Friday, September 28, 2012

Moments of Autumn Grace

Scents of apple and cinnamon fill my house.  The morning was heavy with storms, dark as night.  I savored sounds of rain while it lasted.  Now, not ready to give up a sense of rainwashed, tea-soothed, quilt-warmed coziness, I turn to my favorite music of all time.  

If there were theme music to my life, this would be it.  Why?   I don't exactly know.

I just know that this piece of music somehow finds its way into every corner of my memory.  Into every shadow of my dreams..... 

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Round Up 

(apples photo by Nancy Shuman)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Call Which Takes Place Now

"In truth we are not called once only, but many times; all through our life Christ is calling us. He called us first in Baptism; but afterwards also; whether we obey His voice or not, He graciously calls us still. If we fall from our Baptism, He calls us to repent; if we are striving to fulfill our calling, He calls us on from grace to grace, and from holiness to holiness, while life is given us.  Abraham was called from his home, Peter from his nets, Matthew from his office, Elisha from his farm, Nathanael from his retreat; we are all in course of calling, on and on, from one thing to another, having no resting-place, but mounting towards our eternal rest, and obeying one command only to have another put upon us. He calls us again and again, in order to justify us again and again...

We are slow to master the great truth, that Christ is, as it were, walking among us, and by His hand, or eye, or voice, bidding us follow Him. 

We do not understand that His call is a thing which takes place now...." 
                                                                                                      (John Henry Newman)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cast Yourself....

Cast yourself 
into His arms
and do not
be afraid.  
He will not
drop you

St. Augustine

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


 When it’s
 Who is speaking...
 the proper way to behave
 is to imitate
 someone who
 has an irresistible
 curiosity and who
 listens at keyholes.
 You must
 to  everything
 at the
 of your heart. 
                    - St. John Vianney

Friday, September 14, 2012

Letters Home

Some years ago, I undertook a little exercise of writing "Letters Home."  These were notes to various saints, talking of life in the world here and now.  I scribbled those somewhere in a long forgotten journal.  It was a helpful exercise of the imagination, but not entirely imaginary (I decided), since the saints are real people whom the Church declares to be in heaven.  We believe they can see us, hear us, and intercede for us before God.   Since I generally express myself better in writing than by talking, it was not much of a stretch for me to write to a saint rather than just "talk to" him or her.

My letters Home were a grace for me in several ways.  Mostly, they helped me remember that earth is not my ultimate destination.  They made me recall writing letters home from school in my teens.  School was not my home; it was where I had gone to learn and grow.

My journal of Letters Home also helped me remember that I live in a mission field.  I'm here not only to learn and grow holy, but also to help others do the same, in whatever little ways I can.

So - how am I doing?  In what ways am I making progress or falling short?  How did I (or did I not) share the love of Christ this week with my neighbor next door, or the woman who cuts my hair? 

I think it will help me to try a few more Letters Home.  And it seems that a blog entitled The Breadbox Letters might be just the place to keep this "mail," although I assure you I won't be doing it on a daily basis.  Maybe once a week, or even once a month?  We'll see how it goes.  And of course I could write directly to YOU, but, well... the thing is.... there are things I can shine up and polish for you if I wish.  But I can't gloss over something I write to a saint. 

I know this has been a long post already, but here goes a first try:

Dear St. Jane de Chantal,
     Just a quick note to genuinely ask your help with this "project" I'm starting on.  It is estimated that you wrote "no less than eleven thousand letters," so I ask you to pray that I write what Our Lord wants in these few I will offer.  You know how much I admire and identify with you, in so many ways.  Especially since, as a laywoman and mother, you envisioned a cloister within your own heart. 
    Eleven thousand letters?!?!!?!  All by hand, of course, and delivered by messengers traveling on horseback.  You should see the system we have here now.  You should see the systems we have of everything, but well, I'll deal with that another time.  About so much in the world of today, you would be frankly appalled.  But of course you do see, and of course you're praying.  May our good God help us to, as you might have phrased it, LIVE JESUS in this world, in this time, in this age of the Church.  
    God be praised!

This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Round Up

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Sanctity does not consist
in winning the esteem of men,
but rather in striving only not to offend God.
(St. Teresa of Avila)

(Painting William Adolphe Bouguereau The Harvester)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival

Tonight seems a fine one for a carnival.  Here in the northern hemisphere, we sit poised at the edge of autumn; State Fairs are behind us, and Fall Festivals are around the corner.

So I am traveling this week over to This That and the Other Thing, to join in the festivities at Sunday Snippets:  A Catholic Carnival. 

I am bringing with me the following posts:

Blue Velvet Ribbons on Purple Cake


All With Hues of Faith

Now I'm headed off to visit the other bloggers!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Blue Velvet Ribbons on Purple Cake

I often sang along with the radio in my preteens, long before most of you were born (really).  Never mind that I was a far from engaging vocalist.  Never mind that I was shockingly oblivious to lyrics as well. 

I croaked along merrily with a soft ballad describing "white on white, lace on satin, blue velvet ribbons on purple cake..."  I even went so far as to discuss this unusual lyric with a friend.  

"Doesn't that sound like the ugliest wedding cake ever?!," I tsk-tsked, never questioning the validity of my perceptions.  Either my friend had the same hearing problem as I, or she was too kind to correct me.  But we seemed to both envision a towering cake of dark purple, ringed round with turquoise bows.  I'm ashamed to admit how old I was before I found out the truth about this, but let's just say that it was my husband who told me.  And we were already married.  "'s 'blue velvet ribbons ON HER BOUQUET'," he clarified.


It seems my hearing lapses were not limited to lyrics.  I learned the Act of Contrition in first grade, and recited it in Confession at least bi-weekly.  I was in fourth grade when the priest on the other side of the dark shadowy veil stopped me just after I'd begun with my usual:  "O my God, I am partly sorry for having offended Thee, and I..."  

He broke right in.  

"Are you only
partly sorry?", he asked.  I knelt there in panic.  Well... well, of course!, said I.  That's what the prayer says, that's how I learned it, yes Father I'm sure I must be partly sorry, I'm at least partly sorry and that's a good thing isn't it Father? (am I passing this test?).

Father was kind in his correction.  And I've been heartily sorry ever since.  Although...

There are times when I think about Father's gentle question.   It's not a bad one for an examination of conscience.  I mean - how many times do I confess sins and faults for which I'm only partly sorry?  If I'm really honest with myself, how much thought do I give to what I have done, to the pain it might have caused someone?  To the pain it might bring to Our Lord?

Yes, perhaps I have before me a good point for reflection.  If I said the Act of Contrition right here, right now, and if I were really honest with myself...
what kind of sorry would I be? 

"If we are truly humble our sins will infinitely displease us, because God is offended by them"  (St. Francis de Sales)

(Jean Etienne Liotard painting in US public domain)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

All With Hues of Faith

"With Christians, a poetical view of things is a duty -
we are bid to color all things with hues of faith,
to see a divine meaning in every event,
and a superhuman tendency."  
(Cardinal John Henry Newman)
(painting: Seaside, JamesTissot)

Sunday, September 2, 2012

May the Favorable Wind..

"You are going to take the high seas of the world.... 
Have Jesus always for your Patron, His Cross for a mast 
on which you must spread your resolutions as a sail.
Your anchor shall be a profound confidence in Him, 
and you shall sail prosperously.  May the favorable wind
 of celestial inspirations ever fill
your vessel's sails fuller and fuller
and make you happily arrive
at the port of a holy eternity." 
                                                                             (St. Francis de Sales)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday, September

Air is sultry, silky, weighted;
sauna-hot with steam.
The clock keeps up a steady tick
and chimes into my dream.
Grandson doesn't want
a hug; he's much too big,
says he.  He sucks his thumb
and hides from 'scary' Veggies on tv.

Schoolbooks are all stashed
away; Saturday's for play.
Raindrops splatter blades of
grass, but look: I see a ray
come slashing
through the wall of clouds.

September; Saturday.