Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A TLC Book Tour: Glimpsing Heaven


"A Shower of light..."  "A connection to everything and everyone..."    "Absolute love..."

"Who are we, the living, to decide what or who is coming for us right before or during death?  It seems as though pretty much anything can happen."

"Glimpsing Heaven, The Stories and Science of Life after Death" is an exciting book or better yet, study and witness of those who have experienced death one way or another and lived to tell of their experience.  You would not believe some of the amazing stories that fill this book! 

Judy Bachrach writes with great interest and clarity the accounts of these special and very real experiences and puts them together in a book for those of us to see a side of death that could and should calm our fears of the inevitable for each and everyone of us.  I personally applaud her bravery in facing her own fear of death and for those facing death around her by "confronting it-and them-twice a week every week' tending to those facing death.

Ms. Bachrach's book consists of nine intriguing chapters of individuals and their families and many times their physicians' accounts with scientifically proven facts to accompany these experiences.  A great and quick read, Glimpsing Heaven come highly recommended by the Pillar household and many others on this blog tour.

Thank you to both Judy Bachrach for her wonderful work and to "TLC Book Tours for this opportunity to read and spread the word about "Glimpsing Heaven"   The book was generously supplied by TLC Book Tours for this review.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Who really is first or last?

In the Gospel of Matthew 20:1-16a Christ describes the Kingdom of God as a landowner who goes out five times to find men that need work, hires them, sends them into the fields and pays them all equally in the end.

Crazy, right?  Well, that is our normal thinking at first hearing this story, but what about it?   Here's another "twisted" parable that Christ gave his band of average guys to change their way of thinking, causing them (and us) to ask the question: what is fair, or what is equal in the eyes of our God?  In this parable, what WE think is completely equal and fair has been thrown out the window, because God sees our needs as individuals very differently and very individually.  Those workers that were chosen early in the morning were very fortunate to have been hired right away, they didn't have time wait and worry about feeding their families.  Those chosen at nine waited, but not so long, as for those chosen at 12 and 3, they had time to wait and worry, but those chosen at 5 could very well have nearly given up hope.....but they didn't. Hour after hour they waited, worried, and hoped beyond hope to be hired to work and get paid.  Even though the laborers that bore the day's burden and heat working, those who waited and worried, bore another quite different and equally burdensome labor and the landowner took pity on them and gave them a charity they appreciated deeply....probably more so than those laborers that "earned" their pay.  The all-day laborers grumbled about it.....but without being in the shoes of the later chosen, we can be so unfair and downright uncharitable, but God doesn't function that way at all.  In this case, the first shall be last and the last shall be first.

Here's another twist to this parable:  God seeks us out!  We are always hearing how we need to or want to or should seek God first and all will be answered.  But what about God seeking us out?  Looking for us and finding us where we are, possibly in the corner wallowing in our fears, and trials...and saving us? Not that I think we can just sit on our laurels and wait for Him, but there are times when I just know He is there at the right moment in our life at a time when we can not help ourselves and He hears our plea.  The laborers that were hired at the end of the day, God saw them and saved them as per their own individual need.

The bottom line here is that what we think is first and last cannot be anywhere close to what is truly God's way.  God's way is really the way things should be, not our way, however that dastardly thing called freewill comes into play here.  Freewill causes us to think differently, selfishly at times, changing the way we think and function.  Enter, Christ and His amazing parables that twists around the scenarios back to the way of God.









Sunday, September 21, 2014

Women priests: my response to one lady who says she is the first woman priest in NC



"I was the first woman in North Carolina to be ordained as a Roman Catholic Woman Priest.

"The association whose program I completed is validly ordained in the right of the holy orders of the Roman Catholic Church. The first women were ordained by a male bishop who is in good standing with Rome and remains anonymous because he would be excommunicated if it were ever known that he had taken part. That movement started in 2002, so I'm just part of that movement."
Ok, if this bishop is “in good standing with Rome” but remains anonymous says only ONE thing, he is not right with Rome…or the Holy See, so whatever he does in the name of the  Roman Catholic Church is invalid.  Period.  Nothing more needs to be said here.  We have books, magazines and papers that pour over the many new seminarians and novices that are working towards finalizing their callings, but there is no reason at all to publicize schismatic and disrespectful activity such as this.

What kinds of complications are involved with becoming a priest if you are female?

"The teaching is that we have excommunicated ourselves automatically by disobeying canon law. But we believe that God's law comes first. There is a moral imperative to change an unjust law and when an unjust law cannot be changed then it must be broken. That is social justice 101. Many Catholics may not think of this as a social justice issue, but it is. I didn't do this just to do something different. I did this because I had a call. I processed this call for years with other spiritual guides, most of whom are in good standing with the Roman Catholic Church, both priests and sisters. The studies show that 50-60% of Roman Catholics would welcome women in the priesthood. There is nothing in the Bible, nothing scripturally, that prevents women from being ordained in the priesthood. The current theology shows that women were ordained in the early church, certainly not the ordination that we have now, that process developed over 2,000 years, but women were leaders in the early church. Mary Magdalene, throughout the ages has been called the 'apostle to the apostles.'"
There is also nothing scriptural that backs up female priests. What it does emphasize scripturally is that women have a very important and necessary role in the Church.  
It was precisely to Mary Magdalene that St. Thomas Aquinas reserved the special title, "Apostle of the Apostles" (apostolorum apostola), dedicating to her this beautiful comment: "Just as a woman had announced the words of death to the first man, so also a woman was the first to announce to the Apostles the words of life" (Super Ioannem, ed. Cai, § 2519).

What is lost here in these so-called social justice 101 canon law-breakers is the complete lack of attention to detail in the biblical role of women.  Unlike the obvious male role as apostles, priests, etc., women held roles of support and influence bar none.  It is Mary, who bore the Godhead to redeem the world, it was Anna, who recognized the Christ child in the temple, and it was the woman with the alabaster jar of oil, washing Christ’s feet that we remember most assuredly, as Christ instructed us to.  It was Mary Magdalene who announced the resurrection to the group of disappointed apostles, and a group of women followers that had the means to keep this missionary band with food and means to carry on the work for 3 years.

The “current theology” shows that women were ordained in the early church”…nothing could be farther from the truth.  Yes, yes, we had a lady named Phoebe who was a deaconess, but 2,000 years ago no title of any formality was definitive as yet.  The early Church was just beginning.  No one in their right mind would interpret this title as something more than affirming their selfish desire to be a priest.  What organization in its infancy has their hierchy in place right out the gate?  It takes time and the Catholic Church truly took her time.  Did I say “Her”?  Why yes, the Church is referred to as a woman!  The Catholic Church is referred to as the bride of Christ.  He gave his life for her and it is in this verse in Ephesians that we see why the Church is the bride of Christ:
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Do you have any advice for others who follow the faith?

"In spiritual direction, we try to get in touch with how God is working in our lives. We try to become conscious of that working of God. How is God speaking to me? How do we appropriately respond to that?

"Christians have largely been taught that it's all indoctrination, it all comes from the past or the hierarchy who have determined how to translate God's actions, but I believe you should listen to the God within you. God is closer to you than you are to your own self. God is deep within. It is within the day to day living out, the reflection, prayerful reflection, silent reflection. Listen to that still small voice. That is in Isaiah, God is in the still small voice. Have the courage to follow it. That is what I am trying to build, a community that listens to this still small voice. Go against the grain if you need to, confront the power structures. I believe God is a God of justice and I feel we need to move deeper into that realm of justice."
The God inside you is the God of the past, present and the future!  He has not changed and he will not change.  Christ made enough rebellious noise in his time to the shock of those around him.  He ate with tax collectors, sinners, and the like, he didn’t wash his hands, and performed great works on the Sabbath.  Do you think if he had intended women to be one of the apostles, he would have done so?  Of course he would, but he didn’t.  He did not have women in the roles of apostles for a very good reason.  He needed them to have their own purpose and role necessary to the ministry’s future.
In short, without the generous contribution of many women, the history of Christianity would have developed very differently.
This is why, as our newly canonized St. John Paul II wrote in his Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem: "The Church gives thanks for each and every woman.... The Church gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine 'genius' which have appeared in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations; she gives thanks for all the charisms which the Holy Spirit distributes to women in the history of the People of God, for all the victories which she owes to their faith, hope and charity: she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness" (n. 31).
All in all, discernment of one’s vocation may take months or years and it also depends on which “little voice” you listen to.  Men and women have very different bodies, minds and roles in life, which is exactly how God created us.  We are all of one body, but different parts, and different roles to play.  No job, no matter what size needs all supervisors, there needs to be planners, surveyors, architects, finishers, etc.  Because without these other roles, the mission cannot be completed!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

It was bound to happen

.... nineteen years ago seems like such a life-time ago.  In recent years we have both guided her and provided her with the tools needed for this day.  But while I was guiding her and providing
for her, I forgot one thing......to prepare myself.

Her brother left, or launched, seven years ago, but it was time. The family was ready for that other shoe to drop, and when it did, everyone breathed a sigh of relief really.  He was 26 years old and getting bossier and more annoyed with us by the day, until one day when he didn't like something I was doing, we nearly got into a fist fight.  At the final moment, this strapping 6'4" 250 lbs. young man full of frustration, had me pinned on the stairs with the other fist raised in the air and his sisters both crying and screaming to stop fighting.  Well, it was at that moment, we both knew it was time for him to be independent and free of the confines of his childhood home.  There was silence between us for about a week, then the next Sunday was Mother's Day and I received the sweetest card ever from my dear son.  A year later he married his girlfriend of six years and the rest as they say is history.  We have a wonderful relationship, he calls me on a whim during the week, I text him a love note and we have a wonderful relationship with his wife, our daughter-in-law whom we love dearly.

This time, on the other hand, is different, it's college and she is much younger.  She seems to be ready, though, where I am not.  I'm not at that point where I agree with the momma bear as she chases her grown cub up the tree and then leaves quickly.  I'm not ready to not hear violin music playing early in the morning and late in the evening, I'm not ready  to part with the funny names she calls her younger sister and the goofy bantering she has with her father in the mornings.  I'm not ready to not have to get her laundry out of the dryer so that I can do mine, or discover the package of razors empty in our bathroom, or hear her talking with the cats in her funny voices, or have to remind her to empty the dishwasher for the umpteenth time, or hear her talking in her sleep late at night. 

Her father looked at me at one point over the past week and asked, "How are you doing, sweetheart?" We were both looking at her room that was slowly being packed up.  I could tell he was sad at the changes happening, but not so sure how bad.  He has been the kind of father that everybody calls daddy.  He loved playing with them when they were babies and toddlers all kinds of silly games, calling them all kinds of silly names, and making sure they had enough fun toys to play with.  As the girls grew up, his tasks changed too, from silly games to reading to them in the evening, to helping them with their math or science homework.  In recent years, he would be out early in the morning checkin
g the oil gauge and tire pressure as well as brake fluids etc., each week before they headed out to school or work.  He is far better at new driver training than I am, too.

Years of sewing dresses, homeschooling, family trips, camping, going to the beach, Mass each and every Sunday morning have come to this day. We all went with her to her dorm Sunday night carrying boxes, bags, books, wall posters, and a violin.  She has her Dr. Who blanket on the bed, her rosary hanging on the desk shelve next to her bed, and her bible in the bookcase.  She has promised Fr. Bill at the Newman Center that she will join the music for Mass on Sunday nights.

We did  good by her, I think.  We will always be her parents, I will always pray for her and her siblings and daddy.  Yes, her sister, daddy, and I will miss her, and the house just won't be the same without her  here, but it is what it is.  She is growing up and in college now as it should be.  Leaving her dorm Sunday night, she called out to us that she will come home for Christmas, I called back to her, "What? you are just across town!"

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Grant me forgiveness and tears....


From Magnificat

March 17th   St Patrick's Day

Hymn

"Forgive our sins as we forgive,"
You taught us, Lord, to pray,
but you along can grant us grace
To live the words we say.

How can your pardon reach and bless
The unforgiving heart
That broods on wrongs and will not let
Old bitterness depart?

In blazing light your cross reveals
The truth we dimly knew:
What trivial debts are owed to us,
How great our debt to you!

Lord, cleanse the depths within our souls
and bid resentment cease.
Then, bound to all in bonds of love,
Our lives will spread your peace.

Then on the other side an amazing Irish Medieval poem that I will keep to my heart always!

A Prayer to Remove the Wooden Beam

Grant me tears, O Lord, to blot out my sins; may I not
    cease from them, O God, until I have been purified.
May my heart be burned by the fire of redemption;
    grant me pure tears for Mary....
When I contemplate my sins, grant me tears always,
    for great are the claims of tears on cheeks.
Grant me tears when rising, grant me tears when
   resting, beyond your every gift altogether for love
      of you, Mary's Son.
Grant me tears in bed to moisten my pillow, so that
     His dear ones may help to cure the soul.
Grant me contrition of heart so that I may not be in
    disgrace; O Lord, protect me and grant me tears....
For my anger, my jealousy, and my pride, a foolish
    deed, in pools from my inmost parts bring forth
        tears.
My falsohoods, my lying, and my greed, grievous
     the three, to banish them all from me, O Mary
         grant me tears.

Sad people.....

Here is just one of a VERY few mean and uneducated comments I have received throughout the 7 years of blogging:   I usually ignore them, pray for their little minds, and go on....but, maybe some of my readers should see how deranged and unchristian-like people can be.  So here is an example:


Vicki DePalma
Are you *currently* being sent into Hell forever ... automatically excommunicated (outside) of God’s Catholic Church ? Answer: Yes you are ... you can reverse it ... please continue. Council of Florence, Session 8, 22 Nov 1439 -- infallible Source of Dogma > "Whoever wills to be saved, before all things it is necessary that he holds the Catholic faith. Unless a person keeps this faith whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish eternally." You must believe the Catholic Dogma to be in the Church ... Dogma you have *never* seen. Site > Immaculata-one.com ... infallible Dogma throughout. The Catholic Faith *is not* Bible interpretation ... it is the Catholic infallible Sources of Dogma. The Catholic Church didn’t even define the Bible’s New Testament Canon until 397 A.D. at the Council of Carthage. - - - - Can a group which enforces the opposite, the opposite, and the opposite of the Catholic unchangeable Dogma be the Catholic Church? No, it cannot possibly be the Catholic on and then on an incredibly lighter side.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Things

With two daughters, I know that some of these pieces that were my mom's, will go to them.  She needed to let loose of these cherished possessions that she had when she was married when she moved to independent living.  When I got married, my mom told me that I didn't need my own china set since she had 3 sets, hers, her mom's and then her grandmother's, that was perfectly fine with me. But I didn't really need them, so she kept them with her.

Now I have them.
To me, they are breathtaking.  I know that they were in the hands of precious people in my life, but long gone and almost forgotten now, you know?  I never knew my mother's grandmother, but my own grandmother was the sweetest and most loving woman.  She loved me.

All of my childhood and into my adult life, when at my mom's, I would pass by these things displayed perfectly in hutches, sideboards, and corner shelves.  I would look at them, afraid to pick them up, much less touch them in their delicacy and sentimentality.

Now they are in my house.

In boxes, with no room to display them anywhere in this former homeschooling home of books, books, and more books, they stay.  She gave me one hutch where I have some things in it, but there is so much.

What are they saying? Is is a crime?

The guilt is tremendous that they remain in boxes.  I haven't had the nerve to store them in the attic, however, maybe there is some consolation there.  Taking them out every so often to touch and remember is about all I can do....for now.  What are my grandparents and great-grandparents saying?  OK, silly, they don't care, but what would they think in life about these possessions that they knew would be passed down into the future generation? 

Not doing them justice, but....

Selling them, or giving them away would not solve the guilt only exacerbate it.  The dichotomy is that I am sentimental, but hate clutter.