Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Not Sure It Passes Muster.

My Nativity Set, I mean.

Over here at Adam's Ale, Father V has posted a primer on the proper way to set up a nativity set. I honestly had no idea there was a special way to do it, but I have seen references to how to do it several places online this year. I've heard about leaving the baby Jesus out of the manger before. Mine is one whole piece so he cannot be removed. In fact the one pictured is not the one that came with the set. The original baby Jesus (also a blond) broke. Both his hands broke off. I guess the last year I put it up, I found another one to replace him, I was surprised that I had two baby Jesus'. So, I used the replacement. Next year, I think I'll use my mom's old set. It belonged to her aunt who bought it piece by piece. there are price tags on some of the pieces. It looks a bit like a Fontanini set but obviously isn't. It's the one I remember most as a child and so I'd like to use it as mine in the future.

I still am not sure if my set would meet all the criteria in the post... it's not a fancy nor particularly special set. I got it at Costco and it really doesn't have much sentimental value to me, other than it was the first set I ever owned. I like the nacimiento I keep up every day so much better. I will cherish it for years to come.

It's the first year I've put up that set in a long time. I would do it faithfully every year about the time I put up the tree, then I got lazier and would wait till Christmas Eve to put it up and then I stopped. I put it up this year on Christmas Day. I still like the tradition of waiting to put it up till Christmas Day and probably always will. I don't make my camel and my Magi journey across the room. It seems a bit too odd to me. I suppose I could wait till the 6th to put them up, but often I take everything down around that time, so, they go up a the same time as the rest of the set.

My dad made the stable for me and I always use fresh greens to dress it up. I have a fake tree so those are the only green things I bring into the house and it adds to the season a bit. I almost grabbed my mom's accessories for her nativity set this year. Hers are more suited to Bethlehem-- with palm trees and desert type accessories. But there is cedar in the middle east so I'm not too far off with the juniper. I think next year, I'll look for some rough tan cloth, I actually saw something at a hobby store that would have worked better than the white cloth.

Hat tip to Father Daren at Servant and Steward for the link to the post about the nativity sets.

Anyway... this is the eve of the Solemnity of the Blessed Mother. I really don't do New Year's. The best one was four year's ago when I met Michal. The year after that the sewer backed up into my house, which was good, so I wasn't here crying about Michal not being part of my life anymore. I can't recall the two since then.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I can't believe it's Sunday already. It was so cold all day long. The wind puts a damper on things. First thing this morning, I went out early to get some cash and something to eat, then came home to get ready for Mass. I usually go to the 11;30, mostly because I'm lazy on the weekend and can't get up early enough to make it to the earlier Masses. I then ventured to Mass. After I got home, I lazed around most of the day watching the History Channel. At least it didn't air any religious programs in which to yell back at the TV like I always do. Still, I totally hibernate in the winter. I've been watching "The Sound of Music" all evening. I finally got online and checked my LJ, my email and chatted online for a bit with a friend. I am now getting hungry. Go figure that I ate a late lunch and forgot to eat dinner.

Meanwhile, I found another article in today's paper about the celebration of the city's 400th and as well as the anniversary of the founding of the St. Francis Parish. This time it was a about a local photographer who has created a lovely calendar of various images of the Cathedral Basilica. It's here at the Santa Fe New Mexican Website if you're interested in looking at it. I may have to buy it as I'm sure it's worth the $19 and goes to a worthy cause too.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Playing With Words...

Something I like to do. I'm struggling with my writing. I think I need to write with pen and paper.

Meanwhile, here's my "Wordle", words and thoughts taken from the blog.

First seen over at the Anchoress and is here at Wordle.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Again, sharing the news because I'm too tired to post. When I saw the headline and teaser in my LJ news feed, I immediately got skeptical, but it's really a nice news story for this Christmas.

Virgen Maria, Adolfo and baby Jesus Emanuel (photo: National Perinatal Institute)
A Peruvian nativity (photo: National Perinatal Institute)

A Peruvian woman called Virgen Maria, who is married to a carpenter, has named her son Jesus Emanuel after giving birth on Christmas Day.

Twenty-year-old Virgen Maria Huarcaya Palomino had not been due to give birth on Thursday, but went into labour early and underwent a Caesarean operation.

Her husband, who shares the same profession as Saint Joseph, is in fact called Adolfo Jorge Huaman.

He said the couple had been planning to name their son after a football player.

"But thanks to a happy coincidence this is how things ended up," he said.

Baby Jesus was born at 0220 local time (0720 GMT) on 25 December at the National Perinatal Institute in Lima and weighed 3.32kg.

His mother said: "I am so happy to give birth on such a special date. I didn't think that my baby was going to be born today and now that I have him in my arms I am very happy."

Virgen Maria means Virgin Mary in English. She told local television that her grandfather, a devotee of the Virgin Mary, had chosen her own unusual name, with which, until now, she had not felt comfortable.

"In school they made fun of my name," she said.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Update of Sorts

Psst, Jeff!

The Labradoodle went home last night. I got home after Mass last night and stopped by my parents' house and he was gone. The owner had picked him up. My mom was really, really sad too. She wanted to keep her. She told the owner that she'd like to have her and he said if he decides to give her up, he'll give her to my mom. :-(

She really is a sweet dog. Now, I must get dressed and go catch me a wild, Poodle Doodle. I guess their dog got out. Grr. He's not one who comes back either.

He is Born. Christmas Eve Pictures...

I am a pretty decent photographer-- when I work at it. I snapped pictures from the Children's Mass last night, but not many came out. A tripod would have been nice. Drat, should have asked for one from Santa. Oh yeah, he's not real! I was so frenzied last night, I didn't take a picture of the altar, the sanctuary and the area behind the sanctuary. I forgot to take a picture of the Children's choir too. They were adorable. So, Sunday, I'll get more pictures. (ETA: I have more pics here.)

The Children's Mass was enjoyable, but the energy level was different. I didn't even really feel like I was at Mass becuase I was worried about getting Mary and Joseph down to their spots on time. But all the kids did wonderfully. Thanks to our religious ed director. She's been sick and yesterday had a wave of vertigo yesterday and she was still there to make sure it all went well.

This is probably the only good shot I got.

Our church is very beautiful. It's simple, not pretentious but not stark either. In this picture, it doesn't look all that impressive but it's truly a lovely church. It's very New Mexican in appearance and style.

Then, Mom and I went to the Cathedral Basilica for Midnight Mass celebrated by the archbishop. We arrived early enough for Carols and Lessons and got a decent seat close enough to the front that we had a pretty much unobstructed view from the right side. If you're not sitting in the center, it's hard to see what's happening at the altar sometimes. The Cathedral is gorgeous. It always has been. Last year, when we went, we sat on the side and couldn't see a thing, so this was nice.

For the Mass, La Conquistadora was brought down from her perch in her chapel. She was dressed all in white, very simple and plain. Much like the virgin mother. Usually for other feasts and celebrations she's dressed up worthy of a queen. Anyway, I came to the conclusion that I love to photograph her. I wish that I had the privilege of getting real "close up" shots. Anyway, this shot, I think is my favorite of all the shots of taken of her so far.

I tried to get a decent shot of her and the crucifix hanging in her Chapel. I believe the Crucifix is old and Spanish.

Now the boring part of this post. ;-) Mass was gorgeous. The music was gorgeous. Before Mass started the choir performed an arrangement of the Magnificat by an Anglican Composer, John Rutter. It was lovely. I have the program, maybe I'll try to scan it in. Then Las Posadas followed, with the arrival of Mary and Joseph. I think they were new parents from the parish because they carried their new baby. The manger was blessed and Mass started. Mom and I got home about 1:30, Dad was awake, so we had some pie, coffee and opened our presents like we always do. It was a lovely evening, quiet as I didn't go over my friends' this year. I stopped by my neighbor's and visited for a while though.

I didn't get to bed till four. The older of my two dogs got trapped in my bedroom last night and left me a lovely gift, even better than coal. So, had to deal with that. I slept really late and am now going to get my butt over to my parents' house so I can play with their new presents. I got Dad a digital picture frame and Mom an e-book reader, so obviously they don't know what to do with them.

I may dig out my other nativity set or maybe Mom's old set and put it up. I feel like doing that this year. And I'll go without El Caganer until I can get to Spain one day and buy one.

Merry Christmas to everyone out there! I hope it was a blessed and joyous one.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ah Man, Can We Call Him Father Grinch?

Priest 'ruins Christmas' for kids

By David Willey
BBC News, Rome

A Father Christmas gives a gift to a boy in front of a shop window in downtown Rome on 23 December 2008.
Dozens of parents complained after the priest let out the Santa secret

A Catholic priest has been criticised by parents in a city in northern Italy for telling their children that Father Christmas does not really exist.

Father Dino Bottino, the parish priest of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Novara, let out the secret at a children's mass earlier this month.

A local paper published complaints from dozens of parents. "You've ruined my children's Christmas," said one mother.

But an unrepentant Fr Bottino called it his duty to set the record straight.

"I told the children that Father Christmas was an invention that had nothing to do with the Christian Christmas story," he said.

"And I would repeat it again, if I had the chance," he added.

But Father Dino could not have imagined the scorn that would be heaped upon him after he told children at mass that neither Father Christmas - nor the kindly witch called the Befana who provides presents on 6 January to Italian children - really exist.

The priest said he had never intended to hurt anyone, but it was his duty to distinguish the reality of Jesus from the story of Father Christmas which was a fable just like Cinderella or Snow White.


So, it's been quiet 'round here for a few days. I really haven't had much to say and my energy for blogging is petering out a bit. Christmastime is pretty overwhelming. Tomorrow, I can't believe is Christmas Eve. I haven't done my baking. I also don't have any big plans. I promised to help with the Children's Mass, to make sure the children get their cues. They will reenact the gospel and help with the intercessions. The children portraying Mary and Joseph will help bring up the gifts for Communion, so I gotta watch out to make sure some of them hit their cues. I've never been to a Children's Mass, not even when I was a child, so I'm looking forward to it. But it's so early and I have to be there at 3:30. I have such a way of lazing a day away, that if I don't get up early tomorrow, I will do that and not get anything done by the time it's time to go to the Mass.

There's way too much snow to venture out to walk Canyon Road to view the Farolitos and Lumnarias. I usually go with friends but this year, I haven't made any plans. My mom wants to go to Midnight Mass again this year at the Cathedral. I have other friends who may want to go. The choir performs Carols and there are lessons before the Mass starts so I may go to that then. I really don't want to go again to my parish for the 8:30 Mass, which will also be preceded by Carols and Lessons, but if we don't make it to the Midnight Mass, we'll go to the 8:30. We'll open presents after either service, so it doesn't really matter which we go to. We always open gifts on Christmas Eve.

My neighbor has invited me over to her house as well, I thought I might stop by between the Children's Mass and going over to my parents' house for the evening. Speaking of the parents, they have a Labaradoodle staying with them and their Poddle Doodle. She lives down the street but was out (she's always out) I don't think her owner cares much for her. I had to really coax her to come inside their house (food and chicken jerky dog treats did the trick). She was all full of snowballs and her foot looked like it was bleeding. Everyone in the neighborhood watches out for her but it's shameful that she really doesn't seem to have a loving home. It's bitter cold, with about 6 inches of snow and wind like crazy. No dog should be outside in weather like this. She's always outside and maybe we're butting in by sheltering her for the night but it's too heartbreaking to leave her outside. She's very docile and very sweet. I don't know what will happen to her-- but at least tonight she's warm and dry.

So... now about this article I posted. I'm a bit disheartened that this priest shattered the myth of Santa Claus for all these little kids. Granted most children believe in Santa Claus-- even my 3rd grade Catechism students still believe. I don't think it is my place to shatter their belief. In time, they learn the truth. Some don't believe at all. I think it's something for parents to decide, not their parish priest. In fact, after last Sunday's Mass, Santa showed up bearing gifts for the little kids.

Parents can tell their children that Santa originated from St. Nicholas and teach them about him and celebrate his saint day on December 6th. In parts of Europe, the story goes that the Baby Jesus brings the presents on Christmas Eve. In Spain, El Dia the Los Reyes Magos is celebrated on Jan 6, as tradition states that's when the Three Kings,(The Magi or the Wise Men) arrived bearing gifts for the Christ Child. That's certainly a tradition worth celebrating.

I think as long as parents teach their children the true meaning of Christmas, that it's not all about getting presents, but a time to learn about the birth of our Savior, a time to teach them about compassion, to show them the goodness of giving and helping others, rather than thinking about themselves first.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Saving this link for later. It was helpful enough for the moment. Anyway, other Catholics aren't the only ones who drive me crazy. Sometimes the members of the Sephardic Forum are just as nutty, if not more so.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Pic Spam...

More Christmas pictures are here.

also posted on LJ.

You Learn Something New Everyday

Interesting the things I learn on the Internets by aimless surfing. I started here with a post on the Deacon's Bench about people being upset that Obama had asked Rick Warren give the incovation at the Inauguration, then read the original article, and in the comments, someone suggested instead of Rick Warren giving the invocation, that the Chaplain of the US House of Representatives do so. (Near the end of the comments.) My first thought, was nah, they wouldn't want him to because he's a Catholic-- yeah, I'm that cyncial and jaded right now. (I was pretty sure the Chaplain was a Catholic) so I did some surfing and discovered that Father Daniel Coughlin is the first Catholic to hold the post. He's been the Chaplain since 2000. The history of the Chaplaincy is pretty interesting, read about it here. Furthermore, the Senate appears not to have had a Catholic chaplain... yet.

As to my own thoughts on Rick Warren. I think that they could have gotten someone else too. I don't particularly care for Rick Warren or his message at all. I think his package is presented much tighter and much nicer than the the other TV preachers out there but it's pretty much the same message. Not feeling overly coherent right now to talk more about why I feel this way in depth. Cop out, I know.


I stand corrected. The Senate had a Catholic chaplain way back in the old days. I didn't see it as I scrolled through this list. I certainly didn't expect to see a Catholic chaplain so far back in Senate history.

Charles Constantine Pise, D.D.

Denomination: Roman Catholic

Date of Appointment: December 11, 1832

Replaced by

Frederick Winslow Hatch, D.D.

Denomination: Episcopalian

Date of Appointment: December 10, 1833

It looks like those were yearly appointments, but it appears that has changed in recent history.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

State of Maria

Oh jeez you know the world is falling apart when you see reference to "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen referred to by someone on you tube as the "Shrek Song". Oy...

Deacon Greg Kandra at the Deacon's bench posted this version of the song, which is lovely. It beats the Rufus Wainwright version (aka, the Shrek Song) of the song any day. But I still prefer Jeff Buckley's rendition.

In other news, I'm bored to no end. Yesterday it snowed between 5-7 inches. The roads were passable but it took a while for the cleanup to get done. Today there were slushy. The ground is warm so nothing is really sticking. The black ice path in front of my house has been pretty much prevented with this go round as I swept it and scattered ice melt.

In the morning I promised that I'd help organize all the gifts we collected at my parish for the needy for Christmas. This year we collected over 300 gifts, but apparently, in year's past we've collected gifts stacked up through out the gathering space in the church. It really touched my heart to see the generosity of the people in my parish. When my neighbor complains about how Catholics don't do anything to help the needy in the community, I'll add this to my list of things to show her otherwise. I helped deliver them to two agencies and then pretty much came home and watched it snow. Today, between my stomach feeling so-so and the weather I pretty much stayed in my casita. I glanced at some pretty scary blogs out there and I think I understand the whole idle time is the devil's workshop or whatever the saying is. Tomrorow, I'll start my work week. I have a meeting in the morning and Thursday is a board meeting and breakfast. I need to write a report for that.

Meanwhile, fictionwise, I'm going to try to write something pretty, but so far I've come to a dry spell with my writing. The NANO challenge was uninspiring as I didn't come up with anything worthwhile or useable. I should have written the vampire spoof I was thinking about. I mean, how much fun would it be to make fun off all the vampire mythos out there? Maybe it's been done, but it was what I should written instead of taking two characters on my fictional family tree to try to write their story.

I've almost finished watching the 2nd season of "Supernatural" and am loving it.

I also have to start thinking about baking. Bischochitos, wedding/crumb cookies, maybe even some chocolate truffles.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Guadete Sunday

Just a heads up for mostly myself and the handful of readers of this blog. I got a message via facebook about this program about Thomas Merton.It starts airing on PBS tonight, so check your local listings. I know many of us on this community enjoy his writings and relate to his life story, so I thought I'd pass it along. It looks interesting.

In other news, reporting Vestments worn today were rose. Our priest related the colors to Advent then after mass complimented me on my pink hat.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree...

The Vatican's Christmas Tree was lit up tonight. Today is also St. Lucy or Santa Lucia's Feast Day.

Patron of Blindness

Saint Lucy
Saint Lucy

Lucy's name means "light", with the same root as "lucid" which means "clear, radiant, understandable." Unfortunately for us, Lucy's history does not match her name. Shrouded in the darkness of time, all we really know for certain is that this brave woman who lived in Syracuse lost her life in the persecution of Christians in the early fourth century. Her veneration spread to Rome so that by the sixth century the whole Church recognized her courage in defense of the faith.

Because people wanted to shed light on Lucy's bravery, legends grew up. The one that is passed down to us tells the story of a young Christian woman who had vowed her life to the service of Christ. Her mother tried to arrange a marriage for her with a pagan. Lucy apparently knew that her mother would not be convinced by a young girl's vow so she devised a plan to convince her mother that Christ was a much more powerful partner for life. Through prayers at the tomb of Saint Agatha, her mother's long illness was cured miraculously. The grateful mother was now ready to listen to Lucy's desire to give her money to the poor and commit her life to God.

Unfortunately, legend has it, the rejected bridegroom did not see the same light and he betrayed Lucy to the governor as a Christian. This governor tried to send her into prostitution but the guards who came to take her way found her stiff and heavy as a mountain. Finally she was killed. As much as the facts of Lucy's specific case are unknown, we know that many Christians suffered incredible torture and a painful death for their faith during Diocletian's reign. Lucy may not have been burned or had a sword thrust through her throat but many Christians did and we can be sure her faith withstood tests we can barely imagine.

Lucy's name is probably also connected to statues of Lucy holding a dish with two eyes on it. This refers to another legend in which Lucy's eyes were put out by Diocletian as part of his torture. The legend concludes with God restoring Lucy's eyes.

Lucy's name also played a large part in naming Lucy as a patron saint of the blind and those with eye-trouble.

Whatever the fact to the legends surrounding Lucy, the truth is that her courage to stand up and be counted a Christian in spite of torture and death is the light that should lead us on our own journeys through life.

In Her Footsteps:

Lucy is the patron saint of the blind. Braille is an important means of communication for those with visual impairment or blindness. Support the teaching of braille in schools and learn about it yourself by calling your local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind.


Saint Lucy, you did not hide your light under a basket, but let it shine for the whole world, for all the centuries to see. We may not suffer torture in our lives the way you did, but we are still called to let the light of our Christianity illumine our daily lives. Please help us to have the courage to bring our Christianity into our work, our recreation, our relationships, our conversation -- every corner of our day. Amen

Original article can be found at Catholic Online here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Let the Madness Ensue

Politically Correct Christmas Carols has got to be my biggest WTF? moment today. Seen on various Catholic blogs, apparently there are some folks in various churches who have decided that the lyrics to many of the beloved Christmas Carols are too sexist, aren't politically sensitive enough, aren't modern or inclusive enough, so they've been rewritten to take out words like "Virgin", "Him", "King" and or "Lord". See article here at Ship of Fools.

And for your snarky entertainment, here are some examples, vote for your least favorite revision too.

Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe.

Words for thought today. Father Austin Murphy at Jesus Goes to Disney World , just posted an article by Clarissa Pinkola Estes about Our Lady. It's a good article, worth the read. Estes definitely looks at Mary in ways that I see her. I don't see her as a demure, wallflower at all. She couldn't be. Rather, she was a strong woman. When she said be it done to me, she gave everything of herself to God, she consented to bring his Son into the world, to be mother to our Savior, who would save us all. For all that she experienced, lived and witnessed, she had to be strong.

Here it is as he's posted it at his blog.

My grandmother said that if you listened to stories about Mother Maria for nine weeks straight without interruption ... or if you said the rosary for nine days straight without your mind wandering once ... or if you walked to one of Mama Marushka’s shrines in the woods for nine nights in a row -- nine being the number of months Blessed Mother carried the living Christo before giving birth to the Light of the world -- that if you would do any of these, that Blessed Mother would appear to you and answer any question you might have about how to live on earth fully ensouled.

But my grandmother also said there was a shortcut. Need. That any human being needing comfort, vision, guidance or strength was heard by the Immaculate Heart ... and thus, Blessed Mother would immediately arrive with veils flying ... to place us under her mantle for protection, to give us that one thing the world longs for so: the warmth of the mother’s compassionate touch.
I know you and I have seen many statutes of Our Lady, lovingly made, erasing all her Semitic features or her Asiatic, Inuit, Nahua, Polynesian, tribal European, Celtic, African, indigenous ones.

I don’t believe this was meant as a racial preference. Perhaps in the beginning, “whitening,” as in ancient alchemical poetics, was merely an attempt to show that whiteness and purity are often associated in much “Western” imagination.
So white-skinned. Blonde-haired, and our Mary Maria, Mir-yam, Guadalupe, over the eons became spoken about in more and more hushed tones too:
She’s pure, you know. Demure.

As they say, so content, so gentle, so quiet, so passive, so submissive.
Yet, I must say No. I say instead: Fire.

I know, and I hope with deepest love that you do too, know the Mary, Maria, Mir-yam, Guadalupe of wilder heart, of long journeys with a blurred map, of night fires at the far encampment. Our Lady who, when all the apostles ran away ... she stayed. Blessed Mother, she who is renowned as the one able to wear the flaming, exploding fire lakes of the Sun.

No demure little cabbage, that woman. No paltry, well-behaved carbon dot. No follower of worldly orders. Quite the contrary. Our exemplar.

I’ve a little white porcelain Mary that some good soul hand-painted carefully in a factory of thousands of porcelain Marys on a conveyor belt ... tiny gold curlicues on the selvage of her mantle. And lovely.

But the Mother I carry with me everywhere is the woods-woman La Nuestra Señora, Guadalupe, she whose green mantle is fashioned of moss from the north side of trees ... and star shards caught in her wild silver hair ... and her gown is soft, coarse woven cloth with the thorns and flowers of wild roses caught in it, and she has dirty hands from growing things earthy, and from her day and night work alongside her hard-working sons and daughters, their children, their elders, all.

La Guadalupe is no symmetrical thing with palms equally outstretched and frozen, but she is ever in motion. If there is emotion, she is there. If there is commotion, she is there. If there is elation, she is there. Impatience, she is there. Fatigue: She is there. Fear, unrest, sorrow, beauty, inspiration: She is there.
And she is demure in a sense, yes, but different from those who would fade her essence into an anemia: Yes, she is demure as in demurring to be contained and made small.

And she is calm, yes, but not without will to rise again and again. Instead, yes, she is calm as the mighty ocean is calm as it moves in enormous troughs and pinnacles, its huge waves like a heartbeat: easy, intentional, muscular.
And she is pure, yes, but not as in never going dark, never having doubt, never taking a wrong turn for a time, but rather pure, yes, as a gemstone is cut into a hundred sparkling facets ... that kind of pure, meaning gem-cut by travail, adventure and challenge -- and yet fully without a streak of dead glass in any facet. By the cutting, by means of the emery cloth and the finest polish ... instead of deadened, and despite all: still pure-fire bright.

Were I asked how one just coming to truly be with Our Lady might think about our Maria, Nuestra Madre Grande, I’d say, Think of her not in the ways you’ve been told/ sold. But, rather, seek her with your own eyes without blinders and heart without shutters. Look low instead of high. Look right under your nose. The exotic locale is not necessary. She is found in a shard of glass, in a broken curb, in a hurt heart, and in any soul knowing or unknowing, yet crazy in love with the divine mysteries ... and not quite so in love with mundane challenges. Yet, she is there. Everywhere. Do not accept vacuous, vapid words or images of her. Untie the Strong Woman. She’s been waiting for your special touch.
I often think of Guadalupe, Blessed Mother, with regard to an illustrated novel by Jonathan Swift that carried a picture of Gulliver, the traveler, pinioned to the ground. Gulliver had become a quasi-prisoner of the Lilliputians, a tiny people only 6 inches high. They critiqued Gulliver, among other things, for being in several ways “too big.” So, they tied him crisscross over all his limbs, and took him down with ropes then wrapped around brass nails and driven into pallet and ground.

The tiny Lilliputians stood on Gulliver’s chest and felt they had tied down the leviathan, the behemoth. But Gulliver just simply sat up ... and all his bonds burst, and all the tiny Lilliputians fell off, tumbling into the grass.
The giant lumbered off with the trivial rope-strings trailing behind. The Lilliputians shook their heads -- as usual -- trying to make sense of the Gulliver figure that was, in form, similar to themselves in body ... but in an entirely other way, so very unlike themselves.

I think many can understand this push to pare down the numinous, the unfamiliar, the unknown. What is truly divine mystery can be overwhelming at first. Yet it would seem in a culture that likes to minimize true magnitude of talents, for instance ... and to magnify the minimus, “the little man,” that is, the flimsiness or meanness or not well- formed qualities of matters ... that it is not only our calling, but our troth, our sacred promise given from the very first moment we ever saw the soul be assaulted in anyone, by anyone ... to untie the Strong Woman now. And forever.

Way too often, the only relationship we’ve been taught/told/offered to have with Blessed Mother ... is either none, through silence about her rich bloodline with us ... or else one in which we must agree to bind her down into a small and handle-able form ... diminishing her, by making her be the quiescent “good girl” ... in phony opposition to having another woman, The Magdalene, be the less quiescent “bad girl.” These are distortions of both women’s origins and gifts. Untie them both, then.

I have listened to some few theologians talking about Our Lady as though she is an appendage to a group of historical facts. Neither is she, as some charge, a superstition. She is not an obedient building made of cement, marble or bricks. She is not to be used as a length of holy wire to bind us all into docility, severing the other hundreds of traits given by God for being beautifully and reasonably human. She is not meant as a fence, but as a gate.
Who Protects Whom? An Ironic Story

I remember a New York Times book reviewer scorning an author who had urged readers to ask Blessed Mother for guidance. I have never come closer to getting on an airplane immediately, flying to New York, pouncing on that so-called critic’s crate-for-a-desk, and calling for a plague of frogs to take over her entire everything -- including, as the old fairy tale “One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes” told, that whenever the criticizer would speak from that day forward, lizards and toads and snakes would drop from their lips.
Ai! I was almost more horrified by my own horrible reaction than by the critic’s crummy take on supplication and Blessed Mother. Almost. Yet, I’d understood Guadalupe to say into my heart at that moment, something like this: “All are mine whether they know me or not, practice a devotion or not.” And that too, that oceanic generosity of the Mother -- so unusual in a culture that uses war and death terms for most everything -- that turned most of my ire into better understanding of the attitude I must try to take. For knowledge, for peace, for mercy. And this too, I believe, suddenly being inspired to strive to do/ be grace, not just receive it, that kind of sometimes startling intelligence, can occur when the Strong Woman is untied.

I feel I was called to the priesthood as a little child. A priesthood that perhaps does not exist for me in this world, and that was/is to take her and her works and through her that of her precious Child into the world. So I take mi Guadalupe to various gatherings, retreats and churches, some of which are, but some of which are not Roman, and who are kind enough to ask me to give the sermon or make space for me to heal and bless others with my hands during that set-aside time in a temple or temenos.

I tell about her world, her life, her daughters and sons, and always there is at least one someone who says, “We don’t believe in her.” Or, “How can you believe in her?” And I say I do not believe in her. I know her. Face to face, skin to skin. Mi madre. She is my mother."

This is the Guadalupe I think you know of, or sense, or want to know, or are very close to for years now; one who is joy-centric and sorrow-mending, one who is present in every way. And in so understanding that pull to the Holy Woman, we do untie the Strong Woman.

I pray strength into your hands and heart ... and inspiration and daring -- and fire -- to lift the Great Woman away from whichever Lilliputians have tied her down into more manageable form ... on any of the pathways you travel. No matter which dissertation or diminution she has been tied down by, she, greater than any Gulliver by far ... the moment we ask for her, see her, converse with her, love her … she gracefully rises up, pins flying in all directions.
With much love, some levity, and certainly deep longing, together, let us all sit up too, let us make all the pins fly too ... untying ourselves as we untie the Strong Woman.

May it be deeply so for you.
May it be so for me, also.
May it be so for all of us, ever. --Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Virgen de Guadalupe - Mañanitas a la Virgen 2007 - MEXICO

Feeling a tad bit sentimental today. There are some definitely interesting versions of this song... I thought this captured the faith of the people at the basilica quite well. I don't think I'll make it to Mass, though my parish is having one, and I have heard Our Lady of Guadalupe has a big one. Not sure if it's on the Vigil or the day. One of my good friends lives across the street from that church, she knows these things. I have to finish decorating my tree and I have to prepare for my class tomorrow.

The words and the translation from here.
Las Mañanitas Lyrics:

Estas son las mañanitas, que cantaba el Rey David,
Hoy por ser día de tu santo, te las cantamos a ti,
Despierta, mi bien, despierta, mira que ya amaneció,
Ya los pajarillos cantan, la luna ya se metió.

Que linda está la mañana en que vengo a saludarte,
Venimos todos con gusto y placer a felicitarte,
Ya viene amaneciendo, ya la luz del día nos dio,
Levántate de mañana, mira que ya amaneció.


This is the morning song that King David sang
Because today is your saint's day we're singing it for you
Wake up, my dear, wake up, look it is already dawn
The birds are already singing and the moon has set

How lovely is the morning in which I come to greet you
We all came with joy and pleasure to congratulate you
The morning is coming now, the sun is giving us its light
Get up in the morning, look it is already dawn

Additional verses:

El día en que tu naciste nacieron todas las flores
En la pila del bautismo, cantaron los ruiseñores

The day you were born all the flowers were born
On the baptismal font the nightingales sang

Quisiera ser solecito para entrar por tu ventana
y darte los buenos días acostadita en tu cama

I would like to be the sunshine to enter through your window
to wish you good morning while you're lying in your bed

Quisiera ser un San Juan, quisiera ser un San Pedro
Para venirte a cantar con la música del cielo

I would like to be a Saint John I would like to be a Saint Peter
To sing to you with the music of heaven

De las estrellas del cielo tengo que bajarte dos
una para saludarte y otra para decirte adiós

Of the stars in the sky I have to lower two for you
One with which to greet you and the other to wish you goodbye

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Good post today by Sister Mary Martha. It's about confession, sin, guilt and the origin of confessionals. I've been thinking a lot on the subject, as it's getting close to the kids first confessions in January. It amazes me just how much those 8-year-olds understand. There is a lot they don't quite comprehend. They're all different, they're at different reading levels and comprehension levels but they get the basics.

One of my kids came up to me the other day and class and recited his "Prayer of Sorrow"

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and falling to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy. Amen

It's an easy to memorize prayer, probably easier to memorize than traditional "Act of Contrition" we adult Catholics probably all had to learn as kids.

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. But most of all because I have offended you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.

I love the language, the words and the sentiment of the Act of Contrition so much better than their Prayer of Sorrow.

I have to read the prayer when we pray it at the end of class. While it may be easy to learn, it just trips me up. So, I told the boy who came up to recite his prayer, that I'd recite the one I learned when I was his age at our next class.

For this week's class I want to do a lesson on Christmas. There is one in the book, but I haven't looked at it yet. I have another teaching workshop on Thursday. I got some great ideas I'd like to implement with this next class. I'm hoping that one of the Children's bible storybooks I ordered from Amazon arrive tomorrow and have a good story on the Nativity. I ordered three Catholic bible story books. I may send back one or two of them. Of course, I'll do the lesson from the book, but we also have to start preparing for their First Confession. From what I understand, it will be a Reconciliation service, with the Liturgy of the Word followed by personal confessions, some will be face to face and some in the confessional. I've been told parents are strongly encourage to attend but have been told that they don't. That's pretty sad to me. The kids are scared and intimidated in the first place and when they're parents are lacidaisical about going to confession, what kind of an example is to teach them?

I was so scared that I made my mother go with me. I also went face-to-face with the priest. I can't recall what I told the priest, nor do I remember the priest that I confessed to, but in retrospect, it wasn't a bad experience.

Now, I like the privacy of the confessional.

Image gacked from a anti-Catholic website. Shh!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holy Mary Full of Grace

The Immaculate Conception of Mary.
Gospel Lk 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”
But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.

I'm finally getting around to posting about yesterday. It was one of those days where I had lots to do but got very little of it done. I've been struggling a lot with my feelings regarding my parents. I really shouldn't say "parents" but my Dad. Quite honestly, most days he's pretty together, perfectly fine but he's very needy and wants attention. I think he's bored. He gets frustrated easily and he does forget things. I'm glad I'm handling the finances but I'm not great at taking care of my own sometimes, so I'm trying hard to stay on top of theirs.

I don't have a lot of patience with him and I know it. When I get home in the afternoon or evening, I don't like going out again unless I've made plans. Yesterday, I kept reminding myself to attend Mass. I couldn't make the 12:15 and make it to my luncheon so I had to go in the evening. There are times, actually a lot of times, when I like to go to Mass by myself. It's nice to just sit there quietly and take it all in. I usually always drive myself though I meet my parents there or a friend on Sundays.

So, with that in mind and on the agenda, my dad called at 4:30 to take him to Walgreens. I was still busy getting the Christmas decor down and getting it all situated, but I said I'd come get him shortly. Then, on the way, I got held up by a neighbor. So, I picked him up at 5:10. He told me to just go to Mass and we could go later, but we went. I decided I'd just skip Mass. We got his prescription filled and he offered to go to Mass with me. Usually, it's iffy if my Dad goes to Mass on Sundays. If he feels well, he'll go. Otherwise he doesn't go. I didn't think he had the stamina to make it though Mass last night.

We got there, sat close to the back in case we had to leave but we didn't. Mass was gorgeous. Lately, I've been really lukewarm regarding the Church. I won't dare leave the Church but I've gotten riled up by so many things that some Sundays it's hard to get in the mindset to go to Mass but last night after Mass, the homily and the evening with my dad, I felt like my spirit was renewed. Mass was gorgeous. The smell of incense wafted through the church, the music was really good and my pastor's homily was poignant. Like most Solemenities or other big occasions, he sang the Mass and so it was just heavenly to hear.

Plus, I really love teaching Catechism. I hope by the time the kids make their First Holy Communions, I'll be a good teacher.

I'm also trying to keep up with the spiritual reading-- reading the New Testament and other books. I'm getting back on track with prayer and am trying some journaling.
Still, sometimes... being Catholic is hard.

(Partially crossposted to my LJ. Image is Diego Velasquez, Immaculate Conception.)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Just a quick post. While tomorrow is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and while I plan to be at Mass tomorrow, in this part of the country, (and other parts as well and Mexico) people await December 12, to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe. Rocco at Whispers in the Loggia covers it all.

I think we're a bit more subdued in our celebrations here, though I'm sure Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish will have a big event to commemorate the day. Mine is doing a novena and will have a Mass on Friday.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

How's This For Schmaltz??

Of course this is one of my favorite Christmas movies. I watch it every Christmas night. I curl up on the couch, with a blanket, some hot chocolate and dessert. I usually watch it alone, but I don't mind having company either.

I think that's a lot of schmaltz. What do you think, Jen and Jeff?

Also, Google images have digitized the pictures from Life Magazine through the years. Man, I know where I'm going to waste time. These are the Christmas images.

19 More Days.

St. Nicholas Nicholas is the great patron of children and of Christmas giving. He lived in the fourth century. Santa Claus is a short form of St. Nicholas. This famous saint was born in Asia Minor, which is modern-day Turkey. After his parents died, he gave all his money to charity. Once a certain poor man was about to abandon his daughters to a life of sin because they did not have the money for a dowry. Nicholas heard about his problem. He went to the man's house at night and tossed a little pouch of gold through a window. This was for the oldest daughter. He did the same thing for the second daughter. The grateful father kept watch to find out who was being so good to them. When St. Nicholas came a third time, the man recognized him. He thanked Nicholas over and over again. Later St. Nicholas became bishop. He loved justice. It is said that once he saved three men who had been falsely condemned to death. He then turned to their accuser. He made the man admit that he had been offered money to get rid of the three men. St. Nicholas died in Myra, and a great basilica was built over his tomb. Many churches were dedicated in his name. When his relics were brought to Bari, Italy, this city became a famous shrine for pilgrims from all over Europe. Nicholas is the patron of sailors and prisoners. With St. Andrew, he is the patron of Russia. The great charity of this saint has become legendary. Is there someone in my life who needs my love and generosity?

Friday, December 5, 2008

No Content Yet Today

Just a pretty picture of Mother and Child. I'm not used to seeing Asian portrayals of the Virgin and Child, so I scanned this when I got home yesterday. It's on the cover of Today's Missal, the Advent-Lent edition, which I was fortunate to get a copy yesterday. Our parish uses "Breaking Bread" which only gives synopses of the readings and my mom likes to follow along so I'm giving her this copy. I thought I'd get her a Sunday Missal for Christmas but I'm not sure yet.

Photo credit: It's a 20th Century painting on oil from The Korean School. I thought it was pretty.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

So glad it's just wheat and water.

I'm still giggling about my dream about the priest handing our bagel slices as Communion at Mass. I think I'm even more amused that I yelled at him for doing it in the dream. I still wonder about the state of my unconscious mind sometimes. I think I do my best writing when I'm sleeping.

Anyway, way back when, the Carmelite nuns here in town used to bake all our communion bread, but from what I understand they don't do that anymore. Their numbers are dwindling and they just can't. So I know for my parish, our bread is ordered. I wonder if we get them at the place in the video below? And the bread that the priest breaks tastes better than the little round hosts. Though... paraphrasing one of the guy's in the video says, it's not the taste that counts.

Watch. Enjoy. This video is really fascinating. First seen at Deacon's Bench who saw it someplace else.

Now... I shall go watch TV. I have the first of the two Stargate SG1 series ending movies and I feel like getting lost in SciFi fantasy for a while.

North American Anglicans to Split

According to the BBC, the Anglican Church in North America is going to split and form a more traditional fold in the US and Canada. This news doesn't surprise me. We've been watching the Episcopal church struggle lately. I also didn't expect that these more Conservative Anglicans would knock on on Rome's door or cross the Tiber en mass. I think we'll see handfuls of priests and bishops, like New Mexico's Bishop Steenson cross over, maybe one parish or so but that's probably it. Of course, I can't predict a thing so maybe we'll see more, but only God knows.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

With all the uproar about female altar servers, (I'm following a post at the Deacon's Bench) can you imagine what would happen if the Swiss Guard actually allowed women to serve?

Just a little snark for the day.

h/t to Clerical Whispers for the article. That blog is like my guilty pleasure. I can't imagine how Father has time to compile all the news he posts. I'm glad he does. He posts everything-- good, bad, sad-- and I read it all. Well, at least skim it. ;-)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him...

I'm compiling some links for this post. First off, over here is a beautiful page of Creches from All over the world. Deacon Greg over at The Deacon's Bench posted a news story about a Czech nativity set being reassembled in Dayton Ohio. I'm sort of a Czechphile-- it's kind of a long story-- which I don't need to go into now. Needless to say, I surfed around the site (link posted in the original article and here) and got lost in looking at the different Nativity sets. I find them all so incredibly fascinating.

Also at the site, there's an article about the tradition of Native American nativities in New Mexico. I've yearned to have one. When I used to go to Indian Market, I'd look longingly at the sets, but couldn't then and still can't afford one. There are pictures there and as well as in the main page of International Creches.

My mom's current nacimiento. I wish I had better picture.

My mom had an old set that her aunt bought bit by bit. I thought it was the most wonderful thing in the world. She's long since put it away, but perhaps I should pull it out of the box this year.

I have two nativity sets of my own. One I got last year for Christmas. It's a Spanish Colonial set, though it's a mass-produced piece by a re-known NM artist, rather than an original. I can't even fathom what it would cost to own an original Charlie Carillo. Mine is the set on the right. My other set, which I haven't put up in years, is a Costco special. I had to color the Virgin Mary's hair from blond to brown with a sharpie marker. It's generic, but the figures are pretty enough. I used dress it up with lights, cedar branches when I put it up. I'm thinking of digging it out, unless I get my mom's old one, which looks a bit like the Fontanini sets.

Hee... a google image search lead me to a Little People nativity set. And not to be outdone, but Catholic Supply of St. Louis has a variety of Nativities, from the classic, tasteful ones, to the downright awful ones. I'm easily amused you know.

Tradition has it that St. Francis put up the first creche.
I think the nativity is a probably the most visible reminder of what the season should be about. Granted, we know that's not how it actually was, but it's still a wonderful image, isn't it? The madness that has become of the Christmas season is a disgusting display of greed, selfishness and a complete and utter lack of respect toward one's fellow man, woman or child.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Belonging Without Believing

Interesting study about Jews, religion and affiliation. The study states that one can be an active member of a religion and not really believe. There are also statistics comparing Christians, broken down by types-- evangelical, mainline protestant, Catholic as well as the unaffiliated and Jewish.

I'm skimming it now but thought I'd mention it.

One of the things I found interesting is that evangelicals are more apt to believe in miracles than Catholics. The social findings are interesting. Nothing too shocking.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Watch This Space...

I have a post running around in my head, but I don't think today is the day that I really want to make a ranty, mcranty post about stuff that's bothering me. I'm not having a crisis of faith or anything like that, but I'm just angry and upset. I'm also having a hard time reconciling my beliefs. How can I love something so much and feel bitter and hurt at the same time? I'm angry but I don't know where or how to direct that anger. What I'm angry about is irrational and I'm not sure I can articulate just right. So, I'll mull it over a little bit longer and come back to this post later.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

He Was A Community Organizer, You Know...

Live Journal is down. So much for the transition going smoothly. It figures when all is said and done, it goes down unexpectedly when all is supposed to be well and good. I posted this there, I think, can't see if it actually posted.

Well, Father James Martin, SJ, is one of my favorite Contemporary Catholic writers. Apparently he speculated how Jesus might do on a job interview with the Obama Transition team. It's here at You don't even have to be Catholic or religious to enjoy the humor of it all.

My cousin actually applied for a job in the administration. She was a paid staffer for the campaign. We all got a laugh at the questionnaire. Even I couldn't answer it perfectly and I'm almost a saint. ;-)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Something I've Always Known...the First Thanksgiving Was Catholic

Spanish settlers and Native Americans celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Florida. Deacon Greg Kandra made mention of two earlier Thanksgiving Celebrations in his blog today. In his post, Is Thanksgiving a Catholic? he finds the answers to the question. Read his post to see the original article.

Of course it was and it makes complete sense that the Spanish Catholics would offer a Mass of Thanksgiving, when arriving in the New World, since Catholicism was (I still think is) a huge part of Spanish culture.

My ancestors didn't come over the Mayflower. They weren't Puritians, Pilgrims, or Protestants of any sort. They were Catholic and yes, they celebrated Thanksgiving long before the Pilgrims did.

My dad's ancestors arrived in what is New Mexico in 1598, but led by Juan de Onate, that that particular Thanksgiving was held in El Paso before they made the journey north, so, I claim ties to that one. Though, I know that the Spanish celebrated the first Thanksgiving in Florida 30 years earlier. These are things I've always known, simply because growing up in New Mexico, I was always away of Spanish, Catholic history in the New World because I had teachers who made sure we were versed in our own history. In my text books, the arrival of the Spanish in the New World covered maybe the first couple of pages and was never mentioned again. I knew because my parents made sure I knew the history and I also knew because I took classes in New Mexican history, though while I always I knew, it always seemed like no one else did.

Now, Onate is not without controversy. Still, without his daring expedition, the establishment of the first coloney here, my ancestors may have never come to New Mexico and who knows if I'd even be here. A couple of links about him here and here.

Photo: reenactment of the Onate Thanksgiving in El Paso. Taken from here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's In My Head

While doing some minor story research for my failing attempt to do this year's NaNoWriMo story, I stumbled upon this article from a Cuban American writer who was a Shabbos Goy back in his youth for the Jewish families in his Brooklyn neighborhood. It was a really sweet article and definitely worth a read. I don't know where I first heart about "The Shabbos Goy" if it was something I read or someone mentioned, but it was nice to read someone's personal account.

I know a lot about Judaism, but like a lot of things, I know enough to get me into trouble. For this story I'm working on my characters are half-Jewish, raised by mostly secular Jewish father and a Jewish mother by conversion who was raised Catholic and converted before she met the father. The characters are actually part of my fictional universe and are cousins to my other characters in my other stories. They're the children of the second oldest daughter on my story-family tree. I really think will turn out to be a really interesting character in the end. I'm really just fleshing them out, trying to figure out who they are and I have a loose plot brewing in my head, which will incorporate a lot of the family history that I know, but haven't written or compiled for this particular story. While I don't think religion is going to play into the story much, I do need to look up spellings and definitions of terms and words for the story. I need to make the characters as real as possible and I need to explore what life would be like growing up in their family.

Being curious by nature, I follow links everywhere around the Internet. Maybe one day I will actually stay on a website long enough to learn something. Or better yet, get off the Internet and read something!
I'm tired today... so I'll just link to this story at America's blog In All Things about the rise of Anti-Catholicism. Maybe I'm spoiled or just pretty damn lucky because growing up here and when I grew up I never experienced any anti-Catholicism. Sure, I had former Catholics try to convert me to their new found religions, but I don't recall them ever saying anything that was anti-Catholic. Maybe I'm living in my own little world where everything is sunshine and roses and I never noticed it. Nah, I don't think it existed here growing up.

Although, I do remember every fall, on the night of the Burning of Zozobra, a group of Bible believing Christians would pass out flyers saying how we were participating in a pagan ritual, that if we didn't repent or proclaim Jesus to be our Savior we'd all be doomed. There wasn't anything that was anti-Catholic about this particular protest, and there really wasn't anything particularly Catholic about burning this puppet, also known as Old Man Gloom. I mean, historically, the Catholics in Spain have burned effigies for many reasons, but I don't believe those were what inspired Will Schuster, the artist who created Zozobra, to burn this puppet. I also haven't been in years, so I don't even know if they come out and protest.

The only place where I've experienced or seen blatant Anti-Catholicism is on the Internet. It doesn't take long to find it. I usually stumble upon something anti-Catholic at least once a day. I'm also tired of seeing google ads on Catholic blogs and websites with links to the crazies at the most holy family site.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Watching Secrets of Mary Magdalene on PBS. I'm finding it to be a more scholarly retelling of the "Da Vinci Code" perhaps, it's giving the "Da Vinci Code" credence. I'm not overly impressed and I honestly don't believe in these theories of Mary Magdalene. Yes, I believe she existed, no I don't think she was the prostitute in the gospels, and she was important in Jesus' life and his ministry but I think they're reaching on just about everything else.

Ack... they actually called her Mrs. Jesus in this special. Oy.

Regarding one of my stories: Mary Magadalene, as the repenant sinner, is a quite important image for me to reference in the story.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Holy Bagels, Batman!

I will be the first to admit that Communion has been on the brain lately. The only thing is, this has nothing to do with the recent comments about who should or should not receive, it has nothing to do with the election or anything like that, but out of the weirdness that is my mind, I managed to dream that the priest had concecrated bagels instead of unleavened bread for Holy Communion. In my dream it was very clearly one of the priests from my parish. It didn't seem like it was my actual church but after dropping the "real hosts" on the floor, he managed to give out bagel slices instead. They were toasted and buttered. He also gave me a plain one and a poppy seed bagel. I got really upset as they were crispy and I kept saying this is wrong... you're going to drop Jesus everywhere, that it was unholy bread and not the Body of Christ at all. He seemed truly unconcerned. Sitting next to him was one of the sisters who works in the parish. They were sitting behind a table like it was a bake sale. They had the chalice sitting between them and handed it out really irreverently, like it was fruit punch or kool-aid. It was totally bizarre.

I do recall thinking or saying in the dream that Jesus tasted good and that left me with a very discomforting feeling. I shudder as I write this. I remember when I was a kid we were told by the nuns in Catechism class not to even chew on the host, that I can't actually imagine tasting it. ;-)

I do admit that the host that the priest holds up and breaks during the consecration tastes better than the little round ones that are kept in the tabernacle. I don't know what the difference is and I don't think the Carmelite nuns here in town bake the bread anymore.

I actually thought about emailing the priest to tell him all about this dream, but I don't think I will. As amusing as I think it might be, he might think totally differently.


A real life friend of mine wants me to recommend to her some good Catholic blogs. I am going through my blogroll here and those on my google reader to see what I think she might like. I read a whole range of Catholic blogs, maybe that's why I'm going insane. Some I like because more for the pictures that get posted than for content, some I read for just the content, I even read some conservative ones but skip the comments, unless I haven't had breakfast, ;-) . I really dislike the condescending, holier-than-thou bloggers (clergy and laity) that I've discovered.

I've given up forums for the most part. I do have to admit though, that they were quite helpful when I was doing some research for my novel, but then I stumbled upon a blog written by a young priest and he had tons and tons of great posts with historical, religious, and useful information. His blog has folded, but I did enjoy reading it while he posted. He didn't allow comments, so it made for an enjoyable read. I've found a few that I like almost as much. I think I'll probably update my blogroll to reflect my current joys and faves.

If anyone has any suggestions to add to this list, let me know.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Poor Richie...

Or I should say Ron Howard. It seems that he's been banned from filming in and at Catholic churches in and around Vatican City.

Alas, I can't even say I object to the books or movies for religious objections. I tried reading Da Vinci Code and couldn't get through it. Then I thought I'd watch the movie. I actually turned it off. It dragged and bored me endlessly. I guess I probably won't be seeing Angels and Demons when it comes out, espeically since I won't get to see some of the beautiful footage in Catholic churches. ;-)

I'm still snarky, pissy and moody tonight.

Well, It's Started

So today, I heard my first Christmas Song on the radio today. It was Mariah Carey's, "All I Want For Christmas Is You." I'm not a Mariah Carey fan at all, but I do admit that I really do enjoy this song.

I'm also feeling quite eager and hopeful for Christmas this year. I think I will put up my tree early this year. Last year it was a struggle to get it up and then to get it taken down. I really don't know why I feel so Christmasy right now. I have no money and bills to pay. The economy is bad. My parents are worried about money and the tenant renting our income generating property is struggling in this economy. I really worry that he will walk away leaving us in the lurch. I suppose I should pray for help, but sometimes, I hate praying for such "self-serving" things.

My love life is non-existent again this year, yet I'm used to that. I'm also pretty sure I can survive New Years.

But I have other things. I have good friends, my family-- despite being my family sometimes-- is happy, healthy and well. I'm doing okay in general and I'm fortunate that I have a home and people who love me. I have my faith, albeit, it's a bit shaky right now, but I do believe and I do want to grow stronger spiritually and truly understand what it all means to me.

While I know I'm blessed, I still think about what I don't have and wish otherwise. That's simply human nature. Hopefully one day, I'll find some of my prayers answered in a way that I'd like, but if they aren't, I'd like to be able to say that I can accept things as they will be. Acceptance is the hardest thing. Isn't it the last stage of grieving?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Old Religious Imagry.

I'm on a slight genealogy kick. I haven't gone all that far back on my family tree, but being that my ancestors first arrived in New Mexico 400 years ago (give or take) and have been here continuously since returning after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, and seeing as how they've always been Catholic, I just might be able to connect the dots and trace my family back. It would sure be nice to know the whole story, instead of just repeating the family rumors. Also, I've rediscovered La Herencia magazine. It's listed in the links section on my sidebar. Unfortunately most of the content from the issues is not on the web and I hadn't seen the magazine in bookstores in quite a while. It became subscription only so I didn't encounter it much. I saw the summer issue and hoped to find some pictures online somewhere. I checked the Palace of the Governors where I saw some old photos a while back and sure enough many of the photos used in the magazine were there, plus a lot more.

This is a 1948 image of La Conquistadora.

I also found an old image of a Procession of La Conquistadora. and here a page of pictures with many religious processions through the years. I wish the fees for usage weren't so expensive because I'd love to have copies of all these old pictures. At least there are archived and uploaded to the Internet for public viewing. This is an archive page of other religious pictures.

My mom used to talked about the traditions for Corpus Christi. There are images of that here, but she also would mention that they'd stop by all the churches in town and people would set up altars along the way. Here's one image of an altar and here is another which is really lovely. So while that photo was in the 1800's the tradition of setting up altars must have continued through the 30's and 40's while my mother was growing up. It's sad that we've lost that.