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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Grief is not about "me"

I have been moping around all day. I have tried not to let this be apparent, but I arrived at work today in tears and left in tears. Nothing happened. I am just sad.

Whenever this happens, I question, "Am I depressed?" Depression runs in my family. The answer? Nope. Not depressed. Just sad. A little too close to tears. A feeing that I need to spend time alone and with God. Feeling somewhat contemplative, somewhat pensive...somewhat....ive...apparently.

Then I realized...I miss my Dad. He passed away 11 years ago as of January 3rd, and always, this time of year I'm a little out of sorts. I remember Dad all year, but somehow, at this time of year, around the anniversary of his death, the grief renews a little.

I feel that edge biting into me, reminding me of a person who is no longer with us.

I remember getting the news and the odd feeling of emptiness and the need to take care of business. I remember moving my stuff down to campus as I had just returned from study abroad and because of the funeral, I would be starting late. I remember calling the Registrar's office to let them know of the death in the family delaying my start, but assuring them I would still be there that semester.

Dad's life ended...mine went on. And the need to go through this process, to set up for my ongoing life, was in part a form of denial for me.

"...if I pretend that all is well, then Dad will be ok and I'll get to tell him about my trip..."

My parents divorced when I was 8 and for only a little while we lived in the same state. Growing up was about weekends with Dad, until Grandpa died...then Dad moved out of state.

I had not seen my Dad for about 3 1/2 years- the last time I saw him was the day of my high school graduation.

I will never forget the funeral or our final goodbye. And ever since that time, tears come more easily to me. I have suffered this wound, and whenever I meet someone with the same wound, I am better able to empathize with them. Their pain is also my pain, to a different degree.

And as much as this grief hurts, as much as this wound seems to "bleed", I rejoice, because I can *feel* this. I know that I still grieve because I loved. We do not mourn those we did not love.

Grief is a testament to love, and as such, it is not about "us". It is about love. It is about God. It is about the fact that a life existed on this earth and that life was valuable...and so there was love.

Sometimes I want so badly to call up "dear old Dad" and tell him about my day, about my customers, about my achievements and my asipirations. I want to hear him laugh, I want to hear him joke, and I really do want to hear his praise.

But I don't, because there is no one to call. So I direct this to Heaven, and I pray for the repose of Dad's soul.

Did you notice all the "I want" in reference to grief? Doesn't grief seem selfish?

But it's not...because it's about the person who is missed. It's about the person who had such an effect on others on earth that the end of their life left a hole somewhere.

Now, I don't want to read a bunch of condolences. Dad died 10 years ago, and no, I'll never be "over it" until I'm dead. I loved my Dad, and I still love my Dad because God made him with an immortal soul. No matter where his soul resides, I love him, just as you love those of your own beloved who have gone before you.

Do not come to me expressing your sorrow for my loss. My sorrow is my own and it is between only God and I and Dad and I. Rather than express sorrow, express joy for the gift of life in everyone around you.

Consider those who are close to you and especially those who are estranged. Reconcile if you can, and if you can't, then spend extra time in prayer for them and for yourself.

Give Thanks to God for those in your life, and make sure the time you have with them is valuable. Generate memories.

Our own lives are fleeting. Sure, we grieve for our losses, but we also grieve because we cannot be where the dead have gone.

Celebrate life at all stages, and as you do so, realize that you are celebrating God.

Remember that grief is not about you....when you are grieved, remember the love...and be comforted.

God bless you all!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Name that HERESY!

I have decided to familiarize myself with common heretical movements of history. We all realize that after 2000 years, nothing is really new anymore...the attacks against the faith, rather, just morph into a different version of some old lie.

So! Are you ready to NAME THAT HERESY?

Ok, here goes....

What is Arianism?

a. The belief in "White Power" involving white hoods, secret rituals, cross burning, and circular symbols.
b. People who believed in supporting people from a Middle Eastern country
c. The belief that Jesus was a created being
d. The belief that Jesus was white

What do Gnostics believe?

a. The Gnostics believed in drinking Gnost during various pagan holidays
b. The Gnostics believed that that Agnostics were against them. Dan Brown wrote a story about their blood feud and blamed it on the legend of Pope Joan.
c. Gnosticism taught that the only good things were physical reality and denied the divnity and existance of God.
d. Gnosticism was a belief that created things were "bad" and that Jesus Christ was not human.

Why were the Montanists like early Charismatics and what did they do wrong?
a. They emphasized the gifts of tongues and prophesy and claimed them to be above Church teaching
b. They were rigid traditionalists
c. They believed that Montanus was the foretold Paraclete
d. They taught that Jesus was coming and, boy, was he MAD!

((disclaimer: the above is NOT a rip on charismatics. The Charismatic movement is NOT heretical )))

What did Iconoclasts do to tick off the Church?
a. they were extremely klutzy
b. they released bulls in 7th and 8th Century china shops
c. They destroyed icons in the misguided belief that it was sinful to create pictures and statues of Christ.
d. They decorated Roman and Greek temples with statuary depicting pagan idols.

What doctrine did Jansenius rewrite and what are his followers called?

a. Jansenius redefined swimsuits centuries before their time. We can still buy Janson swimwear at various sports shops, especially those that specialize in water sports.
b. Jansenius redefined the doctrine of grace. He denied that Christ died for the sins of all, but rather, died only for the "saved" or "elect".
c. Jansenius redefined the idea of "Theotokos" (God-bearer) and wrote that Mary only carried the human nature of Jesus in her womb.
d. Jansenius taught that only French should be used if Latin was not.

What were the 11th Century heresies?

a. Catharism- they believed that the world was created by an evil being
b. Albigensians - they believed that a good god created the spirit, so this was good, but that the body was created by an evil god. Having children was seen as the greatest evil. They were precursors to Planned Parenthood.
c. Pelatianism - he denied the doctrine of original sin
d. all of the above
e. none of the above
f. a and b
g. c only

Well, folks, I'm pretty tired, with all that thinking...and I'm going to end there. Look for more in this series.

If you don't know the answers, check out the following link:

All answers and then some can be found at

Monday, December 26, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I just realized that since I did not blog for a few days, I also never wished you all a Merry Christmas.


God Bles you and yours and may the love of Christ be adundant in your lives. May you always walk embraced by the light of the Christ child.

You have GOT to be KIDDING!

I learned something today which kind of took my by surprise.

The Emperor Nero used to use greyhounds (yes, GREYHOUNDS) to kill Christians.

I have a greyhound, and as I read this, I looked at my dog stretched out, his usual lazy self, all over the livingroom floor, happily snoozing away. Hard to imagine that cream puff being set on my heels.

If you are not familiar with the breed, they have quite an interesting history. They are a breet of sighthounds, bred to see their prey and go after it - quickly. Greyhounds have been known to run 43 miles per hour (as compared to a conditioned Thoroughbred racehorse's 38-40 mph). They are docile, sweet natured, lazy, loving, couch potatoes.

They have big eyes and cocky, curious ears. Their skin is tissue-paper thin and they have absolutely no body fat or ability to deal with the elements. They were bred to be hunting dogs, to be pampered, and collected for reasons of status.

And now they are raced, retired, and some...euthanized if their "useful" life is finished. My guy is retired from racing and gets to live his life out in relative luxury. I don't intend to feed him Christians, though. I may spoil him, but I draw the line there.

Nero apparently decided to martyr Christians through the use of these dogs. Of course, greyhounds being greyhounds, were not interested in eating Christians. They likely approached the Christians curiously, tails wagging, rather seeking treats and attention. I imagine Nero must have blown steam from his ears at the sight of the early Christians laughing at this parody of a "dangerous animal".

But Nero was evil, and so he "dressed" the Christians in rabbit skins (likely bloody ones) and this drove the dogs into their hunting frenzy.

Now, as docile as my dog is, I know that if he were chasing a rabbit, there would not be much left of the creature if I ever caught up to them. When theya re racing they wear protect each other. When these dogs get competetive, they see only the chase and God help any dog or person who gets in their way. This is what they are bred to be.

So Nero had to be sneaky and he had to trick the dogs into going after humans.

I have to wonder if this eventually meant that the dogs went after him? I like the idea of that "ending".

But I digress.

I still look at my couch potatoe...uh...greyhound...blissfully napping on a pillow, and I still have difficulty seeing this delicate breed used as a killing machine against our spiritual ancestors.

Don't blame the dogs, folks. Dogs don't kill people....people use dogs to kill people.

And greyhounds these days? They just chase lures and then kill marshmallows and other biscuits. Nothing for Christians to fear. So here's my plug...if you have a heart open to another pet, check into this breed. Run a search for Greyhound Pets of America (I think it's

Feel free to drop a note if you'd like more info on these dogs and I'll be happy to provide some info and resources.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sacrament of Confession

Reconciliation. To become reconciled. To make amends.

In this the last week of the blessed penitential season of Advent, it's time to focus on the coming of Christ. It's time to prepare our souls and turn our focus (if we haven't already) to the Lord.

I love the sacrament of Confession. As much as I used to dread it, and as much as I used to shake in my shoes at the thought of it, I now approach with awe. I can't say that I especially like accusing myself of all sorts of things (of which I am definitely guilty), but I go.

I go even if I don't feel penitential. I go because I know I have sinned and I need healing. I go because if I stay away from the sacrament when I have done wrong, I will not learn and I will not encounter the grace needed to overcome my weaknesses.

I go because I am a sinner. God help me, I'm a sinner.

And I am in need of his grace.

And so are all of you. We are all in need of God's grace and of his healing. Maybe you're a random person reading this blog today and maybe you need to know that God's mercy awaits you...he is waiting for your turn of heart. He is waiting for you to admit that you have done wrong somewhere in your life and that you are in need of his grace.

Jesus is waiting in the confessional with outstretched arms, not waiting to condemn, but to express his joy at our reconciliation. To welcome us home and to wipe our tears.

I have experienced incredible grace through this sacrament. When I had been non-practicing for years and years (about twelve or so), I was terrified, tearful, and blubbering. I don't know what I expected....for God to reach out of the heavens and smack me with a flyswatter perhaps?

But just the same, I was fearful. I stood in line at an Easter penance service/ individual reconciliation, just looking for absolution. Looking for God. Looking for the faith of my youth. I stood there, terrified, but knowing it was time to admit that I had offended the Lord.

The priest did not look at me in shock when he heard my tearful confession but rather, he welcomed me home. He calmed my fears, and speaking in the person of Christ, he absolved me of my sins. I left that day a new person and my tears had turned to tears of joy.

Unfortunately, I didn't go to confession again for about 2 or 3 strong the world pulls us away, and I could not get over my own concupiscience...I could not make myself go to Confession when I knew I would sin again.

Finally, I went, and this time I had made a real firm prupose of amendment...and included in that was regular confession.

What I have begun to notice now, though, is that sometimes I doubt my own purpose of amendment, one of the necessary ingredients for true absolution.

Most recently, I went in to confession, still feeling somewhat defiant. I knew I needed to go, however, because intellectually, I knew that what I had done was wrong. I went in and set the scene to exlain my sin, and I confessed that I was not sorry. As I spoke, the tears came, the repentence came...and I felt crushed by the weight of my own sin.

I admitted to father somewhat sheepishly, "OK, I guess I am sorry..."

So often, I have recieved absolution, and I have questioned it. Am I really forgiven? What if I did not sufficiently confess? What if I'm not sorry enough?

But always, always, I know I am cleansed. I know that God has forgiven my sinning heart and he has wiped the stain from my soul...and that finally, I am free...and joyfully thank the Lord for this grace of the sacrament. The grace of God's forgiveness. The knowledge that God loves us all so much that he has provided a way for us to overcome our constant sins. To cleanse our souls.

We are so in need of God's mercy.

So today, if you have been away for awhile, find a confession near you. Make an appointment with your parish priest, and explain to him that Jesus is calling you to prepare for his coming. Explain that you are in need of God's grace and you need to come home to be with the Lord who loves you.

Don't be joyful, and come home.

May the grace of the Lord, Jesus Christ be with you, now and forever.

God Bless you and yours this Christmas season.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Sound of Music

I grew up on this movie...every year, when it was on, we gathered around the TV and we sang along with Maria and the Von Trapp family. I remember playing the soundtrack record (yes, record), and dancing in our large livingroom. I must have driven my mother crazy.

I know my brother thought I was crazy. But when Maria sang to her beau, I was her, and I was leaping from bench to bench, blaring out, "I am 16 going on 17...", having NO IDEA what that song was about...but I didn't care.

Incidentally, I also listed to Peter, Paul, and Mary, and danced to their record over and over again as well.

My Mom was REALLY not entertained by that, but she left me alone.

Contrary to popular opinion at the time, I did not become a ballet family couldn't afford to pay for the lessons and in reality, I honestly dont' think my genes are appropriate for that particular venue.

Thank God I'm not a dancer...although, now, as an adult, watching "The Sound of Music" for the first time in many many years....I DO find myself thinking that it would be just smashing to take lessons in ballroom dancing.

If I become a nun, this skill is likely to become useless to me...and if I get married...well, likewise. But a girl can dream, can't she?

Excuse me...I have some dancing to do...

"So long! Farewell! I'll even say Adieu...!"

Friday, December 16, 2005

Culture Shock

I spent half of my Junior year at college in Mexico, living with a host family in the very large city of Puebla, which is situated approximately 2 hours southeast of Mexico City.

I still see those months as the best and most valuable time of my life thus far. Three months out of thirty-one years and counting.

They provided much preparation for the differences in culture before we headed down...we discussed the weather, appropriate dress, "Mexican time", class and OUR duties as students, our the culture shock we would experience when we re-entered the atmosphere of the United States.

We remained in Mexico City for three days, during which time it rained on us and we thought we had left the sun behind. But we did see the sun again on the day we visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Amazing how she always points to her son...and that day was no exception.

But I digress. I remember our arrival in Puebla, sitting in the classroom after taking our Spanish placement exams, waiting like little orphan puppies for our host families to claim us.

"Who belongs to V.R.?" came the call. I stood nervously and left my new group of friends, still waiting to be claimed.

My host mother greeted me with a hug and assisted me in getting my baggage to her car. She asked me how much Spanish I had studied an explained that the girl who had stayed with them 2 years prior spoke very little, so she got used to using hand signals to convey what she was trying to say. I was actually grateful for this, for although I'd studied for 6 years, I was so lost and confused, my American brain so muddled, that intellectually I felt I had regressed to infancy.

She drove me to their home, chatting all the while...I barely understood a word. She was careful to enunciate, she pointed when she could and patiently repeated questions, words, or whatever I didn't understand. I was terrified and she knew it, God bless that dear lady!

We arrived and she showed me to my room, and around the house. She asked me if I'd eaten. Yes. She offered me food anyway. I had learned that I really could not refuse...this was their hospitality and if I didn't eat she'd think I was sick..or worse..rude. So as stuffed as I was from 2 Ham and Cheese croissants, hot chocolate and churros, I agreed to a...ham and cheese sandwich. (sanwich de jamon y queso). And bottled water.

Over the next few months, I came to call Mexico "home" and barely even remembered the conveniences and comfort of my American life. I didn't miss the things I thought I would miss and quickly became used to using the language...and excelled. Of course, I HAD to family didn't speak English and they wouldn't let me get away with fudging answers when I clearly did not understand the questions.

While I was there we traveled on study trips and I had to give a report on tomb 7 of Monte Alban in Oaxaca, all of the material for which was in very difficult Spanish...but somehow, I managed. I worked with women and men in prostitution as my practicum, a social services ministry called "Municipal Program for the Defense of Human Rights".

I saw cops who carried sawed off shotguns and learned from an ex-cop, as he told me very matter-of-factly that it was for shooting into crowds so they could kill more people with one shot.

I obtained a whole new view of the world and of the people contained within...and I rejoiced at every turn at God's creation. Although the trip was often difficult, it was also rewarding.

When it came time to leave, I did not want to go home. I had converted to Mexico..and in spirit, I was Mexican. I loved the country, I loved the people. I found God there, although I really didn't initially recognize this.

They had warned us about re-entry to the US, but it wasn't enough. There was no way to really tell us how to handle what happened upon our return.

Yes, we were greeted at the airport with open arms and smiling faces. We were welcomed to family gatherings and greeted with "Welcome back stateside" by relatives in military forces.

But the hardest question to answer was "How was Mexico? How was your trip."

The ONLY way to answer was, "How much time do you have and how open are you to a different culture?" But that's not what I said. I told them, "It was home."

Initially, I hated the United States. I hated the materialism and longed for the simplicity of the life we lived down south of the border. I was quickly bored with the sea of white faces, and blending in again to this culture that matched the blandness of the color of our skin.

Where was the color? Where was the understanding? Where were the people I left in Mexico, and how were they doing?

You may be asking what had happened to me?

I'll tell you. Some of it was frustration. I thought that when I returned to the US, everything would be the same and there would be things to catch up on. I thought the world would have moved on somehow. I thought things would have changed in three months.

Nothing changed. It was like coming out of the wardrobe from Narnia back to the spare room ("Spare Oom in War Drobe). Nothing changed. Nothing changed.

NOTHING changed.

Everyone was the same that they had been...but I had changed. I had come to see life with new eyes. I had come to understand things that I had never before understood. I had come to learn that the world is smaller than I had thought...and that my town and state were still smaller.

I had seen glories of creation I never thought I would see, and I discovered doors that I never knew existed...but I had no way to convey this because it is not just intellectual and experential social, or political, but spiritual.

I saw clearly what I had left...and had I not had to finish college, I would have immediately returned to that life I had so recently flown from.

For the longest time, that itch to return to Mexico burned within me, to minister to God's own children...but I had to bide my time.

And the longer I bided, the further I re-entered into American life.

But every so often, I long for Mexico, I long to return...not just to Mexico, but to other countries as well.

So I have to I a missionary in denial all these years? Did I miss my calling, or is God's time different from my own?

And when I remember those three months, I realize that I am still suffering from culture shock...and still...nothing has changed.

Or has it?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

I just realized that I CAN NOT let this day pass without commenting on this beautiful mystery.

For those who are not Catholic, or for those Catholics who happen to be misinformed (hail, I was one of you in this regard), I will provide a little info.

The Immaculate Conception, contrary to popular opinion, is NOT referencing the conception of Christ, but rather, the conception of our Blessed Mother herself.

No, you cannot specifically find this in the Bible, although there are passages which strongly reference this idea. We know that our Savior broke the chain of original sin which of course, since Adam and Eve, was passed down at birth.

Christ was born without the stain of original sin. How could that be, as he was born of a woman? Simple...God is very good at planning our salvation and so he created Mary and preserved her soul at conception from the stain of original sin. The chain, then was broken, and simple, humble Mary bore the lamb of God without blemish. had a great article on this today.

Our celebration of this Holy Day is not "Mariolotry", although we clearly honor this special woman, the woman so chosen by God to bear and raise his Divine Son. We honor her because God honored her, Jesus honored her, and as we love Jesus, so we love his mother.

When we honor Mary, we do not stop with her for she does not draw our attention to herself, but rather, she points the way to Christ. Through meditation on this mystery, Mary's Immaculate Conception, we see that Mary was chosen, yes, but she did not choose herself. She did not create herself, she could not have prepared herself. Everything about this blessed mystery points to Christ, points to God and God's plan for salvation. We honor Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant, and our understanding leads us on to greater knowledge of God.

In looking at this one mystery, it's very much like climbing a hill, and once we reach the summit, we see the breathtaking valley below us, seeming to go to all the ends of the earth...such is contemplation upon the Immaculate Conception. One cannot just stop with the idea of Mary's conception, but must move on and ponder the infinity of God, the eternity of God, the timelessness outside of our puny minds and understanding. We enter into other mysteries, such as the understanding of the Trinity, the transubstantiation, the communion of saints.

Indeed, although we honor our Blessed Mother, and deservedly so, she stands with us as a guide and gives praise to God for he is good, and his mercy endures forever. She stands as a good mother, bringing our attention to where it ought to be.

Hail, Mary, full of grace
The Lord is with Thee.
Blessed Art thou amongst women
And Blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinnners,
Now, and at the hour of our death

Sparkling Grape Juice

From the serious and deep to the inane.

I have recently "discovered" sparkling white grape juice. I picked up a bottle over Thanksgiving and once I tasted it I was brought back to my childhood, remembering the biting yet sweet flavor of the grapes growing on Vera's vine trellis. I've tried the raspberry grape juice (sparkling) variety, too, and found it to be also quite delicious.

Still, though, I haven't really been able to bring myself to trying the alcohol-free wines out there. I haven't had this issue with sparkling grape juice because it doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is...grape juice with carbonation.

But alcohol-free, that's...what? Non-fermented grape juice in a wine bottle...that's really not wine. I have nothing against pure grape juice, but I have to wonder how alcohol-free wine works. How can that be wine? Wine is all about the fermentation, and the sugars, sulfites, boquet, palate...etc. I just don't see how one can have that with the "free" varieties in a bottle.

Maybe I'll just have to try it one of these days.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Speak Lord, your servant is listening

I didn't used to be much of a Catholic at all, but I'm not going to tell that story yet. That's kind of a backstory at this point, classified as "Conversion" or "Reversion", and of course it's related to my vocational discernment, but it is seperate from this story. I will only give a couple details from ancient history:

I remember when I was in Jr. High, a cousin, 5 years my elder, to whom I looked up very much said, and I quote, "All good Catholic women should at least CONSIDER becoming a nun."

She was of course, quoting someone else. Her words, echoing unrecognized wisdom, have reverberated in my unworthy mind at the most unlikely moments.

My initial idea of "considering becoming a nun" consisted of, "Let me think about it". Pause, "The Thinker" pose for a heartbeat or so, and "No."

But then something changed, somehow. I came back to the Church (again, reference to the reversion story I haven't told yet.) And last winter/spring was my first Lenten season as a wannabe-serious Catholic woman.

I resolved to so something special, and a Life in the Spirit seminar was offered. Long story, but I actually experienced a great amount of grace during this course.

In the beginning, maybe 1-2 weeks into the 6 week seminar, I woke up one morning and could not face my job. I was struggling in so many ways and had this sense of unrest I didn't know how to address. I could NOT make myself go out my door that morning, try as I did. I got ready to go to work, trying to hype myself up as I walked my dogs, showered, got dressed, ate breakfast..well..picked at breakfast. I was on the edge of tears, edge of panic. But I wasn't sick, and I needed to go to work.

I talked to God about this. I told him I had to go to work and to take this ridiculous feeling away...but I could not face work. I tried to go out the door and collapsed upon it in tears, the door remaining closed.

I walked upstairs to the upper level of my townhome and called in "sick". I felt like an idiot. In reality, though, I was sick...spiritually...and that's what God was trying to tell me.

I had never spent more than a few minutes in our Perpetual Adoration Chapel, but that morning, I KNEW that's where I needed to be. As I went out the door, something (methinks the Holy Spirit) reminded me that Bl. Archbishop Fulton Sheen wrote most of his homilies before the Blessed Sacrament and that I should take a I grabbed a notebook and my Pieta prayer book and fled for the church.

I didn't know what to do when I got there, so I just prayed, with the occasional tears rising behind my lids. I dind't know what was wrong with me. So I told Jesus about that. I felt relief at missing that day's work, ironically, when I KNEW the unscheduled day would put me behind...but I had the sense that I was where I was actually SUPPOSED to be at that time.

I was so confused!

After awhile, I felt a prompting to write, although I had no idea what to write about. But the words flowed, I remembered times when I had denied Christ.

I pondered the Blessed Sacrament, enclosed in the monstrance, a ring of gold surrounding him. I sensed the Lord reaching out to me, offering me...what?

The words in my journal just began to flow from my hand, without thought, almost without perception.

Words came to me that I questioned, but I wrote them down, knowing, as an aspiring writer, not to question inspiration. I could always rip it up later.

But I had to go back later and read the words I wrote:

"Yet here I sit before the Blessed Sacrament in a ring, considering the marriage proposal of Christ."

I stopped writing, shocked. WHAT!?

But that prompt to continue was stronger than ever, so I continued, "Do I accept his grace or will I ultimately walk away, leaving him standing, holding a ring, and promising to be ever faithful? How can I see this and continue to place yet another wound upon his most Holy Sacred Heart?"

I nearly fled the chapel, my heart in my throat. Was I INSANE?

So I wrote in my journal, consciously, well aware, writing out my fear, "So, Jesus, I say yes, but not today. Help me understand and give you an unconditional answer."

I told the Lord "Yes", but here I sit, 10 months later, and all I've discovered is that I'm not very faithful, not very temperate, and rather, very tempermental.

I fled the chapel that day, fearfully...but I was drawn inexorably back. But that, my friends, is for another chapter.

God bless you all!