Yesterday, the dust was from Africa, in a wind storm called ghibli, and today the wind is from Turkey and is called the grecale, I think.
The point is that I and my flat are covered in dust. This dust reminds me of the ruins of the great cathedrals of Northern Africa and Turkey, the ruins of Christianity, which no longer exists in any of the seven great churches mentioned in the book of Revelation.
Dust is the symbol of humanity and Livy called the sirocco vulturnus.
We are the stuff of the wind and rain.
19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return to the earth, out of which thou wast taken: for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return.
Walking around with sand in one's eyes makes one aware of one's own body's destination.
It is a good thing to think about death and the fact that all of us will be dust.
My sister is dust and so is her casket. This does not bother me as I grew up going to funerals and hearing sermons on the Four Last Things.
But, it does not hurt us to think of our own passing from life to death to life again.
When I am wiping up dust from the floor, the counter tops, my clothes, shoes and even my breviary, I wonder if some of this dust comes from the old basilica in which St. Augustine gave his sermons.
Am I cleaning away sacred bits? This dust is prophetic, reminding me of whom I am and the fact that this beautiful city which I see before me could be a pile of dust in the very near future.
I always wanted to be an archaeologist, and this dust is the dust of centuries. I could be cleaning up part of Tell el-Amarna.
Even though Archbishop Charles Chaput was not a participant in the Extraordinary Synod on the Family at the Vatican, the Archbishop of Philadelphia certainly had some strong opinions about the Synod. After delivering a lecture titled "Strangers in a Strange Land" at a First Things symposium in Manhattan, Archbishop Chaput was asked the Extraordinary Synod.
Archbishop Chaput opined: “I was very disturbed by what happened [at the synod]. I think
confusion is of the devil, and I think the public image that came across
was one of confusion".
This blog helps me as much as it does my readers. I wrote months ago on my own blog how I meditate with a pen in my hand, as did Blessed Cardinal Newman. Some of us work out insights in writing.
But, since August, I have seriously considered dropping that blog for three reasons.
First, as God shows me more and more of my hidden sins, those predominant faults, the more I realize I
have no right to write about anything.
Second, the times are such that people must now make decisions and stop reading how to be perfect, and
become perfect. One can only share so much and then it is time for readers to act.
Third, being in the Dark Night is exhausting. I cannot imagine how Mother Teresa kept going in fifty years of
the Dark Night. Will power keeps me going...sometimes passion.
But, I cannot yet leave off the blog...not yet. I keep waiting to hear that clear voice I heard to start, stop and re-start again.
My blogging is a work of love and passion, for God and for the Church, which is all of you out there in the
But, knowing how much I am the wounded healer becomes more and more of a burden.
Today, I read this, by the Pope Emeritus:
"Redemption is not 'wellness' it is not about basking in self-indulgence; on the contrary it is a liberation from imprisonment in self-absorption. This liberation comes at a price, the anguish of the Cross."
Being a writer demands some sense of self-absorption. One must be a wordsmith, working with ideas on paper,
on the computer, moving pieces of type around mentally in order to communicate clearly.
But, for those of us called to write, the action is part of who we are as well as what we do.
To break through the self-absorption, one must reflect and pray much, and, listen. I must daily listen to God and
listen to His People.
My liberation from sin comes at a price. Someday, God will clearly say, "Stop writing."
That day has not come, yet.
But, I wait on orders, knowing that more of me will die when I have to give up blogging.
Today, in the Carmelite Church where I went to Mass, I saw the large modern stained-glass window of
Blessed Titus Brandsma. A bit of comfort, as there is a window of him in the Carmelite Church I attended
regularly the summer of 2013. It was almost as if he was saying-"No, you cannot quit yet. Keep going."
The Cross is writing in the pain of knowing I have no right to write, that my readers need to out-grow me, and
that so many I love the most do not read this blog. I write for the absent ones as well as you.
I encourage the members of this Guild to write while the sun shines. Darkness is coming for us all soon.
I have loved three men in my life. One I was engaged to and did not marry, one I married, and one I was neither engaged to or married.
Now, it has always been interesting to me that these great loves of my life were English.
One, was an English Jewish convert, whose family had been in London since the 16th century. One was descended from the Danes and the Normans from the 8th century and 11th century. The third came from old English stock as far back as the 12th century.
My great love for England and my passionate love for the Faith and the Church in England became focused like a laser pointer in these relationships.
In each encounter, I learned to love England more and more, as well as loving the person more and more. The blood and bone, soul and mind of these three men taught me to love England and the Catholic Church in England more and more. Each one taught me something new about my own faith as well.
There is no mistaking that this all was part of a plan in God's Mind to keep alive in me a passionate desire to bring others to Christ in England and more so, to strengthen the Church in England in any way that I could.
My missionary heart and my woman's heart merged into one big flame at these three different times. From the one marriage, came my son, the seminarian, no accident, but a God incident of the first degree.
He is named after two martyrs and a bishop. He is English through and through. He is dedicated to Mary. He loves England, our home.
Now, my love for these men has not faded. It has changed, but love is love, and if from God and not tainted by lust or selfishness, love brings one to God. Love is the stairway to God. One may suffer loss, but love transcends loss, and becomes the grist of prayer and sacrifice. And, real love of a Catholic sister for her Catholic brothers never ends. It is the love of heaven.
Of course, because of circumstances, I was not allowed to be in these relationships. In each case, my love was not answered with love or constant commitment. In other words, I was spurned.
Today, in Adoration, God showed me that He is in the same position, and let me experience through my very soul and heart a tiny bit of His tremendous love for the laity of England and for the Church.
Christ's love remains unanswered, unappreciated, unrecognized by the vast majority of English men and women. He yearns for His Mother's Dowry to be renewed, strong and pure. He loves England in a special way. Christ will not lead Mary back to England until there is a band of strong men to greet her. Spiritually, we need that renaissance of holy knights.
In my own small way. God has let me join Him in His love--a teeny-tiny way.
But, here is what is absolutely wonderful. God wants the laity of England renewed in order to renew the clergy. Most people think the other way around. No, God wants strong, dedicated, loyal lay people to renew the Church by evangelizing, by creating strong families, by forming saints in the home, by nurturing vocations.
It is not the other way around. God wants to raise up strong men and women to challenge the mediocrity of the clergy in England.
God wants that old Anglo-Saxon and Norman courage, that rich Hebrew heritage, that Danish independence, to stand up and create a new Church, full of traditional Catholics who are leaders.
They are out there. I know some. I have loved some.
God is calling England to renewal right now in the midst of clerical crises.
It is up to the laity to respond, now, and not with arguments or antagonism, but with love and real leadership.
Bede, Anselm, Boniface, Richard of Chichester, Etheldreda, Stephen Harding,the great mystics, came out of the same stock which died at Tyburn. They were formed on English soil, by English culture, the English Church.
Where are those courageous hearts now? Where are these daring men and women? Where is the new cloud of witnesses?
Where are the recusants, the remnant?
This is the call of the laity, to keep the Church going in hard times when the clergy is either too weak or decimated by persecution.
With great love in my heart for my adopted country, which has also spurned me, I pray for the renewal of the recusant heart and mind. I desire so much to help the Church in England. Let Mary come and guide us all again.
Ave Maris Stella, guide us, lead us to forgiveness and light.
The Extraordinary Synod on the Family is a two week gathering at the Vatican of over 250 Bishops to grapple with “pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelization.” Each day was dedicated to contemplating a different issue. This Extraordinary Synod will produce a working document which will lay a foundation for an ordinary synod in 2015 which would implement any formal changes to church guidelines touching about difficult family matters as well as a prospective Apostolic Exhortation.
The Synod Fathers heard from selected lay Catholics from across the globe to illuminate some of the challenging issues facing the modern family. “Synod 2014" touched upon hot button issues such as: cohabitation; divorced Catholics who civilly remarry, contraception, homosexuality; and the current elite cause celebre same sex so called marriage. Considering the subject matter the secular media keenly monitored the Synod and promoted any signals of progressive politics.
Despite assurances from the Vatican Press Office at the start of the Synod that there would be no doctrinal changes only better strategies for communicating the truths of the family, the secular and liberal Catholic media reports as demonstrated by Jesuit Fr. James Martin report of “stunning changes” on how the Catholic Church approaches the LBGTQQ? persons. This characterizes the Synod of the Media, which capitalizes on the media blackout to interject their Synod spin.
Mid way through the Synod, a relatio post disceptationem was released which summarized the large group session discussion for the small working groups. Progressives praised the relatio, implying that it marked monumental changes rather than discussion points. Conservatives are concerned that final pastoral positions may be preordained.
After the relatio was released and not universally welcomed, the Synod did not hold a regular media briefing with questions and answers. Catholic media sources like the Archdiocese of New York's Catholic Channel on Sirus XM satellite radio went wall-to-wall to correct impressions of the relatio.
The groundswell of dissent coming from within the Synod demonstrates that those pulling the strings did not appreciate how the interim report would be proclaimed as the gospel truth in the so called Synod of the Media which has its hot button issues on sexuality. In addition, the relatio did not reflect a balanced view of the discussion points. Moreover, this relatio concentrated pastoral approaches without clearly reaffirming Church teachings.
Richard Collin's excellent blog, 'Linen on the Hedgerow', has been updated by his family to tell his readers the sad news that Richard, a devoted and caring husband, father and grandfather, died peacefully this morning surrounded by loved ones, fortified by the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church. An entertaining blogger, kind, humourous and gifted, courageous, honest, humble, always courteous and dignified, devoted to Christ, to His Catholic Church, to the Mass of Ages, to Our Blessed Lady and the Saints, as well as to his wife and family, we are now asked by his family to pray for the repose of Richard's soul.
Pray too, for his family, those closest to him, who have lost such a good and noble man. Richard was blessed to receive the Last Rites and Holy Mass was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form at his bedside. May he enjoy forever the praise, adoration and worship of the Triune God and the ceaseless joys of Heaven. May the soul of Richard Collins, a member of the Guild of Blessed Titus, our dear brother in the Lord, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of our Lord and God, rest in peace.
On October 4, 2014, Miriam Teresa Demjanovich will be beatified at the Gothic styled Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, New Jersey. When Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints Cardinal Angelo Amato declares Demjanovich beata, it will be the first time it has been done on American soil.
One may wonder why the Church recognizes Demjanovich entrance into heaven. While Miriam was a postulate and novice, she only took her vows in articulo mortis in April, 1927. Demjanovich's cause for beatification was advanced by the Sisters of Charity in 1945 because of her saintly life as her striving for perfection in her religious life, her spiritual writings and intercessions with God.
In December, 2013, Pope Francis approved the miracle of a boy whose eyesight was completely restored from macular degeneration after praying for the intercessions of Miriam Teresa Demjanovich.