Call Me Catholic

Kneeling in the Rain

A few weeks ago I was present at a Mass that I’ll never forget.  I don’t think the children will either.

It was during Lent, when our country quickly began shutting down all around us, and our bishops began closing churches and denying the sacraments.  It was surreal to be abandoned like that.  I mean, to have bishops willingly label the Church as “nonessential” overnight, for a virus.

The Mass, however, the Mass we attended that morning was beautiful.  We hiked up a hill in the rain with our umbrellas, knowing that we would only have to remain in the rain, as the government had deemed the church “unsafe” and “nonessential.”  And so we stood with about 15 other people in the pouring rain.

The old friar celebrating the TLM had set up a screen in the piazza, under an overhang, so that we could pray along with him.  We all knelt on hard concrete in sopping puddles.  At communion time, a different friar came outside and distributed Holy Communion to a wet, cold flock.

It is difficult to tell you how I felt.  I was thinking of Abraham pleading for Sodom and Gomorrah.  Oh, Lord, here are about 25 faithful people!  Relent!  But I was thankful too–so very, very thankful–that those friars understood what was important.  They were doing everything they could to administer to our souls.  Indeed, another friar was hearing confessions during the Mass.  Deep emotions of gratitude welled up within me.  I felt so blessed; I knew the love of God in that moment–I felt it through those holy friars.

Furthermore, I wanted to embrace those other 15 people, who were willing to suffer for Jesus and endure that dismal, penitential rain.  And I loved my husband, for he held the baby and took the brunt of the weather, sheltering us as best as he could.

Who would ever have thought that we’d be in a situation like that?  And how, O Lord, will it end?

Ah, but life will never be the same.  A line has been drawn.

And our children are watching.  What will we do?

Monthly Picks

April Picks-Coronavirus Edition

Disclaimer: I may have been feeling a bit…fractious when I wrote this.

Let’s see…what are my favorite things this month?

Favorite Non-Drive-Thru Restaurant:  Um, nope.  They’re all closed.

Favorite Time to Be in the Hospital:  Right now.  They’re empty.  Literally.  Take my word for it; I have personal experience with two different hospitals this month.

Favorite Result of Coronavirus:  The Kung Flu Kick-Back.  Sometimes it just pays to have lots of kids.  Our check was for $5,900.  Yours?  (At least now we can pay our hospital bills.)

Favorite Secular Easter Activity:  The Easter Egg hunt with all the cousins.  Lots of “social distancing” happening there…

Favorite Homeschooling Subject Right Now:  The Constitution and The Bill of Rights

Favorite Article of the Bills of Rights:  Article the Third… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble

Favorite Priest:  Mine.  May the holy angels protect him and blind his enemies.  Thank you, Father, for providing all the Sacraments for us.  Now if only our government would consider churches “Essential.”

Favorite Bishop:  Anthanasius Schneider.  May he live a long and healthy life.

Favorite Online Controversy:  SSPX Lives Matter too.  No, I’m not an SSPXer, but man, am I thankful for their courageous fight.  Dr. Marshall has a great video out there, if you’re interested.  (I’ve actually met the SSPX priest that Marshall interviews; he’s great.)

Favorite Sign to Contemplate:  “Thank You to Our Essential Workers!”  But what I want to know is, what about all the nonessential workers who sacrificed their jobs.  I think I’d be really thankful for them too.  They’re really suffering with no income, etc.  And what a label!  Guess what?  Oh, you lost you’re job?  It’s because you’re non-essential.  Lord, spare us.

Favorite Outdoor Activity:  Playing basketball at the local park.  Oh wait, never mind.  The public officials actually took the rims off of our basketball hoops because some teenage boys got together an intense game few weeks ago.

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Actual picture from our local playground.  No hoops.  They closed the playground equipment too.

Favorite Drink:  All wine.  Box wine, bottled wine, red wine, white wine, cold, room temperature, hot…shoot, between the Psalms and Hilaire Belloc, I’m convinced that wine and Jesus are the only things that’ll get us through this Government-Mandated-Marshall-Law-Quarantine-Kung-Flu-Communist-Lock-Down.  May it end soon.  Amen.  Alleluia.

(See Disclaimer above.)

Life is Worth Living

Life Goes On

As I sit here and type, life goes on all around me.  Sounds of Julian Lage’s latest album drift in from the dining room.  I can hear the three older children chatting and laughing while washing the dinner dishes.  A few of the other children are playing on the swing set out my window with my husband.  And I just finished folding a load of laundry.  It’s rather peaceful around here.

But in the meantime, the media spins and screams and dictates and shames all day long.

What to do?  Today I thought I’d offer a few suggestions that might help.  Read through them if you want.  Take what you need and discard anything that overwhelms you.

A Few Thoughts to Consider

  1. Sigh.  Maybe it’s time for a “media” break?  If the news is getting to you, shut it off.

I hate to be a downer, but I don’t think this is going away anytime soon.  Think of 9/11.  Think of all the security measures that resulted from that tragic event–the security measures that came and stayed.

As our culture becomes more and more obsessed about health (and less and less concerned about the soul), there will be fewer and fewer personal freedoms.  I wouldn’t be surprised if this didn’t happen every year–I mean a Mandated Stay at Home Law every winter and spring.  New viruses will come after all, and we’ve just set a precedent–lock down for everyone.

That’s kind of a depressing thought, however true I think it is.  So for me, I’ve got to step away from the media for awhile.

2.  This may sound a bit crazy, but assess your local situation as regards to the Sacraments.  Are your bishops and priests finding ways to nourish your souls?  If not, consider moving to where these things are happening.  For if our culture continues on this current trend of limiting personal freedoms and shutting down the Sacraments, it will be necessary to have courageous bishops and priests willing to sacrifice their lives, perhaps literally, to ensure the survival of the Faith.

If you’re curious, our priest here delivered a dynamite homily yesterday about seeing this current situation for what it is.  He starts at about 17:20, and I can tell you, he had our attention.  (Yes, that’s my kid screaming about halfway through.  Embarrassing.)  We are so thankful for his witness.  And for our bishop.

3.  Organize your family life.  You need a schedule for everyone’s sanity.  If you struggle with this concept, get a copy of Holly Pierlot’s A Mother’s Rule of Life.  She gets her priorities right–prayer first, everything else next, etc.

4.  Speaking of prayer…have you considered praying the breviary?  These are the ancient prayers, psalms, and readings of the Church.  They are the Church’s Divine Office–a heartbeat of love to the Father.  Of course I would recommend praying the Roman Breviary, but if that’s too much for you, start with the Christian Prayer book.

If you’d like more information on the breviary and it’s history, read Pius Parsch’s The Breviary Explained.  My husband couldn’t put it down.  Consider giving that book to your husband for Father’s Day.

5.  Learn how to garden.  Now I am no expert at this, but over the years my husband and I have just plugged away at it, and it’s always been rewarding.  Even if we have crop failures, like the year we thought we planted cucumbers, but didn’t, or the time the carrots didn’t come up, or the time the boys pulled all the onions because they thought they were weeds…  But something always does manage to grow, and it’s fun eating it.

6.  Enjoy a glass of wine with your husband tonight.  Let the kids watch Lilies of the Field and play a hand of cards.

And Just For Fun

A reader was recently inspired by my post on Art Walls.  She made one of her own, which I’ll post below.

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It looks great!  I especially love The Little Flower.

Did anyone else make one?

Life is Worth Living

Quarantine Madness: 12 Signs It Might Be Getting to You

It’s Holy Week, and right now, life is looking a little grim with this Mandatory Shut Down.  It’s not easy.

This morning my daughter discovered a tick embedded in her swollen leg.  She hastily ripped it out and flushed it down the toilet, without letting us examine it, to determine whether or not it was a deer tick.  Then she began showing signs of Lyme Disease.

Unbelievable.

After a chaotic morning of visiting with a doctor–God bless her soul!–and exchanging information and photos of my daughter’s leg, she’s now being treated with an antibiotic.  The doctor is hopeful that she’ll be fine, as we hopefully caught it early enough.

Me?  I drove straight to a coffee shop and drank a cappuccino, for I’m a weak individual.

In any case, today I’m offering 12 signs to help identify that you might be nearing the end of your rope with this Quarantine Madness.  We pray that God will lift this scourge soon.  In the meantime, enjoy!

Quarantine Madness: 12 Signs It Might Be Getting to You

  1. You find yourself sitting in a lawn chair at the end of the driveway, just to shout a hello to other people out walking their dogs.
  2. You’ve decided to drag another lawn chair out there, with a case of beer, and offer passersby a drink if they’ll sit down and have one on the house.  You can sit 6 feet apart after all.
  3. You’ve* decided to build a raised garden bed.  You’ve always wanted one anyway.

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    Building a raised garden bed.
  4. You’ve resorted to drinking box wine because it can be purchased in bulk and lasts a lot longer than a bottle.  It’s also penitential because it tastes so badly.
  5. You’ve instituted an Hour of Drawing in the afternoon for the children wherein they must produce a work of art or face the consequences.
  6. You’ve decided to read one of those really long, boring Russian novels with characters that you can’t pronounce because you have the time.
  7. You’ve considered hemming your husband’s pants that are too long for him, even though you loathe sewing.
  8. You’ve taken up running.  Might as well trail for a marathon.
  9. You’ve loaded up the children and driven around just for the fun it.  (Don’t tell the authorities.)
  10. You’ve instituted Happy Hour wherein your husband makes cocktails at 3pm.
  11. You’ve subscribed to The Remnant Newspaper, just receive something worthy in the mail.
  12. You’ve saving all junk mail, especially any mailings pertaining to the USCCB, to potentially use as toilet paper, should you actually run out.

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    Cheers.

Now I’ve done 8 of these “signs.”  You guess which ones!

*Actually, you’ve begged your husband to do this, for who are we kidding?  Multistep projects are odious and require patience.  Of which, I have none.
Call Me Catholic

First Communion During Coronavirus

Our daughter was slated to receive her First Holy Communion during the Traditional Latin Mass for the first Sunday after Easter, often called the Octave Day of Easter or Low Sunday.  But with the disordered state of affairs in our country, and more tragically in our Church, our priest–may the Holy Angels protect him–moved it up.  He didn’t want to risk something worse happening, and neither did we.

So yesterday morning, in the dark, we drove to our parish and prayed the Mass.  It was a Low Mass with my husband serving.  Only our immediate family was allowed in the body of the church.  No grandmas and grandpas.  No aunts, uncles, and cousins.  No friends.  (We are a family of 9.  10 people being the maximum number allowed anywhere these days.)

In fact, we didn’t even get to receive communion during the Mass.  It had to be afterwards.  Nor did we get to take photos with father either.  He was incredibly busy administering the Sacraments to other people, including hearing Confessions that apparently didn’t end until 4 hours later.  (The line was literally out the door–social distancing and all that.)  God bless his soul.

But we didn’t mind any of these things.  We were just thankful.  Thankful that Paul was home, and thankful that our Lord Himself came to dwell within our daughter’s soul for the very first time.

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This is she, praying before the Mass.
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My husband is off to the right.  That’s a camera off to the left.  The whole thing was online too.
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And here she is, moments before receiving Him.  She was beaming.  I shall never forget it.  May Jesus hold her ever close to His Most Sacred Heart.
Life is Worth Living

Paul is Doing Well

Dear Readers, thank you for your prayers.  Paul is doing very well.  He’s terribly sore from his incisions, but he is free from piercing migraines and ceaseless retching.  We are very thankful.

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He’s eating and drinking normally too!

This has been the most pleasant–can I say that?–hospital stay that we’ve had.  For you see, there’s no one here.  Literally, this hospital has never been this empty in the memories of anyone that I’ve asked.  It’s all in anticipation of some massive influx of Covid-19 patients, which hasn’t happened and hopefully won’t.

In the meantime, we zip in and out of x-rays and scans and anything that might be scheduled because there is no one vying for these services.  And the nurses and doctors have extra time to visit with us, which is nice, as no others visitors are allowed.

In any case, because we live so closely and Paul is doing so well, we will be able to go home today.  Praise be Jesus Christ!

 

Life is Worth Living

DIY: Art Walls

Those of you who have been reading this blog for awhile know that I am not crafty–I don’t like messes, multistep projects stress me out, I loathe construction paper, and I don’t own markers.

That said, I do have an Art Wall.

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Here is my Art Wall; it’s in the dining room.

Now I had to have an Art Wall because my children draw, and just where was I to put all their lovely art work?  On the table?  On the kitchen counter?  On the floor?  In the trash?  Nope.  On the Art Wall.

Do It Yourself Art Wall

Of course I couldn’t make the Art Wall.  (Remember, multistep projects stress me out.)  So, I enlisted the help of my husband.  “Dearest,” quoth I, “If I buy a chunk of wood and some clothespins, would you kindly glue the things on and screw the whole thing to the dining room wall?”

“As you wish, darling.”

Ah, what a great man I’ve married.  He even took the time to accurately measure equal distances between my ten clothespins.  (I’d have eye-balled it, if forced to do such tedious work.)

In any case, for those of you interested, here are the steps for making your own Art Wall.

11 Step Art Wall

  1. Decide how long you want your board to be.  I had about a 5 foot space of wall for this project, so I wanted a board about 4 feet long.
  2. Look around your garage for spare hunks of wood.  Grab a hand saw and cut it to your preferred length.
  3. No spare wood in your garage?  No problem.  Drive to Menards–if they’re open–and check their scrap pile.  That’s where I got mine.  I paid about $1.30 for it.
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  4. Check your junk drawer for old clothespins.
  5. None there?  Ask Grandma to check her clothesline for any spare ones.
  6. Grandma on lock down?
  7. Order some from Hobby Lobby online.  They’re super cheap; it’s where I got mine.  I went for the mini-ones.
  8. Decide how many you want on your board.

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    Art Wall from my old house.  Not nearly enough clothespins and not nearly long enough.
  9. Beg your husband to measure and glue those clothespins on so that they’ll be straight.
  10. Make your husband his favorite drink and beg of him to screw the whole thing to the wall.
  11. Make yourself a drink.  You are done.  Cheers.

Art Walls Are Necessary

During this time of Mandatory Lock Down, we’ve been forced to be a bit more structured in the afternoons, as the children were becoming bored and restless.  My solution?  I instituted an hour of drawing, cursive-writing, and audio books.

Therefore, this increased time of creativity naturally resulted in more art work.  Of course we do send pictures to Grandma and Grandpa and Auntie and whomever else we can think of, but in the meantime, it certainly gives me peace of mind just knowing where to put all those papers.

Lastly

Lastly, if you’re following Coronavirus and the plight of the Church, I strongly recommend Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s latest interview with The Remnant Newspaper HERE.  I wish more bishops and priests would follow suit.

And one more thing…lastly, lastly, the governor of Wisconsin waived all state park fees.  So, we’ve been trudging through the rain and the muck and greatly enjoying the wilderness.

Here are some of the children at Parrot State Park.  Have you been venturing more outdoors lately?

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Taking the Road Less Traveled.

 

Call Me Catholic

His Mother is Weeping

Dear Readers,

This makes my heart weep.  I have no doubt Our Lady is weeping.  I wish I had the words to describe my feelings.  I don’t.  May God bless and protect that priest.

May more priests, and especially bishops, be inspired by his example.

And what about the children?  They so want to help too.  Here are a few of my children this morning:

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They drew a gigantic rosary on our driveway for all and sundry to see.  They also drew St. Michael killing Coronavirus.

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Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

St. Charles Borromeo, pray for us.

St. Gregory the Great, pray for us.

St. Miguel Pro, pray for us.

Lastly, I found THIS article by canon lawyer Cathy Caridi interesting.  I’m glad people are beginning to talk about these things.

 

Life is Worth Living

A “Sanitary Dictatorship”

Just what are we to think of these wild times?

The oft-quoted Charles Dickins’s A Tale of Two Cities comes to mind, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”

Personally, I think Bishop Athansius Schneider nails it HERE at LifeSiteNews.  (Be sure to read it.)  He notes that not even the Third Reich dared to do what’s happening to us right now, especially as pertains to the government and the Church.  In his latest book, Christus Vincit, he warns of a coming One World Government, which in the article above, he refers to as a “Sanitary Dictatorship.”  Frightening, no?

But you know who else was predicting this years ago?  Catholic author Michael O’Brien.  Have you read any of his literature yet?  If not, pick up Father Elijah.  You likely have time on your hands, after all.  And that book is a page-turner.

What else can we do besides read great literature?

Of course we need not despair, even though I am tempted to.  Early last week, right before the Terrible Ban on Everything, our family went to Confession, and alas, I did confess despair.  My priest–God save him!–quietly asked me if I was familiar with the Gospel passage about Jesus sleeping in the boat during the storm from Matthew 8?

“Yes,” I responded.

“And when the disciples woke Jesus, what did he say to them?”

“Why are you afraid, O ye of little faith?”  I sighed.

My priest continued, “But I don’t want you to dwell on that.  Rather, I want you to remember that he was in the boat.  He was there all along, in the storm, and he’s here now.  I want you to thank Jesus for being in the boat with us.  He hasn’t abandoned us.”

I found great comfort in that, and it’s been my prayer lately.  Thank you, Jesus, for being in the boat with us.

Besides personal prayer?  What else?

Here are a few other thoughts:

  1. While I hate to encourage more screen time, I will say that Dr. Taylor Marshall and John Henry Weston are spot on HERE.
  2. But more importantly, are you saying a daily family rosary?
  3. I know I talked about the difficulties of fasting recently, but are you fasting?  Even if it’s something small?  Perhaps you could give up creamer in your coffee?  Or refrain from adding salt or pepper to your dishes?  Or give up ice cubes?  Anything is better than nothing!  Start small, if you’re new to this.
  4. Get yourself to confession.  Today.  Who knows where this is going to end?  If the governors of California, New York, and Illinois can put everyone on “house arrest,” then your governor can too.  Call or email your pastor.  If he’s worth his salt, he’ll figure out a way to legally hear your confession.
  5. Encourage your pastor to do 24-hour Adoration, if your state’s not on “house arrest.”  Even if no more than 10 people could legally attend, and of course observing “social distancing” laws of 6 feet, this would be a beautiful way to keep Churches open.
  6. And finally, encourage your priest to do processions.  I will be eternally thankful to our priest for noticing which way the wind was blowing last week, for we had a lovely procession with prayers against pestilence last Sunday.

But we need more processions.

Daily processions.  Perhaps priests could walk the streets with a Cross Bearer and two Acolytes, while reciting the Litany of Saints and Prayers against Pestilence.  This could be done daily, at say 3pm.  The faithful could park their cars along the way and pray.  Or the more bolder of the faithful could follow behind, keeping “social distancing” laws of 6 feet.

No really, processions are so important that I’ll leave you with two examples of exemplary priests from the past.  I pulled this information from newadvent.org.  It’s an online Catholic Encyclopedia.  We really need to get this done.

  1. St. Gregory the Great and the plague in Rome.

    As the plague still continued unabated, Gregory called upon the people to join in a vast sevenfold procession which was to start from each of the seven regions of the city and meet at the Basilica of the Blessed Virgin, all praying the while for pardon and the withdrawal of the pestilence. This was accordingly done, and the memory of the event is still preserved by the name “Sant’ Angelo” given to the mausoleum of Hadrian from the legend that the Archangel St. Michael was seen upon its summit in the act of sheathing his sword as a sign that the plague was over.

  2. St. Charles Borromeo and the plague in Milan.

Personal visits were paid by him to the plague-stricken houses. In the hospital of St. Gregory were the worst cases; to this he went, and his presence comforted the sufferers. Though he worked so arduously himself, it was only after many trials that the secular clergy of the town were induced to assist him, but his persuasive words at last won them so that they afterwards aided him in every way. It was at this time that, wishing to do penance for his people, he walked in procession, barefooted, with a rope round his neck, at one time bearing in his hand the relic of the Holy Nail.

Now those were men.

 

Life is Worth Living

Coronavirus. Sigh.

Does Coronavirus have you down?  Are you wondering what you might do?  Never fear!  Here are 3 things I’m doing to distract myself from everything shutting down…

  1. I’m drinking more coffee.  If cappuccinos weren’t so confounding expensive, I’d drive myself to a drive-thru and drink them all day long.  On second thought, I am a Catholic, and we’re suppose to practice moderation and all that, so maybe I’d limit myself to two–one at 6am and one at noon, to ward off that darn Noon Day Devil–but as it is, I’m lucky if I get one a week.  In any case, coffee helps, I’m telling you.
  2. I’m listening to Mariah Carey when my children aren’t around, so like during “Quiet Time.”  Naturally I’m a secret Mariah Carey admirer.  I can’t help myself.  I grew up blasting her music and singing at the top of lungs with my sister.  I know, I know, you’re going to remind me that she dresses scandalously and has terrible lyrics/music and all that, but I am a weak individual.  Mea culpa.  I’ve written about it HERE.  Pray for me.
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Mariah Carey.  We should probably pray for her too.  (Picture from the public domain.)

3.  I’m painting, and I hate painting.  It’s the worst.  And every single house we move into always requires it.  How about you?  Are there any home projects that you need to get done?  Now’s the time!

BTW…the only way to survive such everlastingly tedious housework is to drink cappuccinos and blast THIS.  You know what this song is really about, right?  Not having enough coffee, of course.

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Me.  Doing penance.  Hang in there, y’all!