Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Harder and Harder to Breathe

It's been a sad few days here in Santa Fe. When bad things happen, I realize that I still live in a small town. Granted the population is on the rise and once the city annexes all the areas it plans to in the next few years, we'll be pushing a population of nearly 90,000, but as I said it's a small town. On Sunday morning, four teens were killed in a horrible accident by an alleged drunk driver. The toxicology reports aren't back but it seems highly likely he was drunk. I'm sad for the teens, their parents and friends. A friend of mine knew one of the girls. She was close to her family and her daughter. It's been really sad here.

I'm pretty ambivalent and am not really grief stricken as I don't have a personal connection to these kids, but the fact that four teens died when they shouldn't have is tragic. Of course, I'm sad, how can anyone not be sad? I'm also outraged. New Mexico may have tough DWI laws on the books, but it seems like that's where they are. They don't seem to be in use. We have one of the worst rates of drunk driving in the nation. I think I saw on the news we're #9 in the country. It's shameful to read the local news. Today a police officer for the city made news when was arrested for DWI over the weekend, there was a nother piece about a young man with 23 DWI arrests and nothing was done about it. I just don't get it.

I hate stupid people. I am really intolerant to people who drink and then drive. Of course, I have issues regarding drinking as it is but that's another story and too personal to share in this blog. That's probably all I will post about this but I wanted to rant a little bit.

Watch This Space

It's been quiet here. I know that. I will post something soon. Of course, it will all be blathering about the novena that I just finished, with pictures and reflections. Nothing anyone will want to read about, ;).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Spirit Rejoices In God My Savior

Abandon Oneself to God

It seems like if there was a theme for this year's novena, it would have been healing. Of course the underlying theme was directed toward our Blessed Mother, emulating her in the ways we can, to rejoice in our God and say our yes to Him.

God's love for us is a strong and powerful thing. he has a plan for us and our lives, we must be open to it. It's hard to trust in His Will especially when we are battered, beaten and bloody both emotionally and spiritually. It is hard to let go of our doubts, fears and completely trust in Him.

Often when we are sick or a loved one is sick, we find ourselves alone, discomforted and afraid, God is with us and will never abandon us, but the trouble is that when we need to most we can't surrender ourselves to God. I think that is why the monsignor mentioned the following prayer. It reminds us of the need to abandon our whole selves to the Lord that he will be there for us and give us what we need, if we can surrender our fears and doubts and put our trust in Him.

I think for me, praying the psalms has opened up my mind and heart to God. Reading those ancient words, which have been read by so many before me-- saints, prophets, priests, the Lord Jesus himself.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gifts From God

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God, my salvation.
For he has shown me such favour –
me, his lowly handmaiden.
Now all generations will call me blessed,
because the mighty one has done great things for me.
His name is holy,
his mercy lasts for generation after generation
for those who revere him.
He has put forth his strength:
he has scattered the proud and conceited,
torn princes from their thrones;
but lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
he has remembered his mercy as he promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Luke 1:46-55

A Little Bit More

It's day six of the Novena. I am writing my reflections down each day and trying to think about what I'm going to blog. I've been taking photographs, but I'm probably not going to post many.

It has been a glorious week that in addition to the Novena, I've been able to accomplish a few personal things. I've been going to the gym and getting in some good, healthy walking. I think I'll be back to my fast walking pace in another week or two. I'm enjoying the exercise and in just the two weeks I've been back at it, I feel a lot better and think I look a tad bit better. That's more wishful thinking than anything, but the energy level is back up, which is a good thing. I have put off the heavy yard work, as between the Novena, what work I've had and the exercise, I'm too tired to play in the garden.

I've also picked up my prayer life again. I've been praying the Office a bit more regularly and it really does enhance my mornings and evenings when I pray Lauds and Vespers. Granted, I'm always praying them later than I should, but I can't start and end my day without them.

I also finally got around to exchanging a birthday present. I was given Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life-- he is so not my favorite religious figure out there-- and I was stumped as to why I was given that book. It seemed odd to me. So, I ended up with a Sunday Missal and I bought a book about New Mexico Santos. I feel so much better now.

I have family coming in later today and the rest of my extended family is getting together for a steak fry up in the mountains. I am looking forward to it but am dreading it as well because I'm so tired. I got up late this morning 5 am, but was on time to the chapel for Mass. It was nice, however my favorite day is always Friday, not because it's my parish's day, it may be part of it, but it's always just the best Mass. The music is always traditional and well done, it's uplifting and just fills the chapel with joyful noise, Father's homily is always top notch and he sings most of the Mass. Both our deacons serve and it just feels really special. Sunday morning is probably a close second, though on Tuesday there is also always a great homily and a lovely choir.

Also, I shouldn't probably pick a favorite day and post it, should someone local ever discover this blog, it will appear that I am biased and I don't want that. Honestly, each day is special in its own way and I'm sure the members of the particular parishes feel just as strongly about their parish's day as I feel about mine. Odd thing is there is one parish in town in the years that I've been attending the Novena that doesn't sponsor a day and I wonder why.

Well that sums up why I'm not really blogging much this week, but I will be back later when I have something really interesting to share. Off to get ready for the picnic. Grr. What happened to the monsoon rains? And I actually helped plan this family event, so I have to go!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Our Lady of Peace

Today's gospel was about the leper being healed and clean through the will of God. Apparently lepers and the ill were not cast out of because of their aliments but for the greater good of the community to keep them from getting ill. Sounds like semantics to me, but we do hide away the things we don't want to see in our communities. We try to pretend like we don't see the homeless man on the street, or the run-down neighborhoods where the poor, downtrodden or newly arrived live. We don't like bad parts of society. We'd rather hide it all away. I know I'm guilty of not wanting to see the bad sometimes. I think it's part of human nature.

This thought wasn't something I thought about on the novena that day. I have come back to this post a month after the fact. I did jot down my thoughts, which I'll share now.

Back to Leper Colonies. Relegating the Lepers to a colony was not see ans a cold or heartless act, but one of mercy and compassion. In time, that mercy and compassion faded to fear and heartlessness, which we see today in the way we treat the undesirables of our society.

We, as disciples, are called to spread the Good news. The Gospel today (well that day) shows how the Leper was healed and then shared the good news, though he was told to tell no one but the priest, who could declare him healed. Perhaps he did keep the news to himself, but surely the news of his cure spread. The Lord does wondrous things. God can heal minds and spirits.

Father then talked about Mary. He said a Mariologist said that through her intercession the whole world might be united. He mentioned that her shrine in Ephesus, people of many faiths make pilgrimages to where her home once existed-- the foundation remains. It surprised him that so many non-Christians found themselves there. She has brought many people to her son, she truly is the first disciple of the Lord.

Mary is the mother of us all. All the great faiths acknowledge her, while they may not venerate or call upon her intercession, as we do as Catholics. They recognize her.

I think because Mary is a woman and a mother, she becomes someone we all can relate to our lives. Her struggles are akin to ours in many ways. We can model our lives after her. We must remember her strength and courage when we are weak and suffering and need someone to follow. She can be our guide and bring us closer to God.

Again Mary's yes to God should be an example to us all. We should be joyful and rejoice in God, Our Savior and say yes to God.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

She Is Our Biggest Advocate

Oddly enough, today's Mass while lovely, didn't really inspire me to write anything. The sponsoring parish was St. Anne's and the theme of Father's homily was that the Blessed Mother is everywhere, that she is our advocate to God and that we should always strive to better ourselves, avoid sin but know that we can seek God's forgiveness and mercy.

This was a day when I almost decided to stay home and sleep in. It took all the energy I had to roll out of bed and make it to the chapel on time for Mass.

Father also told a great story about the Three Archangels and how Michael reported back to God that the Blessed Mother was everywhere doing His will and that people knew her, especially the people of Santa Fe, who were doing a Novena in her honor.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Stunned to Silence

Today was the Solemnity of the Birth of St. John the Baptist. The sponsoring Parish was Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is the city's second oldest parish.

Zachariah was stunned and speechless when he learned he was going to be a father. This wasn't all that unusual as we are all often stunned silent in our lives. We are so overjoyed with excitement we often cannot find the words to express how we feel. This was how it was for Zachariah.

When God fills us with good things, often we find ourselves surprised, content and feeling speechless. Sometimes we don't even find ourselves worthy of God's gifts and graces.

We should rejoice in God-- remember that he is always there to lift us up when we feel lowly or helpless. We could give up, as we often do-- as Zachariah and Elizabeth did-- they had come to accept the fate that they would never have a child. We learn to accept similar realities in our lives, only to be stunned silent by the generosity of our gracious God.

God can and will heal our spirit and he will never leave us, despite the fact we leave Him. Remember we are the ones who leave God, we get angry with him, lose patience and abandon HIm. He, however, waits patiently for us and he loves us fully and unconditionally. God's love never fails us and perhaps that is why we sometimes find ourselves speechless as we marvel at the wonder and awesome nature that is Our God.

The canticle of Zacarhiah should remind us how wonderful God is and we should always honor our God.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
for he has come to his people and brought about their redemption.
He has raised up the sign of salvation
in the house of his servant David,
as he promised through the mouth of the holy ones,
his prophets through the ages:
to rescue us from our enemies
and all who hate us,
to take pity on our fathers,
to remember his holy covenant
and the oath he swore to Abraham our father,
that he would give himself to us,
that we could serve him without fear
– freed from the hands of our enemies –
in uprightness and holiness before him,
for all of our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High:
for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare his path,
to let his people know their salvation,
so that their sins may be forgiven.
Through the bottomless mercy of our God,
one born on high will visit us
to give light to those who walk in darkness,
who live in the shadow of death;
to lead our feet in the path of peace.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.

Luke 1: 68-79


As always, with any photos I post but most especially my own photographs, feel free to download and save the image, but if you re-post, please credit me and include a link back to my blog.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Say Yes To God

These are thoughts I wrote down in my journal after today's Mass. Most of my ideas come from the morning's homily, so I'm probably doing nothing but paraphrasing what the priest said, but in any event, this is what I came away with today.

Be like Mary and let your spirit magnify and rejoice in the Lord. When we are weak, we are strong. Be poor in spirit and God will be there and fill our lives with all that we need. Riches on Earth are not gifts from God and they don't guarntee that we are a assured a place in Heaven. God fills and lifts up the lowly, just like he did with Mary-- she understood this and proclaimed in her beautiful "Magnifcat" that:
"He has looked with favor on his lowly servant."
Mary was the first disciple of Christ and she let God fill her heart. Though, she felt unworthy, she said yes to God. We need to be like Mary and say yes to God. If we trust in God, we will be strong. Our riches are in the Lord-- in Jesus our Savior. Trust in Him to be redeemed and saved.

God casts down the proud, the wicked, but raises the humble, gives good things to the poor. We should love God with our soul, we should proclaim his greatness and rejoice in Him, just as our Blessed Mother did.

As always, with any photos I post, but most especially my own photographs, feel free to download and save the image, but if you re-post, please credit me and include a link back to my blog.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Santa Maria, Madre Mia

As always, with any photos I post, but most especially my own photographs, feel free to download and save the image, but if you re-post, please credit me and include a link back to my blog.

Eh... Not So Much

The Novena has officially started. I may post reflections day by day. I didn't take many pictures of the procession. I wish I'd have written a free-lance article for one of the local papers. The one in the New Mexican wasn't great and didn't quite capture the real experience or history of the Novena.

Not sure if I'll post pictures daily like I did last year. I am taking pictures and will take pictures of the procession as it comes back. Like I said regarding the Corpus Christi procession. It's hard to take pictures and be a participant. Nevertheless, if I get good ones, I might post one per day. We'll see. So far, I'm not overly motivated.

Today's Mass wasn't overwhelming or extraordinary like the first Mass usually is. It was nice, it was lovely and the homily was very good, but it wasn't awe-inspiring. Maybe my expectations are too high. I'll revisit this later.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In The Pro-Life Closet

For a million reasons plus one, this article/personal opinion piece in the New York Times blog by a young pregnant grad student posting why she's going to end her pregnancy makes me very sad. I don't and really won't discuss abortion in this blog. I can't, but I'm having a gut reaction right now so bear with me while I work out these thoughts.

First of all, it's a hard subject to discuss with a group of women friends, with close family let alone the masses on the Internet. I am a woman and I could have walked in her shoes before. I never would have had an abortion at 22. However, I am not going to stand in judgment of her either. I can't. It's not my place. This is why I don't talk about this subject.

I've known women who have had them. I have friends who have accompanied young women to abortion clinics and I can't judge them either. I won't get up on a moral high horse or yell from my soap box that I disagree with their choices. They were theirs to make.

I will say my position has changed dramatically as I've grown up. In school, the naive girl I was, I had no idea what abortion was. I just knew we had to pray really hard for its end. When I was in school, the ten-year anniversary of Roe V. Wade passed and we had a teacher, a former nun, lead us in prayers to see an end to abortion. It left an impression on me, though, in college, my politics and identity as a feminist lead me to become pro-choice. Every woman I knew and friend I had was, and it just seemed to be the right position to take as a young woman. Thank God, I never had to make that choice. In fact the one time I thought I was pregnant, I hoped and prayed for it to be so, even though I knew I would have to do it on my own. Obviously, it wasn't meant to be. As I've gotten older, I've become anti-abortion. Possibly because I am older, maybe, hopefully wiser, and still hopeful that I'll still be a mother one day.

So it makes me very, very sad that this woman is choosing to end her pregnancy, but it is her decision to make. But I'd be one of many women in line to adopt that child or any child that isn't wanted. I guess that is what breaks my heart the most.

Recently, a young mother in Albuquerque, took the life of her 3-year-old son. It was tragic, devastating and unlike this girl, she felt desperate and didn't have the same choices this girl has. She didn't have anyone to turn to, she didn't seek any help and she did the one thing that she thought was best. To outsiders, it was unfathomable, devastating and tragic. To her, only God knows and how incredibly lonely and sad it must have been to feel so desperate that she took her own child's life.

Is this young grad student's situation any more different? If so, how? I can't believe I even wrote this post up because this is not something I feel like I can discuss, but since the death of Dr. Tiller, I've been struggling to articulate my feelings and I think because of his murder, I've gone further into the closet about being pro-life. I honestly don't know if that makes sense... I can't even imagine telling my best friend this.

I might pick this up later, because I do have thoughts about the death of Dr. Tiller, the pro-life movement, the pro-choice movement and why I don't think there will ever be common ground and why I think I like the closet best right now.

Also, this post might self-destruct.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My Lord and My God

Corpus Christi pictures to come to this space shortly. I took tons and tons. Some came out nicely. I like taking pictures of religious events but don't always feel "right" taking pictures. It's hard to be reverent and prayerful and capture a moment in time. So I did my best.

It was also a cold, rainy day and we stopped walking the procession after the fifth station, which was the altar set up by my parish.

I also heard the new bells ring at the Cathedral. They are gorgeous.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I recently discovered Fr. Robert Barron at World on Fire. He's a powerful speaker and puts together great videos and sermons about the faith, the Church and everything else. I just watched this clip about what happened to the Church in Europe (h/t to the blog of the Archdiocese of Washington). I found it especially interesting as a Catholic, a wanna be European traveler and a writer.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Last year's Corpus Christi post. I'll post this year's picture and reflections in this spot Sunday or Monday.

Then next weekend I'll be attending the Archdiocese of Santa Fe's 2009 Evangelization Conference

“Hear…Speak…Live…the Word of God”
Friday and Saturday, June 19–20, 2009
Albuquerque Convention Center.

It sounds interesting. I can't find the website link where all the info was, but I'm looking forward to it, and I'm not. I am hoping someone I know will go as I'm not good at going to conferences and events like this on my own. My aunt talked about going, in fact, she mentioned it to me months ago but she hadn't registered last time I talked to her. I'll give her a call tomorrow or over the weekend. I am not looking forward to driving back on Friday night but I don't want to stay in a hotel and I definitely don't want to stay with anyone down in Alb. I have plenty of friends that I could stay with but I like sleeping in my own bed. I'm wondering if the Rail Runner will be an option for me for at least Friday night.

Then the Novena starts on Sunday with the procession from the Cathedral to the Rosario Chapel at the cemetery. I will have to get a picture of my great-grandfather's grave on one of those days.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Walking on Sunshine.

Rain makes the world or my little piece of it seem all that much brighter. This morning I woke up to a great morning rain, several hours of heavy rain, actually. It wasn't warm enough to open the window to smell it and listen to it, but it was truly lovely. By noon, it had cleared up to a lovely New Mexico blue sky, but a couple hours later it clouded up again and rained even more. Now, it's gorgeous outside. The ground is soaked, everything is fresh and clean. I contemplated heading to the gym to work out, then I thought about going to a movie, but ended up driving around town with the sunroof open, the windows down and the Goo Goo Dolls playing on the CD player while I ran errands.

I don't remember how long ago I cleaned out my college notebooks and papers, but awhile back I tossed most of those things while I saved notebook after notebook with stories and ideas for stories. In college it was mostly Highlander fanfiction, but before that, it was mostly teenage angst. I still have a vague recollection about some of my stories, but I don't want to venture to guess what some of the plotlines were or who the characters were based on.

Meanwhile, I am on a quest to find a paper I wrote Junior year for Religion class. I had to write about the Death Penalty and I didn't quite grasp the concept of Capital Punishment then. It was probably the first real research paper I had to tackle and so I worked really hard. I ended up with an A, but for the life of me I can't remember what I wrote and I saw it when I was cleaning out my school boxes and I can't find it for the life of me now. I know I saved it.

Amid the notebooks and other papers, I found old Trapper Binders from high school filled with story after story written in long hand. I wrote hundreds of pages. I didn't read through them because I was a bit too scared to look at them, but now I know why I didn't care all that much about high school, I was too busy becoming an unpublished novelist. There is some really craptastic poetry too. I mean that. I am a lousy poet. I envy you guys who write and post poetry and it really is mostly you "guys". It blows me away how poets can express such poignant and profound thoughts in so few words, meanwhile, I ramble on probably losing track of my whole point, which of course anyone reading this journal should be able to figure out.

It was a good day. Now I'm off to have dinner with my folks, which I still do a couple of times a week. For those playing along, dinner tonight will be, orange roughy, corn, baked potatoes and salad. As, I'm not cooking, I know it will be good.

I brought the poodle doodle back with me and walked him home, together with Estrella. It was a nice evening for a walk, but you know, it's gonna to amaze me when I'm sore. You don't think walking is so hard, but it can be a great workout, especially when you've a precarious hold on two four-legged beasts. I think two miles is Estrella's limit though. She's sacked out.

posted at the lj earlier.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

59 Years as a priest.

A nice feature story about Franciscan Priest Fr. Crispin, in the Santa Fe New Mexican today.
He's been in New Mexico for 55 years and had been at the Cathedral for many years and is beloved and though retired, still active as a priest.

The Trouble With Blogging...

Is that you have to blog. Lately, I've been trying to stay off the Internets. Not that anything is especially driving me crazy but I think I'm a bit burned out. I have a Livejournal-- three actually. One paid. One is for everything, another was just for writing and a third was for who knows what. Right now it's my health and fitness LJ. I got a few other ones that I have not used at all, I have a writing blog and now Facebook. I cannot keep up with it all! Guh!

I've been adding blogs to my google reader and will probably update my blog roll later. There is a lot of good stuff out there. I'd love more traffic to this blog but honestly, I'm not sure I could keep up with the blogging to be able to make it worthwhile.

I'm not feeling so detached from church these days. I haven't missed a Sunday in two years years. I'm pretty content knowing that. I wish I could say I've been a bit more dilligent with prayer and my daily fitness routine. The Novena is coming up and I cannot wait. It comes at the perfect time when I'm most spiritually worn out. It refreshes my soul, it wakes me up spiritually and reminds me of just why I am a (practicing) Catholic. I cannot wait for those early mornings. However, as chilly as it's been lately, I wonder if it's going to be good those days?

I have a new story idea in my head... so I have three stories mostly done, one new idea that I haven't fleshed out at all, and an even newer one that I've been writing to see where it takes me. I have other characters who want to tell me their stories too.