Visitors - Come on in and say hello!

Monday, January 30, 2006

DaVinci Code - again!

Recently, local Catholic media personality, Lino Rulli, was heard on the radio discussing this upcoming movie. I'm paraphrasing a little, here, but this is the gist of what he said:

"Let's look at this. First of all, he claims that an ITALIAN, listen, an ITALIAN. Kept a secret. Now I'm Italian, and I KNOW Italians can't keep secrets. I mean, we like to talk so much that we talk with our HANDS!" (Lino, although it's unlikely that you'll read this, if you do, please correct my quote and I'll edit to reflect what you actuallly said verbatum)

So it goes. First Dan Brown says an Italian kept a secret, then we are to believe that a feminist believes some crazy guy about an unbelievable "code" drawn into DaVinci's artwork.

Riiiiiight. A feminist. Believing a MAN about a CODE which is NOT backed up by historical fact.

Oh, that's right...there is no historical fact in this book.

And yet the gullible American public, as usual, bought this hook, line, and sinker.

Boy, are Americans stupid. I'm sometimes embarassed on behalf of us. This is one of those times. Someday I'm going to have to answer to what Americans have inflicted upon the world, and I just don't have an answer for Dan Brown. I'm going to just have to apologize and change the subject.

I am constantly astounded by otherwise "intelligent" people have gone on and on about the "great research" Dan Brown did in his book.

I agreed! Yes, you heard me. One HAS to research that well in order to get everything so DELIBERATELY wrong! One has to be quite the con man to use "the Louvre" as a credit to his book, when he only walked im the door and looked at some paintings, and walked out again. Bet he had YOU believing that he actually worked with the curator to develop his "thesis".

I actually spoke with a friend/co-worker today who was raised Catholic, but is not really living Catholic. You know the type. Somehow this travesty of a book came up, and she suggested that "It's just a matter of interpretation."

BOY, did I jump in at that point! I pointed out several the Priory of Scion...made up by a French convict in the 60's. Yup. Brown's alleged "research". St. John as Mary Magdalene in the "Last Supper". She tried the "interpretation" remark again, but her apathy could not withstand the flood of fact.

Finally she turned away and admitted, "I really don't know that much about it."

I agreed with her. I told her that most people don't know much about it, and that's why they fell for the lies.

I would LOVE To see Oprah go off on Dan Brown, but she won't. Why would she?

Dan Brown is a hero to anti-Catholics and anti-Christians everywhere. He's a hero to "progressives" of every faith.

I won't quite go so far as to say that Dan Brown is the anti-Christ, but he sure works for him.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Beggar to Rookie of the Year...a story of God's Grace

When I was a little girl, I watched competetive Alpine (downhill) skiing on TV, and I was so intrigued and fired up that I begged my parents to take me to a ski hill to learn. Mom told me that there wasn't anywhere to go nearby (we lived in Byron, IL), and that it was too expensive, anyway.

As an aside...
Parents, NEVER do this to your children! I was a shy wallflower of a child. Expressing an interest such as this was a BIG DEAL and I was CRUSHED until adulthood because the almighty dollar became Satan in our lives. That's a different story, but relevant. It became the reason "not to do" a lot of things, instead of just trusting in God to provide! Parents, let your children try stuff, and don't let finances be the be-all-end-all to all decisions! Trust God, not money!  Thank you!  

Back to programming.....

We had a pair of red plastic Fischer-Price "skis" likely purchased at Ben Franklin's in downtown Byron (pop. 2,000), and I took them to the neighbor's hill across the street...and was sorely disappointed. I might have been a child, but I knew "profane" from "legitimate" skis. These were definitely PROFANE.

I remember waking from a dream when I was about 7 or so...I dreamed that I had been able to obtain a pair of skis...and when I opened my eyes, there they were! But as I reached for them, they disolved and I awoke, just as had my dream-horse in the back yard. Such is the life of a child.

I gave up on a lot of things as I got older, but a couple incessant longings remained:  to own a horse (still not realized, but came close, still a goal), and the desire to learn to ski.

Fast forwarding...when I was 17, I finally went skiing for the first time...and when the bunny hill just wasn't teaching me anything other than how to tip over on flat ground, I jumped on the lift and I went to the top. It looked like a small hill...I later learned it was a "blue square", or an intermediate run. Meaning people skiing on it should actually have some faction of control. Not me. This took place at Afton Alps in Afton, MN, and while it was no mountain to real mountain was HUGE to me! I remember being excited to be gathering speed and still in a vertical position...until the hill took a sharp downward and right-hand curve..forcing me to either go through the snow fence and over the cliff or learn how to turn. I learned how to turn and that became my favorite hill.

Fast forward again. My third or forth time skiing, I went to Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls, MN, at the age of 25 or so. I was taking an EMT class at the time and I saw the ski patrol. I knew they were volunteer, but more importantly...they were SKIING AND using the training I was then learning. I spoke to the patrollers that day, and that same week, the season ended due to spring temps...and spring.

Praise God that the Patrol Director never got the chance to ski with me..he would have said, 

I was honest when I told him that I was a novice skier, but my medical training and NREMT score was tempting to he said "Yes" over the phone and signed me up for training.

The medical part, Outdoor Emergency Care, was the same thing as EMT but academically easier, and the practicals MUCH more in-depth, more realistic...and so far better. But the hill training..I still had to pass that in order to earn the right to wear the red jacket with the white cross.

We had a warm fall, and a warm winter...right up until near Christmas. I was nervous...I knew I needed to prove myself, and I needed to work hard, but I didn't have the snow required for this.

Finally, the temps fell, and finally runs were open. I went out with some fellow classmates from OEC, to the two open runs...a "Blue" and a "Black" run, respectively. I had purchased skis at a second hand store, but they were both too long and too stiff for me...and I couldn't turn...and in the warm temps and resulting sticky snow...I couldn't ski more than 5 feet without falling over.

A friend of mine from class, took me to the top of the black run, "Wild", and instructed me to follow him. He never had any formal lessons, just learned as I was...but as a child when the ground was closer and fearlessness was a given. He instructed me, "Hold your hands out as if you're handing someone a couple of beers. Keep your hands like that and follow me, turn where I turn.."

Two of our OEC instructors, a husband and wife team, stood at the top watching this. J said, "I don't think this is a good idea..." I didn't think it was a good idea, either. But I trusted my friend, and as fearful as I was, I wanted to wear the coveted red jacket more. I followed...and I didn't crash even once.

Another Patroller, an experienced Hill Instructor, was there that evening and, apparently impressed by what he saw (I was doing parallel turns, apparently that was amazing), he gave me my first ski lesson ever.

From that point on, every time I went up to ski, which was about 4-5 times per week, or more, I got a lesson whether I wanted one or not. I got to know the Patrollers and Instructors, they got to know me, and this was a group of people willing to give someone a leg up, as impossible as it seemed. One instructor in particular, one of our hill instructors, took me under his wing. He was an ex-member of the US Ski team (I have yet to verify this officially although on my own shift I skied with an ex-US Ski team Nordic Ski Jumper), he was a PSIA Level III instructor, and became an Examiner that year. He was a phenomimal skier, and he and another Level I Instructor took me under their wings and taught me the basics and the meat.

During formal hill training, initially I and another woman were seperated from the rest of the group because we didn't have the proficiency, but finally, they let me join for the toboggan training. They deemed that my skiing was proficient enough to be able to safely handle the toboggan and not kill anyone. . The other woman was a grad student, and she did not complete this part of the training because of her grad school schedule. She passes out of this segment, and to date, remains on the Patrol as far as I am aware.

I worked hard, I put in the "mileage" as they put it, and a week before the dreaded hill test, they gave us a practice session. I had not crashed in weeks, but for some reason, once we got to that test, I did nothing but crash!  They told me to do a medium radius turn: I crashed. They told me to do a hockey-stop:  I crashed. They told me to traverse and kick turn: I crashed.

This was a mini-judgment day. It was like trying to qualify for the Olympic team...
and I did nothing but crash

 That evening, as I sat in the "lounge" waiting for my dreaded meeting with the Patrol Director, I was approached twice. First by one of the hill instructors, who had a daughter about my age. He gave me the "Dad" speech.

"You can't keep doing this to yourself. You are here at all hours and you just can't keep it up. Something has to give. You need a break before the test. You can't keep driving yourself so hard and burning the candle at both ends." I almost cried. It was the first time I realized that they actually KNEW how hard I was working and how disappointed in myself I was.

Finally, he left me alone. Then my "trainer", the ex-US Ski team patroller/ Instructor approached, and he gave me the "coach" speech. He told me that I was expecting too much out of myself, I had become one of the stronger skiers of the group but if I didn't settle down I wouldn't make it.

Then we got to the formal meeting. I met with both the Patrol Director and the  Ex-ski-team guy, who was my main instructor (I am privileged...he is expensive and his lessons for me were free). We three conferred on my ability to do the job. Was I qualified to take the test?

P. the phenomenal skier/trainer told me in the face of the Patrol Director:

"You skied like s*** tonight. If this had been the test you would have failed."

I agreed.

He went on, "But we look at potential. You have become one of our strongest skiers on the entire Patrol, and if you keep it up, you are only going to get better. But not like this. You need a break. Some people won't make it tonight, but it's not just because of tonight, but because of every performance. We do not see tonight as being typical of your skiing."

I held my breath, and they told me they would allow me to take the test. I nearly collapsed in relief and joy!

It was the following Saturday, and yes, I passed with flying colors. God is good! I consider this one of my crowning achievements.

I also began racing that winter, and was already doing so by the time I took the test. I was miserable at it, but  loved the challenge. But I found a flaw...succeeding at racing was NOT the same as succeeding at the Patrol, and I found that I was overly-goal-oriented but couldn't deliver.

I knew intellectually what I needed to do, but I couldn't make my skis obey. I couldn't live up to my expectations, and this lead to much frustration.

Now...why is ANY of this relevant to ANYTHING? 

Because we ALL have stories like this. We all have successess we worked hard for, and subsequent challenges we were unable to meet.

For myself, and as it relates to current Catholic culture and defense...well, I learned that I have a competetive streak I never knew I had. I learned that I can accomplish the impossible with LOTS of help, but that doesn't mean I can do it all.

I also recieved an excellent example of the manifestation of Christ to others. Remember...EVERY TIME I went up to the hill, I got a lesson, and I never had to ask. In fact, I would have preferred to have been left alone. But they wouldn't. In looking back, when I passed that test, a lot of people won. It wasn't about me, it wans't about the Patrol, but rather, it was about all the people who literally pushed me through the obstacle I wasn't sure I could overcome.

Then when I got "good", I got full of myself. I knew I had a lot to learn, no doubt. I did not pretend to be the skier I could never be, but I still held the expecation that I could overcome...and it wasn't to happen. I was a decent racer, but not a GREAT racer. I didn't have the time or the experience or the money to focus on racing. As much as I loved it, it was not to be. But that didn't make me stop trying or feeling the rush of a "personal best". Nothing like being in the moment, being in "the zone".

I often wonder about this. I look back on my life, and I wonder why I have succeeded at something which required so much. What place does this have in God's kingdom? What does this have to do with mine or anyone else's salvation?

In turning it over, I have come to a few conclusions: I learned about how to be generous in an everyday kind of way. Consider all the people who helped me. When I started, I really wanted to pass the hill test and become a patroller, but had you seen my lack of skiing ability, you would have rolled your did many patrollers and fellow classmates. And yet, they stepped up to the plate. They did not accept me at face value and subsequently dismiss me as hopeless, but rather, they welcomed me to their "family" and BOOSTED me far beyond anyone's expectations.

 Is not God's hand in this? Is there not a lesson here?

And personally, more intimately, I learned that I had a competetive streak. I learned that I had an iron rod in my spine and once I had a goal in mind, there was no stopping me. I learned about my own willingness to work hard for something "impossible". On the flip side, I learned that I was also very sulky when things didn't go well. I won't go so far as to say that I was a sore loser as I never begrudged anyone their earned spot, but I was very hard on myself when I did not meet my own expectations.

Now, I have to take and apply these things. It's not a matter of being competetive anymore, or a matter of skiing well. Now it's a matter of wanting to defend Christ.

Jesus, the Church, rather than skiing, is my ultimate passion. The Church is my home, my family, and when it is attacked, I feel that old biting edge and I'm ready to go.

But the problem is this; I'm not really READY to go! I don't know enough, I'm not disciplined enough, and I'm a loose cannon. My Catholocity is like my novice skiing...I am alll over the place and crashing everywhere, even in front of the people who know what they're doing and doing it well. I'm getting in my way and into the way of others.

As in skiing, I need an instructor or two, I need the kind of training that will check me every time I go into it. I need someone standing over me with a ruler to measure my ability (or lack thereof) because the LAST thing I want to do is to go into the DaVinci Class in Eden Prairie and dishonor the Church and lose souls because I'm overzealous and undertrained.

I trust in God, but not in myself and my own abilities.

I learned that I love the speed and the challenge, but when I focus on these things, I lose out on the goal. I'm Bode Miller, in other words. (Skiers will know what I'm talking about).

We all have stories to tell. We all have had to learn things in strange ways and thats what makes life interesting.

I realize that I am well within another lesson, but I really feel like I am doing this without an instructor and without the textbook. I have lots of resources, sure...but no lesson plan.

I'm a Catholic in need of a lesson plan and a test that isn't part of the real thing, and it's hard to accept the fact that being Catholic isn't just a's reality, and the final result of the tests we take every day will not appear for a very long time.

What am I trying to say? To pay attention to today's lessons, to write it all down, and when this crisis or achievement has passed, you'll learn the lesson in reverse but use the knowledge going forward.

God bless you all, especially if you got this far without falling asleep. And if you fell asleep while trying...well, then sweet dreams, my friend!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Now here's something....odd, something you might not expect from this blog.

I'm an Audi TT!

You're not the fastest, nor the most nimble, but you're cute and you have style. You're not intensely competitive, but when you pass by, everyone turns to look.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.

Update on the Davinci Crud in Eden Prairie

I just got off the phone with the Catholic Defense League as I decided that this kind of thing was right up their alley.

I provided the web links to the Community Education website and to Ms. Vigilante's article.

For those who are interested, here is the info for CDL:

in St. Paul: 651-766-7896

Unfortunately, I can't provide any info for other states, but fellow Minnesotans may want to copy their info down.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Anyone interested in debunking DaVinci in Eden Prairie?

I just read Curt Jester's blog:

(( just as an aside...why can't I get links to work using html? If I use the link insertion feature, not only can readers not click on the link, but it becomes completely invisible! On to regular programming.....))

In reading Susan Vigilante's artical, I decided it would be fun for those of us Twin Cities' MN bloggers and friends of bloggers to cut loose and face up to this heresy live and in person.

Here's the link for the article:

Take a gander. For those who have not read them, there are some great resources: "The Davinci Hoax" by Carl E. Olson and Sandra Meisner, and "Cracking DaVinci Code" published by Catholic Answers. I believe Amy Welbourne has a book also...can't remember the title.

It would be fun to go to this class and debunk the teacher's theories with hard evidence...maybe even check out the resources from public libraries.

It might be worth it, though, to actually get a group together to "study", assign which resources to obtain from the library as proof for our own case, and print documents regarding the (lack of) credible resources for Dan Brown. The Heretic.

Anyone in? I'm going to need to find out when this class is, though...may need to take some time off work just to be able to go.

I just love the idea of "stumping the ignoramus". What's plural of that?

Ignoramu? Humana Estupidii?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

How to tell if you're a Catholic

If you are Catholic, you accept and hold as your own the following Creed:

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit
Born of the Virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontias Pilate,
Was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into Hell, rose again and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty
And will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit
The Holy Catholic Church
The Communion of Saints
The forgiveness of sins
The resurrection of the body
And life everlasting, AMEN!

If you believe AND FOLLOW the above, then this is a sign you are at least trying to be Catholic.
How, then, do you tell that you are NOT Catholic, but only claim to be Catholic: you follow the following creed:

I believe in Mother Earth/Gaia/a higher being
who is most likely a woman
And the Earth is her womb

I believe that Jesus was a prophet who said a few good things but we can disregard most of it because he taught us to be inclusive and follow our consciences and we were not bound by his words.

I believe that Jesus was not crucified to teach us about redemptive suffering or to save our souls, because we're all ok, but rather to help us learn about social justice issues such as HIV and sex without protection.

I believe that there is no such thing as sin because this is an outmoded ideal and the Church needs to catch up and get with the times.

I believe that all governments should be as Pro-Choice as Pontias Pilate, and it's OK to be personally opposed as long as we wash our hands if we disagree, but still tolerate the bloodshed that follows and not allow our own morality to be imposed upon someone else, especially if the populace sentences that lump of flesh our religion sometimes calls "Jesus" to die a brutal death.

I believe in an afterlife of some sort involving 49 virgins, or maybe reincarnation, and that God doesn't really care what we do as long as we're good people, then we can go to this place some people call "heaven", and it likely involves lots of sex and chocolate. Gay couples are likely married there.

But heaven is most likely a democratic victory and only those who follow our savior, John Kerry will be acceptable because he is our version of God.


Be prepared for the next installment of how to identify your "Catholicness".

Monday, January 23, 2006

"Don't let your fear destroy you"

What an odd title, don't'cha think?

But it got your attention, didn't it?

Several years ago I was encouraged by my boyfriend at the time to take the local firefighter test (full time professional dept. of a large city). It was something I have to admit I had thought about ever since I was a little girl, but never thought I would really do. I did not see myself as athletically gifted, although I had discovered throughout the years that I DID have natural athletic abilities in several sports which were unfortunately, not discovered until adulthood. But I never had the confidance.

I knew what the job was about, I knew the issues women face, and I knew the lesbian agenda ruled all in this department. And I didn't want to deal with that hostility. I knew the inside scoop, and it frightened me. I knew going in that the work environment was hostile from every angle; but then again, so was much of what I had ever done.

I was ripe for a challenge, and with a strong supporter, and his friends, I tested the water...I went to a practice session sponsored by the Women's Association. And although the test kicked my in-shape rear end harder than it had ever been kicked, I bought a T-shirt, and I was committed.

I began training in earnest. I went down to Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis and I ran stair circuits: down the stairs, across the bottom, up a larger and longer set, and with my legs burning and my lungs groaning, I forced myself to "jog it out" across the top, run down, across, back up...etc.,. I lifted weights and rejoiced in adding more weight, and I began to really see results. It was amazing.

I prayed a lot, still a non-practicing Catholic, but I never stopped believing in God, and I was occasionally attending Mass, asking for help as I underwent this physical trial.

In the beginning, I wasn't sure I wanted the "prize", which was The Job (that's how we refer to it). And I faltered. I felt my own previous lack of confidance, I was once again the little girl who was last to be chosen for a team...and I wondered what I was doing.

Childhood cruelty lasts beyond childhood, friends. Even when it's overcome and "gone", the memories are still haunting. Always last to be chosen as a trying to become a firefighter. A FEMALE firefighter. Riiiiight.

So I just prayed, and one day, I questioned what I was trying to do and I strongly considered quitting. What was I training for? What was I trying to do? I was terrified of climbing ladders, had no idea why, but it was a HUGE part of the job!

I remembered as a child being shown into a partially burned home, the home of a neighbor. A child had started the fire by playing with matches. When it got out of control he threw the matchbook under the bed and the rest is history. Everyone survived, but what was left of the house was black with soot, acrid to the lungs and terrifying from the outside.

I still remember watching the fire trucks go by in our rural neighborhood, a very unusual sight, and I remember the darkening summer evening sky, the huge summer storm, and Mom making us pray the rosary for whoever was in trouble. As soon as it was done she left and drove through the neighborhood to see what she could do for whomever had just lost their home. My brother and I just watched the storm and learned the details later on.

A few days later Mom got the key and led us into the house. I didn't want to go in. It was dark. It was scary. It was black, it was wet. The floor was still drenched with water, the air acrid, making me cough, making my eyes water. I began to cry.

Mom showed us this as a lesson, and it terrified me. I never was prone to playing with matches, and after that, there was NO chance whatsoever.

Fast forward to my training for the fire dept. You understand some of the fear I had, much was ridiculous, some was ludicrous and mysterious phobia but very real to me, much was still from childhood fear. So I prayed and I considered just dropping it entirely.

One day, early on in this process, I began to drift off for a much needed afternoon nap. Just as I fell alseep, I heard a loud, harsh voice directly in my ear:


I awoke at once, terrified, looking around. No one was there. I questioned the source..a dream? A demonic attack? An angel?

I considered everything, and what it came down to was this: I knew who was the author of fear: Satan. I was being held back and considering dropping this entire thing not because of lack of qualification, but FEAR. When I went to training sessions, I was doing well and other women, women who were accomplished athletes, were asking ME for advice. Another woman, one with experience in this, offered to help me even more and we trained together, sharing our goal and choosing to work together. Even so, I was afraid that I was not good enough. I was afraid of success, I was afraid of rejection, I was afraid of failure. No matter where I turned, fear of some sort gripped me. I realized that I had been given a very important message; one that deserved serious consideration. Was I letting my fear destroy me?

The voice still scared me...that one sentence. And no, during my psychological exam prior to being hired, I did NOT reveal this experience. This was between God and me.

And whenever I faltered in training, whenever I was beset by despair, whenever I thought I was "done for" while working through the test, I remembered the voice, "DON'T LET YOUR FEAR DESTROY YOU."

I was hired, I was forced to face several fears, several challenges, and when it comes down to it, those were the most important tasks. I suffered an injury in training which ended my firefighting career, but by then I was ready to go. I was done, and apparently did what God sent me to do.

Every so often I look back, and I question why all those doors were opened, why I worked so hard for what turned out to ultimately be a "failure". But there was no failure.

In the end, the Lord won. Firstly, he kep me praying...A LOT! He made me face fears and find that tenacity deep within my soul that he gave me from birth...and he helped me to make choices which glorified him, even though no one else knew about it.

I will never forget hanging over the cement apron, thinking no one was holding the rope at the bottom, and losing the rope in my own pathetic hand, thinking that I was literally a millimeter away from dropping 5 stories. I will never forget my desperate rasp "Please, God", and in my mind's eye, I see my guardian angel, holding the rope, helping me work it into my hand, helping me find that survival instinct, resolving that I WOULD NOT FALL, even if I had to hang there in purgation forever. I remember having to climb ladders in different positions...straight up and down (really), from ground to roof ladders, walking the ridgeline 3 stories above the cement...etc.

God sent me into my fear, but he did not send me alone, and he gave my guardian angel a message to pass on.....DON'T LET YOUR FEAR DESTROY YOU.

Had I quit, I would never have faced those fears. I would never have found that tenacity, that willpower, that place deep within myself that made me strive to be more than I thought I could be. He helped me to find that place, because in all liklihood, I will need it again, but then, in a battle for Truth.

God may use everyday things in order to help us identify the traits he gave us, and the learning may be painful, it may be terrifying, it may even seem like a failure. But in the end, God wins, he helps us win, and he forces us to overcome when we'd rather just walk away.

Maybe if there's demand I'll tell the specific stories, but the point of this post is this: don't make your guardian angel speak to you. Stop and listen to God, remember that he is the Creator, not the author of fear and confusion.

When you are afraid, lean on God, call upon Jesus, and trust in the angels he sent you. They may usually be silent...but if they speak...listen. Their message may change your life.

It has already changed mine, and I hope my sharing it may also change yours.

I leave you the folloiwng Pulic Service Announcement, straight from the Heavenly Father...from his heart straight to yours:


Pray for Father Debruycker at SJA!

Check out the above e-mail address. Copy/paste it into a fresh new e-mail, and send this priest your ENCOURAGEMENT and let him know you are praying for him!

I heard from a trusted friend today, who had heard from another trusted in other words, this is heresay (not heresy, though), that this priest is TRYING HARD to overcome this battle. He needs help NOW! SO PRAY! FAST! PRAY AND FAST SOME MORE! AND DO IT QUICKLY!

Would you want people to yawn, wait, and then "get around to it" if you were fighting demons? I didn't think so. So stop sitting there and PRAY!

Our Father.....
Hail Mary.....
Glory be......
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.....


Sunday, January 22, 2006

Stick to your guns! Truth is NOT determined by popular opinion!

Sometimes I have to laugh at the rabid feminist extremists, the secularists, the "Cafeteria Catholics", etc., those who continue to demand that the Church change in order to meet their idea of "morality". I have to laugh at the man with two names, referenced in a previous post, who has chosen to change history according to his own agenda only to accuse the writers of scripture to have done exactly that.

I have to laugh, because we as solid Christians already know the end of this battle, we already know who wins...and every so often I need to remind myself of that for fear I take all of this too seriously. That's not to negate our own part in this spiritual battle, but rather, it reaffirms it and helps us to refocus; we are warriors, we have been called to be so, and we need to keep our eyes on Jesus. We need to keep our confidance in Jesus and remember the example he set, his promise that he will always be with us, and the command to continue his work.

This is my way of continuing that work, as pitiful as it may seem.

A couple weeks ago I heard someone on Relevant Radio (AM 1330 in the Twin Cities metro area, Minnesota) stating that if the Church did change her position on certain hotbutton topics, ie contraception, abortion, euthanasia, etc., then this would NOT obtain more followers, but people would both leave in droves and the Church would be the rightful butt of much derision.

Who hasn't heard the term "stick to your guns!" It's one thing to acknowledge that you are wrong; it's another to give up your position when you know you are RIGHT! And in the case of the Catholic Church, being "right" does not belong to us, the followers of Jesus, but rather to our Triune God. It is He who commands us to stick to our guns.

I happened to remember an incident from my teenage/young adult years. My best friend was somewhat of a wild card and she continued, constantly, along with other friends and acquaintances to wear me down to committ a certain act which was mortally sinful. I did not say much, just went on my way, knowing right from wrong. This was not a huge outright battle, but one which just wore away at me; much as rain does at at sandstone rock face. Much as the ocean wears on the rocks of the is gradual, not an outright attack. It is commmonly referred to as "Peer pressure" which can indeed take out our retaining walls with a Category 5 sustained blast, but more often, it just happens over time.

My best friend never said much, just told me her stories, shared her "fun", and waited for me to pass judgment. I never did, although I did tell her that what she was doing was dangerous to herself and others, it was beneath her dignity, etc...she knew all of this and became very defensive so I always dropped it.

She suffered consequences, but refused to relent...she was having too much fun.

Finally, finally, I gave in to this sin. Willfully, under much pressure by some others, and the next day I was bitten by remorse. I didn't know what to do. I felt horrible...I had given in to this thing that "everyone else" said was "OK" and "Right", but in committing the act, I knew deep within my soul that it was wrong and that I was changed forever for giving up the ship, for not sticking to my guns.

I traded morality for popularity. I traded morality for what I thought was respect, only to learn that I was nothing but another sinner...and I already knew I was a sinner, anyway. And in the end, I lost the respect of all those I had trusted and believed before.

It was empty, and I felt empty. There is no victory when you wave a white flag, and that's a lesson we all need to learn. It is better to die standing your ground than to lose your soul by forfeiture.

I went to my best friend and I confessed my deed to her, looking for strength. I wanted to share my feelings, explain them, thinking she must have felt the same way. By the way she'd spoken on occasion, I was sure she had felt the same but covered it.

Instead of consoling me, she added insult to injury. She told me, "See? Now you're no better than I am so you can't say ANYTHING!"

What does someone say to that? I had never before realized that she saw me as a "better person" for not engaging in that particular sin while everyone else raged around me. I had never before understood that she thought I thought myself better than her as a person because I had withstood the pressure until that point.

I understood after my confession to her that she now saw me as a HYPOCRITE. In capital letters, just like that.

And when she responded to me like that, I was crushed. I didn't know what to say, I didn't know what to do, and I didn't know where to go. By giving in to the pressure and confessing my weakness to her, rather than having respect for me, rather than giving me the big "thumbs up" and "welcome to the club!", she tore me down. She attacked me where it hurt the most, and rather than strengthening our bond, I had forfeited any possible "leadership to Christ" I might have possessed. I had poisoned any seeds I might have sown, unknowing that they were even there.

I remember thinking I could go to her, this having been a barrier between us to some degree. I thought that if others knew that I had done this, they would see me differently and finally accept me. But that's not what happened. I, being one of the last holdouts, became the lowest of the low. I became trash.

It still hurts to think about this, but I post it because I would like those of you who question the Church's stance on morality to really remember some point in your life when you felt like this. When did you hold your place, knowing you were right, only to give in to the pressure and learn that you would have at least "died" well had you stood your ground?

If the Church did what I did, and what you have done, and followed human nature, she would not be the Church, and God would not be God; he would be just a guy behind a curtain with an artificially amplified voice...very much like the ACLU.

If the Church caved in and "decided" that contraception, abortion, euthanasia, Holy Communion for all comers was acceptable, then she would not be respected, she would NOT be a part of the club, and she would not obtain more followers. Jesus would not be seen as he is, our Savior, but would be slandered as a wimp. His name would not change hearts, his Church would lose all ability to speak out against any evil in the world, because the culture would cry out, "What do you have to say, you Papists? What do YOU have to say about it, Mr. Pope! What do you have to say about it Catholic Church! You're just the same as us! You gave in! I can't believe you fell for it! NOW I have less respect than I ever did, and NOW I have the RIGHT to trample you because YOU have proven me CORRECT and you have NO AUTHORITY!"

Truth does not give in, it does not quit, it does not fall to challenge, it is not changed by a vote of any kind. Truth is eternal.

Individually, we are imperfect, and we fall, and we are trampled.

And if the Church changed according to demand, the Church would fall. This will never happen, because the Catholic Church is guided by the Holy Spirit as established by Jesus Christ himself. Have you noticed that some denominations have fallen and some will fall--because they have chosen to change according to the winds of the culture? Have you taken note of that?

Those who make up the Church on the human side are imperfect in nature, and individually, they can and do fall, but their individual failings do NOT change the Moral Truth and the Faith taught by Jesus Christ and Sacred Tradition.

I will close with one of my favorite Pope Benedict XVI quotes, spoken while he was still Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: "TRUTH IS NOT DETERMINED BY A MAJORITY VOTE"

As the Church has stood for centuries, so must we as individuals stand as holy warriors for Christ, and so must we continue to uphold and fight for the truth. Our personal example may not reach many, but even if a few are affected when we stick to our guns, then the world can be changed for the better and countless souls may enter the gates of heaven by the very grace of God.

Stick to your guns, my friends. The Truth is your sword. Use it well.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Singin' wi' th' band

I was watching "American Idol" tonight. I love the auditions, mostly because long ago I wanted to be an actress or a professional singer/musician. I can still feel my palms sweating.

God was good to me...the first time I ever public...and not only for the ear of my class music teacher, I did it because I HAD to sing in order to get the part I wanted.

I wanted to be "Annie" in "Annie get your Gun". A woman at my parish helped me to prepare. I still have no idea why. She was very involved in Community Theatre, and maybe she saw herself in my own longing to be on stage. So she helped me to prepare a song, and she was instrumental in boosting my confidence.

When I went the audition, I did not really believe I would get the lead. But I played it up, I had a good time, and maybe that's what they saw in me. I kept being called up to perform...and to sing. I had to sing a song I didn't know, and I was terrified.

They called me with a strange play "Annie" for 2 weeks until their Chosen finished with her finals at college. I was 15 going on 16, and I was in I accepted the offer. And for that 2 weeks, I lived a dream. And I learned that I could sing, but had a long way to go to be "good".

It was OK, though. I was not jealous. I was disappointed, but that 2 weeks was a gift on a silver platter, and I was happy to have it. I look back now and realize that although I was enthusiastic, and passionate, and motivated...I was humble. I did not expect more, and in fact, believe I got more than I deserved. I was so grateful for the opportunity. I wish I had retained that trait.

When I was 20, I spent a semester in Mexico. By then, I knew I had a decent singing voice, although many of my closest friends had no idea. I was into my gung-ho feminist attitudes then, had moved away from the idea of a career, or even a hobby in theatre (although my heart told me different), and it was a secret sing on stage.

Well, in Puerto Escondido, one evening, I remember standing at the bar with my friends. When we walked in the band was performing the Eagles' "Hotel California". I knew the song well and had this melancholy feeling...I wanted to perform.

I said to my friends, "I want to sing!"

I didn't know the bar manager was standing behind me. Suddenly he grabbed my arm, led me up to the band and ordered me to sing!

I was flabbergasted. While I DID want to perform, I had no desire to make a donkey's rear out of myself in doing so. I was a part of a small group of Americans and I was stuck with them for at least another 40 days until we got home...and then, until graduation.

So I spoke to the band, and we came to an agreement...when I heard them start a song I knew, I would come up and sing. They had never heard me, only took it on good faith that I could carry a tune.

I was terrified. What had I done?

Then they began to play "Stand By Me".

I rushed up and they actuallly handed me the main mike. I took the mike in my shaking hand and sang, "When the night..has come..."

Then came the second verse. I was a flautist also at the time and I had a finely attuned ear. I KNEW when to stop, I could hear dischord and it rattled me if I heard it. I KNEW I was off-key somehow, but something told me to keep going. Trusting that instinct, I continued on and let it flow.

Let me just say that this band played everything with a blues rhythm, a blues style, and when I sang that second verse, I had apparently caught their "soul". I was the predominant singer..but I was singing harmony, not the melody. And somehow, I had begun doing this naturally. The band's lead singer joined, and I think he sang an random melody...hard to explain. But somehow, it WORKED!

I remember looking out at my friends, and they stared at me in astonishment as these notes came out of my mouth. I smiled and sang at them, thinking that there was NO WAY this could POSSIBLY be me.

It was incredible, it was amazing, and I KNEW I could not have done this if I tried.

I sang one other song with this band that night, "La Bamba" (define "irony"...a 20 year old American woman singing "La Bamba" in Spanish, in a tiny coastal town in Mexico).

I don't need "American Idol".

I'm not a great singer. My friends were amazed at the time of my little performance, and perhaps the gift I displayed deserved their astonishment...I was surprised too, after all.

But I'm not an "Idol". I'll never sing like Alicia Keys...but I know that with my voice, I can glorify God...and that's MORE than enough.

Don't be so shocked. Even wannabe devout Catholics can sing!

And so can you. Catholics have this reputation for being horrible singers, and maybe this is in part to some very bad choral directors in various parishes (although, as I understand it, Protestant churches suffer from bad songleaders also).

So open your mouth, and at least TRY...that's all the Lord asks of you. Don't think about how you sound...just offer your voice to God and let Him do the work.

You'll be amazed when he takes over, whether in singing or any other venue...when God takes the reins, you KNOW it...just don't forget to give him the credit.

God bless, and good night!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Chewbacca Defense

Fans of South Park will recognize this term, used to identify a straw-man argument used in times of no defense. It is an argument which brings in useless information when the person making the defense has nothing to say in response.

I got to see this in practice today.

Let me set the scene for you:

Today I had to go to a binding arbitration as both a representative of my company AND as a witness, and testify as same. As I've never done this before, and, although I have been "trained" in court testimony, I was very nervous.

Arbitration differs from actual court litigation in several ways: there is a mediator who servs as judge and jury. It is held in a conference room, and while all witnesses are sworn, there is no court reporter.

Today the room was populated by 5 of us: clients of each side and the mediator/arbitrator on the end. The other end of the table was reserved for the various witnesses who would be called but did not have a right to remain throughout the proceedings.

I felt a little more nervous as a representative of my company...glad I could be there throughout, but a little terrified I would mess everything up. I tend to be too analytical and pull the rug out from under myself. And in this case, the rug was not just beneath my feet, but beneath my company. I was testifying for them.

My testimony went OK, but I forgot one of the answers to the prepared questions for our side...happily I was able to refer to transcribed statements for the answers, but it ended up not mattering, anyway. Upon cross-examination, which is kind of a wild card, I ended up being prepared. I ended up answering questions that actually weren't asked because I "read into" the opposing attorneys questions and in doing so, apparently appropriately established the scope of my knowledge and the introduction of a forensic expert. I was careful to state what I knew, phrase "my understanding of the forensic report is X"...etc. When I was asked a question I could not answer, I simply informed the other attorney that I was not trained for X assessment and directed him to ask his questions of the appropriate witness.

When I was done, I was sure I had just shot us in the foot.

Turned out to be OK.

WHEW! Thank you St. John Chrysostom! (Did I spell that right?)

I knew I was either off the hook or had completely blown our case when the other attorney said, "I have no more questions." as he took off his glasses and wiped his eyes. During my testimony, while being questioned by my attorney, the other attorney and his client nearly caused the arbitor to call a recess...I was sure I had really put a cog in our wheels.

In the end, both attorneys gave their closing arguments. The attorney for my company focused on the facts, summarizing them nicely. The defense...whoa...the defense!

It was weird. I actually found myself in a somewhat detached place. I could simply observe, take notes as needed as the arbitor had indicated he would allow rebuttal, and let my mind take it in. I found myself in an analytical place I am rarely able to freely reside...usually I need to be taking notes, checking a recorder...something.

But this time..I sat back and watched. This was for my own (company's) attorney to argue, and I was simply a client. I watched this attorney, a private practice defense attorney, wind up to make his pitch.

I considered his demeanor...he was kind of grandfatherly. I had noticed all along his ability to provide comfort to his witnesses--he had a very genial and accomodating manner, groomed, no doubt, throughout the years in his field. Yet he was direct, but not without a sense of the dramatic.

Personally, outside of testimony, I found him to be very likeable. Under his microscope of legal finesse, I found his bark stronger than his bite...or were his teeth razorblades?

So I observed this closing argument with much interest, and I'll admit...a bit of a cringe. At what point would my own testimony be shredded?

He wound up...and wound up...and attacked my industry in general (duly excluding "current company"), presented a summary of the character of his client, presented other illogical information, and then stated, "THIS does NOT make SENSE!"

After about the third time he stated "THIS does NOT make SENSE" while presenting information with NOTHING to do with the case at hand, I nearly burst out laughing at his "Chewbacca Defense".

I was actually taking notes here and there, and while I was tempted to write down "Chewbacca Defense", I did not for fear my attorney would see my note and lose his own focus.

So I simply sat with my hands in front of my face, struggling to maintain a poker face while I observed this emotional plea.

It was all fact. He was so busy defending something we had never called into question!

And I considered, "Do juries really fall for this?" And an even bigger question, "Will the arbitor fall for this? An experienced, logical, arbitor?"

I honestly expected Chewbacca to appear on a screen with the explanation that if we believe that Chewbacca lives on Endor, the arbitor must find for his client.

I could not wait for them to leave. The second the outer office door closed, I turned to my attorney and told him, "That was just a straw man! It was the Chewbacca Defense!"

He recognized the term, and agreed...and told me that this attorney is wildly successful in court.

So! Those of your going into prepared for the "Chewbacca Defense". Those of you on juries...don't fall for this. And if you see it, recognize it for what it impassioned plea upon your emotions because those who use it GOT NOTHIN' ELSE!

I hope the arbitor didn't fall for it...we'll learn the outcome this week.

I went to adoration en route home from this event to thank Jesus for helping me testify. I tend to be much better on paper than in speaking, especially when in a defensive postion.

I nearly lost my job little less than a year ago because I was struggling in presenting evidence in conference calls with majore head honchos. I HAD the evidence...I just couldn't present it. So today, I was terrified going in, but elated coming home.

The Lord is good. That's not to say that everything I think I know in this case was correct, but I can say with a clear conscience that I worked this case and presented it with integrity...and as this is an important duty of my job, I now feel vindicated. God has brought me through this fear, and my reward...was seeing the Chewbacca Defense.

Whether the mediator returns with a verdict on our side or the other doesn't matter..the fact that this "Defense" was used tells me that my work and my testimony were solid...that the attorney for our side did a great job!

Maybe I should get back to regular programming now....Praise God!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Chronicles of Narnia

I finally got to see this movie last weekend and it was all I hoped it would be. They really did a tremendous job in bringing this timeless tale to the big screen. And the soundtrack! Fantastic! I bought that this weekend and listened to it today while I did some light reading. And fell asleep imagining the epic battle portrayed in the movie.

When I was a child I read these books after watching the animated story for a class in elementary school. I remember being engrossed, turning page after page, entering this wonderful world of Narnia. For awhile, I nearly believed that I could enter Nardia through my own closet...and checked the status of my own door daily, always to be disappointed.

Now that I've seen the movie, I've actually had to fend off the desire to enter my walk-in closet and check the back wall. Quite honestly, if I ever find a way through the back wall, I'd be liable to fall down my stairwar rather than into Narnia. It amazes me how this story has the ability to reignite my imagination and propensity for belief in the unseen.

Today I came across a collection of movies put out by the BBC. I actually picked them up, having never known that they made movies of The Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair so I look forward to seeing what was done in the past.

What I can tell you is that the rendition of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is quite substandard..the talking animals are people dressed up like the animals they portray. I guess this is why CS Lewis never wanted the books made into movies!

For those who have not seen the current version of "Narnia", I do highly recommend it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Came across old writings....

Have you ever done that? Have you ever come across old writings...and if you did, have you ever been struck by what it said?

That happened to me this weekend. I came across some old stuff I wrote back in '96-'97, and it floored me. I have wanted to be a writer for a long time, and apparently my quest for God was expressed in a story I tried to write. I do not claim that my work was good...but it is enlightening. More like a diary entry than anything else. I am going to share this with you. Not the whole "story", but the portion that hit me like a 2x4.

Jesus approached her. "Is everything all right?"

The woman turned to him, saying, "Yes, fine, th..." Here eyes widened in recognition.

She couldn't believe it. Somehow, she'd known that Jesus Christ would return in her lifetime, but here he was, right in front of her.

"Do you know me?" Jesus asked gently?

She started to fall to her knees, speechless. Jesus reached out and stopped her, putting a finger to his lips.

"Shhh..not yet. You'll see me again, and THAT will be the time to proclaim. For now, go on, but iwth purpose. Touch all those you meet with MY love and peace. The hour is near, but it is not yet at hand. Only the Father above knows the hour."

And still, Jesus continued, "God loves you, He hears your prayers and my mother is with you. When you lit a candle in the Basilica, she recognized you. She was with you when you cried, and although you didn't know it, you were never alone. Our Fother gave you the gift of the Holy Spirit at your Confirmation, and it burns strong within you. Don't be so afraid to love God--he won't let you fall."

Jesus wiped away her tears and helped her into her car as he lifed her heavy burden. The chaos around her heart fell away and for the first time in her life she knew that God really did love her and always had.

That's where my story ended. I don't know what happened afterward as I never finished. Maybe this story continues. Maybe this was more about a personal encounter with Christ in my life and I used a fictional passage to give words to the consolations God gave me at the time. I did also find another piece in which I candidly spoke about my fear of giving myself to the Lord..but that's for another post.

For now, please realize that at the time I wrote the above, I did not know my faith..I was seeking God, I was lonely for God, and so I wrote him into my own personal story. You may want to try this yourself, but subject your work to a solid spiritual director in your life. An SD may be a trusted friend who knows the faith, may be a priest, a nun...someone who is solidly faithful to the magesterium. Maybe you should write something and put it away. Years from now, you may look back and see prophetic words in your notebook, and realize that God spoke to you even when you didn't realize it was God.

As always, God Bless you and yours.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Racetrack Ministry

Have you ever seen "Seabiscuit"?

I am an aspiring writer, and the summer that movie came out, I was spending time in the backside of our local racetrack....a childhood dream.

I was working on getting a press pass and in the meantime, I was being introduced to the various local owners and trainers. I was privvy to information obtained on the backside rail during morning workouts. I accompanied the press assistant as she made her rounds.

And I met the lay pastor..who, by the way, was doing a great job. He had been a Starter, and even did a stint as a jockey, although you couldn't tell from his tall and well-built stature.

I was seeking myself at the time, although I had decided that Catholicism was right...although I could not articulate why. But I saw him as an oasis in my own life because I was still a lost soul.

I asked him what drew him to his "home" as a pastor? He had no formal training as a pastor. One day he "heard the call", and this time, it wasn't the bugle signaling the start of the race. It wasn't the sound of a trainer calling him to his next morning mount. It was God.

Each day, before the start of the races, he gathered those interested, especially starters and jockeys, both in dangerous positions, for prayer. They worshipped God and prayed for safety just before they put life and limb at risk. They praised God for their lives and asked Jesus to take them home when the time was right...not when the track decided to lay a trap.

The pastor did good work, and it was clear that he cared about those he shepherded...after all...he was one of them, and they respected him for this.

The track has its own pace, and it's own culture. I feel so fortunate that I had the opportunity to meet so many of these people face to face. This is a subculture so few know anything about...and so few care.

But you should care...and I'll tell you why. Because a huge number of those called to the backside (a term for those who work at the track, stemming from the location of the rows of barns and dorms behind the backstretch of a racetrack) are latinos. There are people from all cultures and walks of life, but a majority are immigrants.

The majority of Latinos are Catholic. And the chaplains at the tracks are lay chaplains, usually Protestant. And those who are thirsting for Christ, while finding people willing to bring Christ, those willing do NOT have Christ body blood, soul, and divinity.

THAT is why you should be concerned.

The Catholics are largely forgotten...and they need help. They need attention.

I am going to do some research in the parishes near the racetrack in my local area..and I'm going to find out if there is a ministry for the seasonal workers this track pulls in.

I encourage you all to do the same. If there is a horserace track near you, check the parish. Is there someone to bring communion to the track? Is there a ministry for these people? They are not transient so much as they are dedicated workers...but the location of their work changes from season to season. Where I live in Minnesota, they live here from mid-May to mid-September, and then head to Arizona, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. And then them come back.

Look for more to come on this subject. I have nothing against lay chaplains...they fulfill a role that is desperately needed. I have nothing against Protestants. I have a special place in my heart for both categories. But we need to look around and see where Christ is not being addressed...and we need to step into this role.

If you have a track near you, and if you are an Extraordinary Minister or are willing to become one...then consider ministering to these people If you happen to be a priest or aspiring priest, or a deacon reading this...please consider this forgotten subculture which is so predominantly Catholic. They need the sacraments. They need to see a showing of the Catholic faith in their lives.

God bless these people, they live a hard life, and they may be closer to Jesus every single step than many of us ever will be...because they are only a breath away from meeting him every time they work.

What does one need to do to start this type of ministry? (really, I'm asking this question, this is not rhetorical)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Urban Catholic Confusion

The other day I had cause to drive through my old neighborhood in south Minneapolis, where I lived for about 3 years or so. The neighborhood is borderline "inner city", although I'm sure the sociologists and urbanologists and demographers refer to it as fully inner city.

It is a place where the gangs roll, the working class resides, and the young college grads get a start. It borders the hip Uptown area and during election time, both the blood of the residents and the signage on the lawns are blue as they come.

This is a place where the dissident Catholics reign supreme in their castle of the Church of St. Joan of Arc. This is where the yuppies meet the urban downfalled and get a social conscience, completely forgetting about their moral consciences.

While I lived there, I never heard anyone talk about God except to take his name in vain. I will admit I spoke to more than a few Baptists who exclaimed that God is good and thanks be to Jesus, and I found their faith to be an oasis in the desolation of the desert that is south Minneapolis.

Oh, sure, there were some good points to living there...I loved to run around Lake Nokomis, and blade around Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet (now a hotbed for armed robbery, car vandalisms and car thefts). Glad I'm not there now.

South Minneapolis is a place where every block, or several houses on a block display rainbow flags and you have to drive carefully on the unplowed, icy side streets between closely-parked cars in order to avoid hitting a vehicle displaying some sign of "Gay Pride" or some other New Age slogan.

This is where St. Joan of Arc parish resides, and overflows...and where other dissident parishes such as St. Stephen's and Annunciation bring in those who worship the ideals of the democratic party and forget the God created the very ground they walk on and the society that surrounds them. They declare themselves gods and choose what they want to believe on the basis of what's popular.

It was that sense of rebellion I held for quite awhile, this sense of "challeng me and I will trample you," that we are seeing from the social justice mongers, the gay-rights activists, and other dissidents.

I had forgotten about God, too, and about his will for me. When I lived there, I was one of urban Catholic. I went to Mass when I wanted to go to Mass...and I went to communion, having bought into the idea that Jesus would want me to recieve him...won't that bring me closer? After all, I was a "good person", and my immoral decisions were not going to send me to Hell. It was OK for me to do what I was doing, live the way I was living, and I would be OK.

That's what I was fed in south Minneapolis. I was never a parishioner at SJA, but I did go there once and was shocked at what I saw. I tried all the parishes around me, and although I was a pariah myself, I learned that Urban Catholicism was a different religion than the one I grew up with.

Every parish I went to was all about the individual and what the individual wanted. The various parish ministries mimiced ACLU-backed programs which should have been financed by secular government, but instead were staffed by urban Catholics who refused to mention the name of Jesus for fear someone would be ticked off.

If they did mention Jesus, it was in disregard to what he actually taught.

I was struggling in my faith, and struggling to come back to the Church...and I was held back by this non-theology. I went to parishes such as St. Albert the Great which sported a Religious Education Director, a woman, who gave the "homilies", apparently by popular vote. Every time I went there I got a lession in social statistics. I felt like I was attending a seminar. No one knelt at the consecration. I wasn't ever sure what the consecration was, but I did know there was a space of time where people were supposed to kneel, and it was supposed to take place when the priest was at the alter with the bread and wine.

I had been away for so long, but I could not find home...I found Urban Catholicism. Religion by committee.

I learned the following about Urban Catholicism:

* It's not just dissident: it's a whole different religion
* It is built upon several pillars:
- social justice, which is the focus of every "gathering" (not Jesus, not the holy sacrifice of the Mass)
- homosexual activism-- it looks to activism as a guide in how to thwart the Magesterium and dis' the Pope.
- reinterpreting the Bible to fit current culture
- ask "what is Truth" without actually seeking the real answer, and rather, redefine "truth" according to the individual

And it's dangerous. Why?

It's not because of social justice. Many programs are good, heathly and beneficial programs. They are not inherently bad...but they have become the focus of the parish worship, taking the place of the worship of God. Those "ministries" which support abortion, homosexual activism, and the THOSE are inherently evil. That's a different post, though.

Urban Catholicism is dangerous because people are seeking God and are not finding him. They are not finding him the the Church he founded but when they walk through the door they are greeted warmly and ushered over to a table where they can sign up for various ministries. Then they are hooked into something they don't organization that is not Catholic, but calls itself Catholic.

It is dangerous because questions go unanswered or are swatted away or they are told that ideas such as "sin" or "purgatory" and the like are "old theology" and "not relevant". Do what feels good! That's what God wants...for you to be happy!

There is no such thing as redemptive suffering.

These people come into this alternative religion, they are told that the Church they grew up with has been updated and everything they were ever taught is now obselete. They are taught that ever mortal sin is OK, no longer a sin, and they raise their children with this dubious lack of theology.

These are Urban Catholics. They are not really Catholic, they just call themselves so. There has been no formal break from the Church, just the passive-aggressive "in your face Rome" rebellion that not all believe they are carrying out.

So pray, everyone. Wherever you are, pray. I was lost and Jesus found me and brought me out of that wasteland. There are many others...and they don't even know they are lost.

Lost, but not forgotten, lost, unknowing pariahs, needing prayer, needing to understand the faith which has never been taught to them. Some, such as SJA and St. Stephen's, are in open rebellion, but others are just bumbling in confusion and theological desolation.

I know that this does not exist solely in south Minneapolis, so pray, all of you...pray that the lost may be found and the rebellious find need to come home.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


Yup. The "A" word.

The anniversary of Roe v Wade is coming up. The case built upon a lie, otherwise known as perjury. Tha advent of our tyrannical Supreme Court, proving that the system of "checks and balances" does not work.

This morning, waking from a dream, I looked at the outline of a nearby picture of Jesus, and in speaking to him in my soggy morning voice, I told him, "It's not getting any's getting worse."

And in my half-waking state, Jesus answered me internally, "I agree."

So as if on cue, tonight, on "ER", they are discussing abortion. A young college student from a religious family learns she is pregnant...7 weeks. She herself provides her options: keep the baby, or give the baby up for adoption. Dr.Neela offers "termination" as an option.

"Termination". That's what our society calls blatant cold blooded premeditated murder of an innocent child. Termination.

I want to be more offended, but in this case, I have to say this is likely a true portrayal of what happens in ER's and Urgent Cares and doctor's office everywhere.

The girl reveals her pregnancy with the doctor's assistance and breaks down in tears. The father asks the doctor to leave so they can have some private family time.

Then Dr. Neela spoke with the girl's father. He was not angry, even when Neela euphimisically brought up the idea of abortion. She seemed shocked that the girl wanted to "keep it". At the look of the father, she stuttered and said, "Uh...I mean..the baby..".

She backpedaled, telling the girl's father that it was her job to provide all the options available and they should consider the "long term consequences."

He looked her straight in the eye and told her she should consider the spiritual consequences of what she (Dr.) was saying. He told her that he did not believe in accidents and that God intended this baby's life.

He did not get angry. His voice was measured, he was confident, and he did not come across as a freak, only as a concerned father with strong convictions who loved not only his daughter but her unborn child, no matter what the reason for the conception.

I actually thought this was well done. I'm impressed that for once, a religiuos family was not made out to be a set of backwater freaks.

The other baby-related issue...Dr. Abby is pregnant. She is also offered "termination services" by a collegue. Dr. Kovach, the baby's father, wanted that baby to be born and shared this with Abby. She made it clear she was not interested in having a child at age 37. She made her "choice" and walked away.

Let's go back to the girl. She later reveals that she was raped. Dr. Neela then berates the girl's mother for forcing a "choice". Neela then begins to force her own "choice" upon the family. Gotta love that. It is typical. The girl's mother of course cries and turns away from the rabid onslaught of a doctor better suited to a Planned Parenthood death mill.

Dr. Kovach intervenes and tells Neela to back off and leave them alone. Neela is all about "choice". Then she tells Dr. Kovach that she is talking to the wrong person. He confronts her on this and she makes a formal request to consult with someone who is "NOT CATHOLIC."

Now keep in mind...Kovach is barely Catholic...he grew up Catholic and rebelled, so I guess the implication here is "once Catholic, always Catholic" and therefore never to be trusted with decisions adverse to someone with a death agenda.

He pauses, and, true to "cafeteria Catholic" form, rather than stepping up to the plate he pulls a Kerry and tells her that he is a doctor first and everything else second. I guess this character forgot that God gave him his doctorly gifts.

He then goes in to the girl, askes her if this is what she "wants", she says no, so he offers her a medical option which will, once inserted into the cervix, cause it to dilate and cause a miscarriage.

She asks if it's a sin.

Read this again...she asks if it's a sin.

This is a girl who is confused about what is happening to her...but not about the morality of what was done. She was raped, therefore she did not sin to begin with. Now she is in a state of shock and needs time to readjust her perspective, especially given the trauma surrounding her. She does not need to be victimized again by people who have already decided what she needs and wants without regard to the actual consequences to both her and the baby.

She already knows the truth and is looking for somone to tell her that the truth is not true. She does not want to offend God, and a straight answer here would save a baby. She is scared, and she needs time to think, to gather herself, and to make an adult decision.

We all know that adult decisions usually don't happen in an instant, but with prayer and time.

But Dr. Kovach does not work for God. He works, apparently, for Satan.

He tells the confused girl, and I quote, "This is the medical way of giving God a chance to rethink his decision." Or something like that.

I want to be offended and rail at ER...but I think they are presenting the truth as to what happens every day. I can't blame Hollywood for being honest for once. The attack on Catholics is blatant, and you know that this stuff happens all the time. Unfathomable that someone who displays any type of pro-life leaning would be anything other than Catholic....and this does great disservice to Christians of other faiths who are just as dedicated to saving the lives of the unborn.

So I am offended that once again, Catholics specifically are the culprit in this girl's suffering.

I have to admit that this show puts it in our faces, what we would rather deny...and it shows well how abortion is pushed so hard in the name of "choice".

And Dr. Abbey? She didn't do it. She didn't kill her baby. She sat in the waiting room and watched children playing, and her heart of stone softened. She chose to have her baby in the face of the medical culture which fights to hard to remove this life from the world.

So maybe a balanced view is given...typical stuff. A girl is raped and becomes pregnant. A feminist doctor gets mad and pushes her agenda, a relgious family calmly defends their beliefs, a confused and terrified girl tries to do the right thing and is coerced by Satanic doctors into doing what secular culture wants her to do.

It kills me that Dr. Kovach quotes Jeremiah to finish the girl's sentence after he seals the baby's fate, and then "admits" to being a "Christian".

They quote the words of life and he quotes Genesis and tells the girl using the Bible that Adam was not alive until God breathed into him.

Great. Satan quoted scripture well when he tempted Jesus in the desert, too.

And so here we are, a baby killing culture. ER was literally painful to watch, but I also think it was necessary for those of us who are fighting on behalf of life. We need to see what happens if we haven't directly experienced it ourselves. ER is a good training video and displays well the face of the enemy.

So pray, everyone, for victims of abortion. Pray for life, even the lives of the baby-killers. Even their souls may be PRAY!

Hail Mary, full of grace
the Lord is with thee
Blessed art thou among women

Holy Mary, Mother of God
Pray for us sinners,
now, and at the hour of our death


WHAT does God call us?

Tonight for some reason I was thinking about what to call myself. Was I a lapsed Catholic? A non-practicing Catholic? A Revert?

Suddenly it occurred to it Divine Inspiration...What does God call me?

The thought gave me pause. It doesn't matter what I was before or what I call myself now. No matter what, I am a child of God. I am his daughter.

And so are you...children of God. Sometimes, when you are overwhelmed by titles or supposed titles, or labels, or definitions, focus on what really matters...

Who does GOD say that you are?