Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011- Goodbye to a "bad" year or keeping perspective

It has been a hectic week for numerous reasons, among them I have been one of those who was not on vacation this past week. At the end of every year, the news is full of retrospectives and "looks back on the year that was". I have heard a few references to this having been still a bad year economically. God has been pretty much eliminating my ability to give myself any kind of pity party the past year or so by reminding me of those who are really having bad years and are really suffering. I can think of several families or individuals for whom Christmas will likely never bring good memories due to truly horrible things which happened. I can think of others who are missing loved ones unexpectedly. So many of the problems I could whine over are really not so much. This next year, I will be trying to love more and to make those I love know it more.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Parvulus filius hodie natus est nobis- A Child is born to us this day!

The hustle and bustle of the past week or so is over and Christmas is here! I was able to slip away once the little one was in bed for an hour of adoration, which did wonders to help me leave Martha mode and try to be a Mary. I wish the blessings of this holy season on all. Christmas is here!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

US Anglican Ordinariate News- Mt. Calvary Church- Baltimore is Coming Home!

Deo Gratias!

A person I know in Baltimore who is at Mt. Calvary advised it was announced today. As noted on the church's website:

On October 24, 2010…

Mount Calvary became the first congregation to announce its decision to leave The Episcopal Church in order to accept Pope Benedict XVI’s invitation, contained in the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, to become an Anglican Use parish of the Roman Catholic Church, and to become part of the Personal Ordinariate for former Anglicans when it is established in the United States.

The parishioners have been in formation through education sessions with one of my former pastors, a Dominican priest (Order of Preachers) who was an Episcopal priest before crossing the Tiber. The church is historic and from what I have gathered, the issue of the church property had to be decided which is why another congregation in Maryland became the first Anglican parish under Anglicanorum coetibus to actually be accepted into the church.

I am excited partially primarily as it is wo when anyone comes home to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I am also excited because of the richness of liturgy-language, music and postures that Anglicans are bringing to the church. Those who may never want to step foot into a church with the TLM my go to an Anglican Ordinariate where they will experience a mass that probably looks like what the bishops attending Vatican II actually had in mind...I am just saying.

Here is their website:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"For he that is not against you is for you"- or do I really need to start smacking heads?

37 John answered him, saying: Master, we saw one casting out devils in your name, who follows not us: and we forbade him. 38 But Jesus said: Do not forbid him. For there is no man that does a miracle in my name and can soon speak ill of me. 39 For he that is not against you is for you. 40 For whosoever shall give you to drink a cup of water in my name, because you belong to Christ: amen I say to you, he shall not lose his reward. (John 9:37-40) from

I have read some posts and articles regarding the labeling that so many just love to do, such as conservative, traditional/trad/traddie, neo-con.... Sometimes (often) it makes me want to start knocking heads together in hopes that will knock some sense into others. I am thinking of a recent article I read that was critical of those who were judged to be conservative but not traditional.

Everyone is not going to be formed in the same way and that is good. You want diversity (yes the d-word) in the good sense which means there will be variations in speech, opinions, ideas because your environment, your family, your ethnicity etc. can and will influence you. Read St. Thomas Aquinas especially in the area of temperance. What is suitable for one person given their state of life might not be appropriate to others. Even in the TLM mass, speaking with those who attended prior to the changes, there were those who experienced a low mass for almost every mass and those who learned the ordinary and propers and who attended many sung masses as well as vespers services etc.

So the relevance is we are in a culture that is actively working against the church on many levels. We need active catechises including more priests not afraid to preach on what the church holds, teaches and believes, even though much is counter to what society says.

Yes, there are hymns that are earwigs to me and which I would love to gather into a pod and jetison into space forever (though they are so bad it could start an inter-stellar war if there were ever found to be life on another planet). I cringe to see guitars and drum kits at mass, the social mixer "kiss of peace" and numerous other additions. I also understand and know, that the people I know who do like that style and who are on the front lines with me in Germantown and who are and will be in Annapolis (or other capital cities) and DC, are not the enemy and I don't need to concentrate on changing them. The enemy is "prowling about the world seeking the ruin of souls".

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gaudete in Domino semper! Ember Days as Advent calm in the storm of Christmas prep

In the western church, we have lost much of the penitential nature of Advent. From friends who were Byzantine Catholic, I had learned that there was an Advent fast. It is not as severe as the Lenten fast, but in both liturgy and actions our eastern rite brothers and sisters were a bit more focused on trying to make Advent a real time of preparation.

I know it is hard to stay focused on Advent or any penitential actions since, outside of mass, which for many is just once a week, there is not much if anything to counter the Christmas season that surrounds us and that starts to disappear December 26. Personally, I love Christmas lights and since it is completely dark by 6pm here, it is easy to see numerous houses light up with various degrees of festivity.

We have our Advent wreath and most of our nativity sets are out and waiting patiently for baby Jesus to arrive. The Benedictine office in the EF today included the verse "Rejoice in the Lord always, I say again rejoice" and the gospel reading was focused on those asking Jesus who was John the Baptist. We prepare and are trying to get ready and in the Latin rite we do have helps for this week for Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are Ember Days, which are days of fast which occur four times a year. This coming week, Wednesday December 14, Friday December 16 and Saturday December 17 are days to fast and pray, From discussions on other sites, I gather these days were not surpressed but were just not inlcuded anymore on the calendar and in the OF there is not any mention of them in the mass. I was able to attend an EF mass on Ember Saturday in September and it was quite moving and included more readings and prayers of intersession remenicient of those on Good Friday.

Even though you may worship completely in the OF of the mass, you can still try to make time to reflect, pray and even fast in preparation for the coming of Christmas. To try to make certain that in all of the cleaning and shopping and cooking and traveling, we remember to rejoice in the Lord always and to prepare anew for Christ to come into our hearts.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Auschwitz was in the city

I was at the the prayer rally for the tragic one year anniversary of the late term abortionist who started killing late term (starting at 5 months) babies one year ago today. We were hoping for 1000 and per the people counting we had 2000 witnessing to life.

I was reflecting on the fact of the horror that goes on in an office park that looks like any one of hundreds in suburban DC. It is near daycare centers and grocery stores, banks, fast food places, and a mega shoe store. You can find a similar area in pretty much any town and city.

During the last 40 Days for Life, I was talking with one of the other women who came to pray and she was telling me about a visit she made to Auschwitz while on a tour of Europe after college. She and a friend decided to take the train to the city and when the exited the train, they asked a taxi driver or bus driver to take them there. The driver asked what was wrong with their feet and when they asked why he said that he pointed and they found that the walls to the compound were right there. The death camp where so many innocent people died was right in the city. The woman said she returned a few years ago when she was on a trip to Europe and she wanted to make certain her memory was not distorted by age and she confirmed.

The internet can be a wonderful resource. You can see satellite and even street level pictures of so many places on earth. I looked it up, and she was right. I saw the train tracks and the city, and the memorial left where cruelty that stuns me happened.

The people had to know Auschwitz was there and they had to know something was horribly, drastically wrong. They had to know.

It is very easy to mouth slogans and politically correct and politically safe statements. It it easy to go along with what will keep you from being seen as "stuck in the past", or fundamentalist or reactionary. Totalitarian regimes almost always if not always paint their opposition as being the radicals.

Auschwitz was in the city.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Keeping Advent- The challenge and the purple light set

Advent was one of the great treasures that I discovered when I found the church. I think I had heard of Advent calendars, but the only "season" of the church really on the radar was Lent. I spent many years having no idea that the 12 days of Christmas were the days AFTER December 25 and that December was for Christmas trees, Christmas lights etc.

Don't get me wrong, I do shop for Christmas presents and I do like to see the lights on houses as I am driving in the evening. I am not constantly reminding people around me that "it is Advent not Christmas!" It remains a challenge, in the face of all of the red and green to focus on the season of Advent. We have our "real" Advent wreath and I found a couple of Advent resources for little hands- one an Advent wreath place mat that allows the child to color the lights on the wreath and the other a fabric wreath that allows your child to "light" their own wreath that they can actually touch.

I had been wishing I could find a purple light set because I would be willing to put them up, but only with purple during Advent and changing them to colored lights later. Nothing big, but just something seasonal. Well, I was out running some errands yesterday morning and I had to to to CVS yesterday and they had purple lights and on sale. I was trying to put them on our railing at home, but then discovered that the brilliant folks who designed our subdivision did not put an external outlet on the front of our townhouse, the only outlet is in the rear. Still trying to figure out plan B.