+JMJ+ Seems like we’ve been in a spiritual wasteland for a couple of years now but here it is again, Ash Wednesday. Time to head into the desert once more. Yet even in the midst of all the trouble and trials we’ve been going through, we can make this a fruitful Lent and a time to grow deeper in our love of God, even if we haven’t been feeling the love for a while.Continue reading “Ash Wednesday: Into the desert again”
+JMJ+ Welcome to part 5 of the continuing series, Re-Reading the New Age. I’ve been thinking lately about how I got into the New Age “movement,” for lack of a better word. I don’t like calling it a movement because it gives the impression that it’s somehow organized, as if somebody were in charge and leading it. There are leaders but no leader. The New Age is more every man for himself than an organized movement with clear goals.Continue reading “Re-Reading the New Age – Part 5 – There and Back Again: A Ramble about my New Age days”
When I was a new ager, I was seeking the truth. I had no idea where to find it but I was seeking it. I had so many questions and many of them were the same ones that man has asked for as long as he has had the use of language with which to ask: What are we? Who are we? Is reality limited to what we can see with our eyes, touch with our hands? Is there life after death? What is the soul? What does the soul do? How do sin, evil, and the Fall effect the soul? What about the spiritual world and angels?
Enter the book I wish I’d had all those years ago: Occult Phenomena in the Light of Theology, by Cistercian abbot, Alois Wiesinger, OCSO, published in the nineteen fifties. (There is a link to a free copy of the book in PDF format at the end of this post.) Wiesinger doesn’t try to be cute or entertaining, and his book is not likely to be showing up on many new ager’s book shelves. Though it does have that much-abused word “occult” in the title, so some may pick it up not suspecting in the least what they’re in for. (Until they open it up and see the word Christian a few times. That’ll put them off. Sadly.) This is Catholic theology and it doesn’t mess around. If you’ve ever read any Catholic books from that the fifties or earlier, then you know what I mean.Continue reading “For November, a weekly series on the soul”
Greetings! Good to see you! Well, I can’t see you see you, but—oh, you know what I mean. Tonight I’ve got a couple of quick personal updates and then I’ll share something I’ve found recently on the web while
surfing the web doing important research for an important writing project. Ahem.
First: If you follow me on Twitter, then you’ve probably seen my tweets about my sister. She’s been going through some rough times with some painful health issues. She’s doing better but still has a way to go to be fully healed. To those of you who have been praying, thank you. I appreciate it and so does she, very much. Twitter & blog family prayer warriors rock!Continue reading “A few words, a cuppa and anotha”
In honor of the International Day of Yoga I assumed one pose and that was: curled up on the couch with Miss Lucy Dawg, surfing the web, researching yoga for something I want to write and to further my understanding. I’m not ready to write in depth about it yet, but as a former new ager and one who studied yoga longer than I practiced the asanas, I’ll go on record to say, as I’ve said many times before: Yoga is emphatically NOT compatible with any form of real Christianity. Sure, you’ll find lots of Christians who will argue that it is compatible, and you’ll find yoga and other forms of occultism offered in many ostensibly Christian places by many people who are ostensibly Christian, even in religious houses where people are ostensibly consecrated to the Christian religious life.Continue reading “For the International Day of Yoga I Assumed One Pose”
I’ve been praying the Rosary using the Five Special Intentions given by Pope St. John Paul II, for use with the Divine Mercy chaplet, for several months. Those intentions are aimed at ending abortion and the whole culture of death. I began adding them to the Rosary threads on Twitter (see the Rosary Project on this site) back when the pro-abortion crowd ramped up their demonic efforts to ram barbaric legislation through in a push that has been more aggressive than any we’ve ever seen in this country. (Links at the end of this post.)Continue reading “To end the culture of death, pray the Rosary and Chaplet”
I wonder when I’ll get used to having anything delivered on Sunday. This time it was a used book: Purest of All Lilies: The Virgin Mary in the Spirituality of St. Faustina, by Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC. (Links at the end of this post.) The back cover reads that “the Virgin Mary is a spiritual mother of St. Faustina and us” and that the book is an “in-depth study of the very special relationship between the Virgin Mary and St. Faustina.”
Continue reading “Purest of All Lilies”
“Before Holy Communion I saw the Blessed Mother inconceivably beautiful. Smiling at me She said to me: ‘My daughter, at God’s command I am to be in a special and exclusive way your Mother; but I desire that you, too, in a special way, be My child” (Diary, 1414).Fr. George Kosicki, CSB, quoted on the back cover of Purest of All Lilies.
Mary is the antidote for the crisis of womanhood we find ourselves facing. The Marian Option is not like the many other options being written about now, based on saints and noble persons. Because Mary is not like any other saint or noble person. Mary is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, Full of Grace, Mother of Mercy, the Queen Mother of the King of the Universe. Those are some pretty important titles. And Mary is a pretty important Woman. (Ahem. That’s a deliberate echo of the Woman in Genesis, the Gospel of John, and the Apocalypse, also by John, the Beloved Disciple. More on that in posts about another book, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of Mary.)
“God really sends the antidote to the problem of each era…What we’re really facing in the culture today is a crisis of womanhood, so in light of that it makes perfect sense that our Lady would be the antidote to that. Those who have devotion to her, who are striving to be like her, would be the ones that can renew the culture based on the kinds of destruction we’re seeing in western civilization.”Carrie Gress on Women of Grace. (1) talking about her book, the Marian Option. (2)
Watch the video here on the blog for the rest of that interview. Other links follow the end of this post.Continue reading “Mary is the Antidote for This Crisis of Womanhood”
Longer ago than I want to admit a reader emailed me a suggestion to add to the resource section of the blog. I didn’t forget about her suggestion, but life got crazy, all my projects have been needing my attention–and mostly not getting any attention at all–and illness of one kind or another got in the way, too. But tonight I finally began the page. Healing, Hope and Encouragement is now live on the site. It’s just a beginning but at least it has begun. My sincere thanks to the reader who sent the suggestion and my sincere apologies for taking so long. May something on the list help you or someone you know somehow somewhere sometime. And may the Lord richly bless you and yours now and always. Amen.
Healing, Hope and Encouragement is a new page in the resource section of the blog. Because we’re living in a fallen world and we’re all in need of healing and hope and no small amount of encouragement. God bless you!
Update, Feb 3, 2020: Decided to make this post a bit more presentable since it’s been getting views recently. It looks happier now. I’ve learned a thing or two about posting since 2012. (What’s that, Miss Lucy Dawg? Oh, really? Well, yeah, I guess I still do have to learn a thing or two. Smarty.)
I posted a brief version of my conversion story on the About Me page a while back. But during a conversation here on the blog someone (Hi, Lauretta!) asked me what drew me to Catholicism. I don’t know if she knew what she was letting herself in for, but I wrote a few paragraphs by way of reply and thought I’d share that reply in a post of its own (slightly edited because I can’t ever just copy/paste anything without editing it and because it’s a post now and not a reply). Bear in mind that even though this goes into more detail than the About Me page does, I’m still leaving out a lot. I didn’t go into all the various false paths and blind alleys and dead ends I wandered into along the way before I found Him Who is The Way, the Truth and the Life. So without further ado, here’s the story of my conversion, take two. (Hey, wake up, the post is about to begin!)Continue reading “Another version of my conversion story”
(A post for the Year of Faith.) There are only five precepts of the Church and every Catholic should know them. Let’s take a look at them as found in the Catechism, second edition, Part 3, Section 1, Chapter 3, Article 3, starting with paragraph 2042, without the commentary, just the precepts. And notice that the subtitle of Article 3 is: The Church, Mother and Teacher. The Church is your Mother. She has something to say to you. Listen up!
- You shall attend Mass on Sundays and on holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor.
- You shall confess your sins at least once a year.
- You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season.
- You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church.
- You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.
There. Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? Only five precepts and they’re brief, too. Blessedly. (Heh. A little Church humor. Very little. Ahem.)
Now why do you suppose the Church wants you to attend Mass on Sundays or to confess and receive the Eucharist at least once a year? Because, like any good mother, she just wants you to drop in once in a while so she can see your face before she forgets what you look like? Well, maybe. But mostly to keep you spiritually alive! Read these words in paragraph 2041 right before the list of precepts.
“The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor…”
You see, to keep alive spiritually you must attend Mass every Sunday, confess and receive the Eucharist at least once a year. (Notice that you can attend Mass without receiving. This is important. If you’re not in a state of grace, you should not even think about presenting yourself for Communion. But you still must attend Mass!) You must also observe the days of fasting and abstaining, and help provide for the needs of the Church. This is the bare minimum for your interior, spiritual self to stay alive. If you are not meeting this bare minimum in your life, you may be in danger of dying spiritually. And if all you do is the bare minimum, then you’ll be barely alive spiritually, too.
When someone says, “Oh, I’m not religious at all but I’m very spiritual,” I have to say, “Oh, really?” Because I know that person is probably not spiritual at all. Most of the people who say things like that to me only concern themselves with things of the world and the body and the body’s appetites. They don’t go to church, don’t see why they should; don’t mortify their appetites, again, they don’t see why they should; they don’t practice self-control; they don’t confess their sins and they don’t receive the Eucharist. And, of course, they don’t give anything to their church because they don’t even have a church. Because…they’re “spiritual, not religious!”
Oy ve! Tell me how they can be spiritual! What do they even mean when they say it? Do they mean they believe in spirits? What kind of spirits? Spirits of good or spirits of evil? Do they mean that they practice spiritualism? Play with Ouija boards? (And why does that word end in an “a” instead of an “i” or an “ie” or “ee” or something? I never hear anyone pronounce it “Wee-ja”, it’s always “Wee-jee” board.)
Oh, they’re very spiritual. So spiritual that they will go to almost any lengths to avoid suffering. Mortification? Why, they’re mortified at the thought of it! And not in a good way!
Christ said that He is the Vine and we are the branches. If we cut ourselves off from the Vine, we will shrivel and dry up. If we cut ourselves off from the Eucharist, we have no life in us. If we turn away from the ordinary means of grace in the sacraments, how do we expect to receive grace? If we don’t mortify our appetites, how do we expect to preserve or increase in grace? If we don’t confess our sins after sinning, how do we expect to get back into a state of grace so we can continue to grow and have a real and not imaginary spiritual life?
And that, I think, is all too often the problem: People imagine that they are spiritual and that they have a spiritual life when they don’t know the first thing about spirituality at all.
So stop imagining that you’re a very spiritual person and go to confession and get into a state of grace and get to Mass and and control your appetites and stay in the Vine and really be spiritual! Because your Momma says so. Momma Church, that is!
The full text of paragraphs on the precepts can be found online, paragraphs 2041 – 2043.
Vine passage from Gospel of John 15:5:
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
I wrote a post about the Year of Faith a few days ago. Tonight I added a page of resources, too, and I’ll be adding to the list there as I discover useful things. Got to tell you, so far I am really enjoying this. I’m taking my mass-market paperback copy to adoration, along with my Liturgy of the Hours for prayer and prayerful study. Not only am I learning more about my faith than I already knew, but I’m learning at a deeper level. And all of this is giving me more insight into the novel I’m writing. (Nope, don’t ask. Can’t tell you anything else about that. Yet.) ;) Year of Faith Resource Page.