"As the day breaks we see more clearly in a mirror the spots and stains of our faces. In the same way, as the inward light of the Holy Spirit enlightens our consciences, we see more clearly and distinctly the sins, inclinations and imperfections that keep us from reaching true devotion. The same light that enables us to see such defects and imperfections inflames us with a desire to cleanse and purify ourselves of them." (St. Francis de Sales)
"I acknowledged my sin to You, my guilt I covered not. I said, 'I confess my faults to the Lord,' and You took away the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:5)
I try to get my house in order from time to time. Sometimes I have a bit of success, sometimes not so much.
During a recent "not so much" time, I decided to organize something I could manage without having to, well... move from my chair.
So I set to work organizing this blog. I wanted to be able to go back and quickly find, for instance, "that post with my friend Linda's photo of the pumpkin." And the one about J-O-Y ("you have things straight when they're in right order: Jesus, Others, Yourself").
The result? Ta-daaa! There is now a list of "Topical Archives" on the sidebar to our left. A click on any topic will bring up a page of links. As you probably know, clicking on any of those will take you to the post with that title. At any time, you can click on the word "home" to get right back here to the home page. And of course, I have put an illustration on each "topics page" (how thankful I am for the beautiful public domain paintings now available!).
So here I sit, nice and organized. Without having moved from my chair.....
I know some of us are watching for the Google Followers gadget to show back up and stay put on our blogs. But even if mine never does, I know that you, my friends, are here. Whether or not you've ever put your "face" on that little gadget, we who love and serve our Lord Jesus Christ are together in Him. Think of the blessing we have, to be able to share His love across the miles! Even across the whole planet. O my....... "Never think that distance of place can ever separate souls which God has united by the ties of His love. The children of the world are all separated from one another because their hearts are in different places. But the children of God, having their heart where their treasure is, and all having only one treasure which is the same God, are consequently always joined and united together."
There are clues I have uncovered regarding the Curious Phenomenon of Disappearing Blog Sections: a troubling situation that some of us have noticed during the last few days.
In simplified verbiage, it could be stated as follows:
If part of your sidebar has gone missing, you might try moving the "followers gadget" down the page.
Yet I am perplexed even in the midst of victory. Questions linger. What has happened to the followers gadget? Shall it ever be recovered? Is Blogger even now working to solve the problem?
Having investigated several times since beginning this ridiculous informative post, I see that sometimes "your" faces are there, now placed at the very BOTTOM of the sidebar (lest everything below disappear again).
But more often, alas, the gadget vanishes again. The Blog Ticker (thank you, Catholic Bloggers' Network) is there, and the Followers Gadget occasionally shows up just below it. But then it vanishes like a vapor. And I'm left trusting that you are there, even if unseen.
Anyone else having trouble with Blogger today? My problem is with losing a large chunk of the sidebar. Links to various blogs and sites: gone. Pictures and followers and gadgets and buttons and who-knows-what-else: gone.
Temporarily? One hopes.
I post this just to let you know that I haven't removed everything deliberately, of my own accord.
Interesting that as I was fretting thinking about this, I came across the following from my friend St. Francis de Sales: "Bear patiently the slight injuries, the little inconveniences, the inconsequential losses that daily come to you."
"The little inconveniences" of a missing sidebar.
The "inconsequential losses" of a few links
I am determined (with God's help) not to GRruuuumfffph....
"It is a great honor to you who are married that God, in His design to multiply souls who may praise and bless Him for all eternity, causes you to cooperate with Him in so noble a work. This is by your production of the bodies into which He infuses immortal souls, like heavenly drops, as He creates them." (St. Francis de Sales)
(William Adolphe Bouguereau painting, 1869, in US public domain)
It was the ultimate comeback to childhood
taunts. I can picture myself now as I chanted it; my head thrown back, my
nose stuck proudly up in the air, my voice carrying every speck of authority I
could muster: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will
never hurt me!"...
As I grew into my teenage years, not even a suddenly
changing public taste for leanness could convince me that it was okay to be the "beanpole" I'd been steadily assured I was. Add to that the teasing I got about talking too fast, being “smart,”
needing glasses (which I refused to wear), not being able to catch a ball
(which I couldn’t see...), and I wound up feeling I was well below par. Sticks and stones had not been thrown, but
youthful words had wounded.
I'm now many years past grade school, and
my friends are grownups. We don't throw sticks and stones, and of course
adults never hurl wounding words at one another.
I have been thinking lately about what I've seen words do. Follow me over to Suscipio for a fictional composite of situations I've observed ... and in which I'm ashamed to have participated. May we accept the grace Our Lord holds out to us.
May we put away our whispered sticks, our spoken stones.
(painting Stefano Novo, The Gossips, in US public domain)
I wanted nothing more than to hide out of sight this morning when I turned on my computer. I discovered that the link-in I'd ALREADY POSTED did not, in fact, lead to the "rest of my story" on the site I was linking TO. The rest of my story was not on the other end at all. However, I know you who checked it out found an exceptional post by a woman with a heart-tugging story to share. What a relief to know that God uses even such things as date mix-ups to accomplish His purposes!
How did my link get posted before the fact? Well.... knowing that this day could get hectic fast, I'd gone ahead (grabbing a middle of the night posting opportunity when I saw one) and put a link here to a post THERE that I'd thought would be on today.
Oooops. I went to Suscipio today and didn't find my post.
You know what I found instead?
I found a very real sharing about fear, anger, and autism. Jen writes poignantly about "Fear of losing my kids. Fear of not being in control. Fear of autism because I don’t always know what to do because he cannot always communicate what he needs, wants, or how he feels....."
I found Jen's story exceptionally compelling. And I have to thank our good God. Today He knew (I really think) that someone(s), somewhere(s), needed to find this excellent and very real post.
"Sometimes we wonder why the Lord makes us wait so long for an answer to our prayers.....
"His vision of our situation includes factors that are hidden from us. We see only our present need, but His eyes range ahead over the whole of our lives, and not of ours only, but of all those other lives which are affected by ours. He sees the deep needs of each one of us and of the whole of mankind. ..
"God's timing is always perfect."
(Pope St. Leo the Great)
(Painting: Jesus Goes Up Alone Onto A Mountain to Pray by James Tissot, in US public domain)
The paintings and photos I use here are chosen in two ways. Usually, I write something or find a quote, and then look for a picture to help illustrate the point.
Occasionally, however, I find the picture first. Which is what happened today. I am amazed at how this newly discovered painting has grabbed my imagination and even led me into prayer (God can truly use anything). Frederic Leighton surely had no idea, when he painted "The Painter's Honeymoon" in 1864, that a woman 150 years later would find his work leading her into meditation on ways of God...
The more I looked at this work of art, the more pulled in I actually was. I immediately saw the man as representing Christ. The scene could be taking place in Eternity, perhaps when the woman ("I," in this case) had just arrived.
"See? This is what I have been doing," He might be saying. "All that time when you were struggling, suffering, worrying. Just look at the beauty I have drawn from that. Notice how I've blended light into the shadows. Your life would not have been a work of art without the dark spots, which, as you can see here, have given form and texture to the whole. Notice how your life blends into all that I'm still doing. See how I continue to work, to contour, merging the decisions you made and the paths you took into what's going on with your descendants and their friends and, indeed, the whole world."
"The whole world?" I ask. He looks at me then, and does not say a word. In His eyes is the answer. Of course. Each life affects the others, in ways people could never imagine.
HE is the One Who can see the WHOLE whole picture. HE is Creator, "Painter," Author. He is King, Savior, Teacher, Healer, Messiah, Bridegroom. He is the Alpha and Omega. He alone is Lord of all.
"In the beginning was the Word; the Word was in God's presence, and the Word was God... through Him all things came into being, and apart from Him nothing came to be." (John 1:1-2)
"We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His decree." (Romans 8:28)
"Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then, we shall see face to Face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)
I've posted several quotes here about the call we have to sainthood. Thinking of this recently, I came across something I'd written in 1990. I could scribble these words as easily today......
Am I called to be a saint? Of course I am. I am called to be with God forever in heaven - that is sainthood. Am I called to be a saint on earth? Of course I am. I am called to give my life to Him in heroic abandon as He enables me, and I am called to love my neighbor in perfect charity, and I am called to be holy and good and dead to self on earth. But how easy it is to say 'I want to be a saint' when I sit in perfect comfort.
What a different story when the tiniest little thing crosses the rosy self-made path I've envisioned and the flames of sacrifice nip at my will.
I finally had some time for blogging this morning. Time to sit down, think a hopefully coherent thought, and put together something "original." After a busy few days, I was looking forward to writing a few words that would be, well... you know. New. Fresh. Maybe even (dare I hope it?) a teensy bit inspiring. So I sat at my blogging desk and wrote....
nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I poked around the Internet for a bit, checked my e-mail, read some really good blog posts, and came back to my blank screen to write...
I got up and did a bit of cleaning. Had something to eat.
Came back to my chair and prayed. After all, I have been trusting that GOD will get something onto this blog whenever HE wants there to be............
I want to do what He wants me to do, when He wants it done - have I said that? Yes. Do I mean that? Well, yes. Yes, I do mean it.
And so I write this not to fill up a post, but to pass along the "lesson" I think Our Lord has been teaching me today. I (ideally) write for Him, or not at all. I (ideally) share what HE wants, when HEwants, or I may as well keep silent.