It’s a bit of a long ramble tonight. Sorry, I didn’t have time to make it shorter. (Hiya, Pascal!) ;)

I don’t know how many of my readers are Catholic and how many aren’t. I assume most are but I wonder. I don’t even know how many actual readers I have. Probably a fraction of those who “follow” me ever get around to reading anything I’ve written. Well, I’m going to do what I’ve been doing, and write as if I’m addressing fellow Catholics or someone who is at least interested in Catholicism. And since this is supposed to be a post about the Blessed Virgin Mary (in the Something About Mary Every Day In May series), tonight I will write about one of my favorite Marian topics: the Rosary. Eventually. ;) Here goes.

When I was a young woman, fresh out of high school and no longer expected to accompany (I used to like that word) my family to church on Sundays, I began to search. I didn’t know what I was searching for, but I knew there had to be something. There had to be some way to know more. More about the reality, truth, the universe, more about how Christianity was supposed to work. No one could ever answer when I asked these things at home or at Sunday School or anywhere else. But I knew that someone somewhere had answers, to my questions, to my deepest longings, and I was determined to find that someone and get my answers, once and for all.

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A post in the Something About Mary Every Day In May series.

In the good old days when I could still walk easily and without assistance, like a normal healthy person, and wasn’t tethered to an oxygen machine, and both of my beloved dawgs were still with me—man, I miss those days—back in those days of youth and health I would take our small pack to the park every day, and while the dawgs sniffed every blade of grass and chased each other and all the squirrels, I would pray the Rosary. I usually took them to the back of the park where we could be alone and they could enjoy some measure of freedom.

One day as I walked along praying the Rosary, I was watching the birds or squirrels or something in the trees overhead. A man passed us going in the other direction and of course, he spied my Rosary beads. And he couldn’t resist saying something about them. 

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Image: Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of all of the Americas and of the unborn. From Wikimedia. Public domain.

Did I ever tell you how I started praying the Rosary before I became Catholic?

If you haven’t read my conversion story or followed me on Twitter for a while, you may not know that I was a new ager and Buddhist back in 1994 when I began volunteering in a Catholic bookstore. I volunteered at first just to help put the place in order. I would grab a fast food dinner and head to the bookstore after my day job, and the store staff would lock me in and leave me to it for a few hours at a time. After a few days I even got a key. My self-appointed task was to clean every shelf in the place, figure out what things were (a daunting task for a gal raised Methodist and clueless about Catholicism), and put it all back together again in a way that made sense. The all-volunteer staff at the time had been shelving things by the “I can reach this shelf from where I’m standing, so that’s where this goes” method. Oy. 

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I’ve been working on tonight’s Rosary Project thread and while the files are backing up I thought I’d drop in here and post one of my favorite images. This one is by Lorenzo Lotto: Madonna of the Rosary.madonna-of-the-rosary-1539

Poor Blessed Virgin Mary, in these scenes she can never keep Baby Jesus in her lap. He’s always trying to get down or grab someone’s beard. Seriously. Look at those Adoration of the Magi paintings sometime. He’s always trying to see what’s in the boxes or pull their hair or something. Cracks me up every time. What a handful He must have been!

What is the Rosary Project, you ask? It’s me praying the Rosary and posting it as I pray it on Twitter (or on the mobile site, I prefer it’s clean uncluttered look). As my dear friendd Rose says, I’m “live tweeting” the Rosary. Or I have been, every night since June or July of 2018. The nightly live Twitter Rosary is coming to an end this weekend, April 20, Holy Saturday, and a new phase of the project will be beginning here at Catholic Heart & Mind. If you want to join in this final week of the live Rosary, log on to Twitter at 8:30 pm Central and bring your beads. Hope to see you there!

Spiritual Theology Course by Dr Brant PitreOf all the things I’d hoped to do during Lent, I’ve managed only to prove to myself that I am even weaker than I already knew. But, lucky for you, I have also spent some time listening to an audio course in Spiritual Theology taught by Dr. Brant Pitre. It’s available in DVD, CD or MP3 formats. (I bought the MP3 set so I could download it immediately and have been listening to it on my iPhone in GoodReader.)

TheThreeAgesoftheInteriorLifeOne of the earliest purchases I made after becoming attracted to the Catholic Church in the ’90s was Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange’s marvelous two-volume work, The Three Ages of the Interior Life. This was the first Christian work of its kind I had ever seen and I’m so glad I got it then in a clothbound edition. I have read and re-read Volume One, and have read Volume Two through at least once.

Why do I mention Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s book? Because Dr. Pitre uses it in his course! How exciting! For me, it is. (Stop looking at me like that. I know I’m a nerd. And you do, too, if you’ve even glanced at this site before. So there.) And that’s not all. Dr. Pitre uses several others that either I had in print or Kindle format, in my Verbum library or found online in PDF or other downloadable eBook formats for free. And, before you ask, of course I’ll give you links. Kind of me, yes? (Okay, my aforementioned weakness has engendered not quite enough humility in me. Yet.)


Video Introduction to Spiritual Theology Course

SouloftheApostolateCWPSources used in the course include those in the list below. I’ve listed Kindle and print formats; eBook refers to various formats available mostly through the Internet Archive for free. On the course page there’s a link to a PDF outline of the course (scroll down). I strongly recommend that you download the outline even if only as a guide for your own study. What an amazing amount of teaching and work Dr. Pitre has put together for us! Btw, this is not a complete list. But if you get the free PDFs, Fr. Dubay’s Fire Within, and Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange’s books listed (PDFs or Kindle), then I reckon you’ll be fine. I also reckon you already have a good and well-worn Catholic Bible and, of course, a much dog-eared copy of the Catechism. (You do, don’t you?)

  • Fr. Thomas Dubay, SM, Fire Within, Kindle, Paper
  • Fr. Adolphe Tanqueray, The Spiritual Life, Hardcover, eBook
  • Fr. Jordan Aumann, OP, Spiritual Theology, Kindle, PrinteBook
  • Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, The Three Ages of the Interior Life, Kindle, Print Set (TAN Books & Publishers), eBook
  • Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life, Kindle, Print (now published as The Three Conversions in the Spiritual Life)
  • St. John of the Cross, OCD, Collected Works, ICS edition (in one volume), Kindle, Print
  • St. Teresa of Avila, OCD, Collected Works, ICS edition, Vol 2, Kindle, Print
  • St. Thérèse of Lisieux, OCD, Story of a Soul, ICS edition, Kindle, Print
  • St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, Kindle, Print Translated by John K Ryan, Print TAN edition, eBook
  • St. Louis de Montfort, Secret of the Rosary, Kindle, Print, eBook
  • St. John Paul II, Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, Online
  • St. Bonaventure, The Soul’s Journey to God (or Journey of the Mind into God), Kindle, Print, PDF
  • St. Thomas Aquinas, OP, Summa Theologica (or Theologia), Kindle, PDFOnline, Print (Seriously? Wow. Go for it! All my copies are digital.)
  • Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, OCSO, The Soul of the Apostolate, Kindle, Print
  • The Holy Bible. I highly recommend the RSV-CE or RSV-SCE*
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church (online free, Kindle or paperback under $10)

Notes
verbum_mobile*The RSV is available in two different Catholic editions, the RSV-CE (Catholic Edition) and the RSV-SCE (Second Catholic Edition). I use both because I like the SCE but the CE is available in interlinear format in my Verbum software. Can I read the interlinear Biblical Hebrew or Greek? Heck, no. But I like to explore and learn so I do use it. A little. I hope to learn to use it more as time goes on.

study-bible-nt-brownAnother form of the RSV for Catholics is the Ignatius Study Bible RSV-SCE, but is only complete through the New Testament as of this writing. You can buy the NT in separate booklets or the whole NT in paperback, hardback or leatherbound. (Several books of the Old Testament are available now in booklet format, but I don’t know when the entire OT study edition will be available.) This is such a great study help because it’s the work of Scott Hahn and Curtis Mitch.

Been a long time since I’ve posted here. Yes, I’m still alive. Yes, the blog is still alive. In my mind, anyway, even if I haven’t posted in a while. A death in the family and tending to family matters left me with not much time or energy for writing here or anywhere else. But things are getting better and I hope to be back to at least semi-regular writing and blogging soon.

The Battle of Lepanto

In the meantime tomorrow is a very special day for me: the feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary. If you aren’t familiar with the story of the Battle of Lepanto and the role of the rosary and the Blessed Virgin Mary in that battle, you can read more here and here.

Thank you for reading. I hope you’ll enjoy your visit. God bless you! :)

[The following is a report from my participation in 40 Days for Life, Days 17 and 18.] Friday was abortion day at Planned Parenthood in Birmingham. On Friday afternoon the truck came to pick up what is (euphemistically, I suppose) called “waste material”. On the side of the truck it says “Protecting People. Reducing Risk.”

Protecting folks and reducing risks. Uh huh.

Ironic, isn’t it? And just a bit sickening. The most defenseless ones of all were certainly not protected and the risk they were in was neither reduced nor even acknowledged. So much for the “compassionate choice.” I’m sure you’ve heard that argument. “It’s compassionate to save a child from possible suffering.” By killing him before he even has a chance to take his first breath outside his mother’s womb? Don’t make me vomit.

Today was a quiet day on the sidewalk. The only person who stopped to talk to me today was someone who seemed familiar at the time, but I couldn’t quite place her. Until later when I remembered the first time we met. She did exactly the same thing to me today that she did that time, during the first 40 Days for Life campaign in which I ever participated back in 2009. She stopped her car in the middle of the street, rolled down her window and said, “I want to ask you a question.” Now this was simply a deception on her part because what she really wanted to do is what she proceeded to do. “Why are you encouraging women to have babies they can’t take care of? There are (blah blah blah, fill in the blank, insert your favorite non-reason here).” And it went downhill from there. She listed the same lame excuses you’ve heard over and over and no matter how many times those excuses are repeated, the repetition of them will not ever make it right to kill a baby. Not ever.

This one got me, though. “Why do you want a baby to come into this world without a daddy? There are so many people in prison now who didn’t have daddies.”

Oh, yeah, I love this one. I replied, “I didn’t have a daddy, or a mommy either. At one time, anyway. I’m adopted and I’m very glad that I’m standing here today to say this to you because someone gave me a chance. And I’m not in prison. I’ve had a wonderful life, thank you very much.”

She went on with her litany, unable to hear or think about what I’d said because she did not want to hear or think. She did not want to ask me a question or hear my answer. She wanted to feel better about some choice she made at some point in her life and she wanted to make me feel useless or worse, even terrible. But it didn’t work. I knew whose voice I was hearing. I knew that the attack was not against me. I’ve learned to recognize the voice that says these things. I’ve learned to recognize his way of acting and thinking. I’m learning what to do when I find myself suddenly face to face with him, and that is to remember that this kind can only be driven out by prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29).

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.

So I did not argue with her. I did not continue the conversation with her. I told her to have a nice day and then I turned away and picked up where I had left off praying my rosary. Only I  said a special prayer for her and mentioned her (and others like her) at the beginning of the meditation on each Mystery. I don’t want to get into an argument or a yelling match with someone who is under the ancient enemy’s power. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction. And I don’t want to give him an opening into my own heart and mind.

But there is one thing I wish I’d thought to tell her before she drove away this time. I wish I had told her that I’m glad she was not my mother. Maybe it’s a good thing that I didn’t think of it until later. But maybe I’ll remember it if I ever see her again.

Peace be with you and keep praying. We are making a difference and our ancient enemy is profoundly disturbed. Thanks be to God!