Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Light is On- My Edits

The Archdiocese is doing a great campaign: "The Light is on for You" encouraging people to return to the sacrament of confession. Every church in the archdiocese will have a priest available for confessions every Wednesday night during Lent. Awesome!

This is the website they are using for FAQ's and frankly, I don't think it will have anyone jumping out of their seats to get to the Church. So for my own amusement, I came up with my own edits for the first two questions, which betray my CL leanings toward speaking to experience.

Why should I go to Confession?

Because you know that you need to. Because sometimes when it is quiet, like before you go to sleep at night, you remember something you did, something you said, or something you thought that day that you regret. You do something during the day and you think to yourself, “Why do I keep doing that? I hate that.” You want to be free. You want to tell someone that you are sorry. You know that you cannot change yourself by just willing to be better; You’ve tried that. Christ left us this sacrament as a very special place of His Mercy. You come before Him and bear your soul. You tell Him things that you have never told anyone and you are assured that He still loves you. Like the father in the story of the prodigal son, God our Father comes running to embrace you. For this Christ came and walked among us; That we would know the love of the Father right there where we most fear His gaze. You should go to Confession because the one you love, who loves you, is just waiting for you to call out to Him.

Why do I have to confess my sins to a priest?

You have to confess your sins to a priest because you are human. As a human being it is not enough just to pray silently and “think” that you are forgiven; You must hear the words. You must be in the presence of Christ in the priest who says “I absolve you from your sins”. You will have no peace without those words; You will always wonder if God has heard and pardoned you. Confessing to the priest also acknowledges that the sin you have committed has not only offended God but has also hurt His Body, the Church. It has hurt your spouse, your children, your best friend. The priest is a representative of this Body as well, of all those you love and still hurt. He forgives you for the community.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Desert Knows

Read this amazing homily by Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP that was linked on Open Book.


Lent is not about avoiding temptations. Lent is not about fasting or prayer or being good. Lent is about wandering into the emptiness, the vanity, the wreckage we have made of our spiritual lives and finding one more time the stalwart presence of God, the inexhaustible workings of the Holy Spirit. Seeking and finding the face of Christ.
Lent is a time for you to calculate with cold reason and a clean heart your commitments in this world. Where are you bound? To whom do you owe your money, your livelihood, your dignity…your soul? Who owns you? What ideas possess your mind? What passions fuel your heart? What images cloud your vision? What do you worry about and why? Here’s the question with which to examine your conscience before confession: exactly how would anyone know Jesus owns me body and soul?

Know the answers! You must. Because the desert knows and the desert will tell. The desert will tell the Devil and he will color in those drab images, season those dull fumes, stoke the fires of weak passion. He’ll parade your desires, sharpened and concentrated, parade them before you, lying to you, pampering you, telling you how much you deserve what you cannot possibly need and only vaguely want. When those ashes were traced on your forehead…at that moment, what did you want? Mercy? Forgiveness? Love? To be seen as pious? You will find it in the Lenten desert. But will your desires look like gifts among all that scarcity?

Pay careful attention to the gospel. Jesus went into the desert to pray, right? No. He went into the desert to fast, right? No. He went into the desert to start his new diet? No. Of course, he prayed and fasted. But he didn’t go into the desert to do those things. Rather he “was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days to be tempted by the devil.” He went to the desert so that he could be tempted. The devil tempted him with food, power, and worship. Jesus refuses each in turn. He quotes scripture and dismisses each temptation as a mere shadow of what His Father offers. The devil offers Jesus illusion, impermanence. And he will offer you the same. And you will accept his offer unless you understand with near perfect clarity and will what you want, what you desire as a faithful follower of Christ.

Lent is not about avoiding temptation. Lent is about walking the hot sand of deprivation so that what tempts you worms its way to the surface. (...)


What a beautiful new addition to a beautiful family!
That is the "Mother's Smile" all right :)

Friday, February 23, 2007

Fred Kaan knows his stuff

The Hymn for today's morning prayer is amazing:

We turn to you, O God of every nation,
Giver of life and origin of good;
Your love is at the heart of all creation,
Your hurt is people's broken brotherhood

We turn to you that we may be forgiven
For crucifying Christ on earth again.
We know that we have never wholly striven,
Forgetting self, to love the other man.

Free every heart from pride and self-reliance,
Our ways of thought inspire with simple grace;
Break down among us barriers of defiance,
Speak to the soul of all the human race.

Teach us, good Lord, to serve the need of others,
Help us to give and not to count the cost.
Unite us all for we are born as brothers;
Defeat our Babel with your Pentecost.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ave crux, spes unica

First I encourage you to read Jim Towey's latest post on Lent.

And to help your meditations this season on our crucified and dejected Lord, a little quote from Adrian Walker:

"I suspect that, like Jacob, all serious Christians sooner or later find themselves struggling with the crucified God in the night. If they remain Christians, it is because, just when they think they have beaten him with water-tight arguments, he surprises them with an unexpected move. They suddenly catch sight of the glory shining in his despised and humiliated countenance, and that is enough to dissipate all their objections in a single blaze of light."

I have certainly had periods in my life of wrestling with God, and was glad to find this reflection based on Jacob's wrestling match in Genesis at the beginning of a paper on faith and philosophy.

A handful of JPII students and alums watched the French film "Diary of a Country Priest" based on the book by George Bernanos the other day. Dr. Schindler commented that he thought Bernanos captured the essence of Christianity more than anyone else- with the possible equal of Dostoevsky. The film was a faithful adaptation (so they say- I have not read it yet!) and it truly is 2 hours of relentless drama. Not drama as used in the American sense of action-packed [at all], but rather the drama of an intensely-lived life in the midst of "not much" happening. Here you are faced with a priest who is so transparent, humble and true, that just like the other characters in the story, you see your own wretchedness. A great way to start off Lent. It especially convicted me of the need for more silence.

I hope that you are all starting off Lent well. I have already "messed up"- I did not wake up on time today. Thank God that this is a time of mercy, and is not in the end about what I can "do". Tomorrow, 7am.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Part of CL's work in NYC and DC is Crossroads, a cultural forum. Check it out here. And on the sidebar I added the blog, presumably done by the group in NYC.

It is a great work that seeks to bring people together for discussions of events, experiences in art and music, or really anything else that can rightfully be called culture.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Like a Child

Grass and I went to a puppet show last weekend with these two precious 4 year olds. This was an old bumper car that they wanted to sit in.
One of the girls was staying with the other that night, and she kept asking, "Lacy, are you happy that I'm sleeping over at your house tonight?" If only we all wore our desire for the assurance that others love us on our sleeve like that!! Maybe I'll start asking everyone now, "Are you happy that I work here?" "Are you glad that I am living here with you?" "Do you like me?" "Do you like spending time with me?" Presuming that the answer is yes, we could all be much more secure and happy :) Now, whether adults can handle such honesty remains to be seen.
Do you like reading my blog?

Monday, February 05, 2007

I heart Jim Towey

President of St. Vincent College in Latrobe, and good friend of Sisters Grass and Water. He has a blog for his students!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Doctors know it all?

I remember the first time that an acquaintance of mine began medical school and I realized that he was going to be a doctor in a few years. A doctor. This person I knew. And the only thing that would change is that he went to school for a few more years.

That is the point at which I knew that doctors are not omnisceint. In fact, not even close.

We've all been in school, right. And we all know that schools have agendas, many teachers have their own agendas, and all these things effect what you hear in your classroom. And sometimes books aren't right either. They are all written by people, who learned from teachers, who had agendas too. And particularly in the medical field, the pharmacutical industry is totally and completely invested in what future doctors are going to prescribe to their patients, so their agendas come into play as well in the classroom.

All this is to say that if someone is suggesting that maybe birth control is not the best answer for you, do not dismiss them because they don't have a medical degree. Remember what a medical degree means. I'm not saying doctors are not intelligent- I certainly couldn't make it through med school- I'm just saying they are human and thus not infallible. That's why you go to get a second opinion about any big medical decision, right?

As usual this is prompted by the MP Evaluations. There are always a few women who write that they can't do NFP because they have a medical condition that requires the pill. And immediately I think of all the work that some doctors are doing in this country to really investigate fertility/ reproductive problems verses immediately presribing the pill for a quick fix. That's our modern mentality. But there are usually more natural ways to help women if you are willing to treat each person individually and listen to what is going on, which is not what many doctors do. And probably until they meet a doctor who does do that, many women will not even know that they should be listened to. I want to say to all those women- make sure that your doctor is listening to you, and do some research on your own to see what else might be possible, if there is any part of you that wonders about taking a pill everyday. And, if it is supposed to just regulate what your body does naturally, there's no reason not to learn more about what it is doing and how you can tell.

One small example. A friend of mine was pregnant. They gave her a due date which she thought was a little off. Using her NFP chart, it was pretty simple for her to say "Look, I know when we conceived" but the doctors did not listen to her. Pretty soon, they were saying that the baby was too small and they needed to perform all sorts of tests to make sure everything was ok. And once again, my friend thought this was very wrong because babies in her family tend to be quite large. So finally she got a midwife to look at her chart, to humor her. And sure enough, when the midwife calculated the due date according to my friend's calculations, the baby was exactly the size she should be for her stage of development. No extra tests needed.

I'm just saying that doctors don't know everything.