Dec 27, 2012

Not Expecting That

I haven't found my thumbdrive yet, but out of nowhere a backup of everything up through October appeared on my laptop. I'm pretty sure it wasn't there the first 60 thousand times I looked through my files hoping that I had saved at least some of the files from the thumbdrive.

Everything but my Nanowrimo novel and some work I've done on another book was there. Thank you St. Anthony! I'm still praying that my thumbdrive reappears because having to rewrite 7 chapters will be a pain, but I can live with having the huge majority of my documents back.

While looking up more about St. Anthony, I found out that besides finding lost stuff, he's also the patron saint for a ton of other things, like baron women, pregnant women, American Indians, elderly people, boatmen, fishermen, harvests, horses, mariners, sailors, swineherds, travel hostesses, travelers and watermen. And he also protects against shipwrecks and starvation.

He is one busy saint. I'm just thankful that he spared a few minutes for me.

Prayer of Thanksgiving Saint Anthony of Padua

Most loving protector, St. Anthony, what gift can I give you in exchange to show my heartfelt gratitude? With your continued help I will show appreciation to you by being more faithful to God, more constant in prayer, and readier to do good to those nearest me. I praise you for the esteem in. which your name is held throughout the world, for the miracles and wonders with which you have filled the Church and the world, and for the many benefits men keep receiving through your gracious help.

May these intentions convey my great thanks to the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to our blessed Lady, Queen of heaven and earth.

Pray the Our Father
Pray the Hail Mary
Pray the Glory Be

Dec 26, 2012

Can You Find It?

Did you know that there is a patron Saint of lost stuff? I didn't until this past week. Where has he been all my life?

Over the weekend I lost a thumbdrive that has a bunch of important files that have not been backed up. Months of work is down the drain, unless I can locate this thumbdrive.

So, I am going to put this into St. Anthony's hands, because God knows I can't seem to find it on my own. So please St. Anthony work miracle for me.


Novena to Saint Anthony to Find a Lost Article

St. Anthony, perfect imitator of Jesus, who received from God the special power of restoring lost things, grant that I may find the thumbdrive which has been lost. At least restore to me peace and tranquility of mind, the loss of which has afflicted me even more than my material loss. To this favor, I ask another of you: that I may always remain in possession of the true good that is God. Let me rather lose all things than lose God, my supreme good. Let me never suffer the loss of my greatest treasure, eternal life with God. Amen.

Dec 25, 2012

Midnight Clear

Tonight I went to midnight Mass at the monastery and I'm starting to think I might just be too old to be staying up this late. Atleast it only happens one night a year.

It was a beautiful Mass.

Before heading to bed I wanted to wish everyone a very merry and blessed Christmas. May you feel the magnitude of God's love for you in this one lowly birth.

God remember all of your children
who are not around to celebrate Christmas this year 
because of accidents, murder, illness and abortion. 

And remember all those
who will not be celebrating Christmas
because of homelessness, loneliness, or lack of faith.


Dec 21, 2012

It Starting To Look Like...

...winter at Trinity Heights.

Eucharistic Adoration in the Chapel

On the bridge by St. Francis of /Assissi

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

A picture of where a deer was 2 seconds ago.

Dec 12, 2012

Missing the Call

Recently, I came across a discussion online in which a poster was worried about missing God's call. The gist of the conversation was that they wish God would just tell them what he wanted them to do. What if they were called to the religious life, but didn't realize it until after they had already gotten married?

He'll Call Again

Trust me, God does not just call once, he keeps calling until you answer. (He's kind of a nag that way) When I was younger, I went off the tracks and ended up in a place where a call to religious life was no longer possible. Did God give up on me? Of course not. He reassessed his options and began calling me to do other things. Nothing is an obstacle to God.

Selective Hearing

God calls us in many different ways. You might be hoping for the booming voice with choirs of angels singing or maybe a written out agenda (that would be sweet). Not likely to happen. A call can be a subtle as a feeling of interest in something or thought or more major like getting lost and ending up at a priest's convention or hearing the same word or phrase over and over from different sources. If you're only tuned in to getting a big announcement, you just might miss the whisper.

Stop Waiting Around

While you're waiting to hear his call, instead of just sitting around stressing, get off your duff and seek him out. Pick a devotion. The rosary, Eucharistic adoration, liturgy of the hours are all good places to start. If it doesn't do anything for you, move on to another. Eventually you'll hit on something that feels right to you. Use that devotion to get closer to God. As you get closer, you'll be able to better hear him and might (big might) discover what he wants you to do with your life.


I know, patience is not easy, but, God does things in his own time. If you get into the mindset that you have to know and you have to know now, you could set yourself up for a false call. Prepare yourself to be ready to answer when he does call and then continue to live your life, centered on God.

God of wisdom and of counsel, You see in my heart a sincere desire to please You alone and to conform myself entirely to Your holy Will in the choice of my state in life. Grant me, I humbly implore You, by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, my Mother and my holy Patrons, the grace to know what state in life I should choose and to embrace it when known, in order that thus I may seek Your glory and increase it, work out my own salvation, and deserve the heavenly reward which You have promised to those who do Your holy Will. Amen.

Dec 4, 2012

Say What?

This month's assignment is to read Article 8 of the Catechism. Uh huh. The reading part is going great. The understanding what I just read, not so much.

There are bits and peices that are easy to understand, like the symbolism of the Holy Spirit. That I can get no problem. But, what the heck is stuff like this supposed to mean:
706      Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit.68 In Abraham’s progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be Christ himself,69 in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”70 God commits himself by his own solemn oath to giving his beloved Son and “the promised Holy Spirit... [who is] the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.”71 (60) Huh?
(Yes, those are my enlightened notes on the section in red.)

As part of the Year of Faith, the Bishops are encouraging everyone to read the Catechism. After only reading this one section, I'm almost scared to try and read the rest. Even with a college education, I'm just not smart enough to understand this stuff.

As an added self torture, in order to try and understand what the Catechism is trying to say, I also read Divinum Illud Munus, which is an Encyclical on the Holy Spirit written by Pope Leo XIII back in 1897. It was not much easier to understand than the Catechism.

So I resorted to the dummies version aka Catechism for Adults, which I conveniently had sitting on my book shelf. (Totally forgot it was there.) While it doesn't translate the mystifying passages of the Catechism, it does give a nice explanation of the general idea of the section.

I also found that I have a copy of the St. Joseph's Catechism, which is conveniently in question and answer format in elementary level language. Who could have known that I would have so many good back up sources readily available.

If I do venture to read the whole Catechism, I think I will keep the dummy versions handy, because reading the Catechism doesn't mean much if you don't understand it.

Nov 26, 2012

Soon...Sort Of

My journey as an Aspirant has taken quite an adventure. Over the past year and several months, I have gone through several Aspirant partners, my mentor being in the hospital and way too much getting off topic. In another three or four or maybe five months I will enter the next phase of formation working towards making my temporary promise.

One of the requirements for entering the next phase is to write about why you want to be a Carmelite. As if what I want is at all important. God just keeps shoving me in the direction He wants me to go no matter how much I want to go in a different direction. (I'm still trying to convince Him that He wants me to win the lottery, but no luck so far.)

Since entering Carmel I have felt so much closer to God. My prayer life has expanded and I'm no longer fighting God on where He wants me to go. It's like I've found home. This is where God wants me to be. I am still a long long way from being a saint, but I'm finally on the right track.

With God's mercy and guidance I will move on to the next phase and maybe in another two years, I will be making my first promise. It may take longer. I trust that however long it takes, it will be due to all of the work God has to do to get me where I need to be.

Nov 5, 2012

Missing It Already

Well, I've spent another fabulous weekend at Broom Tree Retreat Center.

This is my third time there and I've discovered that there seems to be a pattern developing.

On Thursday evening I am so stressed out, yet so excited to be there away from all the craziness that is my life, that I feel like I'm just running in circles not knowing what to first. Do I go spend time in adoration in the chapel, or visit St. Isidore & Maria Chapel (my favorite place), or walk the stations of the cross path, or play with Coco and the other dogs out roaming about, or puruse the gift shop (my second favorite place), or find a spot to camp out and read until the retreat starts. I usually end up not really doing anything and collape into bed around 11:00 or midnight.

Friday is when the real work begins. I get into the rhythm of the conference and have a very productive day working through all of the things that sent me to the retreat to begin with. I get time to do all of the things I wanted to do on Thursday. Except for rosary. My room had this wonderful rocker/recliner, which is to blame for my missing rosary on both Friday and Saturday. It was so easy to fall asleep in...and I did. Fell asleep in the chair that night too. (Note to self...get one of those chairs)

Saturday morning I wake up completely drained. I don't feel like doing anything, especially not group activities, but I do them any way. As the day goes on, my desire to spend time with God, either in adoration or individual prayer that by the time we reach Holy Hour in the evening, I feel like a 13 year old at a Justin Beiber concert. I do refrain from giggling and squeeling, although I want. Eventually I pull myself out of the Chapel and go back to my room where I spend the next hour or more in prayer.

Finally on Sunday, I feel completely at peace. I pack up first thing in the morning so that I can enjoy my last few hours in the tranquility without the last minute rush at the end.

The peace that I gain from the silent retreat lasts for days afterward. Until the craziness kicks in and ruins it all. Then when it gets to be too much, I'm ready to go back and start all over again.

Oct 18, 2012

I Was Lost And Now I'm Found

Bless me Father for I have sinned. I have neglected my blog.

I have been distracted by other things. Namely, working on the website for Mary's Choice, which I think is considerably more important than my silly ramblings.

The other is the presidential election. I am so ready for that to be over with.  The volume of political ads, constant lying and ignorance of voters has just gotten way out of hand. My patience had run out trying to convince people to look at more than just political scare ads and pretty reteric. Unfortunately, people will end up with the political leaders they deserve rather than the ones they truly need.

It just makes me realize how important it is to follow God rather than political parties. For 2000 years the Church has been constant in it's teaching regardless of who was in charge. It's comforting to know that no matter who ends up in charge this election or any of those in the future, the Church will be the same.

This election also makes me grateful that the Church chooses Bishops we need rather than letting the laity choose Bishops we deserve. We need strong leaders that are not afraid to tell us the truth even if it isn't what we want to hear. I firmly believe that people want and need clear consistent guidelines for living. And thankfully the Church gives us those guidelines, which will not only make our life more peaceful, it guides our way into heaven.

Jul 27, 2012

Road Map to Heaven

During formation, someone asked what makes Catholicism special if anyone can go to Heaven, regardless of their religious beliefs. Father seemed to struggle with a solid answer to that question. It is a hard concept to grasp without landing in a relativistic mindset.

We are all born with the knowledge that there is a God and we are meant to be with him in Heaven. God set up a distinct path that leads anyone who follows it to Him. But, we are flawed people. Some refuse to acknowledge that God exists, let alone a way to reach Him. Others try to create their own path believing that as long as it feels right to them, they must be on the right path. Then there are still others that want to be on the path, but loose their way. A very few are able to not only find the path, but stay on it. Those are the people who make it to Heaven.

Every religion believes they have the map that shows the path, but only our map was given to us directly by God. It the most complete and accurate map available. Those who choose to follow God's map have a full proof way into Heaven. Yes, they will stumble and fall off the path at points along the way, but ultimately they will get to where they are trying to go. The rest of us, those who aren't saints, will have a much harder time keeping to the path. We have the ultimate map, but we forget to look at it or think we have it memorized or we're pretty sure there's a short cut just over the next hill. Some of us will make it to Heaven despite our failings and others won't.

All other maps are incomplete or inaccurate. It may lead people on the correct path for a while, but goes in the wrong direction at other times and never quite leads to Heaven. They may see the road signs that tell them they are going the wrong way, but give them no thought or refuse to believe what they know in their heart. A very few will follow that call from God that is ingrained in every heart and they will be led on the right path.  

As Catholics, we need only to pull out the map and follow it.

May 9, 2012

He's Here!

After two orders and one stolen print, my favorite Divine Mercy picture came. Whoo hoo! It's not the image that's currently so popular. I've never really liked that picture. It has too much of a "70ish" hippy type feel for me and doesn't inspire me to pray.

I first encountered the Vilnius image in the chapel at Broomtree Retreat Center. Immediately this image drew me in. It was as if I was kneeling directly before Jesus.

St. Theresa of Avila advised talking to Jesus as if he were right there with you. Some people are fortunate enough to do this without having external helps. I'm not one of those people. My mind wanders and I start making mental task lists or trying to remember if I fed my dogs or other pointless stuff during prayer without a picture or statue or other aid. Now that I have my own copy, I don't have wait until my next Broomtree visit to have those great conversations.

Broomtree Chapel

Mar 12, 2012

On My Knees

I have always wanted a kneeler for my home. Sitting in a chair or kneeling by my bed, just doesn't do anything for me. My dogs think that I want to play and getting up from the floor just isn't that easy anymore. So I scoured the internet for instructions on making one. Well since I have very very limited tools in which to make one, most plans that I found were way beyond my capabilities and buying one isn't an option. I did find a crude YouTube video with plans for a very simple, very basic prie-dieu (aka kneeler). My trusty teenage son declared that he could build it for me. I discovered that Lowes is a very bad place to find cheap (or straight) wood. Eventually I found what I was looking for at Menards. My son's motto for building anything is "Close enough, is good enough," so anything expensive was out. I convinced him that we would do a test model before we went with the expensive wood. Considering we only have a drill and box saw, cutting the boards to length was rather difficult. The edges weren't exactly straight and the measurements were questionable, but it went together nicely. It's not exactly straight, and there are gaps in places, but it's sturdy and works beautifully for praying. I had a stray throw pillow that fits perfectly on the kneeling end so for now I don't have to venture into figuring out how to pad a board without a staple gun or a hammer. (I know I have a hammer, but I'm not sure where it disappeared)  The shelf is the perfect size to hold my bible and my breviary. And on the top, I have Mother Theresa's (or is that Blessed Theresa of Calcutta) instructions on humility. After all of the hard work that my son went into making this prie-dieu for me, even with all of it's unique characteristics, I wouldn't trade it for a better model.

Mar 4, 2012

Can I Go Back Yet?

This weekend was another grace filled weekend. Seminarian Andrew Jasper (who looks barely out of highschool, but is really in his 30's) led the retreat. There is such a peace about Andrew that is rarely found. His backup was Monsignor Mahold (or something like that). He's a jolly old priest who seems to have been everywhere and met every saint of the 21st century and has a story to go with it.

This retreat was focused on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, who I'm guessing was a type A personality. The exercises themselves have a definite format and rely to a great deal on imagery, as in picture yourself at the foot of the cross with Mary and John. For me, the imagining things is really easy. Sticking to a specific format was a little more difficult. I get far better results from spontaneous prayer as opposed to formatted prayer. When I was at BroomTree in November, I had great conversations with God while out walking. This time, there were only a few. The few I had were spectacular, but I felt like it was work to get those few. I did do considerably more writing this time. In fact, I ran out of pages before the end of the retreat. Between notes and journaling I went through quite a bit of paper. I will give it a few days and go back through to see what gems I can glean from those pages. The notes will be of use if I decide to give some of the exercises another try, which I expect I will.

I wish it had been longer so that I could really get a grasp on the exercises, but I accomplished quite a bit in the little bit of time I had there. I'm not sure when my next visit to BroomTree will be, but I'm sure it will not be soon enough.

Feb 29, 2012

Back To BroomTree

I'm so excited! I'm heading back to BroomTree Retreat Center for the weekend. The silent retreats are so amazing. It is just you and God in the middle of nowhere. If only I could run away to BroomTree and stay forever. Instead, on Sunday I will come back home to my noise filled life, where God has to compete with all of the other things going on in my life. It is so much harder to focus on God when you have a job and family and a life. But, I am trying to change that by carving out a small place in my home that is dedicated only to God. A special place where I can go to pray, meditate and just be with God in silence. Okay, so silence may be hard to come by. It will be our place. Until then, I will just be glad for BroomTree where I get to spend 3 whole days of uninterrupted time with God.

Feb 26, 2012

Carmelite Music Video

I just came across this music video which takes scenes from different movies of Carmelite saints to show our love of Jesus and his Church.

It gives me goosebumps every time I've watched it...and I've watched it a more than a few times since discovering it. Maybe, someday, God will call me to the monastery. Until then, I'll just have to be satisfied being over-joyous when others are called.

Journey Through The Desert

This year for Lent I was "prepared" to give up some of my cherished sleep to attend daily Mass at 6:45 am. I completely underestimated my ability to sleep through my alarm or force myself out of bed when I'm tired. Dawn is very much a misnomer. Late night is my much preferred time of day, but there are no daily Masses at night. My decision now is to either scrap going to daily Mass and choose a different penance or push myself harder.  Although, giving in for an easier tasks seems more appealing, pushing myself would be a more satisfying penance. I think I will pray on it for a while and ask God's opinion.

Jan 27, 2012

Triumph and Tragedy

Sometimes it really strikes me how much God is directing my life. Almost a year ago I was laid off from my job and finding new employment has been difficult. Then, I got a call last week from my previous employer asking me to come back to fill in for the secretary who was in the hospital recovering from a stroke. Depending on her progress, I may be at the job for a month or possibly indefinitely. At this time it's anyone's guess.

I have been praying for God to put me where he wants me to be. It's been really hard not to pave my own path, which probably would have landed me in a job that wasn't right for me. It is hard knowing that someone else has to suffer for me to be in this position, but I have to trust God to know what He's doing in this regard.

I ask that you please join me in praying for this secretary's full recovery.