Month: March 2014

Advice I Wish I Had Taken To Heart Sooner.

 If it’s not the look of love, don’t ask what it is.

I’m not sure who told me this (maybe I read it). It really is a great piece of advice. I used to ask my husband when he looked concerned, discontent, angry, what is it? What’s wrong? It really didn’t help matters. Usually he was thinking things out and didn’t want to involve me right then. When he would answer my question, I would  come up with all these suggestions. Yes, unsolicited suggestions. Now, when he looks weary, stressed, angry I do not pry rather I serve. If he wants to share his thoughts with me, he will.

Fufilled

A thief released at

The crowds ruthless roar,

Stripped and scourged

And still the veil tore.

 

A woman’s love

Cleansed his face.

The Savior fell and

A world filled in grace.

 

Naked and crowned

Mocked and anguished,

Fufillment cried out

It is Finished.

 

Blood-water spilt onto

Souls of filth

Mingled, mixed and moved.

Souls Cleansed all of guilt.

 

For a prophet foretold,

“Many will Rise

And many Will Fall.”

It will be done.

To rise life must die.

 

 

 

The Chosen

I

Water poured upon

The humble head

The Spirit now gone

Out, the lost now led,

 

Follow me. Nets dropped

Stones fell, demons fled

Go! Sin no more said

The Master- “This will be Shed.”

 

II

Chrism poured upon

The Innocent feet

All things  made new

Death and life now meet.

 

Go out! My name proclaim-

You are salt, Now endowed,

My Authority among

The twelve tongues sung.

 

III

What is whispered

You will proclaim,

What is uttered in darkness

You will bring to light,

Through my word by my might.

A Letter from Padre Pio

 

pio

Padre Pio wrote a letter to Anitta Rodote, one of his spiritual daughters,  reflecting upon one’s comportment at Holy Mass and in everyday life. I found his stress on modesty very striking and pertinent after reading about this nun’s performance. Here are some excerpts from his letter:

In order to avoid irreverence and imperfections in the house of God, in church which the divine Master calls the house of prayer – I exhort you in the Lord to practice the following.

Enter the church in silence and with great respect, considering yourself unworthy to appear before the Lord’s Majesty. Amongst other pious considerations, remember that our soul is the temple of God and, as such, we must keep it pure and spotless before God and his angels.

Take Holy water and make the sign of the cross carefully and slowly.

As soon as you are before God in the Blessed Sacrament, devoutly genuflect. Once you have found your place, kneel down and render the tribute of your presence and devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Confide all your needs to him along with those of others. Speak to him with filial abandonment, give free rein to your heart and give him complete freedom to work in you as he thinks best.

When assisting at Holy Mass and the sacred functions, be very composed when standing up, kneeling down, and sitting, and carry out every religious act with the greatest devotion. Be modest in your glances; don’t turn your head here and there to see who enters and leaves. Don’t laugh, out of reverence for this holy place and also out of respect for those who are near you. Try not to speak to anybody, except when charity or strict necessity requests this.

If you pray with others, say the words of the prayer distinctly, observe the pauses well and never hurry.

In short, behave in such a way that all present are edified by it and, through you, are urged to glorify and love the heavenly Father.

On leaving the church, you should be recollected and calm. Firstly take your leave of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament; ask his forgiveness for the shortcomings committed in his divine presence and do not leave him without asking for and having received his paternal blessing.

Once you are outside the church, be as every follower of the Nazarene should be. Above all, be extremely modest in everything, as this is the virtue which, more than any other, reveals the affections of the heart. Nothing represents an object more faithfully or clearly than a mirror. In the same way,nothing more widely represents the good or bad qualities of a soul than the greater or lesser regulation of the exterior, as when one appears more or less modest.You must be modest in speech, modest in laughter,modest in your bearing, modest in walking. All this most be practised not out of vanity in order to display one’s self, nor out of hypocrisy in order to appear to be good to the eyes of others, but rather, for the internal virtue of modesty, which regulates the external workings of the body.

Always keep the modesty of the divine Master before your eyes, as an example.  .  . Try to see a certain lovable majesty in his presence, a certain pleasant authority in his manner of speaking, a certain pleasant dignity in walking, in contemplating, speaking, conversing; a certain sweet serenity of face. Imagine that extremely composed and sweet expression with which he drew the crowds, making them leave cities and castles, leading them to the mountains, the forest, to the solitude and deserted beaches of the sea, totally forgetting food, drink and their domestic duties.

Thus let us try to imitate, as far as we possibly can, such modest and dignified actions.

St. Padre Pio, pray for us!

From volume III of Padre Pio’s Letters,  “Correspondence with his Spiritual Daughters (1912-1923) 1st edition (English version), Fr. Alessio Parente, O.F.M. Cap., Editor; Edizioni Padre Pio da Pietrelcina, Our Lady of Grace Capuchin Friary, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, 1994, Translated by Geraldine Nolan, pp. 88-92.

This Beauty

Afraid of what I may see
I look in the mirror,
Relieved in the beauty of myself,
Despite the wrinkle lines-

(just beginning to form,
ever so slightly,
barely there.)

I want this beauty
Ephemeral but real 
to be seen.

And the desire to be desired
Surges.

Tempted to expose myself
to the world to

Men.

I brush my hair,
braid it, pin it.

Oh, this cruel tick of time, this beauty –

I am youthful now.

 

“Skirting up” for Lent

dior-new-look

I found this movement, skirting up for Lent today. How encouraging!  Wearing skirts/dresses certainly brings beauty to our everyday life, embraces our femininity and sets us apart from the androgynous styles of today.  Most commenters were receptive to the idea of giving up pants for Lent which is also encouraging. But of course there were a few who thought that “skirting up” was frivolous or somehow demeaning:

I must say that the whole “Skirting Up” for Lent is just plain silly, and trivializes what Lent is all about. Lent is a time to grow closer to our Lord by paying less attention to the things of this world and more attention to the things of God, and to obsess about skirts vs. pants is to miss the entire point of the season.

Wearing feminine clothing trivializing Lent? On the contrary! Christ loves our little sacrifices. How do we grow closer to God but by denying ourselves in small ways? As St. Therese the little flower wrote, “Miss no single opportunity of making small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.” It is not the size of the deed that is important it is the love. Furthermore detachment to worldly things, does not mean that we should not take care in the way we dress.

“Really? Are you serious? Really? Just…wow. I don’t even….how. How is this something we should do for Lent? How is this making us better people? How is it a great idea for us to dress in skirts for all of Lent? I mean, it’s a real accomplishment doing the Lord’s work to be pretty all the time, right? Making ourselves more appealing to the opposite sex, that is our calling to God! Forget helping the poor, reaching out to those who are different from us, bringing peace where there is conflict, and making the world a better place! Oh dear God. Help us. This cannot be an actual thing . . . Really? Please. Say it is not so.”

Again it is asserted that what we wear is trivial. Does a woman accomplish anything by giving up pants for Lent? Undoubtedly. A well dressed woman has significant cultural influence. What we wear points towards truths.  just as a beautifully structured church can lift our hearts heavenward, our clothing can point us and others towards certain truths. It changes the way people view us and it changes the way we act. If dressed more modestly, we tend to act more modestly. If dressed more feminine we tend to act more feminine. Does giving up pants for Lent negate the importance of almsgivings or peacemaking? Certainly not. But it is a simple way to embrace one’s God given femininity and to delight in clothed modesty.

The Patriarchal Family in History by Christopher Dawson

I stumbled across this fascinating article by Christopher Dawson It is worth the read. Here are some a excerpts:

——–

The institution of the family inevitably creates a vital tension which is creative as well as painful. For human culture is not instinctive. It has to be conquered by a continuous moral effort, which involves the repression of natural instinct and the subordination and sacrifice of the individual impulse to the social purpose.

———

It [the Patriarchal family] requires chastity and self-sacrifice on the part of the wife and obedience and discipline on the part of the children, while even the father himself has to assume a heavy burden of responsibility and submit his personal feelings to the interests of the family tradition. But for these very reasons the patriarchal family is a much more efficient organ of cultural life. It is no longer limited to its primary sexual and reproductive functions. It becomes the dynamic principle of society and the source of social continuity. Hence, too, it acquires a distinctively religious character, which was absent in matrilinear societies, and which is now expressed in the worship of the family hearth or the sacred fire and the ceremonies of the ancestral cult. The fundamental idea in marriage is no longer the satisfaction of the sexual appetite, but, as Plato says: “the need that every man feels of clinging to the eternal life of nature by leaving behind him children’s children who may minister to the gods in his stead.”3 This religious exaltation of the family profoundly affects men’s attitude to marriage and the sexual aspects of life in general.

——-

the use of contraceptives has made sexual intercourse independent of parenthood, and the marriage of the future will be confined to those who seek parenthood for its own sake rather than as the natural fulfilment of sexual love.

But under these circumstances who will trouble to marry?

Marriage will lose all attractions for the young and the pleasure-loving and the poor and the ambitious. The energy of youth will be devoted to contraceptive love and only when men and women have become prosperous and middle-aged will they think seriously of settling down to rear a strictly limited family. It is impossible to imagine a system more contrary to the first principles of social well-being.

So far from helping modern society to surmount its present difficulties, it only precipitates the crisis. It must lead inevitably to a social decadence far more rapid and more universal than that which brought about the disintegration of ancient civilization. The advocates of birth-control can hardly fail to realize the consequences of a progressive decline of the population in a society in which it is already almost stationary, but for all that their propaganda is entirely directed towards a further diminution in the birth rate.

Many of them, like Dr. Stopes, are no doubt so much concerned with the problem of individual happiness that they do not stop to consider how the race is to be carried on. Others, such as Mr. Russell, are obsessed by the idea that over-population is the main cause of war and that a diminishing birth rate is the best guarantee of international peace. There is, however, nothing in history to justify this belief.