Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Today is a better day. Yesterday was very difficult for me. It would have been Yoshi's 13th birthday. He died last year just two months after his 12th birthday. He moaned and complained for a few days but he was always so dramatic I pretty much ignored him. Then he died. I know he waited for me to get home before letting go. It was so painful for me to watch him struggle with not wanting to go. He was always SO attached to me. I cry now typing this. It's still so hard. I miss him so much.

He was a Maine Coon. I spoke with a friend of mine this weekend who noted that his retriever pups had just reached 24 pounds. I said, almost as big as Yoshi. My friend said, no hun. 24 pounds. I said - didn't you know? Yoshi was 28. My friend lives far away and never knew I had a cat that big.

Animals love us in the most special ways. I don't think I'll every find someone who loves me as much as Yoshi did.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Poor in Spirit.

Last night we had our monthly Secular Franciscan meeting. Our friend Cathy was welcomed as a candidate. During the service, Fr. Camillus talked about the beatitudes. The specific Franciscan charism of poverty.

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit.

Fr. Camillus specifically discussed those who are not poor in spirit. Those who are poor but envy the rich. Long for money and glory. They are not blessed. Those who are poor and content to be so, while working to better themselves. They are blessed.

Gotta love those monks. They know their stuff.
Our new archbishop was installed yesterday. Gosh. Makes him sound like a drain pipe or cable or something. But yes, it's an official ceremony.

I wasn't able to be there but I heard about is first words. Apparently they've made quite an impact with his first words to his new congregation. He stated, with warm open arms, that Catholics are called to have a life agenda. So many Catholic believe that being pro-life is only anti-abortion. But pro-life, according to our new archbishop, also means anti-war, anti death-penalty, anti-euthanasia. Life means all life. Even the lives of animals.

So few people understand euthanasia. Euthanasia isn't the right to die. Euthanasia is when your doctor decides to kill you. People read all about Terry Schiavo and ran out to get living wills. Living wills don't stop a doctor from offing you if they opt out of therapy for you as Terry's husband did. Many people opt for death if they contemplate coming to a point where they are vegetative. In making this call, many doctors opt for what is essentially murder. THEY decide thereapy would be of little good.

So few people understand partial birth abortion. Partial birth abortion is where a doctor pulls a perfectly viable full term child feet first out of the mother. Just up to the head. Because according to society in general - you're not a person til you're all the way out. With the infant's head still inside the mother, the doctor takes a pair of large scissors and cuts open the baby's head. Using a vaccum removes the baby's brain. The dead child is then pulled out of the mother.

In 1999, Pope John Paul II stated that animals possess a soul and men must love and feel solidarity for our smaller brethren. He stated that our furry friends are fruit of the creative action of the Holy Spirit and as such merit our respect. He reminded us that animals are as near to God as we are and that we should treat them with the same spirit of love as St. Francis of Assisi. That means that Catholics at large should be against factory farming where animals are torturned.

Have a life agenda. I like that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

This was one of those things that drops into one's inbox regularly. Friendly spam. But I liked it. So I'm sharing it with you.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil, without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma. The daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?"

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water. Each reacted differently.

The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened.

The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?"

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water. The very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity?

May we all be COFFEE BEANS.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Fun with Dick n Jane.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Happy Feast of the Presentation of the Lord!
Also known as Candlemas.

When I was just a kid, I was chased away from my church by a priest who called me a witch. He said my particular talents didn’t belong in God’s church.

My grandmother also called me the family witch. She told me one was born into our family at every generation.

Thus, I launched a belief in witch craft. Study of goddess worship. Hanging out with a bunch of pagans.

Called by God, I came back to my church. I discovered I DO belong and my abilities are a biblical gift from God. Charisms of the Spirit. I launched into another spree of learning, I discovered a lot of the things claimed by the pagan community just aren’t true. Let’s take today the “Holy Day” of Candlemas.

Back, oh say 20 years ago, when I was knee deep in learning everything I could about being a witch, books on being a witch included a celebration of February 2nd as Candlemas. Later books would change the name to Imbolc.

Candlemas is a Catholic feast. The Candle Mass, a celebration of the Presentation of Our Lord when all the faithful bring beeswax candles to the church. They are blessed outside the church then a procession into the church and a mass given by light of the newly blessed candles. They represent Jesus as The Light Of The World.

My pagan friends celebrate Candlemas (odd since it’s a Catholic feast…) or Imbolc as it would later be called. Imbolc is a Gaelic term for being pregnant and was generally celebrated as a time of wealth based on the fertility of certain critters. Namely sheep. More pregnant sheep meant more money for the sale of lambs.

My pagan friends focus this Holy Day on the celebration of the goddess Brigid. They’ll tell you the Christians stole her and Christianized her. Calling her St. Brigid. My research into the subject has proven this to be quite untrue, as it has with a number of their claims to Christian conspiracy and thievery.

While Christianity did “sanctify” a number of pagan practices by putting them to use for God, it isn’t the case with Brigid of Ireland. St. Brigid was a real person. She was born around 450 AD, the illegitimate daughter of a druid and a slave. Even as a child her holiness was noted. She loved to woods and the animals found therein. She managed dairy cows as a youth. While she gave away much of it’s produce to those in need, the dairy thrived. As such she is the patron of milk maid, cows and dairy workers. She became a Catholic nun and founded churches and ways of religious life in Ireland. She was also a woman of great charisms. Such that frightened the local people who more than once thought to burn her at the stake. Her druid father owned both she and her mother as slaves, but eventually freed them. Seemingly because he was tired of Brigid giving away so much of his dairy produce.

There are older references to a goddess called Brigid in Ireland. This goddess is thought to be a Welsh import. Perhaps St. Brigid's druid father named her for this goddess. However, the "cult" of Brigid begins around the time the very real St. Brigid lived.

A quote from St. Brigid of Ireland:

I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us. I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy. I would like cheerfulness to preside over all. I would like Jesus to be present. I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us. I would like the friends of Heaven to be gathered around us from all parts. I would like myself to be a rent payer to the Lord; that I should suffer distress, that he would bestow a good blessing upon me. I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings. I would like to be watching Heaven's family drinking it through all eternity.