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