Thursday, March 31, 2005

Nifty prayer method

TS O'Rama had done it again. When you hit your prayer position tonight, carrying the weight of Terri's death and the Pope's illness and all the burdens nearer to your hands and hearts, remember John 14:6: Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Therefore, you can substitute His Holy Name in place of those words when you find them in the Psalms or any other Scripture. TSO's example:

Psalm 25

Make me to know your Christs(1), Oh LORD; teach me your paths.

Lead me in Christ(2), and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation.

Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in Christ.(3)
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble Christ.(4)

1 = ways
2 = your truth
3 = the way
4 = his way

This is like the good prayer of reading 1 Corinthians 13:4 and following:

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.

and substituting your own name for "Love." So, "Therese Z is patient, Therese Z is kind, she is humble, does not put on airs...." (The wording reflects my serious case of John Michael Talbot Lyric Syndrome: I've learned more Psalms more thoroughly listening to his music than anywhere else.)

I appreciate these methods of praying with Scripture. Thanks, TSO.

Just in case you folks out there didn't catch it . . .

This is the playing field we are on. Eric Pfeiffer writes about the "spirituality" of Michael Schiavo's lawyer.

Some have wondered why Michael and his team worked so hard to achieve Terri's death. What could have caused this passion, even in the face of a $1M buyout offer, unless he honestly was motivated by high principles?

Well, let's see . . .

Hat tip to Maclin Horton for the link.

Living next door to the Schiavos

What if you lived next door to Michael Schiavo and his household? Would you let your children play with his children? Would you speak to him? The mother of his children? Would you hire him? Would you do business with whoever employs him?

What are the charitable actions, the merciful attitudes, to pursue in living next door to a man whose heart is filled with such anger and evil? Do we shake his dust off our shoes, put him out from among us? Or do we extend our hand?

This is a dramatic example, but I'm sure you found out, as I have, how many hearts around you harbor cruelty and disdain for life, expressed in mean and callous water cooler conversations and dinner table discussions. Our response to them is, in a way, a proportional one to actually living next door to Terri's murderer.

We will remember

May God grant Terri Schindler Schiavo eternal rest. May He have mercy on us.

Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord

The Corner of National Review Online reported at 8:55 am EST that Terri Schiavo has died. May we never forget. Let me trust in You, Lord, that You bring good from evil, joy from mourning.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

He may be a son of...

a b-----, but he's OUR son of a b-----!"

So said Secretary of State Cordell Hull about Trujillo (not Truman about MacArthur, as I've always believed). As a Chicagoan, I get an awful lot of Jesse Jackson, more than I need. Some kid's Big Wheel gets a flat, and there he is, sweaty and earnest and loud. His good impulses are often overshadowed by his grandiosity, and people tend to tune out his message too often.

But if this report of Rev. Jackson's effort to persuade Democratic lawmakers to change their position is correct, and his efforts are successful, then (1) we will never hear the end of it, and (2) I must in humility listen to everyone and no longer maintain a "dismissed" list of irritating people. But especially (3) I'll pray with joy that Rev. Jackson receive abundant blessing and consolation from the Lord.

Keep praying! I admit I have become exhausted and despairing, and had nearly given up praying and pondering. This gives me new life, although it's hard to believe that Terri hasn't suffered permanent damage to her organs after this long.

As Lincoln DIDN'T say: "Politics makes strange bedfellows."

Monday, March 28, 2005

Tell me a story

Blessings to you. May you experience the grace of Easter.

The respected Pontificator has posted his son's story of conversion to the Catholic Church last year. It is stunningly honest and forthright. I found his experience of first Sacrament of Reconciliation to be particularly striking.
So I let him put his hands on me and I let him speak the words of absolution, and I continued sobbing for several more minutes, unable to control my tears and my breathing. Only now it was different. I was feeling something new–not something dark and guilty, something bright and joyful. I had resigned myself to my grief, and so also to hell, but it was not to be. Grace had intervened for reasons my petty love did not understand."

As always when God intervenes to steer an individual soul, this story has a very personal flavor. Personal God-stories are a great favorite of mine -- the nature of the Maker is discernible in the evidence He leaves in His wake. Won't it be wonderful in heaven when there's time to hear and tell all those stories and praise Him face to face?

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The full circle

John Donne wrote a beautiful poem when, in 1608 as now, the Annunciation and Passion fell on the same day. Thank you, Dom.

Tamely, frail body, abstain to-day; to-day
My soul eats twice, Christ hither and away.

She sees Him man, so like God made in this,
That of them both a circle emblem is,
Whose first and last concur; this doubtful day
Of feast or fast, Christ came, and went away.

She sees Him nothing, twice at once, who’s all;
She sees a Cedar plant itself, and fall;
Her Maker put to making, and the Head
Of life, at once, not yet alive, yet dead.

She sees at once the Virgin Mother stay
Reclused at home, public at Golgotha;
Sad and rejoiced she’s seen at once, and seen
At almost fifty, and at scarce fifteen.

At once a Son is promised her, and gone;
Gabriell gives Christ to her, He her to John;
Not fully a mother, She’s in orbity;
At once receiver and the legacy.

All this, and all between, this day hath shown,
Th’ abridgement of Christ’s story, which makes one--
As in plain maps, the furthest west is east--
Of th’ angels Ave, and Consummatum est.

How well the Church, God’s Court of Faculties
Deals, in sometimes, and seldom joining these!

As by the self-fix’d Pole we never do
Direct our course, but the next star thereto,
Which shows where th’other is, and which we say
--Because it strays not far--doth never stray;
So God by His Church, nearest to Him, we know
And stand firm, if we by her motion go;
His Spirit, as His fiery pillar, doth
Leade, and His Church, as cloud; to one end both.

This Church, by letting those days join, hath shown
Death and conception in mankind is one;
Or ‘twas in Him the same humility,
That He would be a man, and leave to be;
Or as creation He hath made, as God,
With the last judgement, but one period,
His imitating Spouse would join in one
Manhood’s extremes: He shall come, He is gone;
Or as though one blood drop, which thence did fall,
Accepted, would have served, He yet shed all,
So though the least of His pains, deeds, or words,
Would busy a life, she all this day affords;
This treasure then, in gross, my soul, uplay,
And in my life retail it every day.

And, perhaps with a fiat of their own, Terri's parents are declining to seek redress with the full Appeals Court. May God shower love and mercy all over the place.

Friday, March 25, 2005

I had a long and (I thought) eloquent post ready to go on the world, the flesh, The Passion of the Christ and God's victory. However, God must have meant it to be solely a contemplative effort for my sole benefit because Blogger ate it.

In lieu of my first efforts, here is a link to the Crux Angelica posted by my favorite Dominican nuns.

God bless your Triduum.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Easter Bloguum

No blogging from now until Monday morning. Church tonight, tomorrow, Saturday vigil. Originally, I was happily planning to bite the heads off chocolate bunnies for Easter breakfast, but it's not so fitting during the agony of Terri Schindler Schiavo and her family, so Lent will go on for me until her death or rescue. I honor those people who are fasting, who are being arrested, and join my smaller sacrifices to theirs in a cry to Heaven for mercy.

May the suffering of our sister Terri touch our hearts, while the suffering of our Lord Jesus touches our souls. In the midst of work and family and making lamb cakes and dyeing Easter eggs, may we walk through the Mysteries keeping in mind the price and the joy of our salvation. And, thanks for being part of this beautiful Catholic blog world, an inspiration and a comfort to me, and I'll see all of you Easter Monday.

Open our eyes, Lord

Daniel Nichols from The Caelum et Terra Blog has a penetrating post titled The Passion of Terri Schiavo. Here's something to whet your appetite.
We must pray and work that her life be spared. If her death cannot be stopped it may be seen as a defeat for those who struggle to defend human life. But spiritually, it will not be a defeat, anymore than the Cross was a defeat.

My prayer for American Christians this Triduum (and for our country) is that the Holy Spirit will give us insight into His reality for Terri Schiavo, for ourselves and for those we love.

Thanks to Julie at Happy Catholic for noting this incitement to meditation.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

No comment necessary

Young Gabriel Keys is arrested after attempting to take a cup of water to Terri Schiavo.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Weak prayers in the mean streets

The news of the judge's decision not to review Terri's case, which would require the reinstatement of her feeding tubes during the process, grieves all of us. These prayers keep coming into my heart. Somebody help me, please, to re-form them in real faith:

Please, Lord, let Your victory over sin and death be shown NOW, by restoring Terri's food and water. Let the banner of faith in Jesus Christ be made temporally glorious to the eyes of the fallen world, which makes it easier for me to carry it.

Please, Lord, show the world the wages of sin. Let Michael fail in all he does, disturb the peace of his family and friends. Let his name be made a badge of shame and dishonor for all his family to wear. Teach them, visit upon them the punishment of his sin.

The second one I can easily refute even while it rises to my mind. Vengeance is clearly not mine, and I must forgive. That first one, though, is stuck in my brain.

Monday, March 21, 2005

I'm in love with Tom DeLay

And I'm not ashamed to admit it.

His press conference on Sunday afternoon, in which he told the plain straight truth, "Terri is not dying, Terri is not being kept alive, Terri IS alive! was magnificent. When he said "she hasn't even had an MRI" you could hear the implied "fer Pete's sake." What a big gorgeous hunk of politician!

Keep praying. The federal judiciary CAN intervene in private relief for a single individual, they've done it over and over in the past, usually on immigration or asylum issues, and they can do it here.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

St. Joe Mercy

This day is particularly meaningful to me. Thirty-four years ago today, I gave my heart to God, turned my will and my life over to Christ, and experienced the release of the Holy Spirit. I'm glad it happened on St. Joseph's feast day, because I feel particularly close to him. He's the man that almighty God chose to be a father to Jesus and to guard and care for the Blessed Lady. He must have been strong, I suspect he had a good sense of humor, and as for humility -- how would you like it if the only sinner in your family were you?

A local hospital is named St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, colloquially known as "Joe Mercy". Well, St. Joseph was a key parner in the most significant outpouring of mercy the world has ever known. I suspect he and his august Son both enjoy the accidental appelation.

* * * * *

It's been a day since Terri Shiavo's feeding tube was removed. I like the intercessory prayer that Fr. Ed prayed at Mass this morning: "For Terri Shiavo, that the circumstances of her life may be in conformity with the perfect will of Jesus, let us pray to the Lord." May the holy and consoling name of Jesus be on her mind and in her heart. May her family be comforted. May all sinners, hidden and public, be drawn to God's mercy and receive grace to repent. May we all fully participate in the grace that God wants to give this Holy Week.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Let her live

Peggy Noonan gets it right again in her appeal to Congress to do the right thing by Terri Schiavo. A snippet:

But in the end, it comes down to this: Why kill her? What is gained? What is good about it? Ronald Reagan used to say, in the early days of the abortion debate, when people would argue that the fetus may not really be a person, he'd say, "Well, if you come across a paper bag in the gutter and it seems something's in it and you don't know if it's alive, you don't kick it, do you?" No, you don't.

So Congress: don't kick it. Let her live. Hard cases make bad law, but let her live. Precedents can begin to cascade, special pleas can become a flood, but let her live. Because she's human, and you're human.

But don't stop with this. Read the whole thing.

Demand - Encourage - Thank

Well, finally: this morning, the newsradio station led the top of each hour with Terri Schiavo. They got the story almost right.

There is movement, hope, great fear. Start praying this morning, if you haven't yet. Practice a mortification for your sister in the Body of Christ: skip a meal, bear an insult in silence, turn off TV. Offer up anything you can to storm Heaven and speed the legal maneuvering along to save Terri's life.

But also, please, if you spent any time in contacting your Congressmen or Senators, now, spend a few minutes THANKING THEM. (That is, if they voted in favor of the protective bills before them.) It is all too easy to link and email and call for action, and then relapse into relieved silence when that action is taken.

Thank them for their help. Go to Terri's Fight and follow the same links you used to demand their help and bless them for their actions.

I saw somewhere that Michael Schiavo is running out of defense money. Throw some money Terri's way and tip the scales that much further. It's not tax-deductible (yet), so consider it an even purer tithe.

UPDATE: The unthinkable is happening. Pray! But be careful who you thank. If you know your representative/senator/bishop has spoken out, thank them. But check first. I'm baffled by the posturing and back-biting that went on in the Senate, especially.
This is so sad. Isn't it like when someone in your family is sick, or died, and you look out the window at the busy world and want to shout "Don't you KNOW what's happening here?"

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A visit to a Tridentine Mass

Roz and Therese met in Chicago over the weekend, and one of the highlights planned for our visit was attending Tridentine High Mass at St. John Cantius.

We each had very high expectations. We'd like to tell you of our reactions.

(Therese) It was like looking through the wrong end of a telescope at something very beautiful. I can remember Latin Mass in grade school, and felt reasonably confident that "it would come back to me." But instead I felt so isolated, and strained to follow the order of service. The choir chanted nearly nonstop, and the priest would sometimes say only the first three words of prayer audibly.

(Roz) It was so far away -- a tribute, I suppose, to the majesty of the altar at this very beautiful church. The Gregorian chant, while beautiful, made me feel even more disconnected from the Mass -- almost like a heavenly Weather Channel keeping your ears busy while your eyes are engaged. I heard precious little Latin.

(Therese) The servers bowed profoundly, and the reverence was very deep, ON THE ALTAR. But I felt like a stranger, a tourist. During the Liturgy of the Word, I struggled in an aura of disappointment and confusion. Sometimes I had to see where we were by the physical actions of the priest; no wonder they put those little pictures in the margins of the Mass booklets.

(Roz) When I realized that the priest was reading the Scriptures at the altar in Latin, I wished I had brought my copy of Magnificat along. Thankfully, he read them later in English at the microphone. I was surprised that the cycle of readings was different than I had read that morning -- can someone help me understand why the Tridentine Rite follows a different schedule?

(Therese) The Canon, the Liturgy of the Eucharist, was a little better, since the order of things was unchanged, and the prayers, even in Latin, became recognizable. But I couldn't stop myself from saying "Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus" under my breath because I ached to join with Heaven in saying "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord."

The Novus Ordo Mass is communion in prayer. We pray together, in turns or in unison. Until it's not there do you realize how important that is, as we focus our minds and stand spiritually and actually on Calvary. It would be very easy to do as some others do, to say a Rosary during the Tridentine Mass, because you can feel very unconnected from the mystery on the altar.

(Roz) The contrast between this experience and Mass at my own good parish gave me a new appreciation for Vatican II. Jesus did indeed destroy the veil keeping us out of the Holy of Holies. I can see how Mass in the vernacular, interactive prayers, and even the priest's procession through the people up to the altar truly bless and inspire worship and thanksgiving. We don't want to lose the centrality of the priestly role, but we don't want to lose the expression of the communion of saints either.

(Therese) Communion kneeling at an altar rail, our hands under the linen runner, was very beautiful. I haven't received on the tongue since 1971, probably, and Jesus arrived as a gift from Heaven, more easily than I thought (the mechanics really worried me). I was reassured that Mass was Mass and that I met my Savior in the way He taught us.

(Roz) I'm thinking of starting a directed giving fund at my church to install an altar rail. Feel free to send me donations by Paypal.

(Therese) All in all, the Tridentine Mass is not to be experienced without some preparation, and we agreed with people we chatted with afterwards, that months of attendance might be necessary before your focus can shift and the remote becomes intimate, the foreign becomes familiar.

I want to attend a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin soon and see if the communal give-and-take of prayer comforts my heart and the Latin exalts it by joining my prayer to that of centuries of Christians.

(Roz) I'm game, Therese. And if anyone knows whether the Tridentine Rite Mass is ever celebrated using the English translations of the prayers, please let me know. The translations in our Missalette were simply beautiful.

Friday, March 11, 2005

There's nothing like a good fantasy

That rascal Scrappleface. If only it were true.

A peek into our inner workings

Contrary to appearances, Therese and Roz don't just communicate via the comment boxes on this blog. From time to time, we actually go voice-to-voice. This is great fun, though it reminds me of my weaknesses in keeping resolutions -- all intentions to make this call short and sweet are usually forgotten by about Minute Seven.

We had one of those conversations tonight. It started when I paused the news report (God bless Tivo) to call Therese about Robert Herring's amazing offer of $1 million to Michael Schiavo if he relinquishes care of Terri to her parents and "get(s) on with his life". I don't think our excited conversation ever degenerated into actual squeals, but I try not to lie, so I'll just say that I wouldn't deny it if accused. From that topic, we moved to judicial activism, medical powers of attorney, the point in the dying process when it is indeed proper to withhold nutrition, GodBlogCon 2005, whether there is a gender difference in blogging styles, the proper time and place for Anger (clue: the Schaivo case is a good example), and the shock on the face of my daughter the Nurse Assistant when she read some of the affidavits of Terri Schiavo's caregivers.

Lest you think that all our time is spent in estimable pursuits, I confess that our last conversation consisted mostly of talk about shopping in outlet stores, weekend plans, and what year it was that the Mass transitioned from Latin to the vernacular.

So, there you have it: What Extraverts Do For Fun.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A true soldier in a red hat

Cardinal Renato Martino has spoken clearly for the second time about the imminent killing of Terri Schiavo.

"Without the tube, which is providing life-giving hydration and nutrition, Terri Schiavo will die. But it is not that simple. She will die a horrible and cruel death. She will not simply die; she will have death inflicted upon her over a number of terrible days, even weeks. How can anyone who claims to speak of the promotion and protection of human rights--of human life--remain silent?"
And later,

"If it is true that the process has been fair, and that all legal avenues have been exhausted, how is it that this woman, who has done nothing wrong, will suffer a fate which society would never tolerate in the case of a convicted murderer, or anyone else convicted of the most horrendous crimes?"

Read more here.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

News Update:
According to the Empire Journal, Judge Greer ruled today denying permission for further medical testing and has ordered that Terri may not be given food or water orally after her feeding tube is removed. Can someone please explain to me how this is possible? On what legal basis can a guardian (what irony) order food to be withheld? Since when does spoon-feeding or holding a drink to a sick person's lips constitute "extraordinary means"? (Click here for a .pdf file of the actual court document.)

You know, I'd like to read an interview with the police officers who are reported to be standing guard to make sure Michael Schiavo's orders are carried out. How can this not be eating them up inside?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Happy anticipation

I get to go to this church this Sunday. Lucky me. I can't wait.
The weekly Catholic Carnival is up.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The Carmelite Charism

My name saint St. Therese of Lisieux died young, but her passion for Jesus was mighty and her humility awesome. She is often drawn and described as sweet, but studying her closely you find she's salty, too.

Carmelite charism catches up and offers a childlike surrender and trust to God's Mercy and Love. It's very attractive, but obviously hard and serious work. So I enjoyed finding this article on St. Therese's humor:

She joked with the sisters about being the one to try out the new cemetery plot. And when they were talking about how they would arrange her in the coffin, she said "Well, put the candle in my hand but not those candlesticks--they're too ugly!"

She was dying a slow, suffocating, painful death from TB at the time.

Does our Holy Father come to your mind, too?

1200 girls in one building!

In the post below, "Ten Things I Did You Probably Didn't," #10 is nuttiness I engaged in my senior year of high school. I did get three detentions, by the way: one for cutting religion class, and the other two for facetious reasons, singing badly and smoking, I think. I served them all in one hour and the jug teacher congratulated me. Boy, I got lucky.

What strikes me in review is that, if I had gone to a co-ed high school, I wouldn't have dreamed of pulling off that stunt because the boys might have seen me. In the bosom of the all-girl "family," even though life wasn't perfect (girls at Catholic schools can be total b****es, too) I had my own identity and felt reasonably safe to be me, within the limits of teenage angst, and me found in me that day an insane impulse to entertain.

More Catholic high schools are co-ed now, and I'm not sure that's a good thing. Am I being a grumpy-old, or are teens among their own sex freer to try new things, to take a chance, or is that merely the line they fed us when I was in high school in the '70's? Are there other outlets to try out and express your personality, equal to or superior to school life?

I flourished academically and personally in that atmosphere. But I had to adjust in college, and was quite maidenly in my reaction to men; I wasn't sure they thought like I did. I related best to them if I thought of them as brothers OR boyfriends, one extreme or the other; it took a long time before I could study with them or talk to them as friends.

I do not regret my all-girl high school experience, the benefits were measurable and lasting. But do you? Do your children?

Friday, March 04, 2005

Ten Things I Did That You Probably Didn't

First, pray for Terri. Fast for Terri. Give money to her defense fund. Contact your US representative to push through the Federal "Terri's Law." Believe that God is very close to the Schindlers and very much in your efforts.

My blogsister Roz posted her unusualnesses at her other blog Indwelling. So, here are mine:

1. Played piano for Andy Kaufman while he was on his college "Elvis and Wrestling Women" tour.
2. Played piano at age 15 as a pit musician in the world premiere of the opera "The Prodigal Son."
3. Played cocktail party piano to pay for part of my college tuition.
4. Completely forgot I had an English final in college. I don't remember feeling like such an airhead.
5. Had a comedy show on my college radio station.
6. Wrote my uncle's obituary, and phoned it in to the Chicago papers, as an eighth-grader. The rest of the family was in shock at his sudden death at 45.
7. Learned to read and write Egyptian hieroglyphics.
8. Turned down an autograph from Mario Andretti to his face at the Indy 500 time trials because I wasn't sure who he was.
9. Talked (giggled, mostly) to Davey Jones, the Monkee, on the telephone, while he was appearing at a Chicago radio station.
10. Cut religion class, put on a Dominican sister's habit and roller skates, lit up a cigar, and skated through my high school lunchroom at noon singing the Marx Brothers' "Hurray for Captain Spaulding, the African Explorer" so I could finally get a "jug" (detention) before I graduated.

Post yours! Here or on your own blog.

Terri Schiavo: A law professor weighs in

From Blogs for Terri, an incisive discussion by Elizabeth Price Foley of the weakness of the legal judgment to remove food and water.

On Feb. 11, 2000, Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer determined that there was ''clear and convincing evidence'' that Terri Schiavo would want to disconnect her feeding tube. Once this decision was made, the judicial balance became tilted in favor of withdrawing care to an extent nearly impossible to overcome.

That initial erroneous decision by Greer five years ago has had a snowball effect that has tainted all subsequent judicial proceedings. The Second District Court of Appeal affirmed Greer's decision, concluding, in a disturbingly cursory fashion, that Schiavo's ``statements to her friends and family about the dying process were few, and they were oral. Nevertheless, those statements, along with other evidence about Theresa, gave the trial court a sufficient basis to make this decision for her.''

However, Greer's conclusion that the evidence was ''clear and convincing'' is shocking . . .
The danger of letting this become judicial precedent is huge.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Truth and grace

Steven at Flos Carmeli has posted a poem called My God, My God, Why Have I Abandoned You? Here's the first verse:
Silence is shattering.
It says nothing more than what you hear in it and what you see in it.
Sometimes it shows you the numbness of the heart.
Other times it shows you the hardness of the heart.
But silence cannot be silence without grace, and grace prevails.

To me, this is beautiful. The very silence in which we perceive the raw truth about ourselves is the same in which grace comes, "and grace prevails."

I'm counting on it.


Sample Text

We are grateful ladies with a point of view and a sense of humor. Like-hearted people are welcome. Others, too.

For a glimpse at our lighter side, hop over to In Dwelling.

E-mail us.

Sample text

"There is no God who condones taking the life of an innocent human being. This much we know."

Pres. Barack Obama, Feb 5, 2009