Monday, October 31, 2005

Where's the mercy?

This morning at Mass, our priest drew from today's readings (Romans 11:29-36 and Luke 14:12-14) to tell a story of God's Mercy shown to him.

The first reading in Romans tells us that "God delivered all to disobedience, so that He might have mercy upon all." The second reading in Luke warns us not to invite the relatives and the wealthy to dinner, with the inevitable rewards of returned hospitality, but to invite the "poor, crippled, lame, blind: blessed indeed will you be because of their inability to repay..."

Father related that, when he was caring for his severely ill mother, she was incontinent and the house smelled strongly of urine. It embarassed his mother, and one day, when a friend called him and asked to visit and talk, embarassed him in advance. He prayed for humility in the situation, and, when the friend arrived, the friend said without prompting "Why, the house smells like you have roses all through it!" The celebrant told of his gratitude for God's Mercy.

Now, where WAS God's Mercy in this? (1) Did God make the house actually smell of roses? Or (2) did the friend, arriving in the middle of the smell, pretend not to notice and in generosity (perhaps noticing a lone flower in a vase, even) said that the house smelled great? I didn't ask Father after Mass and I probably won't, it's not important.

What's important is that God's Mercy was truly there, whether the friend poured it forth or God did a pleasant small miracle.

The story reminded me that God's Mercy can flow through us in the serene indifference* to someone else's awkwardness, in sensitivity to their embarassment, but not by commiserating or pointing it out and forgiving it. We must avoid the reward of "Wasn't that NICE of Therese to...." and simply proceed as though we were deaf and blind in a world full of little bodily blurps in the elevator.

* I don't mean that in terms of "not caring," WHAT word do I mean? Detachment?

Friday, October 28, 2005

I didn't expect to like this book

Mother Angelica: The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles by Raymond Arroyo, is doing exceptionally well on the NY Times Best Seller List. I got it from the library and read it in two nights. I couldn't put the darn thing down.

I've gotten a lot from her EWTN network, but I've never enjoyed seeing her own show, neither when she was healthy nor in reruns now after her stroke. She always seems too chirpy, old (in a bad way), and annoyingly smirky. But now that I've read the tough row she's hoed, operating without knowledge or money, with faith and guts, and in the face of condescending insults and irritating attempted power grabs by bishops and millionaire Catholics, I'm far more indulgent of what's been transformed for me into the slightly irritating personality of a eccentric genius.

Raymond Arroyo is a good story-teller and moves the story along. He's not too rah-rah, although he clearly dotes on her. The details are just as much a good business success story as a journey of faith.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

W-w-w-w-world Series?

In the big inning God created the Heavens and the Earth:
Eve stole first
Adam stole second
Gideon rattled the pitchers
and Goliath was put out by David

As a lifetime resident of Chicagoland, I am unable to figure out how to take the fact that the Sox won, and won fast and big!

Most of my family are Cubs fans, but I'm pretty neutral, although I think Wrigley Field is the most beautiful ballpark in the most beautiful city in the United States, and I usually go there once a year, get a hot dog and a beer in a squishy paper cup, burn my nose and the part in my hair, and bother my neighbors by asking stupid baseball-rule questions. I generally don't care who wins; the best part for me is seeing which celebrity shows up to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" in the seventh-inning stretch.

I really enjoy the low-key personalities of this team, and I am especially enchanted with the fact that you cannot understand every third word that Ozzie Guillen says. Listening to him, everybody in the room squints a little, trying to fine-tune their Venezuelan language filter.

Now we have a huge victory, for the first time since the unreal Michael Jordan days. Nobody exactly knows how to behave. Chicago has a better personality for underdogs than champions.

(piping up awkwardly) Go White Sox! Go Chicago!

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Breakfast of champions

Too bad that Wheaties took that slogan in 1933. I think it should instead be used for daily Mass. I know I talk about this a lot, but to those of you who can possibly go to a weekday Mass, PLEASE go!

It's Mass in its plainest form, no singing, no carefully composed petitions, celebrated by people trying and often failing to get their circulation going all the way to their feet. Sometimes the lecters' singing voices crack and lose traction on the "Alleluia" before the Gospel. Beginning this time of year, there is a muffled orgy of sinus-clearing, and I regularly hear stomachs growl and knees crackle, the silence is so complete. We're spread way out in the pews, the Sign of Peace is usually a small but warm wave to others too far away to touch.

But the reverence always rises and gathers strength, warming us as we proceed through the Mass, standing and kneeling as one, since the order of the Mass has worn its path in our brains and hearts with frequent attendance. We have all the fun and glory of celebrating the feasts and memorials of the saints and martyrs of the Church Triumphant. The Scriptures for the week, save special ones for special feasts, are read serially, each day's reading breaking off at an exciting part or after a significant thought, to be resumed tomorrow, leaving us in anticipation, like children listening to a bedtime story.

I feel united in action and intent with the entire congregation. When I pray the prayers we've all said a billion times, they often come as though new from my heart and mind. At Communion, even when I'm badly distracted (why is it that my need for a can of Pam, some walking-around money and an oil change flashes across my mind in the middle of the Offertory?), I KNOW without dilution that the Lover of my Soul waits for me. In a way I never feel on rustling distracted Sundays, we pray together with one mind, one spirit.

I left Mass this morning, filing along out the side door behind a few others on our way to our cars. Some mornings we wait for each other and chatter and check on our families. This morning, by mutual consent, we drifted out in a haze of recollection, savoring the Feast.

It's worth it. Please go: your life will be re-centered in a way you can't even guess, and paradoxically, you will love your fellow parishioners and know them better.

Friday, October 21, 2005

That's funny, I'd don't look Greek OR Jewish!

I might be drifting into an error. I am interviewing with several people at one company for a job I'd really like to have, and, in a desire to be obedient to God, to listen to His voice about not being puffed-up, prideful, or just not embroidering the truth in an interview, I've been praying in the car before I go in. "Lord, please give me an honest and humble heart, and let me know if this job is where You want me to be. I want to glorify You in this interview and in my work."

The first time I went, I noticed that the car to my left and the car facing me in the parking lot both had rosaries hanging from their rear-view mirrors. A sign? The second time, I met with someone who turned out to be related to a deacon at my church, with whom I get along well, and would probably say good things about me. A sign?

A sign of what? Is it "Take the job, Therese..." from a stentorian Voice? Or "I am with you always, Therese..." ditto?

In the years I spent slouching back into faith, I first started thanking God specifically when I'd get a nice close parking space, or if I caught a dropped cup before it broke, or the weather would be nice for something I planned. That became meaningless, because it wasn't based on a purposeful desire to be intimate with Jesus Christ. I still go through phases now where I try to thank God for lousy stuff that happens, so that I can offer it up and practice humility. I'm clear on the fact that He sends us personally-significant trials to test and strengthen our faith.

Now, am I looking at normal things and seeing signs? Is that valid? Maybe the right way to handle this is to see the "signs" and merely take them as reminders of God's role in my life, not as His special Howdy to me.

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
(1 Cor 1:22-24)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Mass intentions for extremely dead people?

I have a question: how long should Masses be said for the repose of the souls of people who have died?

This morning at Mass, the name announced during the usual petition for grace for our beloved dead was, we'll call her, Joan of Arc Turtlebaum.

Her real name is distinctive enough that it catches the ear and must be the same person whom I have heard memorialized at weekday Masses and Sunday Masses for a couple of years now. A fellow Mass-goer happened to mention that she had known Joan, and that she had died over twenty years ago!

These Masses aren't on the occasion of her birthday or day of her death, because I hear her name a lot, all over the map of the liturgical year. (Or every day's a holiday for the Turtlebaum family....)

The Catholic Church has always urged the offering of Votive Masses, during which the special intention is for the repose of the soul of a loved one who has died. Actually, the word "votum" merely means a "special intention" and we should always come to Mass with a very specific intention in our heart, to ponder it in the light of the glory of the Scriptures of that day and the Eucharistic Gift.

(In fact, it can be a very interesting way of "playing Bible Bingo." Instead of letting your Bible fall open to see what God has to say to you at that moment about whatever's on your mind, you wait for the Scriptures of the Mass of that day to speak to you instead!)

Masses for the Dead have their intention directed towards the soul that has gone to Final Judgment, as we implore God's Mercy on that soul. The Catholic Church teaches the beautiful doctrine of Purgatory, which for our non-Catholic readers does NOT mean a final hasty repentance for sins unrepented-for in life, but instead a final purgation or cleansing of the soul before it unites with God in Heaven, since "nothing unclean shall enter Heaven" (Rev 21), and we understand that our intercession for those souls is needed, just as we pray for our brethren still living on earth.

But if a person has been dead a really, really long time, should Masses continue to be said for his or her repose? Do they still "need" them? I know that the soul, being dead, exists in God's Time, not ours, and always needs our prayers, but since we don't yet live in God's Time, should we be directing our prayers for the behalf of others more recently deceased?

I still occasionally am moved to pray for the soul of my father, dead five years, and I ask FOR the intercession of my relatives and friends now (hopefully) in Heaven, but it doesn't jump to my mind or heart to ask the priest to make any particular Mass a special Votive Mass for any of them. Am I being neglectful, or is the family of the above-mentioned Joan just not letting go?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Aw heck, angels

Hmmmmmm. I had an experience last night....of angels, I believe.

I was done with Evening Prayer from Magnificat (doesn't tie in to the prayer of the Universal Church, the Liturgy of the Hours, but a darn fine daily resource) and was shutting down my mind and body for sleep, when I became aware of a white light in my mind, intensely white. I didn't have time to decide if I was having a stroke, and me in my not-best nightie, when I "realized" (not heard) that something I'd said, very careful to hit a light note, to evangelize someone was being received by them right then, not just by their mind but by their heart. I was calmly reassured that they'd heard it for their good.

(This is like trying to describe a circular staircase without using my hands, and I don't mean to be obtuse (no, not obtuse, I mean abstruse), but it's not anyone's business what I said or to whom.)

I then "realized" that I was learning this from an angel. Not the overpowering Presence of God, but an individual person or spirit or...aaargh, how do you describe it? I wasn't afraid of this understanding, but sort of serenely nonplussed. I had a moment of "Oh my, that was a first!" and I thanked God and went to sleep. And behold, this morning I received an actual response from the person, not directly referring to my statement, but giving back out what I'd more or less said to them, with joy. I got the impression that they didn't remember I'd even said it, which is just dandy with me.

Is this okay? Does this happen to anyone else who reads this blog? I truly don't tell it in pride, because it was none of my doing, and I certainly didn't feel rewarded for my alleged holiness or anything, it was just communication. Upon review, I feel compelled to check it with other faithful people, so I tell it to you here, rather than tell a friend face to face.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Charismatic Catholics and/or me

Visited my blogsister Roz this weekend and attended a charismatic Catholic Church. This is the second time I've been there, and I'm still trying to figure out (1) what makes it feel so right, (2) what my place in that style of worship is and (3) what it portends for the whole Catholic Church.

Catholic charismatic Masses at this parish, and I fervently hope everywhere, are exactly orthodox: no foolin' around with the Order or the intent of Mass. We are there to participate in the once-for-all, ever-present Sacrifice of the Lamb of God. We join Jesus, outside of time as God is, in the Upper Room, on Calvary and at the empty Tomb. We are given God's Life in the Body and Blood of our Lord. According to Roz, it is the charismatic congregation's openly-expressed love of the Lord that makes them very careful to keep the Mass as it should be and not stray off into irrelevancies. They don't need to make Mass "more meaningful;" by being deep in their charismatic prayer life, they find all the meaning that was already there!

The outward actions are very much those of a reverent, decently-catechized group of people. Actions are devout, the reading of the Word is measured and thoughtful, the homilies both careful in teaching and passionate in leading. The songs are chosen to reflect our desire to live in His Will and participate in His Joy. The Liturgy of the Eucharist, the Offertory and the Consecration, is done according to the rubrics, but fueled by visible joy, serenity and love. Most other ordinary parish Masses pale in comparison; my own parish seems rushed and casual. (I must say right here that I know that my parish Masses are too done sincerely, and at times, wonderful joy and reverence is explicit. I have been to weekday morning Masses that truly approached Heaven on earth. Since it's the Truth no matter how it's done, I am not alarmed by the differences, but only yearn for the greatest expression possible of gratitude for the Gift of His Body and Blood.)

The additions, for those of you who have not participated in a charismatic Mass, are not additions per se but extensions. They do not replace or dominate any of the normal parts of Mass. Instead of the expected singing of the Gloria and then getting right on with the prayer before the reading of Scripture, the singing winds down into a short time of "expressive prayer," that is, the music continues underneath a flowering of the end of the required prayer into anything anyone wants it to be. My pew neighbors sang again any of the lines of the Gloria: "We worship You, we give You thanks, we praise You for your glory!" Or they praised Jesus in spontaneous words of praise and thanks. Or they didn't, and just remained standing in prayer. (Me, I mostly shut my eyes and remained both listening and preoccupied with my own prayer.)

Many of the congregational prayers, like the Sanctus, were accompanied by raised hands. If you made a silent movie of those moments, you wouldn't be able to distinguish the prayer styles from any Protestant prayer service: upraised hands, swaying, closed eyes, beautiful smiles. I've just realized in review that that style of prayer only occurs while the congregation is on their feet: there is no hand-raising while kneeling, which seems just perfectly right. (Me, I shut my eyes, peeking a little, and remained both listening and preoccupied with my own prayer.)

After Communion, the songs became music to underpin and make beautiful the time of thanksgiving and praise. The various voices rose and fell, thanking the Lord for the gift of His Sacrifice, His Body and Blood, His Goodness. People rose from their kneeling meditation as they chose to, and spent some time in audible thanksgiving. (Me, well, you got the pattern by now...)

The first time I attended, last year, I was so surprised by the combination of the ancient reverence I exult in and the open demonstration of how people really felt about their Lord and Savior, I cried through the whole thing. After Mass, as I was being introduced to friends in the vestibule, people noted my red eyes and nose (when WILL I learn to cry pretty?) but my friends said simply "Oh, it's the Spirit" and that was that. These people expect to see tears and emotion. I was undone by the mixture of holy boldness and aching care to keep to universal worship, to join our Mass with the Mass being celebrated at all times at all places in the world.

At about the time I visited this parish, I had been in a long time of praying "Come, Holy Spirit, but make it a glancing blow. I'm afraid of what You'll want me to do!" This year, I have become more accustomed to submission to His Will and could pray "Come, Holy Spirit, inflame my heart and I want to love You as You should be loved. If that means a little extempore praying, well, so be it and thank You." But nothing "happened." I didn't pray aloud; I didn't even raise my hands (at least, I don't think so). Interestingly, after we got home much later, I found myself wandering around the backyard in deep prayerful conversation with the Lord over a specific issue in my life, without deliberate intent.

It is easy, so easy to compare myself to others in any group I'm in. We all do it constantly; we are social beings. I had to keep fighting off the urge to feel "left out" because I didn't "feel" the Holy Spirit. I wanted to honor the Lord with the prayer not only of my spirit but of my body, and it didn't happen as it happened to the others in the church. I was of course comforted and fed by the Eucharist, so this worry was only secondary, but I actually needed a little reassurance that the Holy Spirit seemed to be active in my life. I know by faith, formed by the constant teaching of the Church, that I received the Holy Spirit expressly at Baptism and again at Confirmation, and of course in a constant flow of grace both sacramentally and during prayer in every moment of my life. But I wanted to be JUST LIKE the people I'd seen around me at Mass, overgeneralizing everyone in the pews as perfectly conformed in the Spirit and audibly rejoicing in His gifts.

I wonder how Protestants in expressive praise traditions do it every week. Are they so disciplined and developed in their prayer that they can pray in tongues at 10:15 am every Sunday, but then don't burst out with it while they're going through the car wash on Tuesday? Do they feel let down if expressive prayer doesn't come from them one week, and get tempted to worry that they have offended the Lord or become lax in their worship? Is someone who is habitually silent among expressive worshipers eventually feel frozen out or isolated? Do other people judge them by whether they seem to be "in the Spirit" or not? Do they feel able to rely on "faith alone" to know that they are right with their Father, if they feel dry and unable to join in with the rest of the congregation? Without the central jewel of the Eucharist in their worship services, are they "measuring" the truth of their worship by the flow of their participation in expressive prayer, and losing faith if they cannot match the general level of praise?

What does the charismatic movement bode for the whole Church? I think that it's a good thing. It is certainly a powerhouse for church growth and vocations and service work, astoundingly fruitful. I'd like to link to an excellent post and comments here that say much better than I could what this movement means. I can't add to it, except to say that, as long as this style of worship is not a divergence from right practice, that people do not divide themselves by it, that it is an expression of holy desire that shakes me to my foundations and can be a powerful way of opening me to the unending and overpowering love the Lord has for me. Its power and beauty reassures me that "eye has never seen, ear has never heard, nor has it dawned on the mind, what God has surely prepared for those who love Him."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The thoughtful TSO included this thought in his reminiscences about his recent trip to Toronto:
Mass today. Homilist quite good, quotes the poet Auden. Talks about how we usually think of love between a man and woman as having an infatuation phase and a "realistic" phase, the former seeing too much in a person. But Auden argued that the infatuation stage was more accurate, more realistic, because we are seeing with the eye of God, Reality Himself. When we see what they are capable of becoming - little less than angels - we then realize that thinking too well of people is more accurate in the long run than thinking less of them. [Emphasis mine.]
Might it be true that God jump-starts our love relationships with an insight into the truth of what's possible? Marriage is a direct reflection of the eternal giving and receiving within the Trinity and our clearest photo of the mutual self-donation Jesus wills between himself and his Bride the Church. So of course he will do many things to create and maintain a strong couple bond between us and our intended; what makes us think that "falling in love" isn't a direct occasion of God's abundant grace? Certainly we can waste it, wallow self-indulgently, or use it for evil ends just like many of the gifts he gives us. But the fact that we are charged to be responsible in its presence, just as we must in the presence of sexual desire or a large amount of money that doesn't belong to us, gives us a chance to bring our free will into cooperation with our abundant Lord.

I have had some experience of being in love. At its most mature, it has almost nothing in common with sappy sentiments (although the English language unfortunately is impoverished when it comes to non-sappy expressions of genuine love between a man and a woman). Its home is the warm gaze between the lover and the beloved in which the soul, the essence of the other person is seen, welcomed, loved and honored. There is no thought of pluses or minuses, strengths and weaknesses - they are backstage. It is the unreplicable person, the real You, that is loved. In that light, of course, we want to do all we can to bless the other person, ask God for protection over their welfare, and tell the other what we see and love in them (because they won't be able to see it themselves).

How similar this is to the love of Christ in which our sins are forgiven and set aside while Who We Really Are is strongly yet gently seen, loved and cherished by the One who made us. So although we may consider being in love as simply a wash of emotion, perhaps we should pray that this deep love of the real person stays and grows in spite of the interfering static of daily life.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

St. Francis' wardrobe issues

Happy Feast of St. Francis of Assisi!

There are two often-mentioned events in his life that concern the good Saint's clothing: the first, when he stood arguing with his father over Francis' giving of family money to the poor, and when his father demanded repayment, Francis took off all his clothes, left them in a heap before his father and ran off down the road (I believe that I've even read that he was singing with joy) to do the work of God. The second, when he lay dying, blind and suffering, he asked his friars to remove all his clothing and lay him on the bare ground to meet his Father in Heaven utterly poor and defenseless.

Both times, he used his clothing to make his point. I wonder if he was over-fond of his clothing, if he suffered from vanity? The rich clothes of his youth must have been a pleasure; that was a very dressy time in Italy. But even his ragged robe as a Franciscan could have been a source of pride to him, because it marked him out as God's man, so it too had to go at the end.

Today's first reading, Jonah 3:1-10, tells of the effect the prophet Jonah's walk through the city of Ninevah had on the king and the people:

Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he cried, "Yet forty days, and Nin'eveh shall be overthrown!"
And the people of Nin'eveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
Then tidings reached the king of Nin'eveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, and covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
And he made proclamation and published through Nin'eveh, "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed, or drink water,
but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them cry mightily to God; yea, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence which is in his hands.
Who knows, God may yet repent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we perish not?"

This is not a reading specific to the feast of St. Francis (they are from Sirach 50, Galatians 6, and Matthew 11) but it fits, doesn't it? The people gave the outward sign of their repentance by doffing their own clothes. Even the beasts were ordered to wear sackcloth!

I actually planned to shop for clothes today, truly. St. Francis, help me to make the plainer choice, to take less pleasure in plunking down the bags when I get home!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Just because I could, that's why

I am planning to melt some Jello, to see whether, when it cools, it firms back up again. Why? Because I will have some spare Jello, after I make a recipe, and I always wondered if it would.

I once threw a four-cushion couch off a third-story back porch (with a friend of mine), giving it a lot of loft, and accompanied by animalistic screams, just to see what would happen. It made a GREAT dent in the yard, but broke into far fewer pieces than we hoped for.

What have you done, just to see what would happen?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Five Idiosyncracies

I've been tagged by Julie at Happy Catholic to list five things that I think are special to me, that would blow my cover if I was placed in the Witness Protection Program:

1. Like her, I read all the time. While cooking, while I'm in the bathroom, sitting in a doctor's waiting room, anywhere. Every single night before I go to bed, propped up on my "reading pillow." I have piles of books next to my bed, but I don't care what it is I read. I like the cr--shoot of picking up whatever's handy, because I don't usually have anything with me. I can get absorbed in Business Practices for Dermatologists or Fishing Digest, I don't care.

2. I know all the lyrics to millions of songs, including commercials, operetta, folk and Girl Scout songs. Once I get them down, I don't lose them, except a word here or there. I can't help it. I can even sing lyrics in other languages, phonetically, like those little Japanese child choirs that used to show up on the Ed Sullivan show - "I vant to beee hoppy buttai kent beee hoppy..." I will sing to the music in grocery stores quietly or in the car loudly. With gestures.

3. I adore card, board and trivia games, but I am almost unpleasantly competitive. I am happy if you win, but I am much happier if I win. I will do little victory sambas on my way to and from the kitchen to get you more snacks or another drink. Ruthless but hospitable.

4. My feet are never covered when I sleep. If they were, I would burst into flames. They're my temperature regulators.

5. Whenever I make soup, no matter if it's beef or sausage or chicken, it all comes out tasting the same. I make Therese Z soup, apparently. It's not bad, it just isn't very....varied.

Okay, go for it, my friend Justin at Thirsty and my blogsister Roz at your other blog In Dwelling.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Bonne fete du Saint Therese! *

I don't like telling people when it's my birthday, it seems grabby, but I sure don't mind celebrating the feast day of my patron saint, St. Therese of Lisieux. Happy Feast Day to all us Thereses, Theresas, Tereses, Teresas, Terrys, Terris, and Teris!

For our (few) non-Catholic readers, a Saint's feast day is the day they died, because what greater day to celebrate than the day they met the Lord?

It took me awhile to get used to her utter childlike abandonment of love to her Heavenly Father, and her Victorian writing style. She wants to be the ball the Child Jesus plays with....that takes a little getting used to.

But there is a womanly understanding of love, complete trust in God, and even a motherly reaction to the slights of the world, absorbing the little hurts and crosses, for the glory of God and the good of His children, that becomes apparent when you read and re-read her autobiography The Story of a Soul. I may have given this advice last year, but if you haven't read it, or haven't read it lately, consider doing it this way: the book is in three parts. Read Part II, Part III and THEN Part I. I couldn't get through the first part the first couple times I tried it, too late-1890's-sweet. But when I started in the middle and then came back around home plate, I got it. I got her "childishness" as simplicity, hard-bought simplicity, pared-clean submission and trust.

There is a tradition of asking St. Therese for a rose. She may grant you one in the next week or ten days. I asked once, long ago, and got one, sort of. I didn't ask again, fearing superstition. But I asked again two days ago and I'm looking for a rose, understanding, I think, that the Saints in Heaven can act on earth, only with the consent and power of God. I'll let you know if it shows up, and I've promised the Lord and St. Therese to have faith no matter what happens.

Eat French food in honor of the day. Or at least French fries!

From her Act of Oblation to Merciful Love:

In the evening of this life, I shall appear before You with empty hands, for I do not ask You, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is stained in Your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in Your own Justice and to receive from Your Love the eternal possession of Yourself. I want no other Throne, no other Crown but You, my Beloved!

* I most emphatically do not speak or write or read French. I tinkered this together with Babelfish. Please fix it in comments, if you would. Merci.


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

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