Visitors - Come on in and say hello!

Monday, October 31, 2005

Call me Sister Peter

I love Halloween. I love the costumes, and I love the solemnity of Mass.

This year I nearly didn't dress up, but happily, I came across some wonderful items of note on the history of the celebration of Halloween...and I realized that to not dress up meant a lost opportunity for subtle evangelization.

Let me explain.

Today, just for today, I was a nun. I could have passed for either a Carmelite (without the creame colored cape), or I could have passed for a Poor Claire. I considered going as St. Therese, the Little Flower..I have a chubby face, too (I think so), but I think my 30-something lines belie my lack of innocence...that, and the fact that the reference to flowers and the crucifix in my arms would have been lost on my audience.

I realized today, just before the "costume parade" of the 6 or 7 of us with enough dubious courage to dress up, that I needed to meet people where they are at. What did I really want out of this day? Was it about me and how "holy" I am as a Catholic? Or is it about reaching out, educating, and finding a point of identification? Could I maybe extend a fun view of the Church from within, using a symbol which is serious and real and heartfelt...but somehow help people see the reality? The humor?

In August I attended a wine and cheese party at a fellow Catholic's home, and she had found some napkins displaying a nun and a glass of red wine. The caption: Sister Mary Merlot. There was a whole line of "Sister Mary Merlot". I thought it to be hilarious and my friend thought so too, but she was actually terrified that she would offend me. Why? Because she was one of the first people I confided in, revealed my heart to regarding my search for a Vocation within Mother Church.

We will never know the intent behind the person who created "Sister Mary Merlot" and "Sister Claire Chardonnay" items...was it to ridicule the Church? Was it just another comedic character people might want to read into? Does it matter? What matters is our respose...can we have a little clean fun with the images and see the humor as we celebrate our fellowship in the Catholic faith? Definitely!

So today as I stood in line, I realized that a woman (also a faithful Catholic) was introducing the various characters. I didn't know what to say. To say "Carmelite Nun" Or "St. Therese" or "Poor Claire" was kind of a dud...I needed to keep the audience. So I blurted out, "Sister Mary Merlot!"

She loved it and so did the audience.

I even got to clutch my Bible, kneel, and pray...right out in public, and it was not out of place! (Actually, my prayer was, ""God, I don't mean to offend you...please don't let me make too much of an idiot of myself or you!")

I did not win the costume contest, but I was not out to do so. I was really out to just share my faith in a fun, approachable way. Consider this: I got to publicly be in a not-so-subtle way the Catholic I may be inside. I got to wear a blessed St. Benedict Crucifix, I got to show my Rosary all day and I got to get an idea of what it means to be veiled all day long.

Normally, in our secular society, it is not PC to be "out" about religious beliefs....but I got to do it today. And people loved it and loved my costume. It did not show in their votes, but in their visits to me in my cube.

I have to admit, though...I denied Christ today...dressed as his spouse, I denied him. A co-worker asked me, "What made you want to dress like THAT!?"

Inside, something (the Holy Spirit?) was nudging me strongly to reveal to her, a non-practicing Catholic, that I was discerning a Vocation. I was not really sure I should do so or that I was ready for my co-workers to know, so I told her simply, "Well...I'm Catholic...I know some Sisters...." I have also been struggling, not sure that I am called, thinking that may have been an why go public with something which is patently false? So in the end, I just let her laugh at me and I laughed with her. She called me "Special".

What a cop-out. I'm ashamed of myself. Sure, publicly I called myself "Sister Mary Merlot", a parody of a nun, but when really given the opportunity to witness to the power of Christ, I took a weak position. I denied Christ. You should call me Sister Peter.

Pray that I will never be "Sister Judas".

Later on, though, I spoke with another co-worker, the same one who was introducing characters. She is a devout Catholic and we spoke at length about the faith. I did reveal to her my discernment...and to witness this was an unknown co-worker...and I know he heard. He even looked at me funny later when he saw me.

I just smiled and realized what I should have done when I had denied Christ.

I also considered the weight of the veil, even the dishtowel/ cloth remnant I used, and throughout the day it was a reminder to me as to who I serve. I realized how unworthy I am to be the spouse of Christ.

I realized that if it were for real, the silliness would have to be gone...the humor could remain, but as the spouse of my King, I would have to be more dignified. I represented him today and I don't think I withstood the test.

But then again...God may have used me today to open doors and I pray that he did. I pray that others approach me now and that something I say or do as a result of today leads them to Christ.

I pray that those who see nuns as being stereotypically strict can now look upon them and see them as people full of joy and humor. I pray that those who saw me today get the courage to share their own faith with others, even in a silly way just to open up lines of communication.

Today I got to say "God Bless you" to people publicly, and I did so in 2 languages (Dios te bendiga), as one was from El Salvador. And I meant it and trust that God did indeed bless them.

I got to be a public Catholic today.

I hope I remember and find the courage to be a public Catholic every day of my life, instead of "Sister Peter", denying Jesus even as I wear the costume of a beloved spouse.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A little comic relief - embarassing moments!

I just thought that with all the heavy topics lately (and perhaps in general) that it's time for a little story about personal embarassment. As much as I would love to display the embarassing moments of others, it would be somewhat uncharitable, so it's best that I just reveal my own.

When I began college as a freshman, I was very much driven in the world of law enforcement. As such, I became a Police Reserve Officer in my college town. It is a volunteer position and encompasses handling "events" like dances and the summer festival, and the occasional ride along. Most of the Reserves in the town were college students/aspiring Police Officers like myself.

When I was "hired", the Sergeant who oversaw the group and actually founded it, gave me a very stern lecture...the kind given to every new Reserve. He told me that the uniform is an official uniform and when wearing it we were to conduct ourselves in a very professional manner as we were representatives of the city...etc. I took this very seriously as this was, so I thought, my future career, and maybe my future department. Not a time to make a mess of things.

Anyway, I did not know the town well and as it was developed along a river, there was no real "grid system". So I knew one route to the station, and was at a loss when it was closed for construction on a Thursday night. I was on my way to my first ride along.

So I took an alternate route, following another vehicle which also seemed destined for the downtown area. When we arrived at a particular street, I recognized the name so realized I should turn at that point.

I had a green light, and in my distraction and a little nervousness at my first uniformed ride along, I was not entirely an attentive driver.

You see where I'm going with this.

Of course, there was another car coming in the oncoming lane. Of course, in my distraction I had turned in front of them and recognized this too late for either of us to avoid the resultant collision.

After impact, I sat in my car, facing oncoming traffic on the street I was turning onto..and gripping the steering wheel in a panic, I repeated "OH *@& Oh *&& !" while remembering the speech from the Sergeant. Of course, I realized that this reaction was unproductive.

I kind of wished the accident had killed me so that I would not have to face the consequences of this disaster.

But I got out and learned that the other parties were ok and that I was not responsible for their deaths..only for thier wrecked car. Which, as it turned out, was a borrowed car.

So there I was, very conscious of my "POLICE" uniform, and I walked across the street to the nearest house with lights on and I knocked at the door. Two children arrived first and through the big glass window they cheered upon seeing a Uniform at their door.

The smiling man of the house answered the door and grinned even more widely when he saw the travesty on his corner.

I explained that we'd had an accident and needed to call the police. He grinned more widely and invited me in. I stood uncomfortably in the doorway of his foyer as he dialed 911 and reported the accident. He joked with the dispatcher, suggesting that since I was a Reserve, "Who ever comes should cuff her!"

When he hung up he asked me what had happened. I told him, "I was making a left turn..and I got hit."

He smiled knowingly and probed, "Was it your fault?"

I hung my head. "Well...yeah." What else was there to say?

He laughed and wished me well. I found out later on that he was pretty much the biggest defense attorney in town.

So I went back across the street to meet the officer who had already arrived. He was gathering the info from the other driver and directed me to pull out my own information. I went into my glove box for the insurance card, and when I approached him again, he told me to have a seat in the squad.

I was still in somewhat of a fog, and for some reason, even knowing better, I became convinced that I was being I approached the rear seat. I did not deserve to sit in the front, uniform or no uniform.

He actually stopped me and directed me to the front.

So in my fog, I obeyed and spent a few moments inspecting my swollen and bleeding knee. I felt like an ass.

He joined me and took my information from me. As he wrote up whatever he was writing up, I stared at my beloved first car, the car I washed inside and out if it had a speck. The car that represented my independence. The car that enabled me to go to work so I could pay for school, and drive to the police station for experience in order to be successful. My poor, sweet, ugly, wrecked car.

I asked him if he could recommend a shop to bring it to. I didn't know what to do.

He told me they had to impound it due to the location--had to get it off the street, but advised me to move it ASAP so as to prevent major storage charges.

I asked him then for a ride to the station for my shift.

He kind of chuckles and said, "Yeah, I guess you'll need one!"

Then, after a pause, and not looking at me, he said quietly,

" were assigned to ride with me tonight..."

I actually thought I might die right then and there. What are the odds of this? A town full of perfectly good police officers, and here I was with the one to respond to my disaster.

But he went on,

"...and the worst part of it is..."

YIKES! There was a WORST part? You mean we hadn't experienced that yet!?

"...I have to write you a ticket."

Now, please understand, this officer was actually one of the nicest gentleman one could ever meet. He sincerely felt bad about all of this, and told me that if I didn't want to ride with him he would understand. He would just ask the Sergeant (our Reserve Sergeant was the shift commander that night) to reassign me to someone else.

I did agree to ride with him because, of course, it wasn't personal. I could see that he felt bad and I could not deny that I was the cause of the whole thing, anyway.

That Christmas, at our yearly dinner, the new Reserves were introduced to the "old", and I had the great noteriety of being "The only Reserve to total her car on the way in to work!" I believe I still hold that dubious title.

Anyone else have a story to share? Any 3 of you who stop by on occasion?

Sunday, October 16, 2005

To be valued as a woman

I was watching “Pretty Woman” for the umpteenth time tonight, and it struck me…the pull of this movie is not the belief that this fairy-tale could come true…but it is in the timeless beauty expressed in what it means to be feminine and in the ultimate respect between a man and a woman.

I have come to realize that I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO BE A WOMAN. All the time spent by my Mother in teaching me how to be a woman, a simple woman…all for naught. The world around us, dominated by “feminists”, has actually destroyed the meaning of femininity. They have taught us that we do not need doors to be opened for us, we do not need to dress in such a way so as to accent our natural beauty, unless doing so accents only our “curves”, the better to ensnare an unsuspecting man. Feminists have taught us to be predatory in “love”, and to use only our outward sexuality in order to obtain power over others...both men and women.

A few years ago, I was in a relationship with a man for over 3 ½ years, and I really thought I loved him and wanted to marry him. Then I got a new job and the company sent me to another state for corporate training. There, I met some southern gentlemen from Georgia, and they changed my life.

No, there was no romantic interest…one was happily married and pining after his family, and the other was engaged and looking forward to his upcoming marriage. But just the same, even amidst all of our verbal jousting, companionable ribbing and friendly insults, they treated me like a lady. They opened doors for me, they pulled out my chair for me at appropriate times….and when they spoke of their loved ones, I could see the love in their eyes.

They helped me to realize that what they displayed for their significant others was not displayed towards me even when I was in the presence of the man I thought I would marry. It was after 2 weeks in the presence of these men that I found the backbone to end the relationship with the man who had no respect for me.

And now, just the other day, I went to dinner with a man from New Orleans, another southern gentleman. He opened the car door for me, he opened the restaurant door for me and in all things, he treated me like a lady. We had wonderful conversation and there was great respect there. I have to ask…do men respect women only if they are raised in the South?

This man, also, is only a friend…and yet, he still saw it necessary to recognize my femininity.

I apparently owe a huge debt to all you southern gentlemen for having learned your manners so well. I owe a debt, no doubt, to your mothers…because I was never treated so well by a man brought up in the North, whether as a date or as a friend.

So that brings me back to “Pretty Woman”. I watched in fascination as Vivian struggles to first purchased the appropriate clothing…how many times have I entered a store in my jeans and flannel, only to feel the same way? Then she went to the hotel manager, expressing her dismay in that she didn’t know how to act at a fancy restaurant. And the respect shown to her, a woman of the “lowest” caliber, still recognized her femininity. There she sat, at the table, attended to by men who served her as she tried to learn how to be a lady. Boy, can I relate!

She next went to the fancy restaurant, and when she arrived, she almost immediately stood to go to the ladies’ room. All of the men present stood as well, in respect for her. This scene, in particular, reached me….those men knew nothing of Vivian, and yet they stood in her presence out of respect for her very person…because she was a woman.

Personally, I wouldn’t know what to do if all the men in my presence stood up when I did.

I saw Vivian, the street prostitute, treated like a queen…and isn’t this why this movie is a cult classic now? Because we women are tired of being ignored. At heart, we still want to be treated like queens...and in turn, treat our men like kings. Manners are a two way street, and is it any surprise that our society shows no respect to either gender anymore? There is no respect anywhere…not from children for adults, for the elderly, of men for women and women for men. It really says a lot.

How has it come to the point that we woman do not know how we should be treated? The rabid feminists tell us it’s insulting to have a door opened for us…but I argue that it’s insulting to be disregarded when I would hold the door open for anyone, man or woman, rather than allow it to be shut in their faces. The rabid feminists tell us that we women are really men without the exterior equipment and with extras which are not needed…and therefore deny our very reason for existence.

Yet, somehow, in spite of all of this, Hollywood, for once, has managed to bring about a move which does enhance rather than degrade femininity. I realize that some would look at this movie and see only decadence and degradation...but I would argue that there are lessons to be learned.

Being a woman is not about being involved with a wealthy man. It is not about the silverware or the expensive cocktail dresses or is about respect for one another.

Why has our culture so lost the ability to understand and carry out actions which acknowledge respect for another person? Why has it taken me to my 30’s to understand that I have no idea how I ‘m supposed to be treated? Why am I not the only one, for I know plenty of women who feel the same way? I would like to hear from you! Men and women, both! What has happened? Why do we not know how to treat each other with respect?

And to all you Southern Gentlemen who have taught me though your friendship what it means to be valued as a woman...thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

God bless you all,

Sunday, October 02, 2005

How Can We Serve?

We the faithful must discern the mark of true feminism from the mark of the deceptive beast which so often leads people away from Christ under the term "feminism".

The feminist movement began long ago, and in the beginning it was a good thing. It sought to help those in power understand that women are not second class citizens. The founderesses of the feminist movement understood the dignity of life and the dignity of women. They were pro-voting for women and pro-life always.

They must be rolling in their graves now.

Somehow, their intent was hijacked by the evil one and now the term "feminist" is actually more appropriately "femi-nazi" and rather than furthering the dignity of women, they have undermined the dignity of all life. They are anti-God, anti-Church, anti-life and all about power and how they can obtain it. They are angry, rageful and thankfully...graying. They will die soon, but their legacy of poison will be felt forever and will always leave a black mark upon world history. They will die in obscurity, but their words straight from the maw of Hell still echo and have corrupted so many it is as we speak calling down upon us the full fury of the Heavenly Father.

And we deserve it for allowing ourselves to be led so far astray. We the "faithful" have remained silent and allowed our churches, Catholic and all Christian denominations, to be overtaken in many places by radical femi-nazis.

Protestant Christians, please do not cringe and react too harshly; please hear me out because we are on the same side in this battle.

As the world knows and the media constanly harps, the Catholic Church has consistently proclaimed that abortion is murder, contraception is immoral, and homosexual unions are abhorrant. The descriptive adjectives actually fit the acts interchangably. Choose your own adjective, but understand that all of the above have, at their core, an end to life. And all of the above are advanced as "good" in the eyes of the rabid femis.

Protestant Christian women, some of your denominations took votes and "decided" that is was "ok" to use contraception. Some Catholic disregard the official teaching of the Catholic Church as they themselves have also fallen prey to the secualar idea that if it is popular it must be healthy and it must be OK. I submit that some of your deniminations and many Catholic women have been mislet into thinking that Truth is subject to popular vote.

I offer alll women the following reasons as the partial reason as to why contraception is immoral:

Some of you who use contraception currently for its intended purpose may not know that it is an abortifacient. Sure, it prevents ovulation...and in this act, you are refusing to cooperate with God; you are denying yourself this grand opportunity to co-create life with the Divine Creator and you are making yourself the authority in your life. When you do this, you are breaking the first commandment and you are making yourself God. This is contrary to ALL Christianity.

Furthermore, contraception in all forms changes the uterine lining as a secondary defense against the formation of life; if, in fact, an ovum is released and penetrated, and therefore an embryo formed with the DNA designes of a total human being, that baby will not be able to implant. The pill, by this effect, prevents that little life from taking hold and bonding to the mother so as to grow and live so as to praise God for eternity.

Instead, due the impossibility of implantation, that little life is "flushed" quite literally, and so countless "liberated, feminist" women have flushed their children into various sewers all over the world.

This is the result of current day "feminism". Women have been misled directly into infanticide, and nearly the entire world believes that it is their "right" to do so.

I just love how we created beings have decided that we have any "rights" at all in the face of the Creator who actually ALLOWS us the ability to co-create with his grace.

I sense a lot of the capital sin of PRIDE in this mess, fellow women.

Now before you get the idea that I'm some holier-than-thou churchlady, let me tell you that I have used the pill and for all I know, I have killed my children. I am not a saint, nor have I ever been, so please take this information in the spirit lead anyone who reads it to the truth, from one who has lived and believed the lie.

So that is what feminism has has made women believe that we are the greatest creatures on earth and that we "get to" make the ultimate decisions of life and death. Just look what this has done to our culture. Our country is not a good place anyomre, and it is no longer blessed by God because of our sin.

True feminism is beautiful; true feminism does not seek power, but understands that the Blessed Mother is the epitome of feminity.

True feminism welcomes life and seeks to become united with God's will, not exert our own.

True feminism asks not, "Where can we demand and take hold of power", but rather asks in all humility, "Where does God want me to serve?"

True feminism does not demand; it seeks and requests and waits in patience.

True feminism is not rageful; rather it is gentle and loving.

True feminism is not an advocate for Satan; it is an advocate for Jesus Christ, his mother and will assist the Blessed Mother in crushing the head of Satan.

True feminism is powerful through the authority granted by God alone; true feminism understands that all life is a gift and power is summed up well by the suffering Jesus who stated to his judge, Pontias Pilate: "You have no power over me than that given to you by God."

True feminism knows that ALL power comes from above, and the power of sexuality, the power to create life does not originate with our pride and our will, but rather, from the very love of God the Father of us all.

True feminism teachs us to be humble in the presence of God, it leads us to embrace Christ, to kiss his bloody wounds and prostrate ourselves in the face of his enduring grace. It teaches us that even when we fall we should get up and keep going and praise the Lord with every step that we have the opportunity to bleed right along with him on our own journeys.

The power to create life is not to be confused with the authority to deem it appropriate or not; it is a grace given especially to women to carry out the true suffering arising from the act of love between a husband and a wife. It is the same love which Jesus took to the cross on behalf of us all. As Jesus labored in his salvation of souls, mothers to be walk that same path in a unification of the triumph of life over death. As mothers labor to give life to their children in an act of death to herself (even unto the literal death), Jesus labored in similar birth-pangs, so as to give life to the world which consistently falls into sin.

Men cannot fulfill these steps as God did not give them the grace of this biology, and so I submit that women are already inherently more powerful than men; why, then do women constantly try to seek the insubstantial and transient "power" which is only effective by the confines of the created world, rather than to embrace the true feminine gifts God has already given through his infinite grace?

And so in all humility, I ask you all, both men and women, to bow your head in prayer and submit your entire will to the Lord, and join with me in praying:

Lord Jesus Christ
I offer you everything I have
Everything I am
Everything I was
and everything I will ever be
And I ask you to help me submit completely to your Divine Will in all things.
And I ask you Lord to remove from me all that holds me back from fulfilling
all that you ask me to do.
And I ask that through the intercession of Mary our Blessed Mother
that we can all give you the same fiat she proclaimed;
Let it be done unto me according to Thy Will.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Archbishop Flynn did not approve the "Listening Sessions"!

Remember my rant about the feminists in the Minneapolis-St. Paul archdiocese? I have an update.

Archbishop Flynn was at my parish this evening for the Installation Mass of our pastor.

While I had been thinking I would write a letter, suddenly I realized that this presented a unique opportunity to go directly to the Archbishop and both provide him a message of hope and a warning of what was to come.

I waited until the very long line of the faithful had spoken to him and when it was finally time (there at the lonely tail of the line), I asked him if I could bend his ear for a moment. He agreed and was very open.

First I thanked him for our priests at our parish so as to set the stage so he knew that I was not about to go off on a weird tangent and criticize him. I'm sure he gets enough of that.

I told him that the CCW and the "research" from the "Listening Sessions" was going to be presented to him and it was not going to accurately portray how faithful Catholic women feel.

Further, I told him that I was speaking for faithful Catholic women everywhere, not just myself. I described to him that we find the Church to be a sanctuary from the world that wants us to pretend to be things we are not. We come to the Church and all we have to be are women of God, and this is all we want. I explained further that the information which is going to be presented to him is in no way reflective of the reality of what the faithful believe. I told him that WE (the faithful women) are the Church and that we LOVE the Church and want it to remain a safe haven for us.

He acknowledged this and told me, "You know, I DID NOT approve this thing. I found out about it after I read it somewhere and I was QUITE ANNOYED."

He said that sometimes that happens in a large organization and that it is not happening by his approval. He was looking me directly in the eye and I could see that he truly was disturbed by the disobedience of this group.

I thanked him for listening and told him that we are praying for him--so don't make me a liar! This man has a big job and he needs our prayers and support!

So, everyone, go and spread the word...the feminazi "Listening Sessions" are not approved by Archbishop Flynn nor would he have given it the time of day.

I still say to send letters, attend sessions if you can and speak up for Holy Mother Church. When you speak to the Archbishop or send letters, please do so in a spirit of support as he is already aware what is coming and our letters of support can serve as the true voice of the archdiocese he serves.