely used by God for His Divine purpose.

As God shows time and again – through stories like those of Moses, Noah, Daniel and Esther –  It is God who fulfills His own plans.  As His unworthy servants, all we can do is pray, trust, then “show up” to (hopefully) be an instrument in God’s Mighty Hand.

What is my point in recapping this story for you?   I have been away from my pen and paper here for quite sometime.   When people have asked why I haven’t written, I have responded, “I think I’ve said all I have to say – I just don’t have it in me anymore.”    What is probably more truthful is that “I’ve said all that I can say without fear or anxiety.”   Revisiting Esther’s story has encouraged me to be steadfast in prayer and to try fasting again (It doesn’t come easily to me)  – to overcome my fear – so as not to be silent at such a critical time.

The truth is that we have all been chosen for such a time as this.  There are no accidents in God’s creative plan.  God loved you into existence at a very particular moment in time so that you would be here today – in 2019!

Our world, the government and the Church is swirling with chaos and confusion.  (This is not a news flash.)  Here, almost nothing seems certain.   People want TRUTH, but most don’t know what that is anymore.

There is nothing to be confused about.  In a world full of change and turmoil, God never changes.  He is the One we can depend upon to remain steady, true, loving, merciful and just every moment of every day, every month, every year, every decade, every generation…

This is not the time to remain silent.  This is a defining moment – our defining moment as Christians!  Will we submit to fear – fear of rejection, fear of being mocked or humiliated, fear of losing our livelihoods, fear of disapproval of family, fear of being killed..?  “Lord, make yourself known in this time of affliction, and give us courage.”

Silent no more.

 

Posted in Prayer

Bacchus Open House 2019

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is just a snippet of the family day hosted by the Bacchus organization this year.  We were blessed to be invited, and a good time was had by all!  The menu this year was the most extensive ever – crawfish pie, meat pies, gumbo, muffalettas, Lucky Dogs, pralines, gelato, mimosas, milk punch and bloody Marys, as well as beer, wine, water, soda and more!  The theme of the parade for 2019  is “Starring Louisiana.”  The floats each represent a movie filmed in New Orleans.  The folks at Blaine Kern surely do amazing work!

Posted in photography

I Believe

My heart has been singing this song all morning – a song from my childhood – elementary Catholic school days.  When I did an internet search, I learned the source of the lyrics.  It was written during WW2, on the wall of a cell by a Jewish prisoner in the Cologne concentration camp.  Here is an excerpt:

“I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining
And I believe in love,
even when there’s no one there.
And I believe in God,
even when he is silent.

I believe through any trial,
there is always a way
But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter,
to know someone’s there
But a voice rises within me, saying hold on
my child, I’ll give you strength,
I’ll give you hope. Just stay a little while…”

I’ve been thinking of the things that I believe too, this morning – trying to verbalize them – set them in my head and heart, knowing that I will surely be called to answer for them and to testify to those beliefs more and more as the world falls deeper into depravity and immorality.

After the news events of previous weeks and months regarding our Church and our country, God may have brought these words to me as consolation – reminding me (us) that we are not alone – even when things seem darkest, or when God seems not to be answering us fast enough for our taste.  Padre Pio once said, ” You can’t give God deadlines.”  (He is one of my favorite saints because he did not mince words and gave of himself untiringly and selflessly to bring souls to Christ.)  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this life it is that God’s timing is almost never our timing, but His timing is always perfect.  If we are going through a trial – and we are!! – that God will bring a greater good from it.  He is making diamonds from a lump of coal!

May I suggest spending some time in silence today meditating upon God’s Word and praying.    I got up at 5:30 this morning and had a whole hour with the Lord.  It has brought hope (and sunshine:) to me on this gray day.  In the silence, the Spirit’s still small voice may rise within you saying “Hold on, my child, I’ll give you strength, I’ll give you hope.  Just stay a little while…”

Some other quotes from Padre Pio on Spiritual Combat.

 

Posted in Prayer

I’m a Slow Learner

This morning I awakened with these words in my heart and in my head, “Obedience without hesitation.”  You see, I had an experience earlier in the week, where I felt moved to share some words of comfort with someone – a stranger.  I knew that it was what I was supposed to do, but I bungled it up because of my doubt and hesitation.  I felt so disappointed in myself.

I’ve been asking Mother Mary to teach me her ways – the way of self denial, of humble obedience, etc.  Well she gave me a test, and I failed!   Maybe the failure in itself was to teach me a lesson:  “Obedience without hesitation, Dana.”

Funny, as things go…I’ve discovered more and more in these past few years that,” The Word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart Hebrews 4:12 (RSVCE)  This is why it so important that we read it daily.  St. Jerome once said, “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”  When we truly love someone, we want to know EVERYTHING about them.   Do we love Christ enough to give Him and His Father’s word first priority in our day?

As I read the gospel this morning before mass, I revisited the story of Jesus telling his apostles to “cast into the deep.”  Immediately, Peter’s response was BUT LORD WE’VE BEEN casting all night without success.  HESITATION.  At last, in obedience, he cast into the deep and the catch was astounding – to say the least!   He felt ashamed and humbled by his doubt and hesitation.  Christ, in his mercy did not hold it against Peter.  Instead, having learned the lesson, He gave Peter more responsibility – Go and fish for MEN!

We are so blessed to have a heavenly Mother – that Jesus gave her to us while He was on the cross.  I know that if we stay close to her, she will take our hand, bring us to Jesus and teach us her ways!

 

 

Posted in Prayer