Monthly Archives: March 2014

Stay Strong and Live with Passion

I wish I could embed video on this blog. My Lenten challenge for today is to share an inspirational video. There was a challenge in finding a good inspirational video, but I think I have a winner:

Stay Strong & Live With Passion from Di Fruscia Photography on Vimeo.

It incorporates some of my favorite things: travel, photography/videography, and living your life with passion. I love my life. Sometimes it’s difficult, often it is messy, but I love it. And I love that I love it.

I really want to get back into taking more photos. I have been sorely remiss of late. Perhaps I will make a photo walk part of my Lenten challenge….

Today, a friend of mine gifted me with “The Joy of the Gospel” by Pope Francis! I can’t wait to read it!

And when I got home, I made some frozen fish sticks for dinner… They were DELICIOUS! Yay, Lenten Fridays!

A Few Changes…

I created a little booklet for myself this Lent, containing my basic plan, the Lenten boot camp outline, various readings for the boot camp, and a section where I have a journal page for each day. For the past week or so, I had a couple sheets of paper shoved into my booklet: a schedule for one of my parishes of significant dates and events during Lent, Passion Week and Easter; and an article on the single vocation. I had meant to read and comment on the article and perhaps do a blog post about it, but hadn’t gotten around to it yet. And the schedule was for reference. Finally this afternoon, I decided to put them into my booklet, scrapbook style. I might as well keep everything in one place and keep it as neat as possible. 🙂 What do you think?

Lent 2014 Booklet: Cover Lent 2014 Booklet: Day 8

Sorry if today’s post in a little choppy. Of course, that’s rather how my day went, so… accurate. 🙂

We are invited today to pray the Memorare, as the Blessed Virgin is she that was foretold as the one crushing the head of the serpent.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Amen.

I was reading in John today for my Bible study, and this verse really spoke to me today. I can’t say that I had any sort of theological epiphany, but it made me feel secure, warm, and loved — and that’s a great feeling. 🙂

He loved His own in the world, and He loved them to the end.  — John 13:1b

This one reminded me of someone I pray for regularly:

If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.

How hard is this? Especially when a loved one dies. We want to keep them with us, but that is really a selfish thing to want. To truly love someone means that you want what is best for them. And what could be better for a person than to be partaking of the Divine Life in Heaven?

Today must totally be about the single vocation, because God graced this blog post by Seashell Nell in my lap today. Coincidence? I think not.

Michigan “Rape Insurance” Bill Passes Into Law

The Huffington Post published this article in December.  Today, a friend posted the article, questioning why anyone would have voted for this, and stating that it would cause rape victims to have back-alley abortions or to leave babies in dumpsters.

“Rape Insurance” is just inflammatory language. Basically, it says that abortions are not a covered benefit unless the mother’s life is in danger from the pregnancy. It gives an option for people to buy an abortion rider, if they want the option of having health insurance that *does* cover abortion. This makes sense to me, since I don’t personally see abortion as morally licit. This way, I don’t have to pay into a group policy for something that is against my moral code, but the people who do want this option can pay into that pool for the added coverage. Just like paying extra money to have additional things covered for my car or house insurance.

I think the issue about what would happen to rape victims if they didn’t have abortions covered in their health insurance is a separate issue.  Is it covered now?  I think in a lot of cases it is not, which is why people who desire abortions, even if they have health insurance, seek them out from out-of-hospital locations like Planned Parenthood, where you pay a set fee for the procedure.  So, if it is not covered now, having it not covered in the future isn’t going to change anything.

As far as back-alley abortions go, I think there needs to be more support programs out there and better awareness of the ones that *are* in place to give guidance, counseling and options to women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies.  No one should feel so desperate as to seek out unqualified individuals to perform any kind of medical/surgical procedure on them.  Think about it this way, if you *really need* to have a suspicious mole biopsied and you don’t have insurance, there’s other ways of getting this paid for besides going to someone in a “back-alley” to get it done.  You can cause great physical harm to yourself by not having proper medical care and/or proper follow-up.

In regards to the “leaving babies in dumpsters” issue, there’s a policy in place that anyone can anonymously leave babies at any police station, firehouse, or hospital.  No reason to be inhumane.  Again, perhaps greater awareness of this policy is necessary.

With everything regarding these “touchy” subjects, I think great compassion is in order.  On both sides of the issue, we should seek out understanding and solutions.  There’s too much blame and hatred in the world already.  People who disagree with me are not “evil”; I am not “evil”.

That is all.  For now.  🙂

—–

Okay.  One more thing.  If you are talking about rape…  I get that making people pay more money for coverage for certain categories can be a slippery slope.  For example, as my friend kindly pointed out to me, a cancer rider or a diabetes rider.  This would mean that I, as a diabetic, would have to pay more for my health care because I had this condition, and that this would be unfair, and that having insurance in any case means that to an extent you are paying into a pool and are paying for treatments and medicine and care for people for conditions that you personally may not have.  So the best thing is to just pay it, because you *might* need cancer coverage or diabetes coverage or what not, and plus, it’s the humane thing to do — to not put an extra burden on people arbitrarily because they have a particular disease or other.  And I totally agree with that.

If abortion didn’t involve killing an innocent life (the baby), I would absolutely be for letting abortion coverage be a part of our healthcare insurance policies.  However, there is currently not a way to make a woman “un-pregnant” without killing the baby, and morally, you can’t justify that death, even in the case of rape.

Batter My Heart

This was the assigned reading for Sunday for my Lenten boot camp. One week in and I’m already falling behind. *sigh* But the point is continual progress. I’m going to fall a lot more, but if I can pick myself up and keep going, then I’m going to count it as a win. 🙂

Batter my heart, three person’d God; for, you
As yet but knocke, breathe, shine, and seeke to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow mee,’and bend
Your force, to breake, blowe, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurpt towne, to’another due, 5
Labour to’admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in mee, mee should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weake or untrue.
Yet dearely’I love you,’and would be loved faine,
But am betroth’d unto your enemie: 10
Divorce mee,’untie, or breake that knot againe;
Take mee to you, imprison mee, for I
Except you’enthrall mee, never shall be free,
Nor ever chast, except you ravish mee. — John Donne

I’m not the greatest at poetry. I can read it and find a meaning for myself, but I’m never quite sure if that’s the meaning that the author intended or not. What I take from this is that the narrator (and, by analogy, us) is caught in a passionate, interior struggle between his own corrupt desires, and his desire to enter into the Divine Life. He is begging God to do violence to his deformed heart, to wrest him away from the Evil One.

I love the intensity, the emotion, and the passion of this piece. And I resemble him who “proves weake or untrue” all too often.

Dear Lord, please batter my heart with Your love for me and abduct me away from the one who has me in chains. Break me down and overcome me with the persistence of the ocean waves, until I — your creature who is dust — submits and is formed into your image as the sand submits to the violence of the sea and the ugly disruption of the day’s is washed away, leaving a pristine beach at dawn.

Pristine Beach1

ABCs of Talking to God

Perhaps you will enjoy lots of little posts throughout the day, instead of one big post with a thousand different topics? 🙂 Anyways…

I am trying to be more intentional and more thoughtful about my prayer life and the various spiritual reading that I do. My tendency is to skim through things just to get them done, rather than to ponder them for the spiritual riches they may contain. Then, when I do find something worthwhile, I seldom take the time to write it down, and I eventually forget about it, so all that benefit? Gone.

I received this article, How to Talk to God, as a link in my e-mail yesterday. Her ABCs are to (A) Focus on God, (B) Listen Carefully, and (C) Respond Thoughtfully.

Distractions seem to be my way of life. And then I get distracted from my distraction and everything snowballs until it’s several hours later and I haven’t accomplished a single thing. Frustrating. Sometimes my prayer time is like that too. I know that it’s difficult for me to sit still. It’s physically painful, as well as out-of-the-norm for me. So, I bring things for me to do: rosary, Bible, spiritual reading, lists of people to pray for… But then, I end up going from thing to thing and don’t get solid time to be quiet before the Lord. Granted, it’s still good to spend time in the presence of the Lord, even if you are just — as Father puts it — balancing your checkbook. But so much better if you are actively working on growing in intimacy with Jesus.

Then the listening part. Truly, if you know of a really good way to learn how to listen… I’m… listening? Most of what I’ve heard is to Just. Do. It. Sit before the Lord and be quiet. And eventually good listening skills will come. I am still waiting. Fidgety. May the Blessed Mother help me.

God invites, God gives grace, and then we are to respond. Like, to actually *DO* what He says, not merely to agree that X is a good idea.

Where will *you* seek out God?
Adoration at Vigil
Adoration at Vigil, World Youth Day, Sydney, 2008

Halo

Since I’m trying new things this Lent, what better fruit to try than a Halo? 🙂

Halo

And doesn’t it look delicious? Don’t let my ultra-close-up photo fool you — it’s only the size of a stress ball or hacky sack. Which tempts me to use it as a stress ball or hacky sack… or to just toss it around like a baseball. Seriously, I am a danger to spherical food items. 🙂

I am unfamiliar with peeling oranges and the like, so I Googled how to to this. Here is my end result:

Peeled Halo

Not bad, eh? 🙂 They are pretty good! Sweet and juicy and not messy, even after peeling.

And since it’s Lent, and since we are called to help bring others to Christ, I shared my Halo with my co-workers. 🙂

In Christ, We Suffered Temptation

This has been sitting in my e-mail inbox for a few days, sent to me by one of my Dads. I finally read it today, and find it a great passage to reflect upon. Trial and suffering are integral aspects to a truly Christian life. Thanks be to God that He gives us the grace to endure and to image Him in our afflictions.

In Christ we suffered temptation, and in him we overcame the Devil
Hear, O God, my petition, listen to my prayer. Who is speaking? An individual, it seems. See if it is an individual: I cried out to you from the ends of the earth while my heart was in anguish. Now it is no longer one person; rather, it is one in the sense that Christ is one, and we are all his members. What single individual can cry from the ends of the earth? The one who cries from the ends of the earth is none other than the Son’s inheritance. It was said to him: Ask of me, and I shall give you the nations as your inheritance, and the ends of the earth as your possession. This possession of Christ, this inheritance of Christ, this body of Christ, this one Church of Christ, this unity that we are, cries from the ends of the earth. What does it cry? What I said before: Hear, O God, my petition, listen to my prayer; I cried out to you from the ends of the earth.’ That is, I made this cry to you from the ends of the earth; that is, on all sides.

Why did I make this cry? While my heart was in anguish. The speaker shows that he is present among all the nations of the earth in a condition, not of exalted glory but of severe trial.

Our pilgrimage on earth cannot be exempt from trial. We progress by means of trial. No one knows himself except through trial, or receives a crown except after victory, or strives except against an enemy or temptations.

The one who cries from the ends of the earth is in anguish, but is not left on his own. Christ chose to foreshadow us, who are his body, by means of his body, in which he has died, risen and ascended into heaven, so that the members of his body may hope to follow where their head has gone before.

He made us one with him when he chose to be tempted by Satan. We have heard in the gospel how the Lord Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. Certainly Christ was tempted by the devil. In Christ you were tempted, for Christ received his flesh from your nature, but by his own power gained salvation for you; he suffered death in your nature, but by his own power gained glory for you; therefore, he suffered temptation in your nature, but by his own power gained victory for you.

If in Christ we have been tempted, in him we overcome the devil. Do you think only of Christ’s temptations and fail to think of his victory? See yourself as tempted in him, and see yourself as victorious in him. He could have kept the devil from himself; but if he were not tempted he could not teach you how to triumph over temptation. — St. Augustine

Family Dinner

Just a quick little post. I ended up being 10 minutes late for Mass, due to Daylight Savings Time. Luckily for me, I only missed part of the first reading, so they must have been running a little late as well.

I got a voicemail from my mom, letting me know that dinner was going to be at 2:30 pm. Since it wasn’t that far off, I just headed over to their house after Mass. We did our grocery shopping together and enjoyed a family dinner. Usually, my parents, brother and I only get together for a meal on holidays, so this was an unusual event. It was a lovely turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, biscuits and asparagus.

I was so tired the entire day — I just kept yawning. After dinner, about 5 pm, I was so exhausted that I was about to fall asleep, so I headed home. I crawled into bed and promptly fell asleep for a 5 hour nap. 🙂

Lent: Day 4

I made plans to spend part of today at church interceding for needs of the parish; however, my plans went the way of mice and men. I needed to take my car in for an oil change, and was pretty excited about it, as it was finally warm enough that the dealership would run the car through the car wash before giving it back. It’s been so cold for so long, my black car had turned grey with all the salt.

It was a long time at the dealership, over 2 hours. Normally, the waiting room is loud and irritating with the constant drone of the TV, but I just sat there, reading the book I had brought and it ended up passing fairly quickly — I didn’t get irritated at all! Grace of God, right there!

I left and didn’t have enough time for an hour’s worth of intercessory prayer, so I just headed in to work. Stopping first to get some Jimmy John’s, since I was *starving*. But we were a little busy at work, so I didn’t get to eat my lunch until a few hours later. It was delicious, though. Thank you, Jesus, for the sandwich. I really appreciated it.

My Lenten “thing” of the day: Vance and I re-organized my desk at work. We got rid of unnecessary items, rewired things and did a bunch of cord control. We cleaned the cube thoroughly — which it *really* needed — and in the end, there was about twice as much desk space for my cube mate. So, she benefited from the cleaning more than I did.

Clean Cube

Got off work late, got home after 11 pm, had dinner, went to bed. I didn’t do my reading for today, so I’ll catch up on that later in the week.

Random Acts of Graffiti

Temptation finds you where you least expect it sometimes.

I went to Stations of the Cross after work today. After, I walked back to my car, parked in the small lot by the Day Chapel. While I was sitting there, as the few remaining people left, I saw in front of me the soccer field with it’s pristine blanket of snow.

Suddenly, I knew that I couldn’t leave the snow all perfect and unmolested. But to do something, I’d have to climb over the thigh-high ridge of snow created by the snowplow and wade around in knee-deep snow. Worth it, but I wanted to wait until everyone else left. It’s hard to be the crazy woman sometimes. So, I sat there in my car, lurking in the parking lot — not too much better.

Finally, the parking lot was empty. I had decided to “write” something in the snow with my footprints.

Wouldn’t you know…

I didn’t even get the first letter completed, when FATHER pulls into the parking lot. WHAT?!?! What is he doing here now? I am trying to cause mischief here! So, I walk closer to my car, kinda sorta “hiding” behind it. He goes into the church. Okay. Great. I go to resume my “writing”.

But wait!

He comes back out! Argh! I guess he forgot something in his car. He goes back in. I quickly finish my project. I’m barely able to breathe and in a lot of pain (stupid MELAS), and can’t get back over the ridge to the parking lot without crawling. Then, I’m having trouble breathing and dizzy, so… water. Water sounds great. I walk back into the church, headed for the drinking fountains. I run into Father in the hall, in vestments. I’m not sure what he’s doing, but he goes into the Adoration chapel.

I get my water, go back to my car and head home. It’s still another 30-45 minutes before I can breathe normally, because my exercise tolerance of late is horrible. Once I can breathe, I text Father, “Did you see it?!” He did. (And now can you…)

"Jesus" written in the snow

See? Jesus can make even snow better! 🙂