Monday, December 31, 2012


I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped;
And shot, precipitated,
Adown Titanic glooms of chasmèd fears,
From those strong Feet that followed, 

followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat  - and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet -
'All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.......'

(First part of 'The Hound of Heaven' by Francis Thompson)


I stand at the door

and knock.    
 Jesus: Revelation 3:20 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
                                        Robert Frost

Blog Awards

Blog of the Year Award 1 star jpeg

What a Christmas gift!  I came back to the computer after a "mini-Christmas break" with family and friends.... and what to my wondering eyes should appear?!  An award from one of my own favorite bloggers!  I send many thanks to Anabelle Hazard at Written by the Finger of God.  If you haven't yet discovered Anabelle's fine blog, I hope you will click here to do so!

I will quote the text just as I found it, lest anything be left out that the persons I'm passing this to might need to know.

"The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:
1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award
2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen — there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required — and ‘present’ them with their award.
3 Please include a link back to this page:   — and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
5 You can now also join our Facebook group — click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.
6 As a winner of the award — please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award — and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…
Yes — that’s right — there are stars to collect!
Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once — this award is different!
When you begin you will receive the ’1 star’ award — and every time you are given the award by another blog — you can add another star!
There are a total of 6 stars to collect.
Which means that you can check out your favorite blogs — and even if they have already been given the award by someone else — you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!"

As for me:  in the last few months I've found significant inspiration, prayer, humor, and a sense of holy community in the following blogs.  Therefore, I am thoroughly delighted to pass along the Blog Of The Year 2012 Award to these fine bloggers:  (I Want to See God)  (Imprisoned in My Bones)  (Heart for God)  (Little Flowers Crown of Roses)

There is another I'd like to mention, and I doubt that the blog's format allows for awards or for special posts about them.  But I do want to at least call your attention to this beautiful, Eucharistic, prayerful blog:

I thank God for giving us all this "blogging" way of glorifying Him!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

This Blessed Christmas

A treasure of helpful graces is this day, because on it, Light gleamed forth on our blindness.
St. Ephraem

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

There's Angels There!

My son "Frankie" was five when he made what I hoped was not a hard-and-fast decision.

"I don't wanna go to heaven," he announced one day during lunch.  Frankie had Christmas on his mind, having just been in his preschool pageant.  He made his lunchtime declaration in much the same way he would have said I-don't-want-to-go-to-Gran's-for-the-holidays.

I got it.  Earth was the only home Frankie had ever known.  Heaven was a vast and mysterious place, perhaps scary to a child.  I tried to reassure my little one as he swallowed his Spaghettios.

Frankie just looked at me, and then went on to further explain his reasoning.  "There's ANGELS there!"

Oh.  Angels.  Now I really got it.  Frankie must have seen a picture, or maybe a Christmas program, and the huge powerful angels frightened him.  O, my poor boy!  I tried again to reassure him, spending time calming what I envisioned as paralyzing fears.  Frankie listened as patiently as he could, then put down his spoon and looked at me as if I were hard of hearing.  Raising his voice so I would maybe get it this time, he shouted:


This was more complicated than I'd thought.  Maybe what Frankie really needed was a Theology lesson about how angels are neither boys nor girls, a lesson carefully tailored to a five year old's understanding.  I tried my best to give him just such a dissertation.

When I finished what amounted to a treatise about angels not really being girls, Frankie looked at me over his bowl.  This time he pronounced his words with simple, final, definitive authority.

"Angels are TOO girls.  THEY WERE GIRLS IN MY SCHOOL PLAY.    YUK."  

I got it.

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Roundup

Monday, December 17, 2012

Interrupted By Glory

This time of year can bring both blessing and hassle.  Holy meditations, carols, the contagious wonder of wide-eyed children:  these unwrap great blessings and usually great fun. 

For some of us, however, the activities of Christmas can feel like an intrusion.  Day to day life is more or less put on hold by an urgent need to shop and wrap and bake and write and plan and decorate.  Chairs and tables are displaced by, of all things, a tree in the middle of our houseThere's no time to do ordinary things, as everyday life is seriously disrupted for weeks on end.  It can all seem like a major interruption.

Last December, the truth of it hit me.  This is what Christmas has been since the instant of the Incarnation:  an interruption.  Please stay with me here, because our first reaction to the word “interruption” could be negative.  But interruptions are often quite positive, and this Interruption was the most positive of them all.

Think of it.  Mary was living a quiet, hidden life.   She was betrothed.   Then one day an angel appeared to her, and with that Holy Interruption Mary’s life was changed forever.  As was Joseph’s, as was yours, as was mine. 

As we know, there was a Birth.  There were shepherds tending their flocks, and again an angel appeared.  A night of sheep-watching was interrupted.  

While most of the world went on unaware, a few men in the east noticed something out of the ordinary.  A sign in the sky.  Something signaling, to them, a wondrous Interruption – one so marvelous that they must drop any other plans they had and go in haste, and they must bring gifts.  These men were wise enough to know that somehow the world had changed, maybe even that the course of life on earth had been altered. 

The change was so shattering that mankind took notice.  Calendars would later mark the divide.  God Himself had split the heavens.  We now measure time by the before and after of that Grand Interruption, in effect saying that yes, we see.  We may not understand, really, but we recognize the wonder and the mystery of it.  God interrupted the cycle of sin and death by breaking into our world (John 3:16).  Jesus broke into the flesh of man, shattering hopelessness with His power and mercy. 

With Jesus' arrival in the flesh, God interrupted our misery.  He opened to us the path to salvation.  

When I feel stressed by Christmas interruptions, I try to remember what I'm celebrating.   Death was interrupted by Life.  Despair was interrupted by Hope.  With His glorious interruption, God tore through the fabric of time.      

This is a slightly edited re-post, originally appearing on my other blog last December.   

Friday, December 14, 2012

Always Time for Joy

One word we hear at this time of year is "joy."  It sings to us from carols, calls to us from cards, marches across banners in the mall. 

Someone once said that JOY is found by putting your focus and priorities in the proper order:

J   esus
O  thers
Y  ourself  

Is this "priority of focus" how St. Paul could write, in the face of persecutions, "I am filled with consolation, and despite my many afflictions my joy knows no bounds." (2 Corinthians 7:4)..?

Is this "priority of focus" what enabled some of the Church's greatest saints to endure adversities with joy? 

May we all burst forth with "the joy of right priorities" at this holy time of year. 

“Rejoice in the Lord always!  I say it again: rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
This is re-posted from a December 2011 entry on this blog  

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Christmas Window, Illustrated Edition

Again I am posting the same basic thing on both blogs.  How can I not?  For, having just written about this season's window of opportunity, today I was awestruck to see the perfect example of its opening.  Thanks to Barbara for sharing this video.

For anyone who has not seen this, I guarantee it to be worth a few minutes of your time.

Click on the arrow, and watch the Christmas window open.....

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Roundup

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday Snippets: The Christmas Window

I am joining up this week with Sunday Snippets, a Catholic Carnival.  Check out the other bloggers at This, That and the Other Thing, and thank you, RAnn!

I am linking only one post this week, and that is The Christmas Window. 

The Christmas Window

I recently wrote of one special Advent in my life.  I was twenty years old then, and paying no attention at all to God.  I wasn't attending Church regularly; I was in what I called my "I don't bother God and He doesn't bother me" phase.  That started changing as the world began its pre-Christmas celebrations.

While I was not talking to the Lord on a regular basis at that time, He used Advent as an opportunity to talk to me.

It was a season of non-stop reminders.  I almost couldn't get away from them.  Switching on a radio, I would catch an old familiar carol, one I'd heard every Christmas since childhood.  This time, however, the words sounded... different.  Sales clerks wished me merry Christmas.  A nativity scene was, as always, featured on the Court House steps.

I've heard discussions lately about whether or not Christmas should be celebrated before the 25th.  There is so much commercialism, the argument goes - and yes, I agree that this is the case.  In the Church, Advent is a time for quiet, for prayer, for hearts to wait in hushed anticipation.

There are many people, however, who are just as I was at twenty.  They may not spend much (if any) time in Church.  Maybe they were once deeply faithful to Christ, but along the way they've gotten distracted, busy, confused.

It seems to me that in the secular, "we're-doing-fine-by-ourselves" world, there appears in this season a window of opportunity. 

 A slot.

A crack in the Everyday.

An opening through which the call of God might be heard through carol or card.   

In recent years, we have seen that crack narrow.  The Court House steps of my youth haven't seen a nativity display in years.  Store clerks wish me "happy holidays" at best. But even now, somewhere between shoppers lined up for black Friday and the queues awaiting after-Christmas sales, there is still a window of opportunity.  A time when someone rushing through a store might catch the strains of an old familiar carol, one she's heard every Christmas since childhood.   Yet this time, the words sound.... different.  She remembers pictures of a babe in a manger, and some part of her seems to thaw....

This is a season when we can acknowledge (like at no other time) the One Who was born for us. After all, few of our friends will toss out cards that happen to have nativity scenes on them.  Neighbors visiting our home won't be offended by the words of "The First Noel." It's all just part of the season, part of the holidays, part of the fun.

The Church will begin Christmas music and celebrations on the 25th, but out here in the world, the window is now wide open.

This is when scenes and songs normally found only in Church can spill out into the world.

And who knows?   Someone years from now might look back on a card I sent this season, or remember the nativity scene she saw in my home, and recall this year as her own special Advent. 

For now, for just these few short weeks, the window is open.

We have no idea who might be looking through it.

I pray that they may catch a glimpse of Christ.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Come Home

"'Come now, let us set things right,'
says the Lord:
'Though your sins be like scarlet,
they may become white as snow;
Though they be crimson red,
they may become white as wool.'"
                                                                                                         Isaiah 1:18

Painting: The shortening winter's day is near a close; Farquharson; US public domain

Monday, December 3, 2012

A Triumph of Light

Light, even though it passes through pollution, is not polluted.
St. Augustine

Hammershoi Sunlight painting in US public domain

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Stir Our Hearts

Stir up our hearts,
O Lord,
to prepare the ways
of Thy
only-begotten Son;
that by
His coming
we may be able
to serve Him
with purified minds.
                 Roman Missal,
                    5th to 7th century

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lumen Christi Award

A heartfelt thank you to Amy at Beautiful Whispers of Catholicism for nominating this blog for the Lumen Christi Award.  I am deeply touched and honored. 

There are three rules if you accept this award: 

(1) Name your favorite saint and why
(2) Name your favorite part of the Mass, and why
(3) Name your favorite thing about being a Catholic

Great questions, aren't they?  I love this opportunity to answer them.

(1)  Oh, how I love the saints!  Such examples of courage they are, often in the midst of great trials, but my favorite would have to be St. Francis de Sales.  You probably saw that one coming, as I quote him often But why?  I'll try to boil it down, at least a bit.  Bishop Francis de Sales worked tirelessly to spread solid Catholic truth during a time when such was being sorely challenged.  He wrote and distributed truth-filled documents, and became patron of Catholic writers.  He taught that the devout life is not only for those in monasteries, but also for people living in the world.  This was a rather novel idea in the early 1600s in France.  Francis also wrote warm, human, rich letters of spiritual direction to people from all walks of lifeHis love of God was obvious.  He founded the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, charging the Visitation Sisters to live in "profound humility toward God and great gentleness toward the neighbor" (a call I strive to keep in mind for myself).  Francis de Sales reminds all of us to “Always remember… to retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart even while outwardly engaged in discussions or transactions with others.  This mental solitude cannot be violated by the many people who surround you since they are not standing around your heart but only around your body.  Your heart remains alone in the presence of God.” 

(2)  My favorite part of the Mass is the Consecration.  I am speechless in the face of it.  And wordless as I try to write of it.  I think that if we had the merest glimpse of What is really happening in that moment - if the veil were lifted and our eyes of flesh could see Our Lord truly before us - we would fall on our faces and not even know, or care, how we got there.  

(3)  My favorite part of being Catholic is the fact that this is the Church Christ founded.  A look back into church history shows that clearly.  I say this as one who has, in the past, read Protestant as well as Catholic church history.  But I must admit that I have another favorite part of being Catholic: the miracle of the Mass.  And if I may be allowed to pick another (admittedly lesser) part, that would be the communion of saints.  Which brings us, in a way, full circle.... and maybe this is where I get to say "thank you" again....

With this nomination, I also have the privilege of nominating another blogger (or more) if I wish to do so.  That's the hard part, because there are so many great ones that I'd like to name at least twenty!  To make it easier on myself, I have decided to go with one.   

For its support of authentic Catholic femininity in today's (confused and challenging) world, and for enjoyable writing on a variety of topics related to that theme, I nominate:

The Feminine Gift

All Tints of Light

Nature loves, as lady bright,
In gayest guise to shine;
All forms of grace, all tints of light,
Fringe her robe divine
Cardinal John Henry Newman

Let all Your works, made from the sublimity of Your majesty, praise You.
St. Gemma Galgani 


This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Roundup

Walter Moras paintings in US public domain

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tell the Story, Serious Version

I will admit it.  This is the picture I'd originally felt drawn to post, inviting you to add your own  prayers (personal or quoted), poems, scriptures, stories, etc., in the comments.  I decided to go with something "lighter" as a beginning (see post just below).

But I still feel drawn to use this one as well.

So let's see if the Lord is drawing anyone else in response.....

Painting: Apocalypse, in US public domain

Tell My Story!

I received the following comment on yesterday's post:  "I love this beautiful picture, but - more - that you knew exactly what it seems to say..."

I wonder if we all find "stories," at times, in paintings (The Painter's Honeymoon springs immediately to mind).  To find out, I've decided to try an experiment.

I am putting no quote, no story, no scripture, with the painting on this post.  I'm leaving that up to you.  "What scripture or prayer could possibly go with this?!," I can imagine you thinking.  Oh, I know there are a few.

Does anything come to your mind as you look at this woman?  If so, please put brief stories, scriptures, quotes, poems, or snippets of G-rated humor in the comment box, to be shared with all of us.  What is contributed does not have to be "religious," but anything not G-rated or otherwise inappropriate for a Catholic blog will not be posted.

It's your turn.

Any thoughts? 

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Roundup

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Comes the Winter..

                  'I see that all the seasons are to be found in your soul
                  for at one time you feel the winter of sterility, 
                  distractions, disgust, and weariness; 
                  at another time the dews of the month of May
                  with the odour of the holy little flowers....  
                  In heaven it shall be all a springtime of beauty, 
                  all an autumn of enjoyment, 
                  all a summer of love.  
                  Winter there shall be none;
                  but here winter is necessary 
                  for the exercise of abnegation 
                  and of the thousand beautiful little virtues 
                  which are practiced in the time of barrenness.  
                  Let us keep on always at a quiet little pace...' 

                        St. Francis de Sales, letter to St. Jane de Chantal

                        Painting:  Jules Breton, Last Flowers, in US  public domain

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Center of My Longings

The country in which I live
is not my native country;
THAT lies elsewhere,
and it must always be
the center of my longings.  
                                                                                                                         St. Therese of Lisieux

Painting:  Giovanni Battista Carlone, Virgin and Child in Glory with Saints

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Most Useful Cross

'Sometimes it will be a cross... to keep silence, to receive correction, admonitions, penances, to be in want of something, to suffer little daily pains without speaking of them... 

It is a good and most useful cross to bear with our neighbor, to subject ourselves to great modesty, and a thousand other practices of daily occurrence.  

These are the crosses you have to carry and not only to carry, but to carry joyfully.' 

                                                                                                St. Jane de Chantal 

Painting:  Poynter, A Day Dream, in US public domain

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Thousand Graces

Pouring out a thousand graces,
He passed these groves in haste;
and having looked at them, 
with His image alone,
clothed them in beauty.

 St. John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, Stanza Five

Painting:  Thomas Cole, Falls of the Kaaterskill, in US public domain

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Do Not Conform...

"The simplicity of the just man is laughed to scorn.  This is the wisdom of this world.... to make falsehood appear truth, and the truth falsehood."  (Pope St. Gregory the Great) 

"Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, so that you may judge what is God's will, what is good, pleasing and perfect."  (Romans 12:2)

(Painting: Renoir, Luncheon of the Boating Party, 1881, in US public domain) 

Sunday Snippets, Trust Edition

It seems that, without realizing it, I seem to be falling into patterns of weekly themes for this blog.

This time, the "theme" is obviously trust.

I posted a song on "Only in God," and have returned to it daily for personal inspiration. 

A brief quote from St. Augustine captured how I WANT to "Trust."

The rediscovery of a truly breathtaking (to me, at least) quote from Blessed John Paul II made me realize that nothing we see happening around us ... now or in the future... is a surprise to God.  I found this on Nunblog, and put a link to it on "That the Grace of God May Come."  

Join RAnn and a group of Catholic bloggers for this week's Sunday Snippets, a Catholic Carnival, at This That and the Other thing!  Click here to visit the others!

Friday, November 9, 2012

That the Grace of Christ May Come

This morning as I read through a few blogs, I rediscovered a quote I'd first seen years ago... from no less than Blessed John Paul II.  It's the sort of thing that could make a person quake in her boots.  Yet, amazingly, it did no such thing to me when I first encountered it.  Now, years later, I find its assurance of divine providence, well - somehow comforting.  Intrigued?  Click here to visit Nunblog and read Pope John Paul II's words for yourself.   

"You victorious martyrs
who endured torments gladly
for the sake of our God and Savior,
you who have boldness of speech
towards the Lord Himself, 
you saints, 
intercede for us
who are timid and sinful men,
full of sloth, 
that the grace 
of Christ
may come upon us."
                         St. Ephraim

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Trust the past
to God's mercy;
the present
to God's love;
and the future
to God's providence.

          St. Augustine

Sunday, November 4, 2012


As election day is upon us, this is my heartfelt PRAYER

(Painting of Our Banner in the Sky attributed to Frederic Edwin Church, 1861, US public domain)

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sunday Snippets, A Catholic Carnival, and Storms

Again I'm joining up with the wonderful group of bloggers over at This That and the Other Thing.  This week my mind has been on the storm that slammed the northeastern US.  I was not in the direct path of it, but I've been affected - as we all are, really.  I found a couple of things expressing my prayers, and posted those at Amid These Difficulties and When Storms Have Passed. 

I am also aware of an even more wretched storm that has been upon us for oh... so many years.  The loss of life in that one has been staggering.  I shared something from Pope John Paul II on this in The Mere Probability.  

May God strengthen His battlers in the storms....

The Mere Probability

"The mere probability
 that a human person is involved
would suffice to justify 
an absolutely clear prohibition
of any intervention aimed at
killing a human embryo."
                                                                          Pope John Paul II (Evangelium Vitae)

(Léon Bazile Perrault painting US public domain) 

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Round Up

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Make Up Your Mind

Make up your mind to become a saint.
                                                            St. Mary Mazzarello

(Franz Xaver Simm painting in US public domain)

Monday, October 29, 2012

When Storms Have Passed....

"The Lord... reached out from on high and grasped me; He drew me out of the deep waters... You, indeed, O Lord, give light to my lamp; O my God, You brighten the darkness about me."  
                                                                                                                                       Psalm 18:17, 29

Painting:  Ivan Shishkin, Rain in an Oak Forest

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Amid These Difficulties

"Even if you do not feel much confidence, you must still not fail to make acts of it, saying to Our Lord:

'Although, dear Lord, I have no feeling of confidence in You, I know all the same that You are my God, that I am wholly Yours, and that I have no hope but in Your goodness; therefore I abandon myself, with all that I have and am, into Your hands.'

"It is always in our power to make these acts.  Though there may be difficulty, there is never impossibility.  It is on these occasions and amid these difficulties that we ought to show fidelity to Our Lord, for though we make these acts without fervor and without satisfaction to ourselves, we must not distress ourselves about that.... if the heart did not will it, the lips would not will it; the lips would not utter a word.  Having done this, be at peace...'"

                                                                               St. Francis de Sales, Conferences

Painting: Karl Julius von Leypold, Wanderer im Sturm 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Road Less Traveled

I was a bit beside myself today to find this video.  To hear one of my favorite poets reading his own work, with the emphases he had in mind as he composed it, is a rare treat for me.

Is this everyone's favorite poem?  It certainly is one of mine. 

I found this at Our Journey.  There are several poetry "readings" over there!

"He guides me in right paths for His Name's sake."  (Psalm 23:3)

"Since the blood of Jesus assures our entrance into the sanctuary by the new and living path He has opened up for us through (the veil meaning His flesh), and since we have a great Priest Who is over the house of God, let us draw near with utter sincerity and absolute confidence..." (Hebrews 10:19-21)

"I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life..."  (Jesus in John 14:6)

(William Bliss Baker painting in US public domain)

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Round Up  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

So Many Signs

If there is anyone who is not enlightened by this sublime magnificence of created things,  he is blind.... if there is anyone who, seeing all these works of God, does not praise Him, he is dumb; if there is anyone who, from so many signs, cannot perceive God, that man is foolish.
                                                                                                             St. Bonaventure 
Public domain photo

BY THE WAY:  I have been finding so many good quotes and pictures to "put in the breadbox" that I count it a great  privilege to share them!  Meanwhile, many of my "original" thoughts are being shared over at The Cloistered Heart, where we've been looking at Lectio Divina.